Rock City was on my list of must-do's for our Girls’ Weekend in Chattanooga. I have been to Chattanooga a dozen times but had never made it to this famous attraction. I was so glad that I was able to go with two of my best friends, because we were able to act like children and let our imaginations run wild at this fun landmark.
We really didn’t know what to expect, which added to our fun. We started at the Garden’s Gateway Gift Shop and made our way down the trail. We passed through the open garden that is The Grand Corridor before coming into the narrow slot canyons of Gnome Valley. The Needle’s Eye led us to the first gnome arrangement.
We continued to see them throughout the canyon and surrounding gardens. The various flowers weren’t in bloom, but I can only imagine how beautiful they must be in the spring. Goblin’s Underpass was the only remaining stop before our favorite part of the trail.
The Swing-A-Long Bridge is a 180 feet long suspension bridge with a breathtaking view. My one friend and I enjoyed terrorizing our other friend by jumping and running on the bridge. She nor the kids behind us were big fans, but we were having too much fun to stop!
The bridge leads to a wonderful view of Rock City’s main attractions: Lover’s Leap, High Falls, and the Seven States Flag Court. You start by taking in all their beauty from an observation point before making your way across the Sky Bridge over High Falls to arrive at the Seven State’s Flag Court. The view is incredible from atop Lookout Mountain, and you can see farmland for miles and can even spot one of the famous “See Rock City” barns.
We marveled at the many views and pointed out different sites before we started our descent along the trail. We passed through Fat Man’s Squeeze and Rainbow Hall on our way to another great view of the falls. After a quick picture, we headed back into the canyons to discover the best part of the gardens.
We read on one of the plaques that the original owner’s wife loved European folklore, but we didn’t expect the incredible black-lit displays that were inside of Fairyland Caverns. We walked around the pitch black hallway admiring the miniature recreations built into the wall.
The hallway of fairy tales and nursery rhymes led to Mother Goose’s Village. It hosts a massive and incredible tabletop display of nursery rhymes centered around a castle and surrounded by a moat.
The wonderful display of characters and creations was a charming way to wrap up a great day at Rock City. My girlfriends and I had a spectacular time admiring the waterfalls, looking out over the miles of landscape, and wandering through Rock City’s various themed sites. I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time to see everything this southeastern landmark has to offer.
After exploring around Rock City and Ruby Falls all morning and afternoon, we had built up quite the appetite. We were looking for a Chattanooga, Tennessee, restaurant that would give us a big meal for our money.
We found Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria after searching around Yelp! and other review services. We were so glad to have found this quaint restaurant on the banks of the Tennessee River in the cute Bishop Arts District.
We each started with some local brews while we waited outside for a table. Once we sat down, we ordered the fried cheese ravioli to start, and we talked more about how much fun we had earlier that day. After devouring our appetizer, my two friends ordered the low country linguine for their entrees while I ordered the spaghetti con crudo with a caesar salad.
The homemade pasta and fresh ingredients made for an incredible pairing of flavors in all of our dishes. We were so glad to have stumbled upon this wonderful, Italian pasta house.
Ruby Falls is one of Chattanooga’s prized possessions. I was lucky enough to have grown up coming here on field trips in elementary school, but neither of my friends had been, so during our Weekend Trip to Chattanooga, we were sure to go!
After spending the morning at Rock City, we made the quick drive across Lookout Mountain to Ruby Falls. Surprisingly, we were greeted by a line that stretched out the door, and our pre-purchased tickets gave us no privilege in line. After our 45-minute wait, we were standing at the doors of the 260-foot elevator and waiting to go down the into the cavern.
This is the same shaft that the explorer Leo Lewis created in the early 1900's when he found the falls. The most incredible thing, to me, was that he crawled in an opening only one and one half feet tall for over eight hours before discovering the falls. On the tour, you get to see the original crawl tunnel, and I felt claustrophobic just thinking about being in there in the pitch black.
Since the walkways are still extremely small, our group of probably 40 had to walk in a single file line. That made it very hard for our tour guide to point things out as we were walking. Alternatively, a built-in P.A. system gives you information and points out the viewpoints along the tour. There are very cool natural formations like the Tobacco Leaves, the Elephant’s Foot, and one really cool hands-on formation.
We arrived at the waiting area just before the falls, and our guide told us to look up and around the falls once we'd entered to see from where the water originally fell. Once the previous tour group came out, we walked into a very dark opening and followed the sound of the rushing water to the fall.
The lights slowly began to turn on from the bottom of the formations, and before we knew it, we were face to face with the beautiful, 126 feet high, underground waterfall. We stood in awe for so long that we forgot to get a decent picture in front of the falls when it was lit with white light.
Only a few minutes in front of this natural wonder was not enough. I hope when John and I come back, we go on an extended tour or a lantern tour. Ruby Falls was absolutely mesmerizing, and I am so glad that I got to take two of my friends on their first visit.