Friday, September 16, 2011

Clerks Conference

I spent the week at the Tennessee Court Clerks Conference at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tennessee, which is about an hour west of Nashville. On the drive I passed acres of fields of lost corn crop that had been burned by the sun this summer. Usually I see deer, and sometimes turkey, at the state park, but all I saw this time were Canada geese on Acorn Lake from my room.

I've been a part of the conference for two years now, and I have had the pleasure to have attended several events at the Inn and Conference Center at Montgomery Bell. The rooms at the inn are comfortable, and the conference center is very nice. Some of the rooms have wi-fi, but the one I stayed in this time did not. I saw several people on laptops in the lobby, but I didn't bring mine upstairs to try to get online. The staff there is very accommodating, and the food at the restaurant, which overlooks the lake, is really good and has been voted by locals as one of their favorite restaurants.

I have camped at the campground in the park several times when we lived in Nashville, and it is a really nice place to camp. There is a great canoe access point on the nearby Harpeth River where there is a great bend in the river. You can put your canoe in, ride downstream through the bend, and take your boat back out just a short walk from where you put in. There used to be a canoe rental business there called Pizza Shack, and they would rent you a canoe and sell you a pizza to take back to your campsite for supper after you were done on the river.

If you like history, there is plenty of it nearby. Montgomery Bell, the Iron Master of the Harpeth, bought a foundry from James Robertson, one of the founders of Nashville and friend of John Sevier during his days in the Watagua settlement in the mountains of East Tennessee near what is now Elizabethton, Tennessee. From the river you can see where Bell had a hole blasted through the river at the aforementioned bend as part of his iron works. There is a trail in the park, the Ore Pit Trail, where you can walk through the area where Bell's men dug for iron ore in the early 1800's. The first Cumberland Presbyterian Church is also on the park property and is still used for services.