Chattanooga trip! (part 2)

All the pictures in this post are from Rock City, which I’ll talk about in a minute. They’re the only pictures I have from Sunday and since I’ve got a bunch of them and posts with pictures are more interesting, I think, you get a lot of random pictures of rocks!

Pretty rocks!

The previous post ended with us having dinner with Nathan and Amy and Co. I’m not sure I expressed clearly how much fun that was. It was a blast! We sat at Five Guys and the kids told jokes and the adults chatted away. Ethan chatted Justin’s ear off and I talked about how much I wish we had space where the kids could visit and spend a couple days hanging out, which Audrey would love because she wants to raise animals. And on the way back to the car, Ethan asked, “How long before they move here?” And that made all of us smile, I think.

Justin and I aren’t particularly interested in having children of our own, but we’d love to have the opportunity to spoil our nieces and nephews and hang out with them!

After goodbyes and all, when I completely failed at getting pictures of anybody, we went back to the hotel to get some sleep. The floor with our room still smelled like burned popcorn, but fortunately the ventilation in our room was good enough to keep it smelling fresh in there. (Oh! And I forgot to mention that when we evacuated the night before, we both managed to have shoes on and grab our wallet/purse, but neither one of us managed to remember to grab a key to get back in! That just added to the fun, by the way.)

Sunday morning, we packed up and checked out of the hotel. We drove around town a little more, getting out of the touristy areas and trying to get a little bit lost. Justin pointed out on the way home that I never actually drove while we were in Chattanooga and he should have let me try at some point just so I could feel how it is to drive there. He kept commenting that he never felt stressed out driving. The roads are wide and well planned out, so nothing ever felt really crowded. We never really got lost, I think, because it was easy enough to figure out where things are located.

The path loops and winds around over and below itself as you walk through Rock City.

And Chattanooga seems to have this unique vibe where it’s a big-ish city, but it doesn’t feel big. And it’s artsy and a little bit hipster, but also a little bit hippy. There’s the understanding that restaurants in the area will try to use local produce whenever possible and the art on the walls of the stores will be from local artists. Justin didn’t think much of this next point, but I’m amazed that there’s a trash can at every single corner of the blocks downtown. I’m sure people still throw trash on the ground, but there’s much less of it because there’s almost always a trashcan not 50 feet away. There’s loads of parking downtown, which doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to find, as we learned on Saturday, but you’ll have lots of places to look. And I never felt in danger anywhere downtown after dark or anywhere we drove around. I’m sure we didn’t get to the roughest parts of town, but that’s still impressive to me.

I mean, compare it to Savannah. I don’t like to go downtown after dark in Savannah because it’s not safe all the time. I’d certainly never go alone. And finding parking is awful, let alone finding parking nearby to a variety of restaurants. The buildings in Savannah are delightful and have a lot of Oldie Towne charm, which is something that Chattanooga doesn’t have. But I’d much rather have somewhere that I can feel safe than somewhere that looks cute.

After driving around for a while, we made our way to Rock City. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into when we bought our tickets, but we figured it was worth a look. And it was beautiful, even with all the plants wintering over, an overcast sky, and a cool breeze blowing. It’s certainly an odd little park. Mostly, you walk this path that twists and turns its way through a park of plants and rocks. It doesn’t sound like much, right? But I’m sure the plants are lovely in the warmer months. And the rocks and landscape were just fantastic. There were a few spots that made me anxious as we had to squeeze through a very small gap in between two very large rock faces. But I never got stuck anywhere and the view from the top, even with an overcast sky, was breathtaking. I bet it’s amazing when the sky is clear. And the colors of all the trees in the fall must be beautiful!

This is the one that made me anxious.

The Fairyland at the end was a little odd. It was unique and I can appreciate its uniqueness. But I don’t particularly have a need to go back and see the fairy tale scenes painted in black light paints. It’s got that creepy, weird feel that I don’t enjoy so much.

Creepy little fairytale land….

We didn’t plan to be walking as much as we did, so neither of us wore the most appropriate shoes for that adventure. By the end, we were both tired, even though it’s not a long walk. Sadly, we weren’t done with our walking for the day. After heading back to the car, we made our way to the Costco on the edge of town to do some shopping. We’ve learned that there are some things that help our budget tremendously when we buy it from Costco – like ground turkey meat and granola bars and air filters and toilet paper. Man, the cost of milk, if we could regularly buy our milk there….

I bet this view is great on a clear day in the fall.

We did our shopping, put the cold items in the cooler in the car, and set off for home. The drive home was uneventful. We didn’t hit nearly the amount of traffic through Atlanta on our way south as we did heading north. We stopped for dinner along the way, but mostly just set our sights for home and made it in just about 6 hours. Justin had it timed down to the minute when we would pull into the driveway and I can’t remember what that time was right now, but I do know that he had it spot on the nose.

This pictures doesn’t do this justice, really.

And that was the end of our trip! We put away the groceries, sorted out the laundry, and settled back into the house.

We really do like Chattanooga. We’d definitely like to visit again during another season and see what it’s like when everything isn’t all dead-looking and all the water features in the city aren’t bone dry for the winter. I’m not sure how busy it gets during the “tourist season” of the year and that would be good to know. But so far, we’ve had a good impression of the city and the nearby areas. Time to do a little bit more research and planning and then head up there again, probably in the middle of April!