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- [Narrator] Tennessee Crossroads is made possible in part by Discover Tennessee Rails and Byways. Discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history and more made in Tennessee experiences showcased among these 16 driving trails. More at tntrailsandbyways.com. - [Narrator 2] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff and students have shown strength, compassion, patience and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech. - [Joe] This time on Tennessee Crossroads we discover what the buzz is about at a special store in Gallatin. Then spend the night in magic and mystery at a place near Knoxville. We'll enjoy the quaint charm of a country store in Putnam County and wind up with a lesson in the blues at a school in Music City. Hi everybody, that's our lineup for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads". I'm Joe Elmore, welcome. If you enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer or even having beautiful flowers on your table, well you might want to thank some of Tennessee's smallest and hardest working residents. In our first story, Miranda Cohen takes us to Gallatin, where the excitement over a new store is getting quite a buzz. - [Miranda] Morgan Curtis is busy in where she calls her honey house. Years ago she started selling honey at pop ups and farmer's markets. Now the queen bee of beekeeping is the proprietorist of "The Rambling Bee" on the town square in Gallatin. She learned the art and the science of beekeeping from some locals at a very early age. - And they wanted to all teach me. And so I tried to absorb as much as I could and then kind of pave my own path. - [Miranda] Curtis started out caring for the honeybees and in return they shared with her the surplus of their rich golden commodity. - [Morgan] So I have my local honey and then I also offer different honeys like cream honeys and herbal infused honeys. And then I also have these wax candles in many varieties and shapes and form. - [Miranda] She will artfully infuse pure honey with herbs and flavors like lavender, ginger, cinnamon or vanilla bean. Even experimenting with textures and consistencies. - And then I also whip honey or cream honey, which is more of a spread versus a drizzle. And that's a really good treat too. Cream honey is really, really good. It's thicker, it's more of a spread. So it's great for you know, your toast with your jams. - [Miranda] And if you notice that unmistakable, fragrant aroma, it's not just coming from the drums of honey. Curtis also makes hand dipped and molded pure bee's wax candles in whimsical shapes, pillars and these tapers, which are dipped anywhere from 30 to 50 times. - I like to hand dip 'em 'cause they're not perfect but they burn really well since there's so many layers to 'em. I do just pure bee's wax. I don't add anything to it. So it is just what you smell is the honey and the flowers and all the bees hard work. - [Miranda] Bees may get a bad rap and through both teaching workshops and offering beekeeping supplies, Curtis is hoping to change that. - They pollinate all of our food crops, all of our flowers. So without that we wouldn't have any flowers or food without their help. They do need a little helping hand just because of the influx of people and pesticides, insecticides, things like that. So it's very important to educate people, you know they are your friends. They have a job to do. - [Miranda] From the art to the decor, you will find bees and their handy work everywhere at "The Rambling Bee." But because this unique bee boutique is well within the city limits, you won't find the bees themselves. Here in Gallatin, Morgan Curtis makes this shop absolutely beautiful. She does all the poured candles and she's the mastermind behind all the infused honey and gorgeous products that they have. But let's go meet the ladies that make the real magic happen at "The Rambling Bee." About 20 miles out of town, Curtis keeps her ladies. That's right, all producing honeybees are female and these working women take their jobs very seriously. - So the worker bees are all girl bees. They all have their jobs to do such as like nurse bees, attendance bees, there's the forgers, of course they're getting water and nectar, pollen and propolis to bring back to feed the hive as well as seal up the hive. Their abundance is shared throughout, you know their hive as well as to us as humans. And that's just incredible to me. - [Miranda] And when it comes to love, these girls just don't put up with slackers. - The boy bees are drone bees and they, their only purpose is to mate with the queen. So after that they don't really do much of anything. They're kind of lazy. They mostly just eat the stores and so the women bees will kick out the drone bees come wintertime. - [Miranda] In this picturesque meadow, Curtis keeps hundreds of busy and thriving hives. First, she will suit up and then announce her visit with fragrant smoke from pine straw. - And when I light the smoker and when I smoke my bees it's just to kind of calm them down and let them know that I'm coming into their space. I will be opening the hives and going in frame by frame and pulling out and just kind of doing a little early spring inspection. You know, maybe looking for the queen. When I gather the honey about June, I will take it out frame by frame, just