West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Civil War sites on Lookout Mountain TN and GA

There is a lot I want to say about the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

I will leave out the specifics of the battle (you can look those up, and there are other sources that do a great job of telling that story), but let me tell you a little bit about my visit to the Chattanooga part of that National Park.

It gets a little confusing here, with the names, two states, etc.  And, there is about 15 miles between the two parts of this park.

We spent some time at the Chattanooga half.  We did go to a brief presentation by a very informative ranger.  He explained how important the area was during the Civil War, because of railroads mostly. 

It is $5 to get in to the main area on Lookout Mountain, and the views of Chattanooga alone are worth the price.

Right next to the National Park office is the Battles for Chattanooga which is a very unique attraction that is not affiliated with the National Park.  It is mostly a well stocked Civil War related gift shop.  But it is also a small movie theater/museum.

The theater itself is exceptionally small.  A movie about the Civil War in the area is shown in a large, panoramic 3 sided screen which is directly over a large diorama of Lookout Mountain and the surrounding area.  Light projected onto the diorama show where forces were at, paths taken down the river, and fighting occurred.  You kind of feel like good watching down on the battles as they happen.

The film/experience is about half an hour long, but it is very informative, and easy to understand.  I felt the $10 ticket was a good value.  There is a one room museum area to visit after the film that has a lot of nice relics on display.

An unexpected highlight of our visit here was the 13 foot by 30 foot James Walker painting (see photo).  Gettysburg has the Cyclorama, and many other sites have similar, amazing, over the top art pieces associated with their battles.  I personally love this sort of thing.

The painting, titled, "The Battle of Lookout Mountain" is overwhelming.  The artist had witnessed the battle and spent 1870-1874 working on it.  See more specific info on the painting here.  I ended up talking to a couple of rangers about it, and they told me that it was donated, by a descendant of the artist in 1987.  It was commissioned by Joseph Hooker, who is at the center of the painting.  The artist was paid $20,000 for his work. 

There has been criticism of the painting for its many inaccuracies.  There is a LOT (an excessive amount) of red in the painting, noting artillery.  Also, many of the soldiers have the same faces.  Still, it is an incredible painting, and since it was done only a few years after the Civil War, it has a very direct connection to the battle.

Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain are such nice places, and we really liked this park and area.  We had some nice chats with several rangers, and there is just a great feel here.  We will be back.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hot Chocolatier in Chattanooga TN

The Hot Chocolatier in Chattanooga is a very cool and unique place to get a sweet drink!

We swung through here on our last trip and we loved it!  The shop is clean and comfortable.  There was a bit of a line here (they obviously do good business) but it moved quickly.  These guys are efficient!

Think coffee shop with a specialty in chocolate.  There were lots of drinks to choose from, but I got a plain old hot chocolate.  They asked if I wanted marshmallows or whipped cream.  Well, the thought of marshmallows got me, and I asked for them!  Check out the photo!  They put one HUGE marshmallow in my drink!  Yeah, that was nice!

They had an interesting selection of other chocolate items you might expect...  I saw some cool looking branded mugs, chocolate covered coffee beans, and some Santa suckers!

AND, there is a nice, large seating area in the back to enjoy your drinks!

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Feed Co. Table and Tavern in Chattanooga TN

Very close to the Chattanooga Choo Choo is The Feed Co. Table and Tavern.  We actually were going to go by another place in the area for lunch, but there was a bit of a wait, so we tried this restaurant.

The atmosphere was colorful and lively.  I love the repurposed drum set that is now a light fixture!  Check out the photo!  The rest of the place was equally unique.  It is inside of an old feed and seed store!

The food was great here too (Chattanooga is such a great place for grubbin'!).  I had a 20 hour brisket French dip at our waiters suggesting, with Brussels sprouts.  Easily one of the best lunches I have had in a long time.  I had a couple of sprouts early in the meal, and decided that I needed to save those for last!  Yep, I treated those tiny cabbages like a dessert!

This restaurant is nice and new, but still projects its past while serving up some classy good food!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Spiritualist Camp Ground- Lookout Mountain TN

I have passed by this historic marker a couple of times on Lookout Mountain.  Check out the marker for more info.  There was a hotel in this area at one point, and a spiritualist community!

Lookout Mountain does have a cool, earthy mysterious vibe..... seems to be an appropriate setting!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Skyline at Night- Knoxville Tennessee

This is an old, undated postcard showing Knoxville at night.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Random Photos of Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain

Here are just a few random photos I took around Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga on our last trip.  We were trying to stick as close to Lookout Mountain as possible (we really enjoyed just reading by the fireplace in our room at the Chanticleer Inn) BUT we both wanted to venture down to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  We love that area.

