Helen Kellers home and the Rattlesnake Saloon

Saturday 6/15/13.. It felt pretty good waking up today knowing that everything was completed here at the Tiffin facility and we had a free day.

We just kicked back outside and chatted with Jerry and Fern while having our morning coffee . They had completed everything on there motor home on Friday also and were taking off Saturday and headed northwest. It sounds like there travels will put them around the Parker Arizona area about the same time we will probably be in that area in early 2014. With a little luck we will be able to get back together and share a few more stories. And maybe Diane can show Fern what she has done with her new found talent of Crocheting LOL!!

Around 10 we decided to get our day of  touring underway so we said our,, see ya down the roads,, to Fern and Jerry and headed towards Tuscumbia where the Helen Keller birthplace is located.

Ivy Green, Helen Keller's home in Tuscumbia Alabama

Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s home in Tuscumbia Alabama

Helen feeling the face of Eisenhauer

Helen feeling the face of Eisenhauer

The Parlor. See that thing behind the green chair left of the fireplace? Back in the day they used wax to help create those handlebar mustaches and the ladies makeup so when the fire was burning hot they would keep that between the fire and there face so not to melt the wax

The Parlor. See that thing behind the green chair right of the fireplace? Back in the day they used wax to help create those handlebar mustaches and the ladies makeup so when the fire was burning hot they would keep that between the fire and there face so not to melt the wax

I’m sure most of you know the Helen Keller story but I will admit that I wasn’t really up to speed on the topic but was truly impressed after our tour. In fact I’m looking forward to renting the movie about her and watching it.

Helen Adams Keller was born a healthy child on June 27, 1880, to Captain Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller of Tuscumbia. At the tender age of 19 months, she was stricken with a severe illness which left her blind and deaf.

At the age of six, the half-wild, deaf and blind girl was taken by her parents to see Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. Because of her visit, Helen was united with her teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan on March 3, 1887. After Helen’s miraculous break-through at the simple well-pump, she proved so gifted that she soon learned the fingertip alphabet and shortly afterward to write. By the end of August, in six short months, she knew 625 words.

By age 10, Helen had mastered Braille as well as the manual alphabet and even learned to use the typewriter. By the time she was 16, Helen could speak well enough to go to preparatory school and to college. In 1904 she was graduated “cum laude” from Radcliffe College. The teacher stayed with her through those years, interpreting lectures and class discussions to her.

Helen Keller, the little girl, became one of history’s remarkable women. She dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind around the world, lecturing in more than 25 countries on the five major continents. Wherever she appeared, she brought new courage to millions of blind people.

Her teacher, Anne Sullivan is remembered as “the Miracle Worker” for her lifetime dedication, patience and love to a half-wild southern child trapped in a world of darkness.

The house was built in 1820 only one year after Alabama became the 22nd State of the Union, Ivy Green is a simple, white clapboard home design in typical Southern architecture. The main house is of Virginia cottage construction, with four large rooms on the first floor bisected by a wide hall. Each room boasts an individual fireplace. Upstairs are three rooms connected by a hall. Having survived untouched through the ravages of the Civil War, Ivy Green is maintained to the smallest detail in its original state.

Since 1954 Helen Keller’s birthplace has been a permanent shrine to the “miracle” that occurred in a blind and deaf seven-year old girl’s life. At that time Ivy Green was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can roam the halls but of course the rooms are blocked off by a short railing just inside each doorway. But the rooms are small enough that you really feel like your inside anyway.  We were told that 85% of the furniture is original.

The Kitchen and cooks bedroom. There was no kitchen in the house in fear of fires.

The Kitchen and cooks bedroom. There was no kitchen in the house in fear of fires.

The Cottage. This is where Helen was born on June 27th 1880. After Helens illness that left her deaf and blind this is where her teacher, Anne Sullivan used as a school house

The Cottage. This is where Helen was born on June 27th 1880. After Helens illness that left her deaf and blind this is where her teacher, Anne Sullivan used as a school house

The pump at which Helen learned her first word (water) located behind the main house. Annie wrote these words later that historic night,,, "she has learned that everything has a name, and that the manual alphabet is the key to everything she wants to know"

The pump at which Helen learned her first word (water) located behind the main house. Annie wrote these words later that historic night,,, “she has learned that everything has a name, and that the manual alphabet is the key to everything she wants to know”
Can you see that Diane is trying to sign the word water?