enough so that they still have some, but I'm taking enough to give them space to grow. I will take it out frame by frame and then run it through the machines, the spinners, extractors, frame by frame, and then put those frames back into the hives so that the queen can continue to lay. Here's what honey looks like all sealed up. - [Miranda] And just when we were about to give up on a royal siting. - Oh I found her. She's right here and you can tell she's the queen because she has a larger behind. - [Miranda] The queen. Her ladies in waiting, the nurses and all the others do take their show on the road. Thus the name "The Rambling Bee." - I move my bees around to different areas for the flower foraging as well as commercial pollination. So I'm always moving them, I'm always chasing flowers with them so that's why I call it "The Rambling Bee," 'cause we're always rambling around. - [Miranda] So if you are looking for an authentic sweet treat from mother nature herself or are curious about the art of beekeeping, Morgan Curtis is happy to share her vast knowledge and her love of the ladies who ramble in Gallatin. - It's straight from the flowers, straight from the source you know it's from bees and you know when you're getting the honey you're supporting the beekeeper, which supports the bees. It's been great. That has been one of the best things about opening for sure, is the local community. They've supported me more than anything and I'm very grateful for Gallatin. Just be, you know a novelty shop in this downtown area where I grew up. So I just love to be just a little place on the square that makes it a little better. - Of all the places to stay in east Tennessee, we have never seen one quite like this. It's made up of things like fairy dust and leprechaun gold and it's a place that almost transports you to another world. Laura Faber takes us to the "Ancient Lore Village". - I call it a place of peace and quiet where people should come. - [Melissa] We wanna make sure that you have the most magical day. - [Laura] On 67 acres just south of Knoxville, sits a whimsical wonderland just waiting for your family to visit. The "Ancient Lore Village" looks like a movie set and is based on a book called "Bokee's Trek Outcast to the Inner Earth." - [Joe] "Next to the waterfall is the perfect place for each of us to build our homes as a community and this will be our village." - Author and entrepreneur, Tom Boyd wrote this book after campaigning with his son Randy, who ran for governor. Tom found voters across the state so divided it inspired him to do something to promote unity and kindness. - So I tried to come up with something unique that I could convey a message where people should be better, could live better and only way I could see to do that was take characters from ancient world that nobody could argue with. So I created a character called Bokee living in a particular village. So the idea was to create a group of villages with different characters in it and take a character and go through 'em and meet fantastic people no matter what they looked like. - [Laura] Taking this idea of a fantastical village from the pages of a book and transforming it into a five star resort was a monumental task. It officially opened during the pandemic. - [Melissa] We are a luxury event venue and boutique resort. And it's really about the experiences that you have when you come here. And it doesn't matter whether you're coming here for a wedding or whether you're coming here for a corporate retreat or a family reunion or a gender reveal party where we change the color of the waterfall to pink or blue. I mean, we just are a place where people can come together and have an experience that when they leave they're going to continue to spread that goodness throughout the world. - [Laura] CEO Melissa Blatner calls it hospitality with a purpose. A place to help people unplug from the junk. There are no TVs in the rooms. Melissa hopes people would rather gather round the bonfire at night or practice their archery skills or try ax throwing. The rooms are hard to leave though. They are stunning and unique. Melissa's favorite room, the waterfall villa. - [Melissa] From the birch wall behind me to the Venetian plaster wall that makes you feel like you're in the middle of a birch forest. So it's a suite too, which is why I like it 'cause I like to be spoiled. So it also has an adjoining living room and it's perfect for like the bride getting ready. We can bring lunch in. Everybody can be here together. - [Laura] Every room was designed with detailed intention and no two our alike. Sales manager, Micah Spicer describes the fairy cottage. - [Micah] You're gonna immediately see this gorgeous bed where there's a crown that hangs over the top of the bed and these beautiful linens that flow alongside it. The headboard is this really interesting antique door that we have our craftsmen fashion into a king size headboard. And it's white and has, it's just really, really unique. And then if you turn to your left, you're gonna see this really gorgeous fireplace that has a wooden antique mantle that has golden feathers that are sitting on there. And the mantle is gonna sparkle. So if you turn around, the door actually has fairy dust in it as well. So all of our outlet covers are little fairy doors that you open and it has, you know your USB ports and your sockets