Southeast Trip 2016 – Blue Ridge Parkway and Chattanooga

overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains as we travel down the Blue Ridge Parkway

After our biscuits in Asheville, it was time to take the Jeep down the Blue Ridge Parkway en route to Chattanooga!

Priorities:

  • Moderately challenging hikes with views
  • Taking the long way to Chattanooga on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Day 3 – Monday (cont.)

The goal for the drive from Asheville to Chattanooga was to get some great views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and pick a good hike on the way.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is regarded as one of the best drives in America.  The winding roads through the mountains are especially picturesque in the fall, and there are plenty of opportunities to pull off to the side of the road and get some good pics.

travel companions overlooking Cherry Cove in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Plenty of scenic overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway

About halfway through the drive, we found the hike that we had selected: Devil’s Courthouse.  There is an easier way to get to the “courthouse,” but we chose a longer hike a little more off the beaten path.  It wasn’t too challenging, and after about an hour we were at our destination with a pretty sweet view.

me looking over Devils Courthouse
Taking in the view
Nate Rachel and Hilary in the woods
Goofin’ around

We arrived in Chattanooga around 5:30 and checked into our Airbnb in the Southside neighborhood.  The neighborhood seems to be undergoing the type of revitalization that seems to be going on in many mid-market cities these days – a previously-industrial warehouse type neighborhood being renovated into apartments, bars, and the like.  In Chattanooga, the Airbnb scene is definitely the way to go; there seemed to be a lot of really nice apartments available in good areas for good prices.

We were all pretty tired, so we decided to just get some dinner and turn in for the night.  We walked over to Terminal Brewhouse, which had quite good food and brews.  We gravitated toward the Southsidenstein Stout – a perfect beer for a #steintinerary.

Day 4 – Tuesday

For Rachel and me, Tuesday started off with a run up Market Street to the Tennessee River and back, in an attempt to do something somewhat healthy for once.  We instantly undid that with a big ol’ brunch at Bluegrass Grill, the top rated brunch place in Chattanooga.  From there, we walked over to Mean Mug for a coffee while we planned our next move.

It was a lovely day, so we determined our next move would be to meander about the Tennessee Riverwalk, and just chill outside for a bit!

view of a bridge from a dock on the Tennesee River in Chattanooga
A gorgeous day on the Tennesee River
view of the Tennesee Aquarium from the river
Looking back at the Tennessee Aquarium from a dock on the river
travel companions walking up a winding path on the Tennessee Riverwalk
The Lombard Street of Tennessee

Next, we wanted some inside time.  We tried to get into the Hunter Museum of American Art, but we thought the price was a little steep.  So instead of that, we walked back over to the Tennessee Aquarium.  It was definitely one of the more upper-echelon aquariums that I have visited, though I admit I haven’t been to many…

After the aquarium, Alena had some work to do for school, so the rest of us dropped her off back at the Airbnb and headed back out to walk around on a quest for snacks.  We stumbled upon the Hot Chocolatier, and got a ridiculous amount of sweets.  It was not your typical small-scale bakery or sweets spot, there was plenty of seating and it seemed like more of a large scale operation.  Quite good, but we ate way too much!

Next it was time to start drinking.  We had to do something to make ourselves forget about what we had just done to our pancreases.  Right down the street from our Airbnb was the Chattanooga Brewing Company, where we had a downright delightful experience.  The staff was super-friendly, they had a lovely outdoor patio, and the beers were outstanding.  If you go in the fall, definitely get the Oktoberfest – one of my favorite fall beers ever!

beer flight at Chattanooga Brewing Company
My kind of Tuesday afternoon

After a couple of flights, we made our way next door to the Southside Social.  In my research of the South, I noticed that these “socials” seem to be a thing down there.  Bigger establishments with food, drinks, bowling, large outdoor areas with lawn games, and the like.  A wonderful concept if you ask me (I’m very excited that one of these just opened in Rochester).  Again, this was a Tuesday afternoon, so we pretty much had our run of the place, including the Airstream outside which we posted up in for a drink or two.

drinking beers inside an Airstream in Chattanooga
Enjoying some brews in an Airstream at Southside Social

After the Social, we took an Uber back up to the river to have a delightful meal at Tony’s Pasta Shop and Trattoria, followed by post-dinner drinks at the divey Brewhaus across the river, and the trendy Flying Squirrel, which was probably the highlight of the places we visited in Chattanooga.  The building and space were gorgeous, and they had a great cocktail lineup and a lively crowd, even on a Tuesday.

Day 5 – Wednesday

We were up early on Wednesday morning, packing up for another hike day!  By the time we hit the road, we realized that we had established a tradition: hike day biscuits.

biscuit with fried chicken, cheese and apple butter, with a side of mac and cheese
“The Farmer” has fried chicken, pecan smoked bacon, cheddar, and house-made apple butter

After some hike fuel at Maple Street Biscuit Company we were ready to take on the Fiery Gizzard Trail…more on that coming soon!

Highlights:

  • Blue Ridge Parkway drive
  • Chattanooga Brewing Company
  • The Flying Squirrel

Next Time:

  • More hiking – either on Signal Mountain or Lookout Mountain
  • Paddleboarding or kayaking on the Tennessee River

What are your favorite hikes in the North Carolina mountains?  Hit me in the DMs!

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