Chattanooga

Pediatrics rotation is over :'(  But the good part about finishing a rotation is that Jared gets a completely free 3-day weekend in which he doesn't have to worry about studying. We usually like to explore somewhere new during these weekends, and this time we headed to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Savvy and I appreciate that Jared loves the mountains as much as we do and likes to spend his free days hiking. Chattanooga is the cutest mountain city at the base of the Appalachians. 

We got there around noon, and our first stop was some good southern BBQ at the Purple Daisy. We've honestly had better BBQ in Atlanta, but this place was filled with thick southern drawls and oozing with quaint southern charm. Jared gave it 3.5 stars for its food, but 4.5 stars for the overall experience. He got a pulled pork sandwich with spicy slaw, and I got a pork-loaded baked potato with baked beans (yummm). Southern food for the win, always.
^^We didn't think this enormous boulder was climbable, but then Savvy took a huge leap and scrambled onto it! We were like, "If our tiny dog can get up there, we better be able to."
^^Happy pup, chasing squirrels and birds under the bridge.
After lunch, we drove a little ways up Lookout Mountain to hike and find a good valley view. It was nice to (a) get in a good hike on a real mountain (no offense Stone Mountain), and (b) only see two other people (and their dogs) the entire time. We're not what you would call city folk. Atlanta does have some beautiful scenery, but if you want to explore it, you'll likely be sharing the experience with hundreds of other people. We prefer solitude when possible.
Instead of ending at the top of the mountain, our hike took us to the Ruby Falls visitors center. Ruby Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that is apparently inside the mountain? We don't know because it costs $20 a person to go see it :O Last time we paid to see a waterfall in the south we were underwhelmed. This time around we opted to fill our day with all the free attractions Chattanooga has to offer. So we hiked back to our car and drove to the beautiful park at the top of the mountain. It gives the history of the Battle of Lookout Mountain fought during the Civil War. The view was incredible, and it was free because we were there on Presidents Day. Our favorite part of driving around the top of the mountain was seeing all the gorgeous, stately southern-style homes up there. We're like, THIS IS WHAT WE WANT. I don't really know when this happened or how we independently ended up on the same page about it, but Jared and I dream of owning a home and lots of beautiful land on a mountain someday. I think I originally loved the idea of living on a mountain, and Jared has always wanted to own lots of land, so our dreams kind of just merged. Stinkin' Chip and Joanna Gaines have got us dreaming the hugest dreams since we read their book. But hey, we'd rather dream too big than too small.
Our next stop was Clumpies Ice Cream Co at the base of the mt. Jared had set a course for Baskin Robbins because this was a vacation and he needed an oreo shake! But then we passed this place and knew that we had to stop here instead. When exploring a new town, it's always more fun to eat at local places. This one did not disappoint. It was right next to the train you can take to the top of the mountain and it was SO CUTE. Their shakes and malts were incredible too, so 5 out of 5 stars for Clumpies.
^^Face-timing my parents on the bridge
Next stop was Walnut Street Bridge. This is supposedly the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the United States. We left Savvy in the car while we walked the bridge because she was ready for a nap and would have been crazy excited around that many people. It was romantic walking over the river with Jared, watching rowers row under the bridge and stopping on the benches to talk. Not to mention the weather was perfect. Low 70s all day. After our bridge walking, we grabbed Savvy and took her to Walnut Street Park to fetch for a bit. This was the dialogue before that last picture: "Hey Jared, take a cute picture of me playing with Sav!" Every time I request this, Savvy makes the most terrifying faces. Don't let her fangs fool you--she's nothing but a scruffy, playful teddy bear.
I specifically requested that we watch the sunset from the top of a mountain. All my life I've taken sunsets for granted, until we moved to Georgia. As cool as it is to live beneath a canopy of enormous trees, we don't see much sky in our sector of Atlanta, and we don't get to see the sunset. So we nabbed the last parking spot at Sunset Rock on the top of Lookout Mountain and were able to catch the last 5 minutes of the sun dipping behind the Appalachians. Even though I love my Rocky Mountains the most, the Appalachians are exceptionally beautiful. They just feel...calm? If I'd grown up here I'd definitely be partial to them.

And then after the sunset we drove home! Jared hurt his foot at the park at the end of the day, so I ended up driving both ways. It was the perfect one-day vacation. I love our little family.

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