Our travel destination on our trip was Chattanooga Tennessee. We were staying in the downtown area, which we found very walkable. It was a bit unusual, though – the downtown area was pretty much hotels, restaurants, government buildings, art galleries, and tourist attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium and the Hunter Museum of American Art. There was no real shopping area unless you went across the river to North Chattanooga, and it’s a pretty small shopping district.
A free electric streetcar runs through the main part of the city and across the bridge to the shopping area, and we made use of that several times. All of the food we had in the city was outstanding. The restaurants make good use of fresh local food, emphasizing farm-to-table as much as possible.
I could have spent all my time eating the fantastic food, but there were many other things to do. Like visit the Chattanooga Choo-Choo:
We walked over the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges:
And giggled at one of the donation plaques on the bridge:
“Ned? Ned Ryerson?”
We took the Incline Railway (one of the world’s steepest passenger railways) to the top of Lookout Mountain:
From Point Park at the top of Lookout Mountain, you can see Chattanooga and imagine what it was like during the Civil War battles.
Or you can visit Rock City, and see incredible vistas. (For an idea of scale, those are approximately waist-high railings at the top of that rock cliff.)
Rock City was beautiful, but also weird and kitschy. At the end of the self-guided trail system is a man-made cave system called the Fairy Caverns, filled with gnomes and fairytale scenes, all lit up with black light. It’s truly bizarre. The entrance to the cavern is lined with coral (because, of course, coral grows in caves), with little scenes of gnomes here and there.
One of them nearly gave me a heart attack. I noticed something moving in it out of the corner of my eye. That little bird on the gnome’s hand? It was real, and was hopping around. It flew off just after I took the photo.
All in all, Chattanooga was a wonderful place to visit, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again some day.