Monday, February 22, 2010

Who knew Chattanooga was the hippest, slap-a-smile-on-your-face city south of DC? It's very walkable, manageable, youthful, green, hilly so you can see everything all the time. The Aquarium is said to be fab, the pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River? Don't look down, if heights aren't your thang. Lots of Civil War history everywhere, it's alive here. The Hunter Art museum is a worthy and rather amazing collection by inspiring other -than- the-usual artists, hanging over the awesome Tennessee River as it winds its way north, south and every which way. It's a beautiful, important river. I'm blown away.

The Arts Bluff District of Chattanooga is charming. We had coffee and pastry at Rembrandt's and don't think it wasn't pure pleasure to sit outside in the afternoon sun sippin real good coffee and eating a very acceptable chocolate eclair, followed by a meringue, knowing the week before I'd been shoveling snow! There was a gorgeous B and B nearby. And North Chat is just as cool, just over the bridge, where W and Linds and darling Chad live. W was the perfect host, squiring us all over town, knowledgeable and fun. The chattanooga choo choo area is way funky, and I highly recommend the Terminal Bar for an impressive brew collection and to die for bison burgers, veggie burgers and plenty of other goodies. The city is flatiron building central, one after another. And hey, whatever you do, start your day at Aretha's in North Chat with an Eight Ball, a pint of creamy draft Guinness with a shot of espresso in it. Now THAT is the way to start your Sunday. Then order off the southern menu, the usual biscuit combos, but buttermilk pancakes 3/4 of an inch thick (this from the thin pancake freak, k? so you know it's good), real applewood bacon perfectly cooked, eggs, yaddayadda. REally the most fun place i've been in in a long while. Phunky, seriously phunky. Must mention the mexican place where we had dinner first night. Taco Mamacita? (Again, North Chat) Yeah, just a fabulous caldo de something (soup) and the freshest guac i've ever ordered anywhere. And of course (eat your heart out) sweet tea sweet tea everywhere.

We never made it to Lookout Mt. Next time. Big woof to Chad the friendliest, most -well-behaved- on- a- walk dog ON EARTH -- I mean he just breezed by those barking monsters and crazy squirrels -- and to W for showing us such a fab time. Missed you Linds!! xoxoxo

Needless to say, I luuuuuuved Chattanooga. I could live here. There's a very cool old bar that was a popular joint on the old chitlin circuit back in the day just waiting for someone to fill it with customers and music once more.....

I am eating like a horse and loving it. Today I had fried catfish for lunch with fried apples, yesterday, fried sweet potato. Like Aunt D said, if the South can fry something they will. And fudge, maple walnut. Lots of mexican... heaven. So give me credit: at least I haven't bought any peanut brittle ... yet. And that's only because I'm scared of what it will do to my old teeth.

I'd say the car is running well, but that's like saying "Aren't the kids being good" -- not a good idea. Ever. Those huge Tennessee hills west of Chat today took their toll. Up onto the Cumberland Plateau, we are in high country now folks. Sealevel is a thing of the past. Farms for miles and rolling miles. Back where my ancestors were the first settlers of this territory, Carroll County, Tennessee. We are here to solve a mystery, arriving with an hour to spare before the genealogical museum closed for the day because of the time change, we gained an hour! Then Jere was so so kind to keep the place open an extra 45 minutes and such a great help. More on that tomorrow. Cause tonight..

I am writing to you from a hotel in PARIS.

No lie...