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Breakin’ Up Winter at Cedars of Lebanon State Park

I’m ready for springtime’s fast-fishing pace drifting and casting in the balmy breezes. I don’t count on Pennsylvania’s weather-gopher to ease my cabin fever in the next few weeks. I want a real weather person whom I can blame when the warm winds don’t come.

But Nashville Old-Time String Band Association’s (NOTSBA) Breakin’ Up Winter Festival at Cedars of Lebanon State Park six miles south of Lebanon might be the ticket to get sap rising and set toes to tapping. And it’s on my way to Center Hill Lake.

This gathering of NOTSBA members, musicians and others who love the sounds of traditional mountain music begins Feb. 28 with a jam session and winds up with an old-time gospel and hymn sing on March 3.

Nashville's Old-Time String Band Association

Join knee-to-knee jams at the annual gathering of Nashville’s Old-Time String Band Association Feb 28-March 3 at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Photo credit John Kelley

I was originally drawn to Nashville for its country music (another would-be songwriter),  but through the years I gained an appreciation for old-time music from my wife, Cathy, who grew up in East Tennessee listening to fiddlers and pickers play traditional reels and hearing her mom sing “old-timey” mountain tunes.

Get yourself tuned up for a weekend of old-time music at Breakin’ Up Winter where the featured presenters from across the country perform, teach and lead guided jams. Musicians, singers and those who love this traditional style of music come together to share, jam, jam some more and maybe shake a leg at the Saturday night dance.
You can purchase a day pass for Friday or Saturday even if you are not a NOTSBA member.

Cedar Forest Lodge

Many of the activities during the Breakin’ Up Winter Festival at Cedars of Lebanon State Park will take place in historic Cedar Forest Lodge.

Get information about NOTSBA activities, see all the particulars for Breakin’ Up Winter 2013 and listen before you go at http://www.nashvilleoldtime.org.

If you can’t make it to Breakin’ Up Winter, stretch your legs and keep an eye out for signs of an early spring on one of the hiking trails at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

Cedars of Lebanon Hiking

Eight miles of hiking trails meander through the forests and glades at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

The “red cedars” that give the park its name are members of the juniper family. These hardy evergreens were in demand by early settlers for cabins, fences and shingles and later heavily harvested for use in the pencil industry. Cedars of Lebanon State Park and Forest contains the largest remaining stand of eastern red cedars in the United States.

The cedars thrive in light, loamy soil resulting from the breakdown of limestone rock that was originally formed by calcium secretions and skeletal remains of coral, snails, small clams and other inhabitants of a shallow inland sea that existed here about 500 million years ago.

Cedars of Lebanon State Park

A cedar glade is an open rocky or gravelly habitat surrounded by woods dominated by eastern red cedars.

As slightly acidic surface water flowed through cracks and crevices of limestone it dissolved the calcium carbonate that formed the limestone and eventually resulted in sinkholes, underground water drainage systems and caves like those seen along Hidden Springs Trail, a five-mile loop.

Several species of rare plants particularly suited to the poor soil, wet winters and hot dry summers are found only in the rocky cedar glades of Middle Tennessee.

On May 3 and 4, the 36th annual Dr. Elsie Quarterman Festival of the Cedar Glade Wildflowers at Cedars of Lebanon State Park brings botanists, ecologists and naturalists together to share their knowledge of the Cedar Glades through free lectures, workshops, hikes, field trips and exhibits.

Cedars of Lebanon State Park

This gray-green reindeer moss is one of many lichens, plants that are composed of two organisms; an alga that manufactures food for the plant and a fungus that provides structure and absorbs water and minerals that slowly break down limestone and form the soil found in the hard-scrabble cedar glades.

For more information on reserving cabins or campsites, events and activities at Cedars of Lebanon State Park call 615-443-2769 or visit http://www.tennessee.gov/environment/parks/Cedars.

Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I...Read on

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