Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tennessee

Can you imagine what it would be like to have a massive army camped out on your front lawn? Now imagine another one in your back yard. This is the story of the Carnton Plantation home and the McGavock family who lived inside.

Carnton Plantation is located in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee. It is literally built in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sprawling fields. It was built in 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock. Upon his death, his son John inherited the farm. John married Carrie Elizabeth Winder in 1848 and they had five children, three of whom died at very young ages. There were two small children living in the home at the time the battle began. There names were Hattie, who was 9, and Winder, who was 7.

The Confederate Army of Tennessee attacked the Federal Army at 4pm on November 30, 1864. What resulted was a massive frontal assault and one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and within very close range. For that reason it’s believed that both sides killed some of their own soldiers just because it was so pitch black and they couldn’t see.

The battle lasted barely five hours. Casualties numbered 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops.

On November 30, 1864, Carnton became the largest temporary field hospital for tending the wounded and dying after the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks opened their home to as many as 300 soldiers although it’s believed that at least 150 died the first night.

The upstairs bedrooms were used for surgeries and the floors of the restored house are still stained with the blood of the men who were treated there. Amputated arms and legs were tossed right out the window and lay in the yard in a heap. Hundreds of dead bodies were spread out all over the property.

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Carrie McGavock donated food, clothing and supplies to care for the wounded and dying. Witnesses said her dress was blood soaked at the bottom. The children witnessed the carnage and even helped provide some basic assistance to the surgeons.

On December 1st, 1864 the Union forces headed to Nashville leaving all the dead and wounded behind. It was then that the residents of Franklin were left with the daunting task of figuring out what to do with over 2,500 dead soldiers.

The McGavock’s designated approximately 2 acres of their land to be used as permanent graves for the soldiers. In 1865 many of the Union soldiers were moved to the Stones River National Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.


Carrie oversaw the care and maintenance of the cemetery until her death in 1905. Her son Winder inherited the property but died just 2 years later. His widow moved out of the home and sold it in 1911 ending a century of family ownership. It passed through several hands and was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. W.D. Sugg in the 1950’s. The property fell into disrepair in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In 1977 the Carnton Association was formed to raise money to buy, restore and maintain the mansion. In 1978 Dr. and Mrs. Sugg gave the house and ten acres to the Association. The Association acquired an additional 38 acres and began restoring the home and grounds. The restoration was completed in the 1990’s and today the home and property are open to the public. 








Horses of The Hermitage

The Hermitage is a plantation that was owned by Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. It is located in Davidson County, Tennessee, 10 miles east of downtown Nashville and it is designated as a National Historic Landmark.


While on my visit I was very taken by the horses I found along the property. I was able to contact the owners who informed me that the name of this breed of horse is Percheron. They informed me that this breed was chosen because they are well muscled, and known for their intelligence and willingness to work. These particular horses came primarily from the Amish.


Percherons range in height from 15 to 19 hands high and can weigh up to 2600 pounds. The lower thighs are heavily muscled to give the horse enormous pulling power. They are wide and deep through the chest with a large heart girth and well sprung ribs. The croup is level, tying into a large round hip. Most Percherons are black or grey, but sorrels, bays, roans, and other colors are also seen. Many Percherons have white markings on the head and feet, but excessive white is undesirable.



The breed standard states “The Percheron head and neck are typical of the most attractive draft horse character. Good Percherons have a large and full prominent eye, a broad and full forehead, and straight face. His strong jaw and refined ears attractively set and carried with animation, suggests his Arabian ancestry. Stallions should have a ruggedness about the head and mares should have a feminine look.”


I have to say they are absolutely magnificent!

Stones River Battlefield Murfreesboro, Tennessee

The Battle of Stones River was fought from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863. It only lasted 3 days, however, in terms of Civil War battles, it had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. More than 83,000 troops took part in the battle and there were 23,000 casualties. Families’ homes were destroyed. Livestock was killed. Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s economy was destroyed for decades to come. It was a very brutal battle.

If you didn’t know this was a battlefield, you would never imagine today that so much blood and so many lives were lost here. Many believe the battlefield to be haunted. There are accounts of loud explosions like a cannon being fired, mysterious soldiers appearing and then disappearing, the sound of soldiers marching and even a headless horseman. Some believe that there are literally thousands of spirits roaming there. It is said that the spirits don’t know they’re dead due to the violent nature in which they died.

