Explore Chattanooga, Tennessee like a local
Hello there, River City of Chattown, I’ve been longing to visit you as your leaves begin turning colors and the wind sings its song about Autumn’s arrival through the mountainside. October is my favorite month for mountain travel because the foliage becomes various shades of red, yellow, orange, and plum. Chattanooga, TN is a magical city with wonderful hikes just outside the concrete and cobblestone of downtown.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on those accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)
Michael and I brought the dogs, Maui and Dexter, with us. Our first family getaway since Dexter was brought home. Boy was this getaway needed! Between school, work, 2nd jobs, and housework, there is not much time to exist as a family carefree from responsibilities. I am a hard worker and so is Michael, but we are both learning the toll that work/life imbalance takes on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Thankfully, the mountains called just in time and we answered.
The drive up was uneventful and the boys eagerly watched the road in wondering where we were wandering to this time. We arrived late in the evening, about 7 pm, and decided to try out the Community Pie restaurant. This place has everything: gelato, pizza (New York style and Italian style), full bar with local beers on tap, and a coffee bar that serves a grab-and-go breakfast. Although the wait is long, it’s obvious this is a local favorite hot spot.
We ordered a Pizza Margherita with Italian sausage. The dough, cheese, and tomatoes are imported from Naples, Italy and pie is cooked in a brick oven. I did not expect Tennessee to take me back to Bella Italia, but it surely did! For dessert, we delighted in a gelato trio: milk & honey, chocolate, and dulce de leche.
There are several breweries in Chatt town, so we started our beer tasting at the namesake, Chattanooga Brewing Company (CBC). There were no porters or stouts on tap but we tried a black IPA and a chestnut brown ale. There were also tons of games from our childhood such as: Life, Checkers, and Trouble, we enjoyed our night!
The next morning we were determined to try a brunch spot recommended to us by our host. The line was to speak to the hostess was all the way to the bathrooms! We opted for the another option. We chose Tupelo Honey Cafe and were not disappointed. I still dream about there bacon and goat cheese grits! Michael had sweet potato pancakes with peach honey, pecans, fried chicken and bacon…Delicious! This cafe is located in the Warehouse Row, an edgy and artsy locale.
After filling our bellies and sneaky people food to the pups, we headed to Lookout Mountain. Once arriving to the “attractions” of Lookout mountain and Rock City, we realized how touristy this area was and that EVERYTHING cost money. It’s a shame when you have to pay to enjoy nature. We re-routed and found a smaller place to hike for FREE.
(As a kid, I visited Rock city and Ruby Falls so this trip was about rediscovering Chattanooga).
A shared, 1885 Grill, burger and two long naps later, we freshened up and headed to our second brewery of the trip, the Terminal Brewhouse. I had my favorite beer, the oatmeal stout, and my husband followed suit because he is smart! While wandering the streets of Downtown, we found great artwork and funky doors-my favorite things to photograph!
The following morning, I was determined to capture photos of the city while I had daylight. We ate breakfast at Rembrandt’s Coffee House and began exploring the Bluff Arts District. We watched morning joggers bounce up and down on their strides across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge. This is the longest pedestrian bridge in the USA.
Being the minor history buffs we are, we ventured to the Passage, a monument honoring the fallen Cherokee and also marking the starting point for the Trail of Tears. I am Cherokee on many sides of my blood; this was a solemn moment for me as I could almost feel my ancestors there, aching for the lost.
We then ventured to the Choo Choo hotel. An old train station converted into a hotel. The train carts are actually used as hotel rooms!
We decided upon hiking in Signal mountain since we were only staying 15 minutes from it. There was promise of breathtaking views and FREE hikes. We grabbed the boys and headed onward to hike Edward Point. Breathtaking was right! Speechless I was, although hard to imagine, this 3.5 hours hike was WORTH IT ALL!
A beer and pasta dinner SCREAMED our names as hungrily scurried back to the Jeep. Iron Horse Stouts at the Big River Grille and Brewing was just what the foodie ordered. We had fast service-sometimes it pays to eat early. We settled in early because my freelance nutrition duties called and slept deep and heavy into dawn.
On our last morning, Michael ran out to Maple Street Biscuit Company and brought home breakfast for us.
I packed and and reorganized our host’s apartment. Thanks again AIRBNB for a great home away from home! We drove to Cloudland Canyon state park to hike one last hour before the dreaded drive home. This hike was beautiful! There were two waterfalls which were sparse from the drought but the foliage was glamorous. What wasn’t glamorous was the amount of grated stairs we had to climb. GRATED STAIRS! Our poor pups’ paws were sore afterwards. This was not an ingenious design. The boys cooled their feet, and entire bodies, in the creek bed before we hiked back.
Thank you, Community Pie and Tenley, for our gift card! We LOVED your setup and will be back once we are in Chatt Town again!
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Be well and Travel Often!
Where are you traveling to next? ⇓ (How about a mountain trip?)
**This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**
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