What's the one thing you don't want to happen when you're on a road trip? Have car trouble.
My mom, sister and I were chuggin' along on the 16 hour car ride to Georgia to meet the rest of the fam for a week long family vacation. After driving for 11 hours, getting 4 hours of sleep in a sketchy roadside hotel and being exhausted the as we set out the next morning we were not thrilled when the brakes to the car decided to stop working causing a 4 hour pit stop and a $400 check for auto repair.
Nonetheless we lucked out and happened to be stranded in one of my favorite places in Tennessee- Chattanooga. This city is vastly underestimated. It's about 117,000 people and located right on the Tennessee River. I spent a few days here a year ago and was happy to be back with a few hours to explore - even if it meant the car was crapped out.
We hopped in an Uber and made our way to the arts district and Coolidge Park. The park is on the other side of a ton of boutiques and restaurants. It has an adorable fountain surrounded by stone animals, spacious green areas, well kept and landscaped walk ways and a carousel house.
After riding the carousel we walked to the front of the park for some breakfast and boutique shopping. I could have purchased everything in the boutiques if my wallet would have let me. Typically I'm rollin' on a TJMaxx budget... not a hand picked boutique budget... but it's still fun to look. We ate breakfast at this great restaurant called Beast and Barrel. They had a fantastic interesting menu and the atmosphere was very much like a gastro pub. It was bright and airy with open windows and a back patio. The bar was white marble and set up along the side of the restaurant was their bloody mary and mimosa bar. Everything was delicious and I would recommend this to anyone in the Chattanooga area.
After breakfast we walked across the river on the wooden footbridge which was fun and good exercise after the big breakfast. On the other side of the city we walked passed apartments and the residential area and then down around the aquarium which has a river walk, shallow "streams" for kids to play in and an a Saturday morning art fair. After spending some time walking through and exploring the city it was time to grab lunch. We wandered into a restaurant on the main street leading to the aquarium called Bluewater Grill. They had a spacious interior as well as a sidewalk patio with a bar opening from the inside out. We sat at the bar on the outside patio and I had the best BLT of my life because it included blue lump crab... so I guess a BLTC? I'm telling you guys, it's only a matter of time till I transplant myself near the ocean so I can constantly stuff my face with fresh seafood.
When we walked in there was a sign that read “drink like a local with Bluewater Lemonade. Sounds good to me! I always start with a new establishment’s signature cocktail first to get a feel for their style and also that’s a great way to constantly try new things and break out of a routine.The bluewater lemonade consisted of Stoli Blueberi Vodka, fresh blueberries and mint shaken with fresh lemon juice and sugar. I LOVED IT! You could really taste the blueberry with the combination of flavored vodka and fresh berries. It also wasn’t too sugary or sweet due to the fresh lemon juice rather than lemonade from the beverage gun. It was really refreshing and a great way to start vacation… despite having a broken car on a cross-country road trip!