Sunday, 5 October 2014

Chattanooga - A Historical Gem

At Best Holiday Trav-L-Park, Chattanooga, Tennessee...

Add Chattanooga to our list of first-time visits during this trip (and another favorite). It seems odd that I have lived for more than six decades and traveled fairly extensively in the U. S. and abroad, yet not seen  places like Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Asheville and now, Chattanooga. It was the captivity of the workplace, I suppose, and it is never far from my mind how grateful I am now to be free to enjoy our current lifestyle, exploring those places that have eluded us in the past. I mean, really--what's not to like about meandering around the country in a motorhome with all of Phannie's creature comforts, stopping where we like for as long as we like until we feel we have seen all we want to see?

Chattanooga has much to like in terms of its picturesque location on the Tennessee River, its rich history and its friendly and well-educated populace. (The University of Tennessee has a campus here, along with three other colleges.) And for foodies like us--some really good places to eat!

The city gets its name from a Creek Indian word meaning "rock that comes to a point," a reference, of course, to Lookout Mountain, looming over the city to the west.

It was a major railroad hub in the mid 1800s, causing it to be a strategic goal for capture by the union army during the civil war. It was from Chattanooga that General Sherman pushed out his supplies by rail to Atlanta, where he began his nefarious march to the sea, breaking the back of the confederacy. At least four significant battles were fought in and around the city, most notably those of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

One cannot visit Point Lookout and, looking over the rocky ledge alongside a confederate cannon, not get an eerie sense that the hellish artillery fire had merely paused, soon to resume from its perfect vantage point above the city. I felt an inexplicable but oppressing sorrow, thinking about those men who died here in their attempts to defend or capture this promontory with its strategic importance. It was the same sense of gloom I felt when visiting the Dachau concentration camp near Munich.

On the positive side, the view from Lookout Point was magnificent, the weather was perfect for our visit, and Sandy's outfit coordinated nicely with the patina of the cannon barrel:

Another interesting visit was to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a 400-room hotel at the old railroad passenger terminal in the heart of the city. They had the good sense to preserve the beautiful architecture of the main terminal building by using it as the hotel lobby. If desired, overnight guests can stay in one of the 48 railroad passenger cars that line the tracks along the old passenger loading and unloading platforms.

This is probably enough to absorb for one post. (To all of you out there who are new to blogging: Studies have shown that lengthy posts with dozens of photos will cause readers to lose interest very quickly. As a society, we tend to have a very short attention span these days, thanks to the TV remote and 30-second soundbites.) In keeping with that advice, I'll have more for you in a day or two.

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