Welcome back … hope that everyone had a nice holiday weekend. We’ve got some catching up to do, including filling you in on one of the more unusual side trips we’ve taken with Ty and Buster.
Built in the late 1920s on the estate of Garnet and Frieda Carter, Rock City is an unforgettable roadside attraction located atop Lookout Mountain, Georgia – about six miles from downtown Chattanooga. Frieda laid out a winding trail through grottos, giant rock outcroppings, and along cliff ledges and populated it with indigenous plant life and statues of gnomes and fairytale characters. Opening in 1932, Garnet (the inventor of miniature golf) promoted the attraction with the iconic slogan, “See Rock City,” which he had painted on the roofs of barns and birdhouses along highways leading into Chattanooga.
We took Ty and Buster – the flagstone trail is pet friendly! We started along the Grand Corridor. Meandering through Needle’s Eye and Fat Man Squeeze … each just wide enough to get through sideways.
We crossed both the Swing-a-Long and the Stone Bridge that hang suspended over deep gorge. The climb to Lover’s Leap and the Seven States Flag Court was worth the effort – local lore says you can see GA, TN, AL, NC, SC, KY, and VA from here! Resting under the 1000-ton Balanced Rock leaves you a little wary, and we left through the Fairyland Caverns, where a series of dioramas of children’s fairytales are set into the walls. The characters are painted in fluorescent colors and lit by ultraviolet light. This is definitely one of the most unique places we’ve toured.
On the way out, we picked up a late lunch at the Big Rock Grill and ate at the outdoor tables where pets are also welcome.
We spent about two hours at Rock City, which left Ty and Buster exhausted from the mental exercise of heeling, sitting, and waiting on the narrow trail. I recommend going early, shortly after opening. We visited in the early afternoon, and it did get fairly crowded, making the trail somewhat difficult to navigate with the boys at times.
Several residents of the area were surprised to see our boys on the trail, vowing to bring their dogs when they come back. It’s a great reminder that our Activities listing can be used to find fun, local things to do with your pets.
We stayed at Hale’s Bar Marina & Resort in Guild, TN. Our campsite was right on the bank of the Tennessee River, making for gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The staff and the other campers were very friendly, and nearly everyone had a pet. You can rent small floating cabins (folks with pets must provide an additional $25 deposit), which look like a cross between a houseboat and a log cabin. We’ll definitely check those out the next time we’re in the area.
Rock City plays host to many activities and events, including a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, a Southern Blooms Festival, summer music weekends, and an October Fest. The best might be the Enchanted Garden of Lights, a November-December illumination of the park with millions of Christmas lights and displays. I imagine that a visit here, with any of these events serving as the backdrop, would be a fun experience.
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