We toured the home and the grounds for probably a little over an hour and really enjoyed it. Once again I was impressed with what Diane had already known about Helen and in turn had a very good conversation with our tour guide at the beginning of our visit. Times like these make me realize just how wrapped up I was in work and how much I have lived my life with tunnel vision until now.

Mark Twin once said,, Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.

By the end of our time at Helen Keller’s place we both had worked up a pretty good appetite so we jumped in the jeep and did a short tour around the town of Tuscumbia before heading towards the Rattlesnake Salon just a few miles out of town.

We found Tuscumbia to be a very clean old town with some great architecture, some nice looking shops, plenty of restaurants and I’m sure a lot more history to be seen. In fact we considered finding a campground in the area and thought about hanging around until the 4th of July. I bet they do it up right. But at this we STILL don’t have any plans of where we will head next LOL!!

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the Rattlesnake Saloon the (Taxi Truck) pulled up behind us. You can either walk down into the canyon where the saloon is located or you can ride in the back of a pickup that has some makeshift seats built along the sides. Thinking it was further down in the canyon than it really is we jumped on the truck.

They will give you a ride down to the saloon in the back of this truck if you want. I thought it was much farther down than it is so we rode down but walked back up.

They will give you a ride down to the saloon in the back of this truck if you want. I thought it was much farther down than it is so we rode down but walked back up. But for city folk it might be considered a E ride LOL!!

The road leading down is pretty steep but it’s only a couple hundred yards down if that. But the people on the truck with us hooted and hollered on the way down none the less LOL!!

William Foster opened the Rattlesnake Saloon Labor Day 2009.

The original intent for the rock shelter was to construct a lodge within the space and enclose it with glass, but the area wasn’t large enough. That’s when it literally became a family affair for the Fosters. William teamed up with one of his brothers – a professor of industrial design at Savannah College of Art and Design – to design the entire saloon with a Western flair.

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You can see the saloon on the left and the eating area in the (cave) to the right.

You can see the saloon on the left and the eating area in the (cave) to the right.

Swinging bat-wing doors, a wood-paneling facade and interior, hitching posts for horses plus ceiling fans operated by an old-fashioned belt-and-pulley system with gas motors exudes a sizzling Old West charm. Enhancing the look are the framed rattlesnake skins.

Speakers hang from the shelter’s ceiling – unintentionally made possible by Foster’s grandfather. Many years before it was repurposed into an entertainment destination, Rattlesnake Saloon was a pig sty.

“The area was enclosed to keep pigs. They needed a way to feed them, so they drilled a hole 32 feet through the stone at the top to pour feed down for the pigs.

Foster now uses that handy feature to run cables for power, water, satellite, phone service and fiber optics.

The original name was going to be Seven Springs Saloon but while pouring concrete and stacking tin not far from the shelter when they came across a snake den with a momma and 12 babies, that’s when they decided to name it Rattlesnake Saloon instead of Seven Springs Saloon.

While talking to the waitress we were told they have guests that have signed in from all 50 states and a number of other countries. Pretty good for a place that is relatively new.

She also made mention that Mick Jaggers brother, Chris, has visited and sang on there stage. We didn’t even know Mick had a brother!! And she said that (Dr. House) from the tv show has been there to eat.

The saloon is only open Thursday through Sunday from 11am to 10pm and there is some type of music each night after 5pm. And they serve adult beverages after 5.

The food was very good. I had the Duke burger,,  huge patty, bacon, tomatoes, jalapeño’s, pickles ect. And Diane had the Ranch burger, basically a smaller version of mine minus the bacon and jalapeno’s. We both had onion rings as well. It was to much food but when I get really hungry I tend to find the largest thing on the menu and then pay for it later LOL!!!

IMG_5599

After eating we walked up from the saloon to the souvenir shop and we both bought a tee-shirt. We don’t normally by tee-shirts from places we have been unless they seem pretty special to us. In fact I think so far we have only bought 2 and both are from bars,,,, The Desert Bar in Arizona and now the Rattlesnake Saloon,,, hmmmm,, what might that say about us LOL!!!

Well,,, another good day. After the saloon we headed home and vegged the remainder of the evening.

Sunday we just plan to catch up on laundry and do a little cleaning and chill. Then Monday we have our appointment with Chris Berry to install the new tv’s.

I guess we better figure out where to go from there.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see the shadow,,, Helen Keller

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