Wednesday, 6/8/11 We bid farewell to Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN and drove into Lebanon, TN just outside of Nashville which was only a couple hour trip. The heat and humidity is still intense every where we go so this afternoon will just be a WalMart run into Lebanon and then not leave our air conditioned Bounder in Countryside RV Park. www.countrysideresort.com
Thursday, 6/9/11 Will has always wanted to show me Conway Twitty's mansion called Twitty City located in Hendersonville, TN just outside Nashville. A lot of the country stars through out the years have built beautiful homes in Hendersonville and Will saw Conway's 25 to 30 years ago. Actually, Johnny Cash's home was located around the corner but burned to the ground a few years back. It seems one of the Bee Gee's bought it and while work was being done, it caught on fire and poof, it was gone. We saw the hole that remains.
The more we checked into Twitty City by asking & finally "googling" on the computer, it seemed sadly, Twitty City was no longer. The story was, that Conway Twitty's four adult children did not get along with wife number 3 and when Conway died there was a huge fight and many lawsuits. As always, no one wins and the Twitty home, recording studio, the 4 kids homes plus his mama's house, located behind Conway's mansion, were all sold.
But after checking some more we found that Trinity Music City, USA www.trinitymusiccity.com purchased the entire complex for their live studio audience taping that are televised and special concerts that are held there. So we decided, what the heck, lets put the address in our GPS and drive by and see whats left of Twitty City.
What a wonder surprise we had in store for us. We went in what appeared to be the office and were met by a very nice woman who explained the background of Trinity Music City and the religious organization that it is. She asked us if we wanted to watch a movie on it.....which of course Will at this point, was not thrilled. However, she explained, we could watch the 10 minute movie, the doors to the side would open automatically and she would meet us outside and give us a tour. Now mind you, we are the ONLY ones here, no money is involved so of course we watch the movie, the doors open & outside we go into Conway Twitty's front yard standing in front of this mansion. We can't believe this is happening.
She then tells me (as I'm shooting pictures) I can come back out into the garden and take all the pictures I want but lets go inside and look at the house. We are speechless at this point. She opens the door and the three of us go inside. Here we are, standing in this beautiful mansion, and shes explaining that only a few pieces of furniture are original because of the lawsuits. We tour the bottom floor, living & dining room, kitchen & office and she is telling stories (she is a huge Conway fan) that the son was married in the home & came down the curved staircase (there are 2 curved stairways.) My favorite story she tells, is she asked management to put a recording that when the front door opens you hear Conway say, "Hello Darlin"....his most famous recording. I thought that was a grand idea. The original pieces of furniture were Conways desk and a John Wayne (go figure!) dining room set that was purchased from Johns estate. We look at all the rooms on the bottom floor and I'm taking pictures of everything....which seems to be ok with her.
After about 15 to 20 minutes she has to lock up the house and return to work in the office and she shows us that they have a "bistro" on the property where they serve lunch and then points out the gift shop that we can stop by. We thank her profusely and bid her goodbye and then wander through the garden taking pictures of the fountains, the house and everything else.
We walked over to the bistro and have a delicious and rather inexpensive lunch and just sit staring out the window at the mansion. I will add there were 2 other people having lunch while we were there. In the gift shop they only have 1 postcard of "the house" at night as the entire gift shop contains religious articles. They asked if we wanted to see a "religious video" in the theater but we declined.
The experience was unreal......they have a potential "gold mine" here but are preserving Twitty City for Conway's fans but their real mission and work is religious. When I think of Graceland and the commercial aspect of it and what we experienced today it was truly an amazing experience. All I can say, if you are ever in Hendersonville, TN be sure and drop by One Music Village Blvd for a wonderful experience. Much love to family and friends and boy is the fun continuing.