Stones River National Battlefield.

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We are avid National Park visitors. Enthusiastically we enter, well-stamped passport in hand, and invigorated we leave, after hiking, reading, conversing, and exploring. National Parks offer ecological conservation and historical preservation in such peaceful atmospheres. There is nothing I have seen that ever comes close.

When we moved to Tennessee, it was exciting to have new, fairly close parks to check out. This weekend I took the boys back down to Stones River National Battlefield for an intense day of exploration. (We visited this summer with my parents because my father is an avid Civil War historian.) Most National Park Rangers are friendly, and there is no exception at Stones River. Walk inside and you’ll see many smiles eager to help you plan your visit. Having already completed the Junior Ranger program, they were happy to share two other program options for the kiddos. The boys settled on the historical program to earn Civil War themed trading cards and marched into the museum ready to work. The booklets proved time-consuming but kept their attention, something I am ever impressed by these days. Indoors and outdoors, just near the visitors center, they worked away learning about specific soldiers’ stories, something so well-done at this National Battlefield.

We also did the driving audio tour, which we were looking forward to. Lately we’ve been on an audio kick. The multitude of readers and engaging presentations kept the boys attention well. But, sometimes we stopped mid-track, got out, hiked, and returned to the track to finish it up. The audio CD “thought” we had it on hand while hiking, but we did fine with it just in the car. (We assumed this was a driving tour. I don’t own a mobile CD player anyhow.)

McFaddens Farm is the only place we saw the battle’s namesake, the Stones River. It’s easy to see how it got its name, from the large stones channeling the water rapidly along. This is definitely a place we need to return to for a lovely picnic. I feel spring and summer here will be beautiful.

We stopped at some other sites linked to the National Battlefield, but they are not really places to linger and wander, something we prefer. So we moved along back to the main area to finish up.

This National Battlefield has won my affection. I would absolutely recommend a visit here. Check out their Facebook and Twitter for continual event info.

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