There is just no way we would have headed south from Ohio this year without making a repeat stop at the Cumberland Valley Plateau Campground in central Tennessee (TCPC).
I wrote about this place something like four separate times during our one-week stay last year, so I’ll try to keep this one short. It’s hard to do, though, when we’ve enjoyed so many aspects of this stay, and we were here for only three days!
In case you weren’t onboard the first time around: This place is lovely. There’s one road that loops through the forest, with generous lots on either side and a clubhouse in the middle. It looks like a normal, kinda upscale neighborhood …
… until you notice that the houses are not houses at all. They’re all Airstreams. Yep, to buy a membership in this community, you must put an Airstream on your lot.
Some folks spend their summers here in their trailers and go south for the winter; some folks have a house nearby and spend weekends here for fun; some travel full-time like us and drop in occasionally on their way through. They’re all TCPCers, enthusiastic about the Airstream Life.
The weather has been absolutely perfect here, and I mean gloriously 60s and 70s with sunshine and full fall color. We’ve not merely enjoyed this; we’ve needed it. For the past 4-5 months we’ve dealt with cold, grey, wet, so imagine the existential relief we’ve found here.
We’ve had our shoes off. Our coats stowed.
We’ve been busy, but each day we take time to sit outside and listen to the leaves fall.
You might remember our OG Airstream friends, Sherri and Mooch, whom we met twice in Florida during our first winter on the road.
And now twice in Tennessee. They have a lot here, and they’ve given us the royal treatment both times we’ve visited.
Okay, if you look closely at their mantle decoration, maybe it’s the eccentric royal treatment. Which suits us.
Every night here we’ve been invited to happy hour at their place or at neighbors’. We’ve gathered among people who live their best lives outdoors: on beautiful decks beside Airstreams, by outdoor kitchens, at dining areas under pergolas, always around a fire for story-telling. Each of us has been places the others want to hear about.
Sherri and I like to repeat the story of how we met, doesn’t matter how many times we tell it. She and Mooch were standing by their trailer on Sunshine Key, talking with neighbors they’d just met in the street, and I rode my bike by. According to Sherri, I was wearing a flowing dress and cowboy boots, and I skidded to a stop when I heard the word, “Airstream.” According to me, she was the best at keeping the conversation among strangers lively and positive, which made her stand out much more than cowboy boots in the Keys.
It’s a fun group here at TCPC. Frankly, we would be tempted to buy a lot here so we could have our own little mountain oasis, except that what we need is a winter haven (and Tennessee is way too cold for that).
When we’re not nature-bathing and socializing, Tracy’s been continuing with our post-Alaska repairs and reorganization, and I’ve been cleaning and doing all the laundry I can think of, because I can—get this—walk to the laundry room here!
I’m having a hard time containing my excitement about the clean and functioning laundry room and the showers with my own bathmat and bench! I mean, who in their right mind would take photos of a shower when there are beautiful hardwood forests around and we spend our evenings laughing among a community of welcoming people? That would be me. Getting the royal treatment, Airstream style, once more at TCPC.
P.S. After I wrote this, an Airstream owner told me, “When I bought my trailer, I had no idea I was also getting a community.”
Here, I’ve been invited inside people’s trailers (that’s usually not done) and seen everything from adorable pink decor to a unique, stately renovation, but the thing is I’ve been invited in. Inside peoples private spaces as well as inside the diverse Airstream community across the U.S.
Every person here has implored me to visit such and such Airstream park that they love, or to attend their favorite rally, or to visit them where they stay for the winter. I tell them lightly that we don’t actually choose to stay in campgrounds; we’d rather be alone in nature. But, look at how much this loner has enjoyed this campground and look at how many times she’s laughed, surrounded by new friends.
I’m not saying we’re going to suddenly change the way we travel so we can be a part of the Airstream family. I’m saying I think we’re already a part of the family as we are.