Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Second Sons of Rugby

Yesterday, wifey, kiddo, and I all played hookie. Not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but instead because we felt like it. Seeings how it was a beautiful day, we thought it would be a waste to stay home and wait for my dental appointment. So instead I called the dentist and played sick with them too only to reschedule my cleaning for next Monday.

After having played sick with anyone that mattered or could possibly have any negative effect on our hookie playing, we asked ourselves the question, you know the inevitable what do we do now question. Our answer was simple at first, we could head north towards Big South Fork, our usually refuge from society and life. We took it a step farther however when I walked in here to the computer room and wifey had a plan. Our newly planned destination was to tour the quaint little Victorian town of Rugby, Tennessee.

Rugby is a town that was founded in 1880 by Author/Lawyer/etc. Thomas Hughes. The ideal was a socialist society for the second sons of England and any other who wished to work hard and be considered equal with all. It was more a Utopian dream that was never quite realized due to the harsh demands of the Appalachian area. Consider this image, a town in the middle of nowhere that just doesn't belong and there you will find Rugby. Also consider the colonists that lived here for the majority were English second sons. Having not inherited the wealth of their families, instead only a small lump sum but still having a life of society like most British well to do Victorians of the age farming and other back breaking work wasn't in their nature. However, they had a dream and dreams are what drives all.

Rugby is situated on the Cumberland Plateau between Oneida and Wartburg. Several buildings still stand from the original settlement, and several have had to be rebuilt due to fires and other natural occurances. Still yet some building that do not exist are in the works to be rebuilt. Upon arrival at the visitor center you can arrange to take the tour in which you get to watch a 20+ minute movie on the history of Rugby and it's founders. You also are taken on a small tour to see one of the houses, the Episcopal Church that still stands and is used today, the library with it's original 7000+ volumes, and the old school house.

The building are all in the Victorian style and beautiful. They are of the Gothic style as well as the original buildings were all built by a Dutchman who settled in the colony. Today they are still developing houses in an area that was in the original plans for the town but never came to fruition. These too are built in the same style of the rest of the town.

After the tour, you are encouraged to go to the cafe where the prices are quite reasonable for a tourist town. I might add that they have the most delicious dish of English origin called the Welsh Rarebit. If you go I highly recommend it provided you are not lactose intolerant. After the cafe you can make a stop at the Commissary to pick up souvenirs and crafts from local artisans. Finally, be sure to visit the Cometary, and if you have the time take a hike down to the Gentleman's Swimmin' Hole, where the colonists were found on a regular basis during the hot summer days (see the post on the swimmin' hole for more details. After a few hours, it was time to travel back home only to return back to normal life and rejoin the rat race.

Pictures to be posted soon. Until then, take it one day at a time and take the time to realize that life is grand if you filter out everything that doesn't matter.