Nashville Vintage Wine Train – It’s a Thing!

Speaking of Nashville and all the reasons I love it, one of the best-kept secret events here is the excursion train, specifically, the vintage wine excursion train! If you haven’t heard of it, you’ll want to check it out, and you’re welcome!

All excursions are boarded from the Tennessee Central Railway Museum near downtown Nashville. The destination for each excursion changes based on theme, for example, the train robbery and murder mystery excursions travel to Watertown and back. The Spring Festival and Fall Foliage trips travel to Monterey. I have had the fortune of enjoying several: train robbery, murder mystery, and my favorite, the wine train!

What many people don’t know is, there are two versions of the wine excursion. The first is included on the published schedule at Tennessee Central Railway Museum‘s site. The second is called Wine on the Rails and is hosted by Muddy Roots Records. To purchase tickets to the Muddy Roots version, you must go to their website.

Both versions of the wine train include riding on a classic streamlined stainless steel passenger train, wine tasting on board and live music at DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, TN. At the winery you may also purchase lunch or an additional wine tasting. You may also enjoy a tour of the winery where you can see where all the magic happens.

In November I first tried the Muddy Roots Vintage Wine excursion, which they call Wine on the Rails. The theme is vintage dress, but dressing the part is not required, so I didn’t. In January I attended the Muddy Roots wine excursion for a second time, and decided to spice things up by dressing up this time. Because the trip was in cold weather, the theme was (vintage) Fancy Coat. I have to say, dressing up made it much more fun!

When you take the Muddy Roots version of the excursion, you will also enjoy live music at the winery, and, depending on your train car, you may also enjoy a private performance on the train! Here is a sampling:

So if you’re looking for a new adventure, give yourself the gift of an excursion – you won’t regret it!

Why I Love Nashville (Tennessee, that is!)

There are so many reasons why I love Nashville, but the one that comes to mind today is the accessibility and availability of great talent just hanging out around town and walking the streets just like us regular folks. There are no paparazzi, no autograph hounds.

The general population are generally respectful of the privacy and personal space of the celebrity population here. And because of that, it is likely that at some point you might just bump up against one in your daily travels and possibly even have a nice little chat with them.

Case in point: Since I moved to Nashville in 2001, I have watched as Little Richard was escorted from his penthouse suite at the Nashville Hilton to his tour bus, spied Ray Liotta making a purchase at the Tennessee Craft Fair at Centennial Park, walked past Kid Rock as he exited J Alexander’s Restaurant, had lunch with Kenny Chesney at Chipotle (okay, he was seated at the table behind me, all by himself, but I still count that) and…this happened:

At last year’s Oktoberfest, I had a craft booth for my Melody Erickson Designs business. I was selling jewelry, which included some pieces using guitar picks. Late one night, a couple stopped in, browsed, and decided to make a purchase. As I was packaging their items, the gentleman said, “I see you make necklaces with guitar picks.” He tossed a pick onto the counter in front of me and said, “I’m Dennis Dunaway, the bassist for Alice Cooper. I wrote a book called Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, and I had these guitar picks made to promote it.” (So cool, right?)

We finished up and Dennis and his wife headed out to the street. A few seconds later, Dennis returned and said, “I see you make earrings. Here’s another pick so you can do that.”

I thanked him again, and he once again left my booth, but then turned around and came back a second time! This time he said, “I see you make earrings and necklaces. Here’s another pick so you can have a set.”

He then left for good, and I turned to my booth partner and said, “How cool was that!?”

And so, this morning, four months after-the-fact, I stepped into my art studio and saw those guitar picks, still waiting for inspiration. And it showed up. Today I am happy to report that I am the proud owner of this one-of-a-kind set! Thank you, Dennis!

AliceCooperGuitarPicks

Yes, Nashville is way cool! I’m glad to be part of it!

Joaquin Phoenix Has Left The Building!!!

He has checked out and is not coming back anytime soon.

Did you see him on Letterman the other night? He walked onto the stage sporting a suit, smartly accessoried with a Unabomber beard, a hippie bedhead and a pair of sunglasses. He was mostly unresponsive to Letterman’s questions. The few responses he did offer were incoherent mumbles. When Letterman began poking fun at him, he clearly was not in on the joke.

I felt very uncomfortable for Joaquin. It was clear he did not understand what the audience found so funny. For everyone else, it was clear. It was the hair, the beard, the mumbling, the lack of personality. It was so not what anyone would expect from Joaquin given our exposure to his personality to this point. Surely it was a joke, right? Apparently not.

So, what happened? Did the success get to him? Has he suffered a romantic loss? Is he entering a delayed state of mourning for his brother River? (Could happen.)

It seemed pretty evident drugs were involved. If not, I believe it’s time to prescribe them, because Joaquin is in a very scary place…and he doesn’t appear to know the way home.

He says he’s leaving acting. Really? Why? And his new profession is going to be…Hip Hop…Really?

I mean, you can change professions and feel good about it, or you can change professions and not want to talk about it. The former case implies a significant event. What was so bad about acting that he can’t talk about it?

This clearly is not about changing professions. This is about escape.

To people like me who are fans of the old Joaquin Phoenix, this is a very unfortunate turn of events. Given the level of professionalism and grace he had shown prior to this, it seems that something extremely traumatic must have happened to initiate a change this extreme. I only hope he finds his way out of this – and soon!