Friday, July 29, 2016

Beautiful Arrington Vineyards

As you pass through the gates of Arrington Vineyards, which is situated about sixty miles south of Nashville, a huge wine barrel greets you surrounded by flowers and foliage. It definitely makes a statement not to be missed. To the left, as well as across the street, sits row after row of beautiful vineyards where Arrington's award winning grapes are ripening on the vines as I write this post.

Kix Brooks, of the country music duo, Brooks and Dunn, winemaker Kip Summers, and entrepreneur John Russell, AV, created Arrington some years back. The vineyard sits on 75 picturesque acres of Tennessee countryside and is a prime location for receptions and musical venues. One of the main buildings for visitors has a rustic lodge like feel and houses a Gift Shop and Tasting Room where you can purchase gifts, tours and wine tastings.

Take a look at just a few of the many wine bottles adorned with bright colored satin ribbons holding gold and silver medals won by Arrington's many wines. Anybody for a wine tasting?

With temperatures reading in the mid 90's on this particular afternoon, I didn't linger long out of doors, but managed to take a quick stroll among the grapevines down the hill from the Gift Shop and Tasting Room.

A huge lawn with picnic tables strewn about for visitors separates the main vineyards from the Tasting Room, the main offices and the Barrel House. On weekends bands play on the lawn, and with this being the Country Music Capital, there's surely a fair share of concerts that takes place throughout the year. If only it had been cooler so I could linger for a while among the vines.

Our weather in middle Tennessee has cooled off for today with intermittent thunderstorms. I am sure the heat will pick back up when the front moves through. It's been a grueling Summer with highs in the mid to upper 90's almost daily with the heat index topping out between 105 and 110. As I worked out in the heat each day, I found days when I couldn't wait to get home and 'peel off my clothes' from the heat. Did I mention I just might be ready for Fall. I didn't just say that, did I. Have a great weekend all. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Egret in Flight

A beautiful Great White Egret flies over Old Hickory Lake on a Summer day. There are only a few Egrets that make the lake their home in the warmer months. More often you will see Great Blue Herons. But when I do happen upon a beautiful Egret, I have to stop and take a photo. They look so graceful. During Fall you will find dozens of Egrets on the lake as they stop over on their migration to the Southern states. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Winging It

As I took a quick drive down the peninsula road in Hendersonville recently before calling it a day, I stopped at a lakeside park where I noticed three Cormorants were very busy drying their wings on several dead tree branches on Old Hickory Lake. Oddly enough, I rarely see Cormorants except right in this area of the lake.

One of the Cormorants looked to be making a fuss about something as I snapped away. I didn't know this bird had webbed feet which was a little surprising to me.

It has been a busy month for me and with the excessive heat, I haven't ventured outdoors that much. Up until the last week, there were severe thunderstorms almost daily. Everywhere you look there were piles of dead tree branches stacked up to be hauled away. Now it's just plain HOT. I hope you are staying cool wherever you are. I'll be back soon with some vineyard photos I captured last week. ENJOY!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Burr Terrace Garden, Cheekwood

On a warm Summer's day last year, I sat about capturing various images of Cheekwood Botanical Garden's beautiful Burr Terrace Garden.

Let's take a stroll through this gorgeous garden and take in its stone and brick highlights. Did you know this garden was built to be reminiscent of one of the oldest surviving botanical gardens in the world which stood in Padua, Italy.

One of my favorite gardens in Cheekwood, this space houses an enclosed cottage garden on three levels. I love the softness of the perennial plants, bushes and shrubs found throughout. The old limestone surely adds an old world feel.

Every visit to Cheekwood I find myself drawn to the beautiful landscaped gardens. One of the features I photographed while on this visit was the arbor with its vines hanging down over the sides and the beautiful stone columns. What is it about stone that makes everything seem more rustic and inviting.

In this last image, I captured a tad bit of color in the Burr Terrace Garden. The entire garden is vast with walkways throughout and an occasional bench to sit a spell. A visit to Cheekwood this Summer is surely on my list of things to do. So peaceful.

