As soon as we got back to the hotel, we changed into workout clothes before the doughnut coma could set in. We were off to Rock City! If you’ve ever driven from Atlanta to Chattanooga, surely you’ve been bombarded with the billboards for Rock City and Ruby Falls.
I’m not sure how to explain exactly what Rock City is. A rock garden? A natural attraction enhanced by carved gnomes and terrifying suspended bridges? Either way, it was a fabulously fun tourist trap with beautiful views.
A few weeks ago, Lou and I hit the road and made the relatively short but very scenic drive to Chattanooga. We fielded recommendations for activities and restaurants from some friends, but weren’t quite sure what to expect during our long weekend. I’m pleased to report that we had a fabulous time and will most definitely be returning!
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and quickly checked into our hotel room at The Chattanoogan. After dropping our bags, we ventured out with rumbling tummies but without a game plan (the classic recipe for a cranky Jean). Ultimately, we made the mile-long trek to the riverfront for a light lunch (and beers for Lou). At The Blue Plate, we found a little porch overlooking the water and mountains to catch our breath and rest our feet. The food, however, wasn’t memorable.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the city by bicycle. Bike Chattanooga is a bike share that has stations set up throughout downtown and the waterfront – you pay to rent a bike and can return it to any of the stations across the city! I’d highly recommend getting a 3-day pass if you’re staying for a long weekend, as Chattanooga is best experienced in the fresh air.
On Friday evening, we had dinner at Public House, which came highly recommended from a number of friends. We dined on the open-air patio and basked in the absolutely gorgeous twilight weather. Public House’s atmosphere is casual and welcoming and the menu’s focus is clear: recognizable comfort food with gourmet flourishes (the hallmark of new and good “farm to table” restaurants). Disclaimer: the portion sizes are huge (as they frequently are down South!). To start, we (re: I) ordered the beef carpaccio, fried chicken livers, deviled eggs, and lobster bisque. Lou always jokes that I over-order appetizers and sides at restaurants (guilty as charged), but I like trying a variety of small plates! In this case, two appetizers would have been plenty – I really wasn’t expecting the portions to be so generous!