Quote of the Day:
“Come on baby drive south, with the one you love.” –John Hiatt
TB went travellin’ over the Labor Day weekend, this time to meet our Charleston family at a more-or-less halfway point in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Chattanooga is a great town, and getting better all the time. It’s one of the most progressive places I have been, featuring a free electric bus route downtown, publicly owned bicycle stations where residents and tourists can rent a bike and drop it off where they want to go, and free Friday night concerts alongside the Tennessee River. There are good restaurants and pedestrian friendly walkways. And there are a lot of places to entertain your family, from the Aquarium and minor league ballpark downtown, to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, to the southern classics, Rock City and Ruby Falls.
I first went to See Rock City in 1978. I thought it was really cool being able to “see” seven states from atop Lookout Mountain. Squeezing through the huge boulders and navigating the swinging bridge by Lover’s Leap gave me a sense of adventure. Buying a trinket from the junkiest, southernest, and most funnest tourist trap gift store around was a gas. Not much has changed through the years.
As for Ruby Falls, well, it’s kind of cool being 260 feet below the mountain. The falls are pretty. You get to look at it for about a minute, then they turn out the lights.
Truth is, neither of these attractions are really all that grand. But, they are ok. And seeing them has the added benefit of bolstering your southern bona-fides. That’s why I dragged Scamp and the gang through and that’s why I bought them junk at the junkiest, southernest etc etc.
It was while being seduced by all the junk at the junkiest, southernest etc etc that I had the idea of what particular piece of southern junk was missing. A passport of sorts, Confederate, of course. Any Southerner worth his salt has been to See Rock City. And if he hasn’t, he will if and when he happens upon Chattanooga. But what other places around the South would be on my Confederate Travel Passport–a get-rich slow idea if there ever was one by the way? I’ll admit that in a lot of the old Confederacy, I don’t know all the must-see places and I feel the less for it.
Well, here’s my list. Let me know what you would add to it:
- Tennessee–Rock City and Ruby Falls; the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville; Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Beale Street, Graceland and the Rendezvous in Memphis
- Mississippi–the Windsor Ruins near Natchez; Vicksburg Battlefield National Park; Horn Island; the Crossroads in Clarksdale; the Natchez Trace
- Alabama–the Flora-Bama; Talladega
- Louisiana–Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Pat O’s in particular; Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
- Texas–the Alamo in San Antonio; the Texas State Fair in Dallas
- Arkansas–Hot Springs
- Florida–the Southernmost Point buoy in Key West; Daytona Speedway
- South Carolina–the Battery in Charleston, Fort Sumter out in the harbor
- Georgia–Stone Mountain and Turner Field in Atlanta; Savannah
- North Carolina–Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain
- Virginia–Monticello, Monument Avenue in Richmond
And though it isn’t in the South, I feel, as a Southerner, duty-bound to go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania one of these days.
I know I’m missing a lot here. Help me out in the comments. And if anybody wants to get rich slowly with me and has an idea of how to bring this baby to life, let me know!