Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rock City, 2017

I know I am probably not alone in this, but the more time that slips by, the harder it is to stay in touch with old friends.

Technically I am "in touch" with many old friends via social media, but actually getting to visit (in person or on the phone) doesn't happen very often.

We are all busy with life. Marriage. Kids. Extended family. Jobs. New friends we've collected over the years. It's a lot to keep up with.

But every few years or so, the stars align and an impromptu visit happens where we get the opportunity to catch up for real.

A few weeks ago, such an opportunity occurred. Julie, one of my roommates from college, was in Nashville and she messaged asking if we could meet up. She was hoping to do some Chattanooga-specific activities with her kids as they traveled home to Virginia.

Of course, I said "Yes!"

Julie wanted to go to Rock City on Lookout Mountain. In the four years we have lived here, it's one of the places we haven't visited. It's about a 25-minute drive from where we live and a bit touristy (so we had heard).

Truth-be-told, I like to visit trails that are a bit more (ahem) wild, but I agreed to meet my old friend and her kiddos for a middle of the week visit to the attraction.

In the end, due to some time constraints and commitments (Jack had taekwondo practice that we had already missed that week), we ended up meeting for a vary abbreviated tour (for us, Julie and her kids stayed longer and actually went to Ruby Falls as well).

At this stage in life, I'll take what I can get.

Rock City was actually pretty cool. It is a bit expensive, so I think we might consider a family pass if we go back with Daniel. We have heard that it is a pretty sweet place to visit at Christmas, and I know my brother, and my sister and her family, would be like to check it out some time.

I'll be honest and say that my preconceived idea about Rock City was that it was very fairyland oriented and maybe a little hokie. I'm glad I didn't let that stop us from making the visit to catch up with my friend and see the waterfall at Lover's Leap (I've been wanting a closer look than the view from the Ochs Highway going up Lookout Mountain).

I ended up really liking Rock City (we did skip the Fairy tunnels at the end due to time), but the quiet, meandering trail through various cracks in rock is totally the type of thing I like.

There was a miniature Mushroom Rock (Jack noticed it first, we have a huge, natural Mushroom Rock on our mountain), and also a miniature barn that said "See Rock City." You see these barns advertising Rock City all over the valley.

The kids were enamored with the maps that told us where were going. They also enjoyed finding all of the little garden gnomes hidden along the trail, and searching for wild deer in a natural habitat built along the trail.

Another favorite for the kids was the crack we walked through called "Fat Man Squeeze." This was exciting for me since I was carrying Isaac on my back. Normally you can turn sideways to fit through a crack (most of us are wider in the shoulders), but the backpack carrier made me equally wide from side-to-side and front-to-back. Hah! Thankfully we squeezed through with Isaac intact.

The view from Lover's Leap was breathtaking.

To get to Lover's Leap, you walk out on a swinging bridge (there is a stone bridge for those who are more timid),

and there is a patio with a panoramic view of the valley, along with seven flags that represent the states you can see on a clear day.

If you are looking for a fun thing to do in Chattanooga, I would recommend Rock City, though it is expensive. If we end up getting an annual pass, I think I will persuade Daniel to go on a date night there – Cafe 7 is located on top of Lover's Leap.

Pricing is as follows:
General Admission: $19.95 │ Annual Adult Pass: $39
General Admission (ages 3-12): $11.95 │ Annual Child Pass (ages 3-12): $23
Kids 2 and under are Free
Other ways to save: Bundle your tickets and visit another attraction the same day, or consider buying a Hamilton County School Coupon book that has one free child's pass with an adult purchase.

I don't know what Rock City is normally like, but the middle of the week was perfect for us. I didn't feel overwhelmed by people at all!  

Julie and I didn't get to visit much at Rock City, but the next day we met up for a little fun at Coolidge Park, including walking across the Walnut Street walking bridge and eating lunch at Good Dog. Sometimes it is fun to do the touristy stuff, especially if it's with an old friend!

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