This past weekend, the husband person and I took a little trip up to Chattanooga to visit his brother for a couple days. It’s about a six hour drive from where we live, so it’s not too bad for a short vacation. And when you leave a coastal area for the mountains, it really feels like you’ve gone a lot farther than you really have.
Chattanooga’s a pretty hip town, too. It’s walkable (or bikable if that’s your style), there’s history and art and so much food. It’s like Nashville Junior, if you consider Nashville the Austin of Tennessee. (Austin being the Portland of Texas.)
Here’s what we did!
First up: Nature! This is the husband person (right) and brother-in-law person (left) marching toward Signal Point on Signal Mountain. It’s called that because of the Civil War Signalin’ that went on there. (Click the link for someone that knows what they’re talking about.)
The leaves don’t really start changing in Tennessee until later in October, but there were a few splotches of yellow and orange. And the view was pretty spectacular nonetheless.
We wandered down a pretty narrow (but fairly well marked) mountain trail. The “Caution: High Bluffs” sign is where my deathly fear of heights got the better of me and I sat down on a big rock to have myself a good old fashioned freak-out while the boys went a little further down the trail.
After you’ve dangled on the precipice of oblivion, stop at Mayfly Coffee for a REALLY good cup of coffee. We bought some beans here that we haven’t tried yet. But they smell chocolatey. :d
Speaking of food and drink — Chattanooga is the town for it.
This is was lunch at Brewhaus. We shared a pretzel with different mustards and cheeses for dipping. The pretzel was hot and soft, but with a buttery, crispy outside. So good. I had the Kind Ludvig (pork schnitzel, egg, bacon and apple butter) with a side of spaetzel.
We also visited the very impressive Tennessee Aquarium. Tickets are $30, I believe. So if you don’t have a brother-in-law who’s a member, it can be a little pricey. But there’s a LOT to see. We spent 4 hours there and probably could have spent much more.
The jellyfish tanks were mesmerizing.
And we saw a giant sea turtle! Up close! Several times!
And, of course, otters. I didn’t get any really good pictures of them. They move too fast. And I wanted to actually watch them for real, and not through my phone. I stood there until my husband suggested that maybe I move so actual children could see them, too.
We spent a lot of time walking. We took the Walnut Street Bridge across the river and enjoyed the beautiful, cool weather.
Here’s the part of the park at the base of the bridge as seen from the top of the bridge. On the other side of the bridge, we visited the Hunter Museum of American Art. It’s $15 per person, less than the aquarium. But smaller and with less to see. It’s a nice facility, though. And it’s got some pretty views of the river. There’s an outdoor area with sculpture, too.
There was some pretty cool stuff inside.
I enjoyed this glass still-life. (I hope you enjoy my blurry photo of it.)
This Frank Stella painting is huge. All of his paintings are huge. You really can’t appreciate one until it’s looming over you.
We saw the 20th & 21st century collections. They had 19th century and earlier art in another part of the museum, but we saw one floor of that before the stairs and the desperate need to sit down got the better of us. (This was after the nature walk and bridge journey. We were tired. And we still had to go BACK across the bridge.)
We’ve been to Chattanooga three times now, and I feel like we really need to stay longer in order to do (and eat) all the things we’d like to. We didn’t even touch on the family-oriented touristy stuff like Rock City and the incline railroad and Ruby Falls (all stuff I did ages ago on a trip with my family). There’s boat tours of the river, antique store and THE Choo-Choo.
Anyway. Go. You’ll like it.