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Nashville is

MUSIC CITY Luxury on the Zambezi RI’s Magical Foliage Jaunting to Angkor Wat 1

Autumn 2021

Jaunting Magazine 2 Barber Avenue Warwick, RI 02886 401.480.9355 Executive Editor Paul Pence Features Linda Eagleson All travel involves risk and conditions change. Always confirm directions and safety recommendations. Be aware of health alerts and other safety concerns. © 2021 by Jaunting Magazine Stock photography under Creative Commons license courtesy of Pixabay 2

Autumn 2021 Nashville is Music City – 5 Where Am I? - 15 Luxury Meets Wild Africa – 19 Jaunting to Angkor Wat – 27 RI’s Magical Fall Foliage – 35 Seven Adventures in Moab – 45 Fiesta Louisville - 47



Nashville is

Music City Story by Paul Pence

On our trip to Nashville, we attended a concert at the Grand Ole Opry, relaxed in the Gaylord Opryland Resort, and partied in Nashville’s Lower Broadway entertainment district. For most country

music fans, that alone would make a dream vacation, but let me proudly add that I got to see Allie Sealey play in a Lower Broadway honky tonk. 5

You’ve never heard of Allie Sealey, or any one of hundreds of other artists whose dreams of stardom have carried them to Nashville, but if fate rewards sheer talent and perseverance over blind luck, the day may come that I can impress people by saying that I knew she was destined for greatness. Nashville is the one place that can make that happen. Nashville is Music City. In 1925, a tiny radio station, barely more than a hobby, broadcast a local fiddle player to fill in after a program of classic music. Fiddle music wasn’t new – it had been a staple of folk music of the lower Appalachian “Smoky Mountains” for over a decade and had recently begun being commercially available on records, but broadcasting it on the radio was a novelty. It resonated with the listeners in Nashville. Soon, the owner of the station created his own recurring program, which eventually became what we now know as the Grand Ole Opry. Over the years, the folk music of


Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, and Dolly Parton on stage at the Ryman Auditorium and on radio stations across the nation. Going to the Grand Ole Opry wasn’t a simple outing like going to the local park for a summer concert at the gazebo. Like going to Disney World or Paris, it didn’t begin and end at the doors of the auditorium. That meant that the local hospitality industry blossomed. Nearby Lower Broadway became the place to go if you wanted to eat before or have a drink after the show. And that meant that the Smokies spawned the jazz and blues-nspired Bluegrass, 50’s Cowboy music, Elvis’s Rockabilly, and today’s Country. The Grand Ole Opry changed too. What was originally a studioperformed radio program gained a live audience, then a larger audience., then started moving to local venues to accommodate the crowds, before settling for decades in Nashville’s downtown Ryman Auditorium. The local radio program went national in 1939. That began the era that many of us grew up in, with classic country music from the likes of Johnny 7

Lower Broadway needed talented, up-and-coming performers who will bring in customers. By the time that the Grand Ole Opry moved into its current 4400seat Opryhouse auditorium in the 1970’s, Lower Broadway had become a destination of its own. Now, block after block of restaurants, souvenir shops, western wear stores, and of course bars make up Nashville’s entertainment district. Rippy’s Honky Tonk is a great place to grab Southern BBQ, a burger, nachos, a beer, or a glass of iced tea and listen to performers who may someday be at the center stage Circle at the Opry. Each venue on Lower Broadway is distinctly different. One may concentrate on quiet, soothing acoustic music, another may glorify the idea of an alcoholinduced escape to Margaritaville. Some offer rooftop bars, while many have wide open windows to share the music with the people out on the street. During one visit, we passed one place that went well outside the country music motif and had headbanging heavy metal performers blasting away at 4pm.

