Tannehill is a tranquil place

Published 11:59 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

It was a glorious morning as my husband and I drove to Tannehill Historic State Park in McCalla. Tannehill offers a wooded tranquility. A canopy of green leaves shade the campsites. Wildlife mingles with the visitors. Water ripples and tumbles over rocks in the creeks that flow through the campgrounds.

We arrived early for the Southern Appalachian Dulcimer Festival at Tannehill this year. I held my breath for a second as I glanced around Campground Number One. There were lots of RVs already nestled into the sites. I hoped it wasn’t full. My husband hopped out to search for a site.

“Bet you want a full-service hook-up,” the smiling man at the registration window said when I stepped up. He told me there might be a few available. My husband signaled from a lovely place beside the creek and directed me in. I was delighted with our “waterfront” site.

As soon as we parked, I was ready to jump out and visit. We have made many friends since the late 1980s when we first happened upon the festival and bought our first dulcimers. It’s a joy to see everyone year after year. However, socializing has to wait while we set up everything outside and inside the motor home.

The weekend after we arrived, the campground buzzed like a hive of bees. Every campsite in number one was filled. Children rode bicycles and scooters; parents pulled youngsters in wagons and pushed them in strollers.

Some campers were there for a four-hour fishing tournament. Day visitors also came for it, while other people enjoyed picnics, family reunions and walks to the old blast furnace where cannon balls and implements were made during the Civil War. Many visited the authentic old cabins on the grounds where crafters worked on quilts, pottery and musical instruments. People crowded into the ice cream store for their favorite flavors of ice cream. Some sat at the tables on the porch to enjoy the treat. Others walked off happily licking mounds of ice cream on cones.

All during our visit, ducks roamed the campground seeking handouts. A chipmunk raced from under our neighbor’s RV and stopped to nibble something in front of a tree on our site. Titmice ventured close to our picnic table in search of a morsel or two.

Close to the creek bank, I discovered three beautiful butterflies flexing their wings on the ground. I crept up as close as I dared with my camera, held it above them and snapped away. The butterflies lingered. I sat back and enjoyed the wonder of it until they flew.

It’s hard to imagine that at this beautiful, peaceful place, a battle between Federal and Confederate troops occurred when the Union Army destroyed Tannehill’s iron works on its sweep to do the same at Selma’s iron works.