there. - [Laura] Then there is the grass covered 1,600 square foot house. This is Bokee's bungalow. It's got two private bedrooms, three full baths, four bunks and this is completely underground. The 17 foot tall fireplace and chimney is gorgeous. And the cozy tile dining cove is the perfect place to share a meal. Every room is named after the characters in Tom's book and have themes like the gremlin den and ork house and though Tom loves them all, he does have a favorite. Your favorite room? - Oh, the leprechaun before, but that's because my grandchildren called me a leprechaun. - [Laura] With green and gold Venetian plaster walls that swirl and flow, the bathrooms are gold with green shell tile in the shower and a hidden leprechaun in one of the custom cabinets. - [Micah] You know, we talked about hints of characters in the rooms. The leprechaun's have this magic wand that they're one of the few characters that can flow between the world of man and the ancient lore world, right? So they throw their magic wand up in the air and it creates this portal. So the fireplace mimics that portal of where it has these river stones that swirl into themselves where the leprechaun's can go in and out. - The three tier, 40 foot waterfall was made of boulders that existed on the property. Seating areas surround it along with elaborate landscaping. With customized packages and itineraries plus elevated cuisine, "Ancient Lore Village" offers both luxury and an experience that reminds you of simpler times. - [Melissa] Bringing families together and going and having those special moments. We need more of that in this world. People get so busy, everyone is so plugged in to their phone and their computer that it's good to just have some real experiences. - [Laura] Do you think you've accomplished what you wanted to accomplish with this place, Tom? - [Tom] Absolutely. I'm overjoyed with it. - Thank you, Laura. This is a survival story about a little 119 year old family business in Putnam County. A country store to being exact. It was built by Marsha Cole Huffman's great great grandfather, and had a date with the wrecking crew before Marsha came to the rescue. Now it's been restored to its former glory and then some. Our destination is on Old Highway 70 North, somewhere between Cookville and Chestnut Mound. Pouring a bag of peanuts into a Coca-Cola. That's a childhood memory of a country store. Now a lot of people who come here to Baxter and Cole's store have a lot of memories of their own. Just like it was. - It's, it is amazing how people love the store. - [Joe] Cole's Country Store has been in Marsha Cole Huffman's family since 1900. That's when her great great grandfather, Dr. Phylander Cole, built it and became the first of three generations to run it. Later on, several other individuals leased it but eventually the old store was abandoned for about 20 years. Then in early 2017, Marsha heard some disturbing news. - Do you know they're going to tear down the store? Do you know the store's up for sale? It's up for sale for the back taxes. Bottom line, I bought the store 10 minutes before the auction and I have since had two people tell me that they were going to buy it and tear it down. - [Joe] So the retired computer scientist was on her way to a new career as a store owner. - [Marsha] When you walked in that front door, the floor had sunk like eight to 12 inches. We had to have new electricity, new water, new, just lots of things. But my sisters came in and said, "Well, it just looks just like it did, you know, years ago. What did you do?" And I'm going, that's the whole point. - [Joe] The next question was what to do with it. For a while, she and her sisters opened on weekends to sell bologna sandwiches and ice cream. Then one day, Tish Harrel stopped by with an idea. - I made a proposal to come and open it as a meat three. - As soon as I found out that her grandparents had run those two country stores and I knew her parents, I just, it was a godsend. She is a godsend, that what she is. - [Joe] Soon, Tish was using a makeshift kitchen back in the corner to turn out tantalizing meat and three dishes, five days a week. - [Marsha] It is Tish's store. I mean, I own the building and I come in and visit but she cooks, she manages the store. She does everything. - [Tish] Today we have chicken casserole, meatloaf, ham, turkey, pinto beans, green beans, cabbage, fried apples, carrots, macaroni and cheese and stewed potatoes. Peach cobbler, strawberry pie and coconut cake. - [Joe] Customers can't get enough of Tish's cornbread which starts with a hot skillet and peanut oil. - It's another secret. Peanut oil. Warm the oil before we pour in the cornbread. - [Joe] And it comes out soft and velvety on top with a little crunch on the bottom. As a special touch, the ladies wear waitress dresses from the 1930s along with cowboy boots. People not only come in to eat, many have brought in things to complement the decor. One visitor brought this long 160 year old farmhouse table. Another one came in with a decades old original store sign. - [Marsha] Our friends and customers bring things in. It's like a museum now. People come in and we do have a few antiques for sale but mostly it's just community. It's a community museum, if you will. - Well, I appreciate you opening this place up. - Well, I just couldn't see it being torn down. People come in every day, they talk