Start your 2014 Convention early by joining us Monday, June 30, on a day-long tour to Shadow Nursery in Winchester, Tennessee. Don Shadow is a fourth-generation nurseryman who has traveled across the United States and around the world collecting new plants appropriate to the modern American landscape, plants he raises for wholesale trade on his 2000-acre farm. A preservationist in all things, Don also keeps and breeds for zoos over 60 types of rare livestock comprising more than 600 animals from the kiang wild ass to Grevy’s zebra.
We’ll begin the day with a 1-1/2 hour bus ride through the rolling hills of largely rural middle Tennessee while enjoying a continental breakfast. At the nursery Don himself will relate his experiences collecting and growing new and useful plants. After we pause for a catered lunch, he’ll take us on a hayride through the farm and nursery (where we can shop for plants) and introduce us to some of his animals. On our bus ride back to Nashville, we’ll reflect on our day over wine and cheese.
Love the tropics but hate the heat? On Tuesday, the air-conditioned conservatory and atrium of Opryland Hotel may be just the ticket for you! Only five miles from downtown Nashville is the country’s largest non-casino hotel, with nine acres of tropical gardens under glass. If you saw it when the convention was last in Nashville in 1999, you haven’t seen this hotel because the entire ground floor was destroyed in the thousand-year flood of 2010 with some areas under as much as ten feet of water. But the gardens are back and better than ever! First it will be lunch on your own at one of the hotel’s eleven restaurants. Then we’ll meet for a guided tour focusing on the Magnolia, Delta, Cascade and Garden areas and the various trees and herbaceous plants in the gardens. In the Delta along a quarter-mile indoor river we will learn how the rivers of the eastern US join the Mississippi on its journey to the gulf. A 44-foot waterfall is the centerpiece, but it’s only one of many water features in the Cascade area. Our hosts will also cover some history of Nashville and of the hotel.
On Saturday night, it’s time to kick back, listen to some blues, and experience a delicious upscale take on southern cuisine at B.B. King’s Restaurant and Blues Club, a leisurely ten-minute stroll from the hotel. (Transportation will be available for those who need it.) We’ll have three private rooms overlooking the Cumberland River, but you can choose to sit by the bar and watch the band, maybe do some dancing. If you’re not done partying after that, head down the hill to the honky tonks for live country music, catch the Music City Circuit bus to the Gulch for bluegrass, or walk up the hill to Printers Alley for karaoke. Whatever your choice, you’ll be sure to remember your Tennessee adventure!
Molly Schneider and Cornelia Holland