So we listened to performers who aren’t… yet… nationallyknown names. Like Allie Sealey. People who have talent and passion and determination. If life were fair they would all be famous. But the day will come that some of them will be famous. Old standbys in country music retire, new folks take their place. And when they do, the very best of them will be asked to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. 8


words “… I fell in…” his guitar pick fell into his guitar body’s sound hole. As he fiddled and fumbled to retrieve it, he told a series of jokes. Of course the show was mostly music. Chris Janson, Tommy Emmanuel, and Trace Adkins among others. -- top names in the industry, just like every show. Being invited to perform at the Opry is the highest recognition for achievement in the industry, but performers are so respected that they are anointed as “Members” of the Grand Ole Opry, are welcome to come perform without an invite.

The concert at the Grand Ole Opry was amazing. Rather than two hours of one performer, the show is broken into multiple segments – a little classic country, a little modern country, a little bluegrass, and a little comedy. Wait… Comedy? Yes, even comedy. In the old days, in the days of Porter Wagner and Connie Francis, Minnie Pearl frequently made an appearance. About midway in the show we attended, Gary Mule Deer provided the laughs, starting with Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, but when he got the audience singing along to the



Those of us who love music but don’t perform ourselves find simply attending the show the fulfilment of a dearly-held dream. Before the show, we explored the Opry Mills Mall. This huge mall is built on the property that was once an amusement park. It contains restaurants like the Aquarium and the Rainforest Cafe, a huge Bass Pro Shop, unique shops and old standbys, an IMax theater, Madame Troussard’s Wax Museum, more restaurants, more shops… 200 in all. The mall looped around on itself, doubling the walking needed to see everything.

And seeing was just about all the time we had for after stopping to get whisky-themed candles and buy-one-get-one-free cowboy boots. After the show, we could have gone back to the mall for late-night dinner of BBQ, or dinks at the Bavarian Breuhaus. The next day we spent inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Seven acres of atrium, with walking trails, fountains, streams, waterfalls, tropical plants, nineteen restaurants, shops, wrapped around by 2888 rooms, and a riverboat running through it all. 12

The Delta Riverboat is a great way to get a guided tour of the mechanics and history of the Resort. The original water in the watercourse that circles the atrium was swept away when the Cumberland River overflowed, leaving behind a huge catfish who makes the atrium its home. The riverboat guide pointed to a high water mark a good seven feet up one of the massive support columns for the atrium. The resort has other activities for the kids – often princess themed, sometimes pirate themed, but for the adults we could enjoy just

relaxing as we watched the syncopated fountains putting on their show, or as evening set in, listening to even more country music at the Falls Bar and Lounge. It’s possible to spend the entire trip inside the Gaylor Opryland Resort – there’s even a water park – but just outside is the Opryhouse. And the Opry Mills mall. And things we didn’t have a chance to experience, like the General Jackson Showboat offering an opportunity to see the river, eat dinner, and watch a country music show all without changing seats. But Nashville isn’t just Country Music. The NFL football team, 13

the Tennessee Titans play in a stadium across the river from downtown. There are museums and parks and restaurants and all sorts of reason to expand our horizons. Maybe we’ll do that on our next trip. But we’ll make sure to spend time on Lower Broadway to listen to artists like Allie Sealey who deserve to make it to the Grand Ole Opry. Who knows, maybe we will find her on the center stage Circle at the Opryhouse..

Visit them online at: • Grand Ole Opry – • Gaylord Opryland Resort • Rippy’s Bar and Grill – • Allie Sealey –


Where Am I?

Clues: • This place is fit for a king! • But I stay in the garden. • How do you say “ostentatious” in French? 15

You are in the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, 12 miles west of Paris.




Lavish Luxury Meets

Wild Africa

The five-star Victoria Falls River Lodge is the first private game lodge to be set in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi National Park. The luxury lodge is built on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, with the Zambezi Crescent Collection’s pioneer lodge close enough to Victoria Falls to see the spray of the “Smoke that Thunders.”


Victoria Falls River Lodge offers wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities, fine dining, and easy access to the historic town of Victoria Falls and the opportunity to visit the world-famous Falls. Onsite leisure activity options include guided game drives, walking- and fishing safaris. Watch – from the comfort of Victoria Falls River Lodge’s private river cruiser – as the world awakes and the sun’s first rays skip and dance across the shimmering surface of the mighty Zambezi. A truly revitalizing way to start any day!

