Friday, October 21, 2011

Hiking at Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls in the Spring
Fall Creek Falls State Park is a huge park, comprising over 20,000 acres of nature, complete with campground facilities, playgrounds, picnic and grilling facilites, creeks, cascades, waterfalls, suspension bridges, and a nature center. If that isn't enough, there is also a golf course, a lake and an inn. We first visited Fall Creek Falls State Park in the spring of this year. We were smitten with the park's beauty and planned to come back again in the fall.

Fall is a beautiful time of year in Chattanooga. From late September to mid October, we'd get cool mornings, sunny days followed by colder nights. This kind of weather is perfect for hiking the mountains around here. I offered my ESOL students and their families to hike with us at Falls Creek Falls. The park is an easy hour and a half's drive from downtown Chattanooga. After hiking a couple of trails, we had a picnic. The kids had a blast, as did the adults. Hoping to see more fall colors, we went again the following week. Unfortunately, the leaves that had turned were either blown away or were brown; they did not get a chance to reach its peak of brilliant reds, oranges or yellows, like the fall colors you see up north.
George Hole
Fall Creek Falls in the fall

Cane Falls

But our hikes down the cascades to Cane Falls and Fall Creek Falls, and our walks on the swaying suspension bridges were exhilarating and lots of fun.
Suspension Bridge

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Colors at the Chattanooga Farmers Market

At the spur of moment two Sundays ago, we rounded up the usual suspects at the marina to go for breakfast in downtown Chattanooga. Hoping to try a new restaurant this time, we shooted for Southern Star, only to find that it was closed. Our fall back plan was to go back to our favorite greasy spoon restaurant - City Cafe. A quintessential diner opened 24 hours, this is a place popular with locals and tourists alike, and it was packed as usual. Luckily, our group of 8 didn't have to wait too long; we got seated in about 15 minutes.

After feeding our growling stomachs, we drove several blocks over to the Chattanooga Market. Unbeknownst to us, we were showing some locals their hometown. Wanderers like us always seize the opportunity to explore, so there aren't too many local (as opposed to touristy) places we haven't visited in our 5 years of living in Chattanooga. The market was busier than we last visited. The theme was Culture Fest, and the festivities included cooking demonstration, Japanese tea ceremony, and many kinds of dances - from Indian to Mexican Aztec to Filipino bamboo dance. Fall harvest like mums, apples, pumpkins and many varieties of squash were on display at various vendors. It was a lovely fall day to be outside!
The Chattanooga Market

Belly dancers from Zanzibar StudioLone Mountain Band playing bluegrass music
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