"Pardon me, boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo-Choo"?
After leaving Langston, Alabama, we drove down to Carrollton, Georgia and stayed at the Little Tallapoosa Park (a very nice county park with full hook ups. Lots of nearby hiking trails).
We had diverted off of our planned route, in order to attend my nephew, Conner Kobus's wedding. He married a beautiful young lady named Kelly Felker.
It was great spending time with family members and the wedding was a beautiful event. We wish the best of everything to the two of them.
Carrollton, Georgia: Carrollton seems to be a hidden gem wedged in the northwestern corner of the state (about 45 miles west of Atlanta).
Chartered in 1829, the town was to be named "Troupville", in honor of former governor George Troup, but Troup was not popular with the state government at the time, so the Georgia General Assembly incorporated the town as Carrollton, in honor of Charles Carroll the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence!
It is a beautiful "Mayberryish" small town with lots of specialty shops and restaurants. We spent a few pleasant days strolling their streets and enjoying eating at outdoor patios.
About 20 minutes north east of Carrollton in the small town of Villa Rica is the Los Cowboys Mexican Restaurant. Lorraine and I had the BEST margaritas we have ever had here (I had the mango margarita). The food was pretty darn good as well. We even returned for a second visit a few days later to enjoy another round!
NEXT STOP, CHATTANOOGA:
After leaving Carrollton, we headed north toward Chattanooga. The city is set along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
We camped across the border in Georgia at the Best Holiday Trav-L RV Park. It was a nice park and we give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Good location, friendly staff; the only draw back was the gravel roads and RV sites had some fairly large ruts.
One of life's random little surprises:
Imagine our astonishment after pulling into our campsite, when we heard someone calling out our name (and in a nice way!). As it turns out, a couple we met a few weeks earlier at the Grand Design rally in Crossville, Tennessee happened to be staying at this same campground! We were delighted to see Stacey and Chuck Carroll again. This fun-loving couple is from North Carolina and are also full-time RV'ers. We really enjoyed hanging out with these two.. but more on that later..
After getting our rig unpacked, we contacted another set of friends we had met at the Grand Design rally in Crossville. They (foolishly) said whenever we were in town, to look them up. So when we got to Chattanooga, we did just that!
Bill and Joy** graciously took us on an all-day tour of their city and wow were we impressed. Chattanooga is one of those big, small cities with a lot to offer without being overwhelming. It has many historical attractions, hiking trails, trendy shops and restaurants, and a plethora of cultural activities.
Listed below are some of the activities we participated in while staying here.
One of our first stops was Lookout Mountain. From the top you have an amazing view of the city. If you look to the right of the center of the above picture, you see a bend in the highway (route 24) as it curves to the right. That is over two miles away from the top of this mountain. As they were excavating to build that stretch of the highway, construction workers unearthed many civil war cannonballs that had been fired from atop this ridge!
Quick! Where would you go to find replacement tires for your 1931 Ford Model A?
Why, COKER TIRE COMPANY, of course. Founded in 1958, Coker Tire started as a local tire shop and grew into the world’s largest manufacturer/supplier of tires and wheels for collector vehicles (the only one in the USA)! They also have a magnificent collection of vintage automobiles and motorcycles at the Coker Museum.
It's a fascinating way to spend an hour or two and learn about the history of the automobile industry and of these vehicles (many of them were "barn-finds"). Best of all, it was FREE!
Bill and Joy also took us to see the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge. This former automobile bridge (built in 1890), has since been converted into a pedestrian walkway and we were told at 2,376 feet in length it is one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges.
It is a delightful stroll over the Tennessee River and connects the North Shore district with downtown Chattanooga.
The bridge has become the site of many city sponsored events such as wine tasting, jazz festivals, fireworks, marathons etc.. It's a great place to come to get exercise as you admire the surrounding scenery.
Nightlife: Every Friday night between early May and late August, the city sponsors an event named The Chattanooga Nightfall. This venue brings together national headlining musicians along with a variety of local bands. Now in its 31st season, this popular event attracts an interesting mix of people who come to enjoy great live music, food and an ice cold beverage in an outdoor social atmosphere. So when we heard about it, we gathered up Chuck and Stacey (the couple we mentioned earlier) and headed into town. We found a spot close to the stage, unfolded our chairs and enjoyed the opportunity to hear two very entertaining bands.
The opening act was PRISCILLA AND LITTLE RICKEE, a local band that played the spectrum of blues, country and good ol' rock and roll with a fiery and fun attitude.
The headlining act was the DUSTBOWL REVIVAL an eight piece band (orchestra?) from New York, that delivered a vibrant mix of soul-meets-country-meets-blues-meets-rock.
They were an exciting and entertaining band to watch and a pleasure to listen to. If you'd like to check out their sound, click here.
The food trucks, the drinks, and especially the music made for a delightful evening.
"Pardon, me boy? Is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?"
That lyric taken from a song made popular in 1941 by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, is based on a train route originating from Pennsylvania Station in New York and running through Baltimore to North Carolina (on track 29) before reaching Chattanooga. In the late 1880’s through the early 1900’s, Chattanooga was a major hub for both industrial and passenger railway service in the South. Although this song was written way before my time, I remember my father playing it on his turn table. And here in Chattanooga, you can see the inspiration for the song: a small, wood-burning steam locomotive, of the 2-6-0 type. That locomotive is now a museum artifact.
Pictured below is the renovated Terminal Station
In case you are unfamiliar with this old tune, here's a youtube video of Glen Miller and his orchestra performing the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
If you have the time or the "inclination" take the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway (actually it's a funicular railway, but who am I to argue) which leads to the top of Lookout Mountain. Passengers are transported from St. Elmo's Station at the base, to Point Park at the summit, which overlooks the city and the Tennessee River. The railway, over one hundred years old, is approximately one mile in length and has a maximum grade of 72.7%, making it one of the world's steepest passenger railways!
At the top, you'll be treated to a beautiful view of the valley below.
If Civil War battlefields are your thing, the Chickamauga battlefield is not far from Chattanooga and a short distance from our campground. It represents the first major battle to occur in the state of Georgia (September, 1863). Union forces, under the command of William Rosecrans, suffered one of their greatest defeats by Confederate General Braxton Bragg and his men. The loss was so great (second only to the casualties at Gettysburg) that then Major General Ulysses S. Grant was called in to take over the Union troops. The battle later moved to Lookout Mountain and became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds".
As stated earlier, we were very impressed with Chattanooga and found it to be a very clean,vibrant and livable city with enough diversity of activities to appeal to broad range of people. And with an unemployment rate that has fallen from 10.3% in 2010 to 3.3% today, its economy is booming. We both give the city TWO HUGE THUMBS UP.
**We again would like to thank Bill and Joy for their kindness in showing us around their amazing city. We are very grateful and enjoyed spending the day with you both!