Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tennessee Vacation - Day 2; Part 1

Welcome back to the next installment of our Tennessee vacation. (By the way, isn't Tennessee a fun word to type? It's like Mississippi with all the double letters.) Anyway, after leaving southern Illinois we made the rest of the drive down to Chattanooga, TN.
The Ponies showing where we were on the map. [K] had her own copy to follow at home.
If you've never been to Chattanooga, I highly suggest you visit. It's such a cool, fun, vibrant city that, from our short time there, is small enough to strike up a conversation with the locals but big enough to play host to a myriad of outdoor concerts, festivals and one of the best aquariums in the south.
The buildings with the pointed glass roofs are the aquarium buildings.
There are seven bridges that cross the Tennessee River in Chattanooga and one of them, the Walnut Street Bridge, is pedestrians only. It's a beautiful bridge where people run, walk, bike, or in my case, take lots of pictures. I happen to love bridges.

Crossing the Walnut Street Bridge takes you from downtown to the North Shore as well as a super cool park called Coolidge Park. There's a ton of green space to run around and enjoy picnics or, as we saw, a family game of t-ball.

There's also an interactive water fountain and a restored 100-year old carousel.
I rode the donkey for my sister in law :)
[A] picked an animal he thought the kids would enjoy seeing. They were all beautiful. 
This one is for [K]. She loves giraffes.
Now while downtown is very popular with the aquarium and the Bluff View Art District, the North Shore is fun as well. We didn't spend a ton of time here but some of the interesting things we saw were these dance steps along Frazier Street (there are eight different dances but we only saw two) ... well as this piano monument that's "A tribute to the music and musicians of Chattanooga".

Crossing back over the Walnut Street Bridge we came across this statue of a dog and apparently you're supposed to touch his paw for luck. [A] gave him a high five for five times the luck ;)

In an area near the aquarium there is a place called The Passage. It's a "pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River and marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears." ( Not only is it a super cool place to look out over the river and dip your toes in the water, but it's also an interesting monument to the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation.

There are waterways all throughout the Aquarium Plaza that connect the aquarium to the river where people can walk and play in the water on a hot summer day.

You can even walk across these beautiful high-arched, landscaped bridges to get a view of the whole area. When we were there it was a Saturday when they host the River Market which is a farmer's market complete with live music, food, and local artists and craftsmen.

Before heading back to our hotel for the night we drove up the W Road to Signal Point to take in the views of the fog rolling in over the Tennessee River Gorge.

From our vantage point we were able to see Raccoon Mountain straight ahead of us, Lookout Mountain peeking out behind it like a shadow, and the Tennessee River below. It was a beautiful way to end a very fun day of exploring one of the cooler cities I've visited. I can't wait to come back!

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