A Victoria Falls Game Drive is one of the best activities to enjoy in order to truly experience African wildlife. Elephant, hippo, crocodile, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, sable, kudu, impala wild dog and the occasional big cat can be viewed in the park (to name but a few). Passionate and knowledgeable guides lead an unforgettable tour of Victoria Falls, the rainforest of the Zambezi National Park, and of course a stop to take pictures with the ‘Big Tree’. With intimate knowledge of the local fauna and flora and other


Zambezi or the ultimate bush experience within the expansive park where you are located. A safari by water is a perspective not many have the opportunity to experience – and the closest you may get to a hippo in the wild. Or, explore the 150,000 acres that make up Zambezi National Park and track the elephant herds as they move silently through the bush (by car or on foot). And, because the lodge is so close to Victoria Falls and the bridge that connects Zimbabwe and Zambia, the activity options of

points of historical interest, coupled with advice on the best viewing spots (and an extra pair of hands to help get that ‘full’ family photo!), the guides help ensure that the memories created at this World Heritage Site will last a lifetime. Victoria Falls River Lodge and the Zambezi National Park are a bird watcher’s paradise. Access to these habitats is via the network of roads and walkways within the Zambezi National Park and Rainforest and boating offers the opportunity to get up into riverine fringes. In this remote location, you have two safari options: river cruise along the 21

a typical safari lodge are doubled. Choices include rafting, the bungee jump, bridge swing, canoeing the Zambezi wine route, tours of the Falls, helicopter flights, a boma dinner experience (sample some local Mopani Worms), village tours, sunset steam train trip and a guided tour of the town of Victoria Falls (note: some activities may be an additional cost).

Local species include Rock Pratincole, Schalow’s Turaco, African Finfoot, Half Collared Kingfisher, Thick Billed Weaver, African Skimmer, Pels Fishing Owl, Collared Palm Thrush and Western Banded Snake Eagle Sit back on your private deck and spot one of the 415 bird species recorded in the park – or opt for in-room massage, manicure and pedicure services. 22

The main lodge has an open plan design with a beautiful thatched roof and allows guests to easily migrate from the lounge to the bar to the dining area within the structure. As a five-star lodge, fine dining is made possible by a Blue Ribbon designed kitchen, designed for bringing the latest culinary trends and igniting passions. The Lodge’s menu caters to all tastes and includes a variety of local

traditional dishes prepared by its expert Zimbabwean Chef Even the suites evoke adventure, with luxury tents and tw-story treehouses. All Luxury Tents offer a larger than king size bed, comfortable sitting area, openplan bathroom with freestanding bath and both indoor and outdoor


uninterrupted flow from the luxurious comfort of the indoors to the expansive natural beauty of the outdoors. Two magnificent double story Starbed Treehouses offer a truly unique opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in nature. The open air Starbed decks with bedroom and sitting area are suspended above the treetops offering expansive views and an unforgettable experience. Victoria Falls River Lodge is child-friendly with special activities and tours for children, as well as the option of child minding services. Children are invited to participate in local activities like grass weaving, bread-making and fishing.

showers. Twin bedded sleeping configurations are also possible. Luxury Family Tents offer guests travelling as a family an adjoining tented room as well as a second bathroom. The expansive ensuite bathrooms – with twin vanities, private toilet, indoor and outdoor showers and private and freestanding bathtub – are open plan and shared. The more recent expansion onto Kandahar Island is reached only by boat ride from the mainland, ensuring guests a completely exclusive and private experience. The spacious open plan suites jut out over river and jungle, elevated on timber decks with generous glass windows and doors ensuring 24

Zimbabwe has opened up to the world as an up-and-coming destination. Its economy is on the upswing, especially since it now has the US dollar as its currency. And, Zimbabwe’s government has identified the revival of tourism as a factor for its economy, and is focusing on the tourism sector with renewed fervor. The parks have not been visited in depth for some time, and are waiting to be explore once again (notably, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park and

