Destination: Kentucky

Checking in at the Boone Tavern

Checking in at the Boone Tavern Photo by Alexander Basek
Photo by Alexander Basek

Swinging through the positively quaint town of Berea, Kentucky, last week, I had the chance to stay at the refurbished Boone Tavern. The hotel, which is owned by Berea College, just across the street, celebrated its 100th anniversary this year with some renovations that are now more or less complete; they were laying a snazzy brick design in the parking lot turnaround when I was there.

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Where are the Elegies to the World’s Troubled Landscapes?

Where are the Elegies to the World’s Troubled Landscapes? Photo by macnolete via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by macnolete via Flickr (Creative Commons).

The Eagles were on to something in 1976, when they lamented the pillaging of the western American landscape in “The Last Resort.” As eco-awareness of global warming makes major headlines, and movie stars and scientists link hands to march against coal-fired power plants, I wonder: Where are the music videos? The equivalent of “We Are The World,” climate-change edition? Or at least a few elegies to the troubled landscapes of our world?

Then I came across “Uyan (Wake Up),” a song about the ravages of environmental irresponsibility released late last year by hunky Turkish pop star Tarkan and baglama viruoso Orhan Gencebay. It’s a fabulous tune, brimming with eastern Mediterranean soul and accompanied by a video (see below) featuring the sexier-than-thou Tarkan and the comfortably weathered Gencebay jamming in a cracked and desiccated land—likely a reference to the fact that great swathes of Turkey are in danger of desertification.

So, inspired by Tarkan and Orhan Gencebay, I compiled a short list of place-evoking environmental songs. I’d love to hear your picks—and if you think eco-songs can save fragile lands, or at least get people thinking that they should stop abusing them.

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State-by-State Home Improvement

bottles Photo by Jenna Schnuer.
At the Treasures & Trash Barn, Searsport, Maine. Photo by Jenna Schnuer.

Yeah, there are a few things here and there from places far, far away but, looking around my apartment, I realized that most of my art/knickknacks/stuff was hauled home in my carry-on, checked baggage or the trunk of a rental car from a trip to one of the 50. OK, I shipped the bear lamp home. This is some of it ...

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Roll With It

monroe county marble super dome Photo by Jenna Schnuer.
Colonel Bowman’s hand. Photo by Jenna Schnuer

“You the lady from New York?”

A loaded question if ever there was one. It’s drenched in the expectation that I’m some sort of big city snob out to prove that life outside NYC is no life at all.

But, once again, the question. This time it came in the Monroe County Marble Super Dome in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. I was there to spend four days with a group of guys who, daily, play game after game of Rolley-Hole marbles on the Super Dome’s dirt floor. With kids choosing Wii and X-Box over traditional games, Rolley-Hole probably won’t last through this century. Most of the Rolley-Hole crew has been shooting it out for 50 years or more.

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Welcome to Flyover America

United States Map Photo by Marxchivist, via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by Marxchivist, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Hi. We are Sophia Dembling and Jenna Schnuer. Sophia lives in Dallas, Texas (but was Manhattan born and reared), and Jenna in Queens, NY (aka “not Manhattan”), and we are both writers who are in love with America. Every diner and prairie and highway of it. The places that many people consider flyover territory—Lincoln, Nebraska; Lubbock Texas; Bayonne, New Jersey, and the like—grab hold of us. Flyover America is as much a state of mind as a place. We like to think of it as anywhere in America that isn’t Manhattan or L.A. Flyover America is packed with stories, discoveries and soul. And it’s got some great malls, too.

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Family Traveling

Family Traveling Photo of Maysville courtesy Jackie's Gateway Properties.

A relative warned him: Don't go digging up ghosts. But Jeff Biggers crossed the Ohio River, seeking his ancestors' long-buried history.

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