Last weekend, we took a little family getaway to Chattanooga, TN. Believe it or not, I’ve never been there, despite the hundreds of times we’ve driven through there on our way to and from Nashville over the years. Craig’s little sister had a softball tournament scheduled for the weekend, and we surprisingly had some free time, so we decided to make a trip up.
First off – why have we never made a point to go there before now?! It’s so easy to get to from Atlanta… it took us an hour and 45 minutes door to (Airbnb) door. And it’s such a pretty place once you get away from the interstate!
We got in town Thursday afternoon, and after checking out our adorable cottage-like rental house, we headed over to the Coolidge Park area. The park area is beautiful and pristine, and the location by the river couldn’t be nicer… but it was SO.SO.HOT. We almost immediately regretted the decision to put Leighton in the stroller to walk around, but we quickly found the antique carousel, and she and I thoroughly enjoyed our ride. We joked that she looked a little seasick when we got off, but I think she had fun.
I got a ton of great restaurant recommendations before going on our trip, and one of the most popular suggestions was Taco Mamacita. Since it was near the park, we continued our walk and sweated our way to dinner. It’s located in a funny little shopping center that is obviously quite old (in a sort of cool, retro way), but there are a few great places sprinkled throughout. Dinner was delicious and super fast, which is greatly appreciated when dining with an impatient infant. I loved their California Club taco, and Craig raved about the Sloppy Jose (which included Fritos in the taco!). We wandered over to Milk & Honey for gelato, and Leighton was a HUGE fan of the couple tastes she got! I think we’ve created a monster.
We spent Friday morning feeling like locals… early breakfast at Aretha Frankenstein’s for the thickest pancakes we’ve ever seen and then a long walk through the neighborhood while Leighton snoozed. Thank goodness we planned to spend the main part of the day at the aquarium so we could get out of the heat. The aquarium consists of two big buildings, one for “river journey” and one for “ocean journey.” It was a long outing for the little lady, but she was a pretty good (quite vocal) sport as we walked through the exhibits. I think our favorites were the butterfly room, stingray touch tank, funny penguins, and the multitude of jellyfish tanks.
After leaving downtown, we took a little detour up to Lookout Mountain and walked/drove through some of the neighborhood streets admiring the view and the incredible mountaintop homes. I had no idea that an actual neighborhood would be that far up the mountain, and so many of the homes were absolutely amazing!
We headed back downtown for a quick dinner at Lupi’s Pizza, which we really liked, and then drove straight back to Milk & Honey for more dessert. (So bad!) We also picked up some pastries for Saturday’s breakfast, including a homemade Nutella pop tart with sprinkles… talk about being right up my alley.
Saturday was spent going back and forth to the softball fields for Craig’s sister’s 3 games. Despite the heat, Leighton was a trooper, and we got to see Cassie’s team win 2 of their games for the day. Go Music City Mustangs!
Due to baby’s bedtime (which we pushed back a decent bit for vacation purposes), we spent each night hanging out on the front porch swing or the back patio drinking wine, talking about how much were obsessed with our baby, and trying not to be eaten alive by killer mosquitos. Aside from those pests, it was the perfect way to wind down and relax after being on the go all day.
By the way, this was our first experience with renting through Airbnb, and we were very pleased with the process and the home we chose! It was so nice to have a whole home (especially a kitchen!), porch, and yard to utilize while traveling with a baby. We took advantage of the walkable location and enjoyed exploring the neighborhood and picking out our favorite homes. A big plus was that the house was just a couple minutes’ drive from pretty much everything we wanted to do, and it felt like we were locals for the weekend. Never would have had that experience by staying at a downtown hotel! Whenever possible going forward, I think we’ll try to rent a home when we take Leighton with us on vacation. If you haven’t tried it yet, get $30 off your first booking!
We had a lovely time in Chattanooga. We’ll just plan to come back next time in the fall so it’s not 100 degrees outside. 🙂