Chattanooga, TN Reunion

Chattanooga, TN Reunion

We left Chicago at 6:20am after it took me the usual 20 minutes to leave the house (double checking the doors were locking, unplugging every little thing and grabbing a last minute jacket that I never once needed in the 90 degree heat).  The drive took about 10 hours with stopping for gas and lunch and the accidental detour we took through historic Downtown Louisville, KY.  I like what I saw there though! I wouldn’t mind returning there to explore for a weekend.  Once we got towards the Tennessee border, the GPS took us down a rural highway past sprawling farmlands and green topped mountains.  Scenic route, indeed.
Road to Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
We stayed in a Comfort Inn and Suites (remember last time?), in Hixson, TN, which is right near Chattanooga.  We dropped off our bags, changed clothes, and headed to dinner at the Lakeshore Grille in Chattanooga.  My cousin Leslie and her husband, Mike, met us there, and we all sat out on their porch for a drink and some casual fare.  The food took quite a while to come out, but they kept us from getting too hungry with plates of homemade potato chips slathered with chipotle ranch.
Lakeshore Grille, Chattanooga, Tennessee, RebeccaWanderlustingLakeshore Grille Chipotle Chips in Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
It was really nice to be able to catch up with our southern kin. We all ordered burgers, which were really good and worth the wait.  After dinner, we went back to the hotel and I passed out almost immediately.  The next morning, we grabbed something from the little continental breakfast at the hotel and then headed to Falling Water, the small town where our Tennessee family lives.  We spent some time chit chatting before going for a walk through the neighborhood.
Country Lane, Falling Water, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
The significance of this place is that my mom’s father grew up here, and this is where he and my grandma lived when they were first married.  His side of the family is still here and we try and come visit as often as we can.  Not only because they are so wonderful, but it’s also nice to be able to remember my grandparents through this place they used to live.  We walked past the pretty little church they go to, and to the cemetery at the top of a hill, where relatives I never knew are buried.  It may sound a little morbid, but it’s actually a really beautiful sunlit clearing.
Jackson Family Cemetery, TN, RebeccaWanderlustingHydrangeas, Falling Water, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
From there, we walked down the lane to the end, passing farm houses, chickens, and gardens, all farmed in front of the mountains.  The natural beauty of this place is almost surreal.  After our walk, we made our way to Leslie’s house for a huge, Southern, barbecue lunch of pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, sweet corn casserole, pasta salad, potato casserole and key lime pie.
Homemade BBQ Feast, Falling Water, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
We ate out on the porch despite the heat, and everyone went back for seconds.  The whole meal was just perfect, and put all of our favorite barbecue joints in Chicago to shame.  After lunch, we jumped into their pool to cool off and had a couple of pain killer cocktails poolside (pineapple juice, rum, coconut milk and nutmeg).  We lounged by the pool for a while, the heat made us a bit lethargic.
Poolside Cocktails, Falling Water, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
Soon enough, we got our act together and Mike and I split off from the group to check out Downtown Chattanooga.  Our first stop was Mean Mug Coffeehouse on the south side of Chattanooga.  It was a hip spot with local art on the walls and excellent espresso.  We also ordered a blackberry scone as a last minute decision and it was such a good one.  It was a perfect crumbly yet soft texture and drizzled with icing.  I will have dreams about that scone, I know it.
Mean Mug Coffeehouse, Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlustingMean Mug Coffeehouse, Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
From there, we went to Frazier Street to check out the cute shops and the pedestrian walkway.  We liked Luxe Boutique for its cute clothes and accessories and Winder Binder for its amazing collection of books and records for very reasonable prices.
Winder Binder, Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
We walked halfway across the pedestrian walkway to the sounds of the River Bend music festival.  The walkway offered gorgeous views of the city, Tennessee River and the mountains beyond.  To be honest, with what little we saw of it, Chattanooga charmed the pants off of us.
Pedestrian Walkway, Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlustingPedestrian Walkway, Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
We went back to Falling Water for a solid last visit with my Aunt Sue, Leslie and her husband.  We had leftover barbecue for dinner because, yes, it was just that good.  We left them with promises to visit again soon, which I fully intend to keep.  Mike and I then went back to Chattanooga for a cocktail at Stir, which Leslie had recommended.  It was very close to Mean Mug, and we were able to park on the street and walk over.  Stir was housed in a beautiful old brick building, with twinkling lights inside and a nice porch outside, which is where we sat.
Stir Cocktails, Chattanooga, TN, RebeccaWanderlusting
Stir is known for their “artisanal ice” which means that their drinks all come with interestingly shaped ice.  My delicious Elderflower Sour came with a large rectangular cube in it.  The drinks were good and the service was wonderful.  It definitely ended the Chattanooga leg of our trip on a high note.  The next morning we hit the road again on our way to Gatlinburg, TN.

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