Top Five Destinations of Chattanooga
In the past two years, I’ve taken my second and third trips via train in the U.S. (The first didn’t go so well as it was a bunch of friends taking the train to Chicago for a wedding and the train got delayed a few times, which greatly impacted the drinking time in Chicago. Though we did get drinking time on the train, the terminal in St. Louis was not outfitted for any sort of adult beverages.) Let me tell you, I like train travel. I like it a lot.
The first trip took me from Bakersfield to Merced, California, and I have to say, anything to avoid the mind-stultifying voyage along the 5 ranks up in the great escapes of the world. The second trip took me from Union Station in L.A. down to San Diego and the Pacific Surfliner ran right next to the coast and I could watch left and right shore breaks from my window seat and even the occasional surfer ride one.
I mention trains because the town of Chattanooga reminds me of the song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and though I didn’t find any train related activities, I did find these five pretty cool things to do.
Normally, I might steer clear of a place like Lookout Mountain that seems to scream tourist trap to me. Then, I see pictures of a cave waterfall and think, well that might be cool to see. Then, weekends in October mean The Haunted Cavern, and as someone that got scared by the movie “Descent,” that could be a pretty great thing.
It’s tough to tell if there is much in the way of tours at the very new distillery, Chattanooga Whiskey, but I’m willing to gamble, much like the owners did when they attempted to convince the city and the state to overturn a prohibition law and allow them to make whiskey there. This article makes it sound like tours are on the agenda sometime in the future, but even if not, there is a gift shop where I can buy and try a shot or two.
You can’t keep me away from a good battlefield, so I will certainly visit the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Reading about the battle, both sides had to deal with mountains, forests and streams, which when you think about how war was fought in the 1800’s, means terror could be just a few hidden steps away from a soldier. There are five trails that wind around the park, ranging from five to 14 miles.
I’m surprised to find an aquarium with salt water exhibits this far inland and that makes me a bit suspicious, but the Tennessee Aquarium creates an exception to this assumption. They are involved in some cool conservation projects like making sure there is a self-sustaining Lake Sturgeon population in Tennessee. Sturgeon can live to be 150 years old. That’s damn impressive (and scary to some extent that we need to help them survive.)
I don’t think I’m alone when I see a name like Aretha Frankensteins I have to give the food a try. I won’t hold the fact that it publicizes that Rachael Ray visited against it because that is infinitely better than Guy Fieri. Speaking of names and compulsions, I doubt I can avoid the Waffle of Insane Greatness!
Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.
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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."