Chattanooga Getaway

IMG_2428

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.

IMG_2429IMG_2431IMG_2421IMG_2412

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.

IMG_2529IMG_2427IMG_2426

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.

IMG_2443IMG_2467IMG_2438IMG_2457IMG_2451IMG_2455IMG_2470

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!

IMG_2473IMG_2476

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.

IMG_2507

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!

IMG_2509IMG_2527IMG_2528

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!

IMG_2492IMG_2493IMG_2373IMG_2375

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. 🙂

Friends + Food + Floating + Fireworks!

I hope everyone had a safe/fun/relaxing/exciting weekend! We traveled to Mt. Juliet, TN for the 16th annual 4th of July weekend at our friend’s family lake house. As with most of the Southeast, we had a pretty rain-filled holiday, but we made the best of it! We got some games (Sour Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Heads Up for Iphone) and had the most entertaining time waiting out the rain. We had a much smaller group this time around… around 12 or so compared to 30+ in past years, but we had a fabulous time, as we always do!

IMG_8477
We set up a giant tent so we could at least enjoy the outdoors while we played all afternoon. 
IMG_8487

BFFs since high school, and the mister on the left is the reason we met! They also love America. 
IMG_8494

Every year, we have a big, fancy dinner at the Cherokee Steakhouse. Meaning that it’s an all-you-can-eat steak and bring-your-own-cooler type of place. 🙂 It’s always a great time. And I hear it’s for sale with the marina behind it for a cool $6 million if any of you are interested. 
IMG_8496

IMG_8499

IMG_8516

IMG_8551


IMG_8655

Last year, we started a new tradition of going into Nashville to celebrate our friend Hunter’s birthday. This year, we stepped it up a notch with a party bus, complete with a dance floor, which came in quite handy for travel entertainment. 
IMG_9990

IMG_9991
Nothing but magic.
IMG_8571

IMG_8578
Downtown at the honky tonks — this is Craig’s favorite, The Stage. I love the giant mural of country legends along the wall. 
IMG_8601


IMG_8603

IMG_9997
On our last day, we finally got a break from the rain and were able to take the boat out. Perfect way to end our weekend!
IMG_8657

IMG_8658

IMG_8661
Actually, this was the perfect way to end the trip — a private fireworks show by the neighbors. So pretty!
IMG_8697

Despite the less than stellar weather for the 4th, we had a fantastic weekend because we were with wonderful friends. You can’t beat a trip  filled with friends, food, floating, and fireworks!

15th annual lake trip at camp maskill

We have a standing reservation at Camp Maskill every 4th of July. Our friend Hunter’s family is gracious enough to offer up their lake house in Mt. Juliet, TN for all of our friends to celebrate the 4th as well as Hunter’s birthday every year. His parents are the best — not only do they allow us to stay at their house, they cook every meal for us, let us bring our crazy/wet/hairy dogs, and don’t seem to mind us traipsing through their house till the wee hours of the morning.

2012 marks several things — the 15th anniversary of this lake trip, Hunter’s 30th birthday, and his mom’s 60th birthday… needless to say, many reasons to celebrate! Since the holiday fell in the middle of the week, we went early (as I had to fly out to Hoopla on Friday), and several other people came and went throughout the week. We spent our time floating in what felt like 90 degree water, playing washers/pictionary/silly word games, eating lots and lots of cheesy rotel dip, and sleeping on air mattresses/chairs and in cars/tents with 30-40 of our closest friends. We also got to meet our friends Cole and Angie’s newborn baby, Jackson. He slept during most of the visit, but he was still perfectly adorable.




On Thursday night, we added a new activity to the lineup — a trip into Nashville to celebrate Hunter’s Dirty 30. Craig lined up a trolley party bus to take us back and forth, and I think the bus trips were the favorite part of the night! The late night snack at Paradise Park was top of the list, too. If only I’d known to get the corn dogs…



I’m sad to have missed out on the trip to the “steakhouse” with everyone on Saturday. It’s the funniest place — all you can eat steak and potatoes, BYOB, and amazing wood-paneled walls. Ah well… till next time!