Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Day 19 – Chattanooga Choo Choo; We Is Coming!

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

We were up late this morning, probably about 7:00 am, as our bedroom was dead quiet.  We were in the forest, and there were no man-made noises.

Miss Becky went out of her way to make an absolutely fantastic breakfast fit for a king and a queen.  She even prepared some Lambsquarters, a local vegetable often called a weed.

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.  It’s a leafy vegetable related to beets, spinach, orach, epazote, and quinoa.  Lambsquarters is available from early summer through fall’s first frost, and you can find it at farmers’ markets or forage for it yourself.

A gourmet breakfast at Chez Becky’s

Art was doing an errand that involved delivering Lady, their baby dog, to a friend who would watch her for a few days.

Art and Becky followed us in their car to Chattanooga, where we stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.  This hotel is unique in that the rooms are in retired railroad cars.

Did You Know?  “Chattanooga Choo Choo” is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren.  It was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra and featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade.  It was the first song to receive a gold record, presented by RCA Victor in 1942, for sales of 1.2 million copies.

The billboard is high on the city skyline.

We could not miss the sign.

We pulled up to the hotel and checked in.  Soon, we were freshened up and ready to explore a part of Chattanooga.

There were about thirty cars converted into two units each.

Becky brought her flowers, and Mary had all the paperwork for the remaining part of the trip.

We raced to the rooms to unpack and get going!

We walked by the side-by-side cars and were amazed at their size.  They were in pretty good condition, considering they were almost 100 years old!  Oops, I am talking about the cars, not the girls!

The cars were huge!

Upon opening the door, we were instantly returned to our country’s kinder and gentler period.  People traveled in style, and railroads were king!

Wow!  This is uptown!

Soon, we popped into our car and headed to the top of the mountain.  The upscale town of Lookout Mountain is known for its namesake ridge and attractions like the steep Incline Railway and Ruby Falls, a waterfall set in a cavern.

The Battles for Chattanooga Museum showcases local Civil War history, and hiking trails wind around Point Park and up to scenic overlooks such as Sunset Rock.  A few rustic cafes, homey eateries, and breweries dot the area and the nearby St. Elmo neighborhood.

We got our passes into the national park, which contained the  Battles for Chattanooga Museum.

To the top of Chattanooga.

Why was the Battle of Chattanooga important to the Civil War?   The Federals’ victory at Chattanooga opened the Deep South for a Union invasion and set the stage for Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign the following spring.

Boom Boom rested on the cannon, and we were puzzled how the soldiers got these 2600-pound cannons to the top of the mountain!

They call her BOOM BOOM for a reason.

The view was amazing.  We were almost 2,000 feet above the city; you could see forever.  We spent an hour wandering around the site and visiting the museum with pictures from the 1860s and stories of the five-day battles for Chattanooga.

We were 2200 feet above the city!

We wanted to see the lookout point inside the Rock City Gardens, just a few miles away.

Rock City is supposed to be amazing, located atop Lookout Mountain, just 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga.  Rock City is a true marvel of nature, featuring massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and breathtaking “See Seven States” panoramic views

We took an unforgettable journey along the Enchanted Trail, where each step reveals natural beauty and wonders along the woodland path.  We experienced the magic of Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village.  We took almost 200 pictures of the adventure!

We were off to Stone City!

Off we go, walking between these vast rocks.  The facility was first opened in 1932 by locals who had a vision.  Opened in May 1932, the attraction gained prominence after owners Garnet and Frieda Carter hired Clark Byers in 1935 to paint “See Rock City” barn advertisements throughout the Southeast and Midwest United States; Byers painted over 900 barn roofs and walls in 19 states.  When completed, almost 20,000 signs across the country were painted with “See Rock City.”

We walked in, around, between, and under huge rocks for an hour!

The paths go up and down and around.  We could look up and know we would soon be on that bridge!

Man-made bridges were overhead and hand-made of the local rocks.

We spotted two amazing Lovebirds cooing near an outcropping of rocks.  We tried to get close, but they hurried away.  They are scarce these days!


The various passages had clever names like “Needles Eye.”  We had to turn sideways to get through. Paul applied a bit of Vaseline in certain areas, and thankfully, we wore hats protecting us from the very low ceilings.

Now we go underground.

We took many opportunities to let others pass us by and enjoyed every second of the adventure.

It was time for a rest!

Vanna White (aka Mary) showed us another flower, but we still could not guess what it was. So we asked for another flower.

Did you hear about the drunk geologist? He finally hit rock bottom.

Mary loves the flowers.

Since its earliest days, Rock City has claimed that it is possible to see seven states from a particular spot (Lover’s Leap) in Rock City; a scientist at the University of Tennessee, when asked to prove the issue in 2007, pointed out that the claim refers to seeing mountains and other high points in many of these different states, adding that the claim was made long before the air pollution associated with the proliferation of automobiles and coal-fired power plants.

You know the old saying—igneous is bliss.

We were overlooking seven points.

The claim was reasonable many years ago. Today, it would take a windy day to see the top of Kentucky 120 miles away.

My wife told me she is thinking about selling Egyptian rocks. To me, this sounds like a pyramid scheme.

Seven states all at once.

We were in Georgia when we arrived at Seven Points.  I wanted to take a crayon and put in California, 2300 miles.  Mary told me no!!


High Falls (also known as Lover’s Leap) is an artificial waterfall that is arguably the signature attraction of the Rock City Lookout and Gardens on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain.

Magnificent even though it is man-made!

We are at Lover’s Leap and decided we would stay on solid ground!

Just us.

We continued our journey into the Fairy Garden, a fantastic adventure.

Deep underground was magical.

At 5:00 pm, we declared victory and returned to the hotel for dinner at Elsie’s Daughters Restaurant.   At first, we were a little suspicious, but when our meal arrived, it was a fantastic experience.

Art said his curry meal was the best he had ever had.  Mary loved her chicken.  Becky marveled at the kale salad.  I had to order additional toast to sop up the spicy mussels’ juices, which were perfectly cooked!

Dinner in the diner.

After dinner, we walked over to the grand train station, a tribute to the time when railroads were king of Industry.  The interior of the building is seven and a half stories tall and sports a full-size Christmas tree during the season!

Chattanooga Union Station, more commonly known as the Union Depot in Chattanooga, constructed between 1857 and 1859, served as a train car shed in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Located at Broad and Ninth Streets (the latter now Martin Luther King Blvd), the station was one of two major railroad terminals in the city, the other being the Southern Railway’s Terminal Station.

We walked through the old Union Station.

We sat outside in the rocking chairs and admired the surroundings as a group of older folks on tour passed by.  Several stopped and chatted with us.  One lad asked if she could take our pictures because we were such a good-looking couple.  That was so nice!

Under refurbishment.

We returned to the car by 8:30 pm, as we were all tired.

I went to the hotel and got two bottles of water and a small bottle of champagne.  We read books for about an hour, and the lights went out.  We slept until almost 9:00 am the next morning.

We head to Memphis tomorrow to visit Elvis at his home, Graceland.

Goodnight all!

About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet. I lost my best friend and wife in early 2020. I was blessed again by reconnecting with Dr. Mary Côté, a long-time friend. Mary and I got married July 28th, 2021, and are enjoying life together and plan to spend the rest of our lives being a blessing to our friends and family.
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