Archive for the ‘Kentucky’ Category

Seeing America at World’s Largest Yard Sale

October 5, 2010

This was first published Jan. 17, 2010, in my Boston Globe column “Where they Went.”  Now that the 2010 yard sale has passed, it’s time to make hotel reservations for 2011. Seriously. Do it now. Take it from the Dianes.

Diane Bouvier (left) and Diane Cormier at the giant yard sale

WHO: Diane Bouvier, 50, of Athol, Mass., and Diane Cormier, 51, of Ashburnham, Mass.

WHERE: Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio

WHEN: Four days in August

WHY: To tour part of The World’s Longest Yard Sale along 654 miles of US Highway 127 from Alabama to Ohio.

Diane Cormier tries out a really big lawn chair for sale in Ohio

THRILL-SEEKERS: “We both like going to country auctions and poking around in antique stores. It’s the thrill of the treasure hunt,’’ Bouvier said. The two nurses have been friends since working together at a Worcester hospital 15 years ago.

SHOPPING LIST: “You have to plan ahead to go,’’ she said of the event started by a man in Jamestown, Tenn., in 1987. “Diane figured out the amount of driving it would take each day and looked for the closest hotels. We booked them and the flights in April. We used the sale’s website to get little tips and a feel for what was going on.’’

TRASH TO TREASURES: “Sometimes, fields were set up on both sides with tons of tables, and the whole community was involved, and other times it was personal yard sales along the way,’’ Bouvier said. “There was a huge variety of stuff for sale. It ran the gamut from flea market to high-end dealers.’’

Diane Cormier with popular Southern game of Corn Hole in Kentucky

DOG DAYS: The friends set off from Nashville, cash in hand, in their rented box truck, heading for Crossville, the nearest town on Highway 127. “The traffic picked up heading there, but mostly it was totally spread out. There were license plates from all over.’’ They would typically get out of the car at least 10 times a day, and walked a lot during stops. “It was pretty hot. I liked that people put water out for dogs,’’ she said. “You could really tell that everyone was getting into it. Bargaining was expected, but it was all good-natured. Everyone was having fun.’’

CHECKED ITEMS: On the second day, in Kentucky, both women found things on their lists. “Diane was looking for an old fireplace mantle, the top and the sides. She was also looking for two old cowbells for her camp, and she found those, too. I got a lampshade for an antique lamp I’d been looking for.’’ They were happy with the prices, too.

FRIENDLY FOLKS: “I got a little taste of the culture there,’’ she said. “Southern hospitality holds true. One man pulled us out of the ditch we got the truck stuck in.’’ Other shoppers were friendly and chatty. “At the hotels at breakfast, everyone would ask, ‘Are you yard-salers?’ We met a lot of mothers and daughters.’’

NICEST NICKEL: Bouvier’s “best bargain’’ came on the final day. “For five cents I got a 6-inch ruler stamped with the name of a company – and Route 127. It was the perfect souvenir.’’


Happy Fourth in photos

July 1, 2009

Most of America’s patriotic songs are about appreciating the wonders of our country, “from sea to shining sea.”  Wessel and I often travel over the July Fourth holiday, and usually to small towns. This year, we’re off to Waynesville, NC, in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains. Here’s a little photo homage to some Independence Days past, in cities large and small, at home and away. Where will you be this weekend?

Fireworks Boston

Boston Harbor in 2003, my last summer there, and Wessel's first and final

Uncle Sam in parade in Hingham, Mass.

Uncle Sam (really) at a parade in Hingham, Mass., 2003. Is he still around?

Wessel celebrates Fourth with socks

Dutch citizen Wessel practices his American patriotism

Celebratory glasses

Diane allows pal Alison Carpenter the honor of wearing her Fourth shades

Community band plays along banks of Ohio River in Paducah, Ky., 2007

Community band plays along banks of Ohio River in Paducah, Ky., 2007

Indepence Day yard props

Festive Independence Day decorations adorn a home in Wilmington, NC

Somewhere over the ‘moonbow’

February 4, 2008

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Feb. 3, 2008, in the Boston Globe)

From Di’s eyes: Bill and Jan’s creative roadtrips show their great sense of playfulness and humor. It’s nice that they often meet up with long-time friend Paul Savina of Chapel Hill, N.C. (right up the road from me in Durham). I interviewed only Bill and he had me in stitches much of the time while he described Zaneville’s claim-to-fame, Wigwam Village, the crazy bus ride at Mammoth Cave, and their madcap chasing of the moonbow. He was rewarded with a photo of gold at the end of it.

WHO: Bill, 53, and Jan Sides, 52, of Foxborough, Mass.

WHERE: Kentucky.

WHEN: 10 days in September and October.

WHY: “In 2004 we were out West, and there was a restaurant that had a big tepee for the dining room. Jan wanted to eat there, but she got voted down,” Bill Sides said. “Later I went online and found a wigwam in Kentucky you could stay at, and I made up a little brochure with an itinerary and gave it to her for Christmas.” Jan and Bill Sides at Cumberland Falls State Resort ParkThe highlight was seeing a lunar rainbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. “It’s the only place in the Western Hemisphere that you can see a moonbow on a regular basis.”

PAYING HOMAGE: “We stopped somewhere in Pennsylvania the first night to put some miles on and the next day went to Shanksville, where the plane crashed on 9/11. We had a very close friend killed in one of the towers.” From there they visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in the village of Mill Run, Pa. “It fits in the landscape so perfectly. It’s just an amazing house.”

Y NOT?: “We had to tick off Ohio, so we went to Zanesville. Every town tries to promote something. This town promotes the fact that it has a Y-shaped bridge, and an overlook that you can look down on the Y-shaped bridge.”

LUKEWARM ON WIGWAM: They spent two nights in Berea, Ky., known for its arts and crafts, and from there, they headed to Wigwam Village in Cave City. The tepees “were all concrete, and probably state of the art when they were built 70 years ago. It was really pretty interesting but not that nice. My wife would say, ‘You get what you pay for.’ ”

THEY CAVED: At Mammoth Cave National Park, they chose the Frozen Niagara Tour over the Tall Man’s Misery and Fat Man’s Misery. “The tour was nice and interesting, but the most exciting part was the bus ride to the cave opening. It was in an old school bus, and we were blasting around all these corners.”

MILESTONES IN HISTORY: At Cumberland Falls park, near Corbin, they were joined by longtime friend Paul Savina of Chapel Hill, N.C. “We stayed at Dupont Lodge, part of the park and one of those CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] projects built in the ’30s. It was absolutely wonderful.” In Corbin, “the Birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken,” they went to Colonel Sanders’s first restaurant. “We also went to the World Chicken Festival in London. Their claim to fame is they have the world’s biggest frying pan.”

KENTUCKY MOON: A chance to see the Cumberland Falls moonbow, a rainbow produced by the moon instead of the sun, can draw hundreds of people, Sides said. It’s visible only The Cumberland Falls moonbow or lunar rainbowat certain times near or during a full moon. “We had two chances to see it. The first night it was partly cloudy, but the next night, the sky was clearer. There were about 60 people and everyone is hurrying to get there. It only lasts about half an hour. It’s a fascinating phenomenon. It was quite bright, but you see white. It only shows colors in photos. I took three six-and-a-half-minute exposures, and one came out really great.”