I haven’t spent much time in the Southern part of the United States, in fact, I’ve never stepped foot in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, or North Carolina.
Three main reasons why : racism from the Civil War, nasty swamp snakes, and scary hillbillies.
Yet I’m trying to internally change my attitudes about this area. Tennessee is helping me with this, and although I do still find many of the stereotypes of the South to be true, I’m also seeing the truth about “Southern charm” and how it’s effects are slowly creeping into me and leaving a positive impact.
I hit the back highways outside of Nashville, and enjoy my two hour drive through the country. I’m on my way to the Cumberland Caverns just outside the town of McMinnville. It’s the second longest cave in Tennessee and full of moonshine and mining history.
As we enter, you can see the remains of the bootleggers that worked in the cave during prohibition. The network of caves here cover over twenty six miles, and this allowed the men to transport liquor from one county to the other without detection. McMinnville to this day is a dry county.
The cave is wide enough that a road runs through most of it, allowing vehicles to drive inside. We come across running natural springs, and all manner of stalagmites and stalactites.
The cave is enormous. I’m always amazed being under the surface of our planet, as it truly is a completely different world.
We come to a giant ballroom, and get to listen to the bluegrass bands warming up before their Bluegrass Underground show later in the afternoon. It’s the true reason for my visit, and I have tingles on my arms seeing the venue.
The mighty chandelier that is hanging above is estimated to be worth over $485,0000 dollars, and was brought to the USA from Austria in the 1800’s. To learn more about how this happened and many other fascinating stories, you must visit Cumberland Caverns for yourself.