Matusadona National Park). And remember, Zimbabwe’s side has the best view of the Falls when water levels are low. To top it off, Zimbabwe has always had the best guides, with the continent’s most stringent regulations to gain a guiding license. Your safari guide will make or break your experience, so ensure it’s a great one by going to Zimbabwe. For more information, visit



Jaunting to

Angkor Wat

The Angkor Archaeological Park, an immense Hindu-Buddhist temple complex, lies in the jungles of northwest Cambodia. The temples at Angkor represent the pinnacle of the Khmer civilization,

which ruled most of the region between the ninth and fifteenth centuries AD. They are considered to be among the great architectural wonders of the world. 27

Following its peak in the



Angkor began a long

decline. By the end of the sixteenth century, only




Angkor Wat was still in




swallowed much of the ancient city, and its temples were relatively

unknown to the western world



archaeologists “rediscovered”













Monuments Fund team arrived at Angkor to conduct one of the first

international surveys of the damage wrought by decades of civil war and neglect, and, in 1991, WMF embarked on a comprehensive program of



training at Preah Khan. Over time, this effort expanded to include the temples




Phnom Bakheng, and the Churning of the Sea of Milk Gallery at Angkor Wat. 30





The Magic of RI’s

Fall Foliage Story and Photos By Paul Pence

The iconic patchwork of stone-walled farms that blanketed the rolling hills of New England so familiar

from Currier and Ives prints existed for just a generation; over the last 100 years, the cleared fields have regrown into lush hardwood forests. Every year, as the cooler nights set in, those forests burst into

brilliant autumn oranges and reds and browns and yellows and purples that attract leaf peepers from every corner of the country. 35

Before I came to Rhode Island, “autumn” was an abstract concept. I grew up in Texas, two thousand miles southwest of Rhode Island, where autumn is best described as the brief time between summer and winter when you can turn off the air conditioner and open the windows for fresh air. Colorful leaves appeared only on the teacher’s bulletin board, and what real leaves that didn’t stay green year-round turned a dusty dull beige before collapsing at the base of the trees. Now that I live in Rhode Island, on autumn mornings my wife and I sip our tea on the slate patio I built

behind our house and listen to squadrons of Canada geese squawking in their flying wedge formations as they migrate to warmer climates. To her, as a born-and-bred Rhode Islander, New England autumns are normal, but to me it is magical. I had no idea that I could wake up one morning and see a golden yellow tree outside my window, that I would look forward to walking my dog just so that I could see her dive nose-first into a sea of vivid orange oak leaves in quest of an imagined chipmunk, or that a gust of frosty wind could


shake red maples, causing them to toss their leaves into the air like a flock of crimson birds. Not every tree erupts into color at the same time. The first hints of yellow appear on the birch leaves at the end of September with the onset of the first cool nights, particularly those lining the south and west sides of ponds and fields where the northern wind blows unrestricted against their canopies. As the days progress, the red maples, almost black through the summer, retake their vivid red springtime hue. By the time the last tree starts changing colors, the first

trees are already bare and ready for winter. The best colors appear in northern Rhode Island’s Blackstone Valley area first, usually around Columbus Day; the Atlantic coastline 70 miles to the south reaches its peak a week later. Living in Rhode Island, I’ve learned that you very literally can’t see the forest for the trees; vistas where you can look out and see entire forests are rare in Rhode Island, and with every clear line of sight blocked by a tree, you can’t see entire forests. One of the few vistas in the state is just off Tower Hill Road in South


Kingstown, where a round half-dome of stone called “Treaty Rock” or “Pettaquamscut Rock” offers a view across the fjord-like Long Lake, outward toward Jamestown Island and Narragansett Bay. Athletic hikers can scramble up the steep trail to its summit to take in the foliage without too much difficulty. Legend says that a lovelorn maiden waited her entire life on a nearby cliff overlooking Narragansett Bay’s west passage, waiting to spot her true love when he returns from the sea. But with the resurgence of the forests, her perch’s view is now obstructed in all directions by just a couple dozen trees.

