Week Seven and Eight


Chattanooga, TN – what a beautiful city!


 Chattanooga from Lookout Point



Trivia question:  in what city was the original Coca Cola bottler????  If you guessed Chattanooga – you win a Coke!


                                                                   Look close. . .The canopies are in the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle cap




Lots of Civil War history, Native American culture and great ribs!!!!  Our original neighbors from Virginia – Bob & Crystal – moved to Chattanooga before we left Virginia and welcomed us to their city and showed us the sights, foods and brews that make the city special.  When you look up the definition of “Southern Hospitality” in Webster’s, you will find a picture of Bob and Crystal with definitions of great folks, good friends and “southern hospitality.”


These folks define “good friends and southern hospitality”. . .


The barbeque is outstanding and the microbrewery offerings are great.  Ron highly recommends the sampler at the Big River Grille & Brewing Works.  What better way to pick your favorite!


The Battles of Chattanooga (Tennessee) and Chickamauga (Georgia) were fought in this area, as Chattanooga was an important shipping route for both sides.


As we drove the self-guided trail of the Chickamauga national battlefield, we came across this small home sitting in the middle of a battlefield.  When you read the placard, you learn that this is the reconstructed home of a family whose children assisted the Confederate Soldiers – the eldest son “knew every pig path” and was able to play scout for the Confederacy while one of the daughters milked all of the cows owned by the family herself so that she could help feed the soldiers.  These are the small stories that are intertwined throughout the civil war battles and add “a face” to the conflict.  The theater presentation in the museum is one of the best we have seen as we explore all of the Civil War battlefields.


Here again, regardless of whether or not you are a Civil War buff, you should take the time to explore the museum and battlefield.



Brotherton Cabin—Chickamauga National Battlefield



We explored Chattanooga and the surrounding area. 


PS. . . Chattanooga made the “consider as a city to call home” list.  The downtown area is under urban renovation.  The Aquarium and Imax Theatre are spectacular. 





While Asheville’s claim to fame is the Biltmore Estate, our reason for stopping was to visit an old friend.  For those of you who know Katherine R., check out how the girls have grown. . .McKenna (6) and Kendyl (5). 


Leaving School                                                                                                                                    “Uncle” Ron



Don’t worry. . .we did spend the day at the Biltmore Estate and found the properties to be awesome.  Plan to spend one day touring the house and winery and a second day taking the secondary tours of the rooftop and sub-structure.   We highly recommend that you rent headsets for the house tour as listening to the narration while touring the rooms provides all the details.   When we were there in early November, many of the rooms had already been decorated for the Holidays as the “official” Christmas season opens November 7th and it takes more than three weeks to complete the process.


The original stables adjacent to the main house have been renovated to include the gift shops and The Stable Café.  We got a great lunch and had an afternoon snack from the Estate Bakery.  Be certain to check out the wine and food sampling area in the gift shop as a “tide over” until you get to the winery. 


Biltmore House


While we were on the property, we learned that the oaks lining the driveway must be taken out and replaced due to disease.   When we read a placard about the construction of the grounds, we noticed that the trees were originally planted at the turn of the century so are just over a 100 years old.  The replacement trees have been cared for already for several years so that there is some size to the new plantings.  All of the gardens are groomed and maintained all year long. 


Fountain along the Front Entry Gate


Much of the surrounding farmland is still in use today and, in fact, until recently the Biltmore Dairy was still owned and operated by the Estate. 


NO photos are allowed inside the house so we would recommend that you purchase the Guidebook to the property.  It contains lots of information that add to the Biltmore experience.


Last, but certainly not least, we toured the winery.  The winery, museum and tasting gallery are housed in the original dairy barns with a wonderful FREE wine tasting at the end of the walking tour.  There is also a paid sampling room for the premium wines and champagnes.  Kat and I weren’t feeling all that bad when we finished the free tour but she insisted that we sample the champagnes.  My favorite wine was the Winemaker's Selection Chenin Blanc.