I hope you enjoyed our brief visit to Burr Terrace Garden to view its greenery in the warmer months. My favorite time to visit Cheekwood is early to mid Spring, but I love stopping in throughout the year just to see what is blooming. There's always color of some sort. In Spring, the manicured landscapes burst with Tulips and Daffodils, yet Summertime brings the vast greenery. It's so soothing. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Beauty and the Beast

A beautiful mare grazes in the field along the Bluegrass Scenic Byway. She truly is beauty and the beast. I miss visiting the Bluegrass Region with its rambling fields of Kentucky Bluegrass and the beautiful stallions and mares that grace the area. ENJOY!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Rambling Mountain Stream

A tiny stream makes its way down the mountain at a gingerly pace at the head of Ramsey Cascades Trail in Greenbrier, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I often photograph streams such as this. I have a particular image in my mind that I hope to achieve some day. This attempt came close, but not quite there yet. A tad bit too much foliage and noise in the image, but I still think it's a keeper.

There is nothing more fun than Independence Day here in the States. The very words conjure up images of our Founding Fathers. I can see them sitting at a simple writing desk, quill pen in hand, with a stack of well crafted paper, as they create the The Declaration of Independence. I could swear I hear someone say 'We the People . . .'

It would not be the Fourth of July without our ever faithful Red, White and Blue flying our proud colors and stars and stripes all. Parades and music, food and fun. And of course, the standard fireworks display will be seen by millions from town to town and city to city. From what I have heard, the largest 4th of July Fireworks Show in America is held in Nashville, Tennessee. Who knew!

My weekend plans involve a whole lot of resting and generally taking it easy. It has been an extremely busy few weeks. However you plan on spending the holiday weekend I hope it is filled with sun, fun and maybe a spark or two from a nearby sparkler or firecracker. Stay cool and dry wherever you are. ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Burnt Cove, Deer Isle

It has been close to a decade since I journeyed to the beautiful state of Maine for an adventure. Maine is situated in the northeastern part of the States. Over the course of a week in August of 2008, I drove along the coast of Maine. First, I stopped in the quaint small town of Camden, situated along the Mid Coast. I walked around the harbor and shopped in Stonewall Kitchen, and even drove way up to the top of Mt. Battie to take in a view of the entire Mid Coast scenery.

Then I pulled up stakes and drove farther northeast to Downeast Maine. I made the Barncastle Inn, just outside of Blue Hill, my base. From the inn each day, I would venture out trekking to various locales in and around Downeast Maine, such as Deer Isle, Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park. I spent a day in Bar Harbor and took in the harbor walk along the coast. Just as I was finishing my walk on the approach to downtown Bar Harbor, I caught the last of the tourists as they boarded the beautiful tall ship, Margaret Todd, as it set sail for an evening sunset cruise.

I visited the small island of Deer Isle, just south of Blue Hill, where I photographed the foggy harbor of Stonington with several tall ships cruising through. One afternoon, I made the short drive from Blue Hill to Burnt Cove on Deer Isle to photograph this precious little inlet with its colorful New England homes situated on the coast. The sailboats sat idle as the buoys bobbed up and down. The fog hadn't quite burned off by early afternoon so what fog was left added just the perfect amount of charm to the whole scene. It was simply gorgeous.

Believe it or not, this image and all of my Maine photographs were taken with my old Pentax camera, which had no automatic settings at all. It was all manual. You really had to know your stuff when it came to settings. None of this digital camera stuff at that time. It was several years before I transitioned to digital. I will be back with more images from my Maine adventure. ENJOY!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Osprey Catch

Osprey often referred to as Sea Eagles or Fish Hawks have such a wide wing span which ranges in color from cream to brown to black. Reducing the shadows in Lightroom helped to differentiate the variation of colors. This particular Bird of Prey was the first one I had seen on Old Hickory Lake thus far and was in a backwater area where I am sure fish are plentiful. He flew over the area gaining altitude and then dropping down for quite a while as I've often seen Osprey do. As this week closes, I pray for peace as this week has been especially difficult for the citizens of Orlando and for all of us here in the States. ENJOY!
Linking to Saturday's Critters