This weekend we took a weekend getaway trip to Chattanooga with our friends John and Shannon and Sandra (and of course, Bodhi). We all piled in the Honda Pilot to go meet Kevin and Kathy and their family. K&K used to live in the A but moved to Indy around a year ago, much to our dismay.
Chattanooga is a pretty cool little city. Not too many people call it home but it has a multitude of amenities that attract people from the region to its waterfront. Where do you think Bernie Marcus got his idea. It’s a great place for the kids to run around and also for adults to take a break from work and catch up (especially when the weather is as nice as it was for us). That could include anything from finding out what darndest things have recently been said to flying a giant, expensive kite alongside the river.
When you first roll into town you may think it looks dead, but make your way to the river and you’ll start to see people (and their tricked out choppers). We were lucky enough to plan our visit during prom season and the prominees for king and queen were prominent. Prom. Shannon and Sandra started the trip doing their best Joan and Melissa Rivers impersonations as the Seniors piled out of limos along Broad Street. Apparently ‘the highlighter colors’ were in this year. We were hoping to view some wild prom parties at the hotel, but no such luck. All of us stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel; an old rail station turned into modest accommodations. Kevin, Kathy, Ewan, Colin, and Sandra even took advantage of the novelty of the venue and stayed in a converted rail car.
For part of the trip I felt like I was in Savannah because it’s small and a little weird, but Chattanooga lacks the neighborhoods that Savannah boasts. Chattanooga does not feel like an old city. The attractions and townhomes along the river are anything but. They have an old riverboat docked there but most of the boats cruising around are new pseudo-yachts: party boats. Aside from the Choo Choo, there doesn’t seem to be too much of its history that the city is trying to embrace.
The slogan for the city (A Great City by Nature) plays on the natural features that surround the area. I am yet to see much of them up close. There is kayaking , hang gliding, hiking, climbing, and probably more. On Saturday I had the chance to ride out east along their river. Lauren, John and I all rode out to the Chickamunga Dam and back on The Tennessee Riverwalk, a paved path that takes you there from downtown. The path follows the south side of the Tennessee River through marsh and village, hill and dale, picnic area and parking lot on your way to the dam. The bike is a great way to get around the town, however the residents seemed surprised to see riders away from the dedicated paths and out on the main streets.
It’s easy to compare Chattanooga to other cities (newer than Savannah, less crunchy than Asheville, more drunk than Macon) but a bit harder to characterize it altogether. My suggestion is to check it out for yourself.