We both loved the Christmas tree up at the Chattanooga Choo Choo!  Stopping there is a must on each visit.

Anyway, enjoy these pictures!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Chattanooga Post Office

Here is a photo of the post office in Lookout Mountain Tennessee!  VERY friendly staff here!  I stopped by to add a postmark to my collection on our recent trip!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cafe on the Corner in Chattanooga TN

No more than a couple of miles from the previously mentioned Chanticleer Inn (and Rock City) we found the very cool Café on the Corner.

This is another place that, simply because of the odd geography of Lookout Mountain, created some confusion.  Literally less than a 5 minute slow drive from our Inn in Lookout Mountain Georgia is this café, in Lookout Mountain Tennessee. 

This is a nice, small local business that goes out of its way to keep things professional and classy.  The restaurant was very new and sleek, but still comfortable.

I ordered a fried green tomato BLT with greens.  Everything had a unique flavor and it was all very tasty.  I love BLTs and this was one of the best I've ever had.

My wife was oddly in the mood for a burger, and she really enjoyed hers too.  They did it right.

We were stuffed after our meals, but the temptation of a skillet cooked chocolate chip cookie and ice cream was too much.  We were defenseless against this temptation.

As a bit of a side note here, my wife and I tried a new chain place the other night, somewhere else.  For about the same price (around 6 bucks) they also had a very similar skillet cookie.  It was good, but it was more flat.  It was nice, but it wasn't amazing.  It was a bit thin too.

So, back to the skillet cookie here.  CHECK OUT THE PHOTO!  That cookie was thick and satisfying!  We both commented about how much nicer the one at Café on the Corner was than at the other place.

We both like the idea of trying as many new places as we can, but on our second night in town, we both agreed that we wanted to go back to Café on the Corner.  Sure, we wanted to try some more places, give some other local spots a try, but we knew Café on the Corner was a winner. 

We walked in the second night and our waitress from the first night recognized us and took care of us again.  She immediately remembered us, and asked about our trip to Rock City.  She remembered and asked about our stay at Chanticleer.  We thought that it was very sweet that she truly remembered us!  A couple other staff also greeted us with familiarity.  I can see how locals fall in love with this place.

I had some broccoli cheese soup and pecan salad on this night.  I loved it just as much as the night before.  We very briefly talked about getting the cookie again, but... well that would have just been wrong.

If you are going to be near Rock City or Lookout Mountain, you must stop here for a bite to eat.

Monday, December 19, 2016

1940 Postcard from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

This great postcard was cancelled in 1940, from Lookout Mountain!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Enchanted Garden of Lights- Rock City Georgia

I have mentioned Rock City several times before.  The place is very cool.

We had been wanting to go and see their  Enchanted Garden of Lights for some time now, and we finally got around to it! 

We were there on a crowded night, and there was some slow moving through some areas, but it was all great fun.

Here are a few photos!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Lover's Leap, Lookout Mountain Georgia

"P.S. Highway 58 is the best road up Lookout Mountain to Rock City, you don't need a guide."

I remember reading that Rock City made promotional material to counter the guides in the area who intimidated tourists into thinking they needed a guide to get up the mountain.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Chanticleer Inn- Lookout Mountain Georgia

We were very lucky to have had the chance to stay at the Chanticleer Inn on Lookout Mountain recently.

One thing that we thought was very cool about this place (and a main reason we really wanted to stay here) was its location to Rock City.  We have wanted to see the Christmas lights at Rock City for several years, and after checking google maps, we saw that the Chanticleer was literally right next to the old tourist attraction!  That alone is a huge plus!

So, we booked 2 nights here over a recent weekend.

The exterior of the Inn has a very brown and gray rustic feel.  The interior is very cozy, and we had a nice fireplace in our room!  It was the exact kind of place you would want to stay at while on Lookout Mountain.

Our room had a small fridge stocked with complementary Coke products and bottle waters.  There was a coffee maker too, though coffee and tea were available 24 hours in the dining area of the main building.

The dining area was very nice, and each evening we stopped by for snacks and tea, and each morning we had a nice breakfast.  Check out those nice large windows looking outside!

Our breakfasts were straight up great.  Chanticleer Inn offered a very nice set up of muffins, fruit, and other standard breakfast items, and then you could choose a nice made to order main breakfast item from a couple of options.  I had pecan pancakes one morning, and a breakfast pot pie kind of thing the next.

I asked one of the owners (who were super friendly and helpful) if they get most of their guests visiting to see Rock City or the Civil War sites.  He told us that they do get a lot of fans of both, but most people are simply there to see Chattanooga.  He added that that does create some confusion in general, as the Inn is technically not even in the same state as Chattanooga!

This was another great Inn that we loved, and that I am sure we will be back to!