Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Foliage in Chattanooga, Tennessee


Entrance to Raccoon Mountain
When we embarked on our cruise up America’s inland waterways from Florida, we had absolutely no idea what to expect from the deep south. We were pleasantly surprised to find elegant homes with beautiful gardens lining the rivers, friendly people, and fabulous food (love the barbecue and fried catfish!) We were thrilled to learn about civil war history and discover cities like Memphis, Nashville and Atlanta. But it is Chattanooga that charmed us the most.
 Chattanooga waterfront, with the TN Aquarium in the background
The city that once upon a time was the dirtiest city in America has undergone a renaissance over the last decade. Anchored with a signature aquarium, Chattanooga has revitalized its downtown and waterfront, transforming it into a favorite tourist destination. In 2009, Money Magazine’s September issue named Chattanooga as one of the best places to retire. Since then, it has garnered more accolades.
Ross Landing with Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge in the distance
Glass-bottom bridge looking towards the TN Aquarium
Surrounded by mountains and lakes, Chattanooga has lots of activities to offer families and outdoor enthusiasts. The opportunities to climb, hike, bike, kayak and fish abound. Every which way you turn, you are greeted with stunning scenery. When the leaves change color in the fall, Chattanooga is a beautiful city to hike or drive around.
Fall Colors at nearby Foster Falls
Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain
Laurel Point Trail at Raccoon Mountain
I especially like Raccoon Mountain, because it is practically in my backyard. Raccoon Mountain is a unique TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) hydroelectric facility where water is pumped from Lake Nickajack on the Tennessee River to a storage reservoir on top of the mountain. This water is later released to generate electricity during periods of high electric demand. You can stop by the Visitor Center to learn more about TVA and its facilities across the Tennessee Valley, and to see a jaw-dropping view of the Tennessee River Gorge. This intriguing facility is also popular recreation spot for mountain biking, hiking, fishing and bird watching. There is also a boat ramp for launching your boat.
TN River Gorge one November
Wait no more. Come and discover Chattanooga yourself!

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This post has been entered into the Grantourismo - HomeAway travel writing competition for October.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yes, you can. Build a boat yourself

With a plan from Glen-L.

We learned about the company several weeks ago when a group of people descended on our marina with their oh so cute little miniature boats. Apparently they built these boats themselves with blueprints from Glen-L!

How do you like this boat name - FastIdiots?

Not only do these talented people know how to build miniature boats, they also know how to party. We had fun chatting with some of them, and even met some boaters who used to cruise on bigger boats. And discovered that we were all docked on the St Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida around the same year. They were at the Ortega River Yacht Club while we were just around the corner, at Ortega River Boat Yard. We reminisced about our good old days on both Ortega River and the St Johns River. These people were so nice (aren't most boaters?) as to offer us a ride on their beautiful boat Beaujolais. We had a blast. Thank you Adam and Elaine!



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