For a while, lovers of sweeping vistas could thank the forest service for building a watchtower on the maiden's site that is open to the public, provided that they don’t mind a serious climb. But now the trees have grown up taller than the tower, making the views more and more restricted each year. But you don’t have to trudge up a cliff or climb a forest ranger’s watch tower to admire expanses of forests. Rhode Island’s many ponds make excellent vantage points, letting you see the foliage laid out like a Degas 38

canvas in splashes of bright colors along the line of the opposite shore. On almost any hike in Rhode Island forests or almost any car trip through the back roads of the Ocean State, there will be a chance to stop at a pond and enjoy the view. The state’s Department of Environmental Management maintains the state parks, frequently placing picnic tables and information boards at the ponds with public access. And since October is also migration season for Canada geese, there’s a

chance to see these large birds up close. Rhode Island’s ponds, as beautiful as they can be, once served a purely functional purpose. They date from the days of powering mills, at first just simple grain mills with picturesque overshot water wheels. These water-powered mills, along with their windmill and tide-mill cousins were the height of agrarian technology in the 1700’s, grinding grain into flour. The Gilbert Stuart birthplace museum in Saunderstown, for instance, is a great stop on a drive


factories of Rhode Island’s textile industry. Water power reigned supreme for fifty or so years until steam power took over, but the ponds and lakes created to power the mills remain. Consider a hike around Ryan Park’s ponds in North Kingstown or the Frenchtown Park in East Greenwich, both former textile mill sites turned to public use, featuring extensive hiking trail systems and beautiful foliage vistas across their mill ponds. Or take a more leisurely stroll through Providence’s urban parks, like the Roger Williams Park with its world-class zoo, formal

through Rhode Island’s South County. Its functioning overshot water wheel is still capable of grinding dried tobacco leaves into a fine powder snuff But ponds in Rhode Island tended to be small – that was until Samuel Slater built the first waterpowered textile mill in Pawtucket along the Blackstone River in 1793. Using designs based on pirated British technology, he launched the American Industrial Revolution. Soon, every useful stretch of running water in Rhode Island had been dammed and rerouted to drive the water turbines which powered the 40

gardens, museum, and antique carousel. While you won’t be surrounded in a seemingly endless patchwork of color, you can still stop under a tree, crunch through the confetti of leaves on the ground, and take a break from your trip. Some people aren’t satisfied by looking out across bodies of water; they want to get out on the water directly by renting a kayak or canoe in Wickford to follow along the coastline of the Narragansett Bay as it cuts through the center of the state? Canoeists also love the waterway of the now-defunct

Blackstone River canal with its placid waters and overhanging trees. More adventurous paddlers seek out the occasional swoop of rapids along the Wood River as it winds through the west half of state, punctuated by portages over Stepping Stone Falls and the occasional mill dam. Bicycling Rhode Island is not a task requiring Lance Armstrong – unlike the Alps, Jerimoth Hill the highest point in the state is just 812 feet. Bicycling is especially easy along the many train right-of-ways that 41

have been turned into hike-and-bike trails. Trains can only navigate a slight grade, usually just one or two percent at most, making these trails a casual cruise rather than a test of physical endurance. The best bicycle trails include the East Bay Bike Path that runs from East Providence southward to Bristol and the Washington Secondary Bike Path that winds through Cranston and West Warwick into Coventry. You can find bicycle rentals in several locations. A driving tour has the advantage of letting you stop and poke through country diners, antique

shops, and farm stands. Look for a route that takes you through farmland, past ponds, and ideally on roads that don’t have a lot of telephone wires to distract from that perfect view. My favorite autumn drive follows highway 102 from North Smithfield all the way down to Wickford village. If we go out for a drive in early October, we’ll stick to the north end of the state. Later in the month, we concentrate on South County, looking for open farmland and swaths of colorful trees beyond. The side trips and country are really the reason my wife and I go off to see the 42