The Slaughter Pen, which is Stop No. 4 on the battlefield walking or driving tour, was given its gruesome name because a third of the Union division and three brigade commanders were killed in the cedar forest there after Confederate soldiers took them by surprise. Most of the accounts seem to happen in this area.

The park is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and is free to the public. You can tour by car, bicycle, or on foot. It is an excellent place to go hiking.

The Stones River Battlefield is one of only 32 military parks or national monuments in the nation preserving Civil War history and it is an important tourist resource because of that.

There are several re-enactments throughout the year. For a calendar of events and more information about the battle go to

Killer Shrimp: Marina Del Rey, California

While vacationing in California last year I was taken to a place in Marina Del Rey called Killer Shrimp. I had heard so much about this restaurant through the years that I was very excited to finally be going there. It wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was better!

The menu boasts an expansive array of tempting choices and the aroma that hits you when you enter is intoxicating. However, we were there for the Killer Shrimp.

I will say I was a little shocked when my dinner arrived. I wasn’t really expecting a huge bowl of what looked like shrimp soup and a loaf of Italian bread. Shrimp soup just didn’t excite me but I picked up a piece of bread and dipped it in the broth as I was instructed and WOW! Heaven!

Now I would be remiss if I only mentioned the food when describing a restaurant. To me a restaurant is more than just the choices on a menu. It’s also in the ambience. It’s about the sights and smells.

To dine on delicious food while sipping wine and engaging in stimulating conversation with good company is happiness. To do so while gazing at the sun glistening on the water and watching ships going in and out of the marina is nirvana for me.

I hope everyone gets to experience this wonderful place at some point in their lifetime!

The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

Last summer I went to visit my son and meet his girlfriend for the first time. They live in Los Angeles and I went for Mother’s Day. Knowing that I love museums, they took me to the Getty Center which sits atop a hill overlooking Brentwood, California. Not only were the exhibits spectacular, but so was the building’s architecture and the views!  I also got to experience my first Uber ride!

I learned a little background about the Center while there. It began as a museum in the late J. Paul Getty’s home in Pacific Palisades, California in 1954. After his death in 1976 the entire property was turned over to the Getty Trust for museum purposes. Eventually the collection outgrew that site, which has now been renamed Getty Villa. In 1983, Management purchased the land where the museum sits in the Santa Monica Mountains for a cost of $25 million dollars. The site rests 900 feet above I-405 and on a clear day you can see the Los Angeles Skyline, the San Bernardino Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains to the east. To the west you can see the Pacific Ocean.


The Center was designed by architect Richard Meier and the Central Gardens were designed by Robert Irwin. The campus is also home to the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

The Center features antiquities, drawings, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, and sculptures. There are also sculptures displayed on terraces.


Angel of the Citadel by Marino Marini

The Central Gardens are breathtakingly beautiful and are home to more than 500 varieties of plants.

After a full day of exploring all there was to see we headed back down on the tram. As you can see from the pictures, it was pretty cloudy that day. However, to me it was a perfect day! When you’re with the right company who cares about a few clouds.

You can find more detailed information about the J. Paul Getty Museums at


Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga

Not too long ago I took my granddaughter to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga for the day. We had the most wonderful time! If you ever find yourself in that area, I would recommend taking a day and visiting. Here’s what you can expect to see!

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When you enter the aquarium the first thing you’ll do is take an escalator up to the top floor. It goes way up creating a feeling of excitement right from the start. You then make your way down through a series of exhibits.

The fun exhibits you’ll see are the River Journey, Appalachian Cove Forest, Discovery Hall, Mississippi Delta, River Giants, Rivers of the World, Tennessee River Gallery, Seahorses, Ocean Journey, Tropical Cove, Lemur Forest, Stingray Bay, Secret Reef, Boneless Beauties, Jelly Fish and Undersea Cavern.


Two of our favorites were the Butterfly Garden and Penguins’ Rock!

Here’s a link to their website with additional information like a calendar of events, prices and hotel packages. Have Fun!!


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