Cha Cha Cha

2 Oct

After our profile was posted, the agency instructed us to keep busy doing the things that would be harder to do in the first few months after the baby arrives – go to the movies, have quiet dinners out, travel.

With that advice in mind, we bought a Groupon back in July for a two-night stay aboard the Mississippi Delta Queen.

Ahoy. The Mississippi Delta Queen

The Delta Queen is a turn-of-the-century steamboat  that is now permanently (?) anchored in Chattanooga, Tenn. We dragged our feet booking the trip and before we knew it we were running out of time. When we finally called to reserve our room, the only days left were a Sunday and Monday night. As it turned out, the price difference in two plane tickets with a Saturday stay over was significantly less than a hotel room, so we booked our trip for three nights and used Priceline to get a good price on a hotel for one night.

Neither of us had been to Chattanooga and for a variety of reasons we didn’t have a lot of time to do any advance planning. We arrived at the airport with just a vague idea of what the next four days would hold.

Spoiler Alert – We had a blast.

After we checked in Saturday afternoon, we rented bikes and rode the 12 blocks or so to the waterfront area for lunch. Jumping on the bikes not only saved time, but helped us get the lay of the land. We also checked out the World Championship Dog Frisbee Competition because 1.) dogs and 2.) dogs catching frisbees. Duh.

Thanks to Chattanooga's awesome bike sharing program (very similar to the one here in the DC metro area), we were able to jump on bikes at a variety of places during our trip.

Saturday evening we were actually able to meet up with friends who live in Chattanooga. Jasmine used to write for Don’s first blog love, We Love DC, but moved to Chattanooga with her fiance Allan six months ago.  Somehow I failed to take a picture at dinner, but here they are just one week later.

They said, "I do!"

I know. So cute, right? Anyway, the restaurant we wanted to eat at (Taco Mamacita) was overrun by a high school homecoming, so we checked out a restaurant owned by Allan’s cousin called Brewhaus. It was excellent – the food and the company. And don’t be sad about Taco Mamacita. We ate there Sunday night instead.

Sunday we lazed around at the hotel, then hopped on the bikes again. First we cruised by the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Yes, it’s real.

Pardon me boys, is that the Chattanooga Choo? Why, yes. Yes, it is.

Then we rode the bikes downtown for brunch and bought tickets for the River Gorges Tour on the Tennessee River. Stunning.

It's just gorges. See what I did there?

After the two hour or so cruise, we visited the Tennessee Aquarium. Honestly it was the one thing that everyone who heard we were going to Chattanooga agreed we must see while there. It’s probably because of the penguins.

This little dude would not stop looking at me.

There were tons of other cool exhibits as well, including lots of tanks of the various kinds of jellyfish. I always find them beautiful to watch with the safety of glass between us.

Spineless!

After we finished up at the aquarium, we checked into the Delta Queen. I’m going to be honest; we didn’t have high expectations. After we booked it we read some really bad online reviews so I was totally prepared to chalk it up to an experience and ignore the dingy rooms.

There was no need. The room, though super small of course, was in great shape. None of the dirt or mold or mildew that I had read about.

For some reason I will not be able to explain now, we decided to get up at 6 a.m. Monday morning to watch the sunrise from Chattanooga’s awesome pedestrian bridge. Lovely.

After Sunrise

When  the sun was up, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the day’s activity – a visit to Lookout Mountain to SEE ROCK CITY. There are three big (tourist) attractions on Lookout Mountain: Rock City, Ruby Fall and the Incline. Being tourists, after all, we decided to do all three.

BUT, before we got to Rock City, our first stop, we pulled into a Civil War Battle location. While there we happened to glance at the trail map where Don noticed a label for “Whiteside Trail.” So you know we just had to find that.

But first, Rock City – which was surprisingly fun. The best part was definitely the swinging bridge, though.

What's Up? Nothing. I'm just hanging.

The Incline was pretty awesome, too. The steepest portion, near the top, is about a 77 degree angle.

Whoa!

Ruby Falls was just okay. The story of how it was discovered is pretty neat, but the inside of the cave today was nothing special (especially coming from Virginia – land of Lurray).  We did find Whiteside Trail, by the way.

Me on my trail.

AND we found Whiteside Street!

Don on his street

So we ended up loving this little city that we knew nothing about before we left home. It made us think we should visit more mid-sized towns soon – Charleston is next on our list I think.

You can see more Instagram pictures from our trip on Flickr.

Have you ever visited Chattanooga? Did you hike Whiteside Trail or is there a trail named after everyone there?

One Response to “Cha Cha Cha”

  1. Leigh October 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I can’t wait to visit Chattanooga now that we are 2 hours south of it. You will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Charleston. Make sure to eat at Husk. If you like Christmas lights, go in November/December to see the Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island City Park. You drive through most of it, but there was a small walk through part. There is a cute little village area with Santa, a train, and a Christmas shop.

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