From My Carolina Home

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Quick Trip to Chattanooga

Last week another opportunity came up to take a really fast trip with DH.  He had a small job to do in Chattanooga, driving over one day and back the next.  It was too good to pass up, so again I packed a bag and tagged along.  We drove over in the morning, and there is nothing like going over the high pass on I-40 in the morning light.  The mountains are just gorgeous green now!  There was a bit of overcast sky part of the way, but no rain.

Hwy I40 - 11

Hwy I40 - 16

Very little traffic for a good part of the way made for a relaxing drive.

Hwy I40 - 17

Arriving in Chattanooga just after lunchtime, I dropped him off, and went shopping all afternoon.  I started at an enormous bookstore called McKays.  You have to see it to believe it.

McKays Books Chattanooga 1

Reading and video are on the ground floor, audio cds and vinyl are on the second floor balcony that ran all the way around the building.

McKays Books Chattanooga 2

This is the hardback fiction aisle, it keep me occupied quite a while.  Then the cookbook aisle was calling.  I know I was there at least 2 hours!

McKays Books Chattanooga 5

The result of my browsing was a small haul, with an author signed, first American edition, hardback copy of the Jeffrey Archer book I was missing for just $7. All the other books ranged in price from 50 cents to $1.50. Yep, that little!  The cookbooks , Best of the Best, were just 50 cents each.  I plan to attempt making paper soon, and found a book on that subject as well. The other books have been on my hunt list for a long time, over 2 years for On Rue Tatin!  Finding treasure is exciting, but finding it at $1 was a special thrill.

McKays Books Chattanooga 7

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the thrift stores, but that wasn’t a fruitful venture.   The one I spent some time looking for was closed on the weekday that I was there.  Several more thrifts were visited but nothing spoke to me.  Back at the hotel, I asked the nice, and very helpful young man named Rhett at the front desk for a recommendation for dinner.  We were directed to Mount Vernon, a Chattanooga institution since 1955.  As luck would have it, it was only about 10 minutes away.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 9

Rhett had given us a coupon for a free appetizer of fried green tomatoes that came with a horseradish sauce.  Yum!!

Mount Vernon Restaurant 1

DH and I both had fish, mine was salmon with a lovely garlic and parsley butter.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 2

He had grilled haddock, and we both got the squash casserole.  I’ve been working on a squash casserole recipe at home, and I’ll be posting that soon.  I want to make it one more time to be sure I have it the way I want it.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 3

I liked the ambiance of the place, so inviting with low lamps and nice decorations in the lobby.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 7

So many times, older restaurants like this get stagnant and stale, but not this one.  The music was low, modern jazz.  It looked like it had been updated with soft colors in yellow and blue with off white trim, warm and elegant but not dated.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 6

Service was outstanding.  The menu was fresh and on trend with locally sourced food as much as possible.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 5

The next morning, while DH was working again, I drove up to Lookout Mountain and was surprised to learn that there are no lookouts. I am spoiled by the Blue Ridge Parkway with its many overlooks and free parking areas to take pictures of our magnificent views. But, the only way I found to get even an idea of the view was to park at a meter regulated space, and try to get a picture across a private garden of the valley beyond.

Lookout Mountain 2

It looked like a lovely space, but it was posted as private, and surrounded by fencing, with the entrances gated and locked.

Lookout Mountain 3

There are a few attractions to see, but they were really pricey and didn’t have views. I thought the underground caverns would be fun, along with seeing a very high waterfall that was in the caverns, but I wanted to do that with DH, not by myself. So, I went down to the Riverwalk.

Tennessee Riverwalk 5

It is a beautiful area, clean and nice for a long walk on the Tennessee River.

Tennessee Riverwalk 2

Heading back toward the area where I had parked, I spotted a blue heron on the walk.

Tennessee Riverwalk 6

Amazingly, he wasn’t afraid of me at all.

Tennessee Riverwalk 8

I asked him what his thoughts were this fine morning, but he didn’t care to share them.

Tennessee Riverwalk 9

Walking a bit further the other direction, there are bridges for cars and pedestrians, along with the lovely shoreline scenery.

Tennessee Riverwalk 11

I also visited a really wonderful quilt shop, I’ll show you that with the next Be My Neighbor block.  Picking up DH, we decided to have lunch before beginning the drive back home, spending barely a day in Chattanooga.  I am certain we need to go back again, there was a lot to do, and I want another meal at Mount Vernon.  On the way home, we stopped in Knoxville at the other McKays Used Bookstore, and yes I found a few more books, just as inexpensively too.  This was a really fast trip, but enjoyable with a nice bit of time to just talk while in the car.  I left my laptop at home, and just enjoyed the scenery and the time with my dear husband.

Have you made any quick trips like this?

 

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Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

We love driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, and these pictures are from a drive we did last July. There are a number of neat tunnels on the parkway, fun to honk the horn as we go through with our car club.  I haven’t shown the tunnels before, so now is a good time to show them, while I study.  The mountains are so gorgeous in summer, so green with many days of hazy blue over the distant peaks.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Rocky bald areas accent those lush green hills.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Most of the tunnels are stacked stone, with lovely green mountain laurel, rhododendrons and other green shrubs surrounding the openings.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Inside, some are short enough to see light on the other side, while others will put you into pitch blackness for a bit. These are all west of Asheville, before you get to the high point.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Coming out into the sunshine.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

And then a short drive to another tunnel.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Sometimes as soon as you leave one tunnel, there is another one in sight.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

There are five or six of these fairly close together on the parkway going west.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Stopping at one of the many overlooks, the view is just spectacular.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Each overlook has beautiful views.  It is heaven to live in the mountains.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

DH sold his little British car, so we haven’t been out for a drive recently.  We are hosting a special kind of rally event Saturday, but we will be doing timing and scoring, so not driving.  We really need to go on a hike soon.  Do you have nice areas nearby for a day drive?

How about some shopping without having to drive anywhere?
New fabrics in my Etsy Store, Click HERE.
This week, new items in my eBay store, listings end Sunday!  Click HERE.
New pattern in my Craftsy Store, click HERE.
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