about how they love the store and how they grew up here and how they'd go to their grandmother's house and they couldn't wait to by and get a piece of candy or ice cream or, I mean, I never expected this. - [Joe] For now, Marsha divides her time between Huntsville, where she used to work and her childhood home, where she's proudly revived a Cole family tradition. - Here you go sir. - Oh, thank you ma'am. - You're very welcome. - I had her friend, she's a college friend and she said "why are you doing this? Why are you doing this?" So she came down and spent a day and she said, "I know why you're doing it. Everyone is happy." I mean, that is the thing. When people come through this store, they're happy. And we want you to leave here happy. We want you to have plenty of food if you don't get enough tell us and we'll give you more. So... - The music we listen to says a lot about who we are and where we came from. If you like proof, well just go visit the bayou. Oh, it's not a place, it's a person. Rob Wilds found him at a local school where he and his friends were conducting a lesson in the blues. - Well, it's Wednesday afternoon at Wright Middle School here in Nashville and it sure is quiet. Middle school kids are usually a lot louder than this. That's more like it. - How, y'all are? ♪ I'm glad for y'all to see me ♪ - What's the first day of the week? - [Students] Monday! ♪ On a stormy Monday ♪ ♪ Tuesday's just as bad ♪ - Stormy Monday Blues, thank you very much. - That's a blue's song. - [Rob] Shannon Williford should know. He's been playing and singing since he was a kid. Got his nickname Bayou when he gained fame as a singer of traditional Cajun music. Now, he and his pals known as Bayou and the Degradables travel to schools teaching kids about a type of music they may never have heard of, the blues. Bentley Caldwell, the newest Degradable says it's all about roots. - Blues is like the grandmama ma of all American music. You know, it all came out of the blues core progression, the blues stories. So we just go in and and teach the kids about that. You know, about where their music came from, you know because every kid knows rap music but they don't know that rap started with blues. You know, every kid knows country music 'cause it's Nashville but they don't know that country music started with blues ♪ Everybody so quick ♪ ♪ Gotta get clean ♪ ♪ Hit you up ♪ - [Rob] Okay, but what about rap? I mean, surely not rap but Bayou says he can trace rap back to a blues singer, too. ♪ Come here baby ♪ ♪ Scratch my back ♪ - [Bayou] There was a guy named Slim Harpo playing the blues down in Louisiana. - [Rob] Lots of history here. disguised under a super size scoop of fun. ♪ Hey I'm itching ♪ ♪ And I don't know where to scratch ♪ - [Rob] Even teachers like Sandra Rodriguez get into the act. Now, Sandra is a science teacher who says learning about the blues isn't just a history lesson. - Music is like energy, the sound energy. And they learn how the waves go from one place to another through music. So I have a teacher who comes to my classroom and play the guitar. And the students understand and tell, okay, what type of energy do we have here? And they say kinetic, and they say elastic and they say sound energy. - [Rob] There's a lot of energy in this room. And even though the blues was born from hard times, Bayou says every young person should learn about what is perhaps truly American music. - The blues came from so much pain and suffering in the South. If you live in the south, this is sacred ground. There was pain and suffering here, that we as a nation, are still trying to recover from and that was the beginning of the blues. And yet the blues led to all of this music that now people live all over the world and listen to rock and roll, country, R and B, right up to rap. Plus it's fun. ♪ Hey hey ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ The blues is all right ♪ ♪ Hey hey hey ♪ ♪ The blues is all right ♪ ♪ Hey hey hey ♪ ♪ The blues is all right ♪ We just want y'all to remember the blues came from right here in the south. It came from great pain and great trouble and yet it led to all the music the people listen to all over the world. That's why the blues is all right. ♪ It's all right ♪ ♪ All right ♪ ♪ It's all right ♪ ♪ All right ♪ ♪ The blues is all right ♪ - Say, before we go, I gotta ask a question. Did you know you can watch us anywhere, anytime on the PBS video app? Better get yours now. And also check out our website, Tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook and please join us next week. I'll see you then. - [Narrator] Tennessee Crossroads is made possible in part by Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways. Discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history and more made in Tennessee experiences showcased among these 16 driving trails. More at tntrailsandbyways.com. - [Narrator 2] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff and students have shown strength, compassion, patience and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech.
October 13, 2022
Season 36 | Episode 12
Miranda Cohen discovers what the buzz is about at a special store in Gallatin. Laura Faber finds magic and mystery at a place near Knoxville. Joe Elmore enjoys the quaint charm of a country store in Putnam County. And Rob Wilds learns a lesson in the blues at a school in Music City.