discover a new historical site, a museum, or a cemetery, we’ll stop and learn a little more about the history of the land in which we’ve made home. Of course, along the way we always gawk in amazement at the foliage, especially when we crest a hill while we’re driving and we can see kaleidoscopic trees stretching a mile down the road. If you prefer to let someone else do the driving, there are tours organized by both local and national bus services that will wander throughout New England. The Blackstone Valley Tourism

foliage. On our outings, we can enjoy a home-style meal at Wright’s Chicken Farm, pick tart apples that will end up in pies at one of Smithfield’s pick-your-own farms, stand under the arched Washington Bridge in Lincoln to listen to the bouncing echoes when we speak, feel the mist rising up from the Blackstone River as the water rushes over the Woonsocket dam, and comb through Chepachet’s antique stores in search of bargains. We head off to the rural festivals, like the Scituate Art Festival, and stop at farm stands and garage sales. If we 43

Council runs train excursions each October to explore the foliage. The 46-mile trip follows the Blackstone River northward from Cumberland into Massachusetts and lasts the entire day. A creative way to get an inexpensive foliage tour is to catch a commuter train from Providence to Boston and back, or take the Newport ferry from Providence. Once you’re in Newport, the city’s shops, galleries, restaurants, and historical sites are readily available and generally walkable. Newport is the home not only of the famous

Gilded Age mansions of the superwealthy like Cornelius Vanderbilt and Doris Duke; it’s also the home of the Turo Synagogue, the first synagogue in the New World. Since I’ve come to Rhode Island, I’ve experienced more magical experiences than I even imagined could exist. I’ve been overflown by a pair of swans, found a starfish under a flat rock, sat quiet on a rock in fog so thick I couldn’t see the ground, and, perhaps most magical, I’ve experienced the colors and tastes and sounds of a real autumn. 44

Seven Adventures in


The world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah becomes an artist’s dream world in the autumn, when fringed by the Colorado River’s yellow cottonwoods

along the Colorado River and the golden aspens of the LaSal Mountains. Here’s a short list of how to enjoy autumn in this amazing region. 45

After the summer rush, daytime temperatures in October cool down to around the mid-70s to mid-80s. Fewer people around means more elbow room to be had on every adventure in two National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands. Fall River Rafting Adventures are full or half days, some served up with a BBQ lunch on a worldrenowned stretch of the Colorado River, winding through scenes made famous by dozens of popular movies. Horseback Adventures come with cowboy-trained quarter horses. A professional wrangler leads the way on trails made famous by John Wayne himself. Hummer Tours are conducted in style and comfort aboard the world’s most serious 4x4. Spectacular backcountry opens up in the hands of professional guides who help visitors explore seldomseen, awe-inspiring Moab overlooks. Zipline Tours are always a thrill, but how about skimming over

sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons? The Raven’s Rim Moab zip line tour begins with a spinetingling ride to the top of the cliff faces overlooking Moab, swooping like a bird of prey landing on each of six gaps. Hot Air Ballooning can be likened to riding a magical carpet for hours over the astounding red rock landscape of Moab. It’s an unbelievable way to experience the sights of Moab in the quiet of the early morning. Arches National Park Tours are stunning, morning or evening. Arches National Park Tours showcase the more accessible of more than 2,000 arches, the highest concentration on the planet, after which the park is named. Mountain Bike Tours are a way to experience why Moab has become the undisputed mecca for mountain bike enthusiasts from all over the world. For information about these adventures and more, go to 46

Taco & Margarita

Fiesta Louisville! A new outdoor culinary festival debuts this fall at the home of Louisville’s professional soccer teams.

The Louisville Taco & Margarita Festival is taking place on Saturday, October 2 from 11 am to 6 pm at Lynn Family Stadium in the historic Butchertown neighborhood. At







The new festival comes after


the city hosted its first Taco

different flavors of the tequila-

Week this spring and saw several

based cocktail and enjoy a

new taco places open throughout

variety of tacos, nachos and

the area.


more. A mimosa bar and fullservice bar will also be available.

For information about this and

Live music + local vendors will

other exciting things to do and

be on site to create a fun


experience for all guests. 47





Visit us online at


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