Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let's chat about Chattanooga...

... now that gas is a again on the rise, let's look back at a vacation from paradise - Chattanooga, Tennessee. Home of "See Rock City" and Ruby Falls, Chattanooga is the antithesis of Orlando. The city has lured visitors for over 100 years with its tourist attractions. In 1895 the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway was completed taking tourists to the top of Lookout Mountain. Additionally, in 1925 Lake Winnepesaukah, a family-owned amusement park, opened on the Tennessee/Georgia border, just down the road from Chattanooga and in 1926, the Tivoli Theatre became the first public building in the country to be air conditioned. With Ruby Falls, discovered in 1928, inside of Lookout Mountain and 1932's opening of Rock City, Chattanooga became the nation's foremost tourist destination. While the flash of the modern tourist destinations such as Orlando, Fla. have surpassed the now quaint offerings of Chattnooga, the city remains one of my favorite places to visit. The city's attractions can be divided into the "Riverfront" and the Stone Mountain" areas with downtown nestled in between the two.

The Riverfront is a mix of old and new. It's home to the the Tennessee Aquarium, the Chattanooga Lookouts Baseball team, I-MAX, Arts Bluff District, and home of Chattanooga's Riverbend Festival. Take a look...

Located in a bend of the Tennessee River, Chattanooga was settled first by the Cherokee Indians and in 1816, John Ross established a settlement which grew into an important Southern trade center. This view is from Point Park atop Lookout Mountain.

Downtown, located on the river, is full of pubs and cafes located in old commercial warehouses and other buildings.

The Magic Mushroom is located in the old Coca Cola bottling plant.

The Arts Bluff District is a collection of restaurants, private galleries and public museums of art. The view from the overlook affords a great view of the Walnut Street Bridge.

Built in 1890, the Walnut Street Bridge was the first to connect Chattanooga's downtown with the North Shore. The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in 1978, repairs and structural modifications have been made to turn the bridge into what is now a pedestrian walkway. The 2,376 foot (720 m) span is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world .

The Tennessee State Aquarium features six glass peaks (it was in the process of doubling the museum's size).

There are several neat buildings onthe way to Stone Mountain and the Inclined Train. This is the Lee buidling, named no doubt after the famous Southerner, Robert E. Lee.

The Incline Railway's view up the mountain hasn't changed much in the last 100 years. When you reach the top, you can walk to the Point Park Battlefield and the Battles For Chattanooga Electric Map.

Along the walk to the park is a nice 1920's - 30's neighborhood.

Another of the homes between the railway and the park. To get to Rock City or Ruby Falls, go back down the inclined railway and drive up the mountain road. It's worth the drive to get there.

Yes, you must see Rock City. I wasn't sure about this one - but it's well worth the price of admission. The rock formations and views were great, was were the ones inside Ruby Falls. Here's one last picture from Rock City, and yes you can see seven states from the park's overlook.

No comments: