So yesterday, Rob and I took our first of many little “vacations” for 2015 (we have quite a few planned!). It was only 24 hours from start to finish (including travel time!) but it was just what we needed, when we needed it. A few months ago, we discovered one of our favorite new bands, J Roddy Walston and the Business, were going to be playing in Chattanooga, TN at this great venue called Track 29. If you love bluesy Rock and Roll, then you MUST check them out. So, we bought tickets, and decided that we would make a short overnight trip out of it and spend the next day exploring Chattanooga since we had never really spent any time there. Rob chose an awesome B&B for us to stay in that turned out to be a stellar place; I honestly wish we would have spent more nights there because it was so charming. Alas, we will have to go back! Here is how the Latham’s spent 24 hours in The Scenic City.
We stayed at the Stonefort Inn in downtown (Rob knocked it out of the park on this choice!). This is a historic Bed and Breakfast boasting of beautiful original architecture, but also having been renovated in all of the areas that make a place comfortable. We arrived at about 6pm local time.
We checked in, and spent just long enough in our room to check it out and drop our things off. I heard rumors of a wine and cheese reception, but if there was one, we didn’t stay long enough to get in on that. 😦
Here is a pano of our room- it was gorgeous!! I wish I had taken a few more pictures of the space before we messed everything up 🙂 All of the floors throughout the inn are the originals hardwoods that creak beneath your feet. We were able to peak in to a few other rooms too and they are all different with varying levels of “poshness”. I imagine they all have little themes too; ours had a dog theme. Our bathroom also had a clawfoot tub! I’m a bath connoisseur of sorts, so after we got back from the concert I hopped right in. We even had a private balcony that had a two person jetted tub on it! We didn’t have time to enjoy that though.
All of the decorations, mirrors, and furniture had a distinct antique feel which really made the entire stay feel really authentic. I love staying in character-rich places like this, and I will definitely want to return here in the future!
We left shortly after check in so we could make our way toward dinner. We chose the Terminal Brewhouse about half a mile from our Inn, which was also very near where the concert venue was. Chattanooga is laid our really well and the downtown area is flourishing in a way that really surprised me! You can rent these bikes to help get around, and we tried to, but the kiosk we were trying to check them out of crashed and so we just decided to walk. If you’re interested in renting the bikes though, they are 6 dollars a bike with a 59 minute pass. But, the pass is good for 24 hours so all you have to do is check in your bike at another kiosk within 60 minutes, and then you can just immediately check out another. The kiosks are about every other block too. Pretty neat!
We got lucky; the weather here lately has been really enjoyable but a storm rolled in that evening and was threatening us with little rain drops and some pretty significant wind. Good thing we are fast walkers!! We didn’t get too wet. Another thing that also came out of nowhere was a cold snap. To be so close to April, it’s amazing to see the weather shift so significantly. I’m glad we came with jackets! The temperature went from low 70s to mid 40s in just a few hours.
The brewhouse was great! Very “alive” with a great vibe. They, of course, brew their own beer, so we had to sample 🙂
For dinner, I got salmon cakes and Rob got steak! We also sampled some of their pork nachos (they were okay, I don’t think I’m much of a nacho girl).The food and beer was really pretty affordable considering it was a major restaurant downtown. They have just about anything you could want to eat, so I would definitely recommend stopping in if you’re there! They can accommodate a lot of people too. Our waiter was really friendly and made all sorts of suggestions and recommendations to us.
After dinner, we headed over to the concert! It was probably another half a mile walk so I don’t feel too bad about the beers I drank 🙂 In order to get to the venue, you have to walk through the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Museum/ Hotel and Terminal Space. Way back when, it was an operating terminal for several train lines. Much of the integrity of the original station is intact, and the main building is gorgeous with incredibly high vaulted ceilings and old brick and plaster beams with lots of ornate detailing. So, if you enter, look up.
To get to Track 29, you can walk through these converted train cars. These are actually rented hotel rooms! You can stay in the railcars overnight- they are all converted and look like little hotel rooms inside. Track 29 is, in my opinion, the perfect concert venue. It holds probably 1,500 folks and it’s all general admission. They have a large bar in the back where you can order a pretty decent selection of reasonably priced beer and I’m pretty sure you can get popcorn because I kept smelling it 🙂 There is lots of room to mill around in there and there were actually benches around the perimeter of the main space to sit at. There was no real pressure to arrive early or run to the stage because there wouldn’t have been a bad place to stand. (and the bathrooms were spacious and clean! win win.)
There were two opening bands who were REALLY good. Sleepwalkers, and the Weeks. It’s hard to describe their style, except that they each have a great, fresh sound that anyone could enjoy I think. They each played about an hour set and delivered a great performance!
But, we were there to see Roddy, and they didn’t disappoint!! The musical ability of this band will blow your mind. At one point, I thought for sure he was going to play the white right off of the keys of his piano. Definitely give them a listen!! You’ll be hooked. They played until midnight, and we left with big smiles and ears ringing.
We walked the mile back to the Inn and got back just in time before it really started to rain. When we got inside, the entire Inn was asleep and so we took a few pictures sneaking around downstairs.
After this, we creaked up the steps, I took a clawfoot tub bath (so fun!) and we crashed.
The next morning, we woke up early to take advantage of the breakfast (it’s included). I had high expectations for this because the inn had delivered so eloquently on all other fronts, (and breakfast is my favorite meal of the day) but I was unfortunately a bit let down. This is my only complaint of our stay. It wasn’t that it wasn’t nice, but it was not on the same level as all other aspects of the place. Oh well. Rob got the deepest cappuccino I’ve ever seen though. It was really the only thing worth taking a picture of during breakfast.
After breakfast, we got ready, checked out, and started our day adventure.
We drove around for probably an hour, just absorbing in the downtown area. Rob and I both decided we would live here. You just have to see it to feel it- the whole downtown area is large and sprawling with really nice green spaces throughout and friendly foot traffic. The buildings are also beautiful, all different and interesting, and it makes the skyline on all angles really visually appealing. There are shops, restaurants, small businesses and urban living areas all intermingled and thriving. We drove through several new and upcoming living spaces just a short walk from downtown. Then we drove through the hilly neighborhoods just on the perimeter of all that’s going on. The geography of Chattanooga is really gorgeous and the views on the tops of the mountain are insane. With the river, the foothills, and all of the life buzzing from the city center, it makes it a REALLY appealing place. Hmmmm.
Rob and I stopped for lunch at a place called Lupi’s Pizza Pies that was right downtown. It was delicious! Here is a decent pano to give you an idea of the inside of the place. Rob ate the entire pizza. (just kidding (but almost)).
Because we only had a few hours of sleep, we were a little tired, so we walked right next door after the pizza and grabbed an espresso drink from this really quaint coffee and tea shop called Greyfriar’s Coffee and Tea Company. It was quiet and friendly, and they roast their own beans there!
Once we were caffeinated properly, we hit the road to Rock City to do some sightseeing. Rock City is only about ten minutes outside of Chattanooga in a town called Lookout Mountain, GA. The day was chilly and windy, but really bright and sunny so it was the perfect chance to do something outside. Below are just a series of photos that capture our time in the park. It was 20 dollars each to get in, but we spent an hour walking through and it’s really quite amazing. Plus, the view from the top is breathtaking. There were tons of folks there walking through it, but you can time it right where you aren’t directly behind or in front of someone else. The trail takes you through a lot of amazing natural spaces, and in some areas, the rocks are so close you have to turn sideways to pass through.
After we had walked through the entire park, we took a detour to a great craft beer store there to load up on beverages we can’t find at home! One of our traditions when visiting places (if possible) is to bring back liquid loot. We made good on our tradition today. 🙂 Here is a sneak peak of what came home.
We hit the road and made it back home to our critters not too long ago. It’s funny to think we are back on a Friday afternoon at the beginning of the weekend, but feeling as though we just got back from a full weekend! We really did have a whirlwind 24 hours. If you have an opportunity to visit Chattanooga, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I am already looking for a reason to go back!
Great post Dani! Really enjoyed reading about your experiences in Chattanooga and the great restaurants, sights, and stops you both uncovered on a quick trip. It’s impressive what all can be accomplished in a 24 hour window if you make the effort! I look forward to other posts.