Late Summer, Tennessee.

American Flag.

The calendar tells us it’s autumn, but late summer still lingers. Although a few leaves scuttle crisp and yellow across the blacktop or silently drift on the gentle wind into pastures where the dark and sullen shapes of cows step through the sunrise mist to drink from still ponds, the green fullness of the trees remains. I have felt the chill in my toes and fingers and nose and at these early hours have stepped back inside for a light jacket but I am yet to see my breath on the air or a frost on the grass. It is, after all, just now late September in Tennessee.

Late summer fields.Late summer fields in unincorporated Kedron.

License plates.License plates hanging in a Franklin shop.

Tree in silo.A tree growing out of an old silo in Pelham.

Rockers.Rocking chairs on a porch in Leiper’s Fork.

Courthouse.Maury County Courthouse in downtown Columbia.

A cow.A modular and a cow in Pelham.

Leaves.Leaves in Burns Branch on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Old car.Old car in a junkyard in Franklin.

Barn.A barn in Leiper’s Fork.

Mule Day.Mule Day banner hanging at Puckett’s Grocery in Columbia.

Photographs from this article, along with many others, can be found on my Instagram and Twitter. Follow me @highwayandhome

Words and photographs by author unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.

Between the Highway and Home: In Tennessee.


Scenes from rural America.

The following photographs were taken in January, 2015, in the Upper Cumberland Region of Middle Tennessee.

Barn.Old Barn. Wilson County.

Hardware Store.Hardware Store. Watertown.

City Hall. City Hall. Watertown.

Bait Shop.Bait Shop. DeKalb County.

Theatre. Oldham Theater. Sparta.

Watertower.Downtown. Monterey.

Old House.Old House. Putnam County.

Words and photographs by author. All rights reserved. For more, follow Between the Highway and Home on Instagram.

Late Afternoon. Decatur, Georgia.

Sunset. Decatur, Georgia.Late Afternoon. Decatur, Georgia. The days are still getting longer here in Atlanta and the pungent scent of magnolia blooms fill the humid air. I don’t know who first used the phrase “Hotlanta,” but it’s not likely that that person was a Southerner. Maybe they were from Michigan or Maine or Oregon, because summer here isn’t all that much hotter here than it is in Nashville or Charlotte or Montgomery. Or maybe the originator of the phrase was commenting on the people of this city and not the average temperature. I sure don’t know. (Words and photography by author. For more, subscribe here, or follow me on Instagram @highwayandhome)

Train Car. Cowan, Tennessee.

Train car. Cowan, Tennessee.Train Car. Cowan, Tennessee. Situated along the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, Cowan is the last stop before the climb up the Cumberland Plateau. Downtown, they’ve re-purposed the old depot, making it into a railroad museum. This is one of the cars on display.  (Photo and words by author.)

Old Buildings. Burwood, Tennessee.

Old Building. Burwood, Tennessee.

Old Buildings. Burwood, Tennessee. I don’t know what draws me to these kinds of places, but I pull over for them all the time. I imagine what antique thing might have been stored and forgotten inside. I imagine people from an older time shooting baskets at the old goal on the shed, their feet raising dust as they play. There is a new station there now, across the street, so whatever use the old pump once got is gone. Today, it’s just a relic sitting out in the sun. (Photo and words by author)

Southeastern byways: the Great Smoky Mountains

John Muir was onto something. Okay, perhaps many things. In An Ascent of Mount Rainer, he wrote that, “The view we enjoyed from the summit could hardly be surpassed in sublimity and grandeur; but one feels far from home so high in the sky, so much so that one is inclined to guess that, apart from the acquisition of knowledge and the exhilaration of climbing, more pleasure is to be found at the foot of the mountains than on their tops. Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach, for the lights that shine there illumine all that lies below.”

He knew what all those that enjoy the mountains know – that a mountain must be viewed from both the top and the bottom. It is this conclusion that informs the following photographs. They are all part of the same series of Smoky Mountain photographs that are included in my most recent article “Southeastern byways: US-441 through the Smoky Mountains,” and while some of them were indeed taken from US-441 – a route takes you to the highest mountain tops – others were taken at the bottoms and on the hillsides.

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The Smokies of North Carolina.Paling ridges. (North Carolina side of the Tennessee line)

Fog in the trees.Fog in the trees.

Dog in the doorway.Dog in the doorway (The Look Shop, 2019 Goose Gap Road, Sevierville, TN)

Barn in Sevierville.Barn in Sevierville.

State line.State line (Newfound Gap, on US-441)

Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden: the Unpublished Photographs.

This morning, I published an article titled “Roadside oddities: Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden” on, which you can read by clicking here. Of the many photographs I took during my visit the Paradise Garden, only one could accompany the Examiner article. The purpose of this post is to share the rest of the photographs, the ones that remain unpublished.

Windmill & World's Folk Art ChurchRusty windmill. In front of the World’s Folk Art Church at Paradise Garden, a rusty windmill turns in the early spring breeze. Like the rest of the objects in the garden, the windmill was made by Howard Finster, from castoff and scrap either found or donated.

Curios behind glass.Curios behind glass. A great many odd items can be found around the gardens, not the least of which includes the pickled baby alligators in a jar (left) and the baby doll head (right) pictured behind glass here. I can only speculate as to what things I carelessly bypassed or otherwise simply did not notice on my initial visit, and what might present itself if I went back again.

James 1:22.James 1:22. Just one of many Bible verses painted all over Paradise Gardens. It may be true that no one quite knows how many of such verses exist throughout the property. This particular one is located within the Meditation Chapel, and although it is difficult to tell in this photograph, there is an open empty casket in the background.

Scrap.Scrap in the yard. Howard Finster himself described his work best: “I took the pieces you threw away, put them together by night and day, washing in the rain, dried by the sun, a million pieces all in one.”