Chattanooga is historical and scenic, one of the starting points for the Cherokee Trail of Tears. The Cherokees were gathered up at several junctures where they congregated, but it was at Chattanooga that their Chief and other important business leaders lived. All of this history lies in a part of the country complemented by the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was glad to be hosted to be able to experience it!
What to do: The Portera family purchased and developed the Bluff View Art District of Chattanooga on the Tennessee River. This district, adjoining the Hunter Museum of Art, is complimentary to wander and replete with all things artistic. There isn’t a divide between high and popular art, either: the Porteras believe in art touching all of the senses. They created a panoply of sensory stimulation with a gallery, artisan bakeries, a confectionery and coffee roaster, restaurants, gardens and glass-making studio.
As you explore the Trail of Tears you can enjoy a stop at Ross’ Landing to experience the urban waterfront with its festivals and walking paths. Ross’ Landing was once the site where Cherokee Indians were gathered before their tragic journey west. But it is still possible to see the area as it looked in the Cherokees’ time, reveling in the beauty of the setting as you head to Audubon Acres. Check out the plants and wildlife that were important to Cherokee settlers and buy a souvenir at the gift shop that was once a Cherokee log cabin.
The Museum Center at 5ive Points brings to light what makes Cleveland, Tennessee special. In it, you’ll find the history of Cherokee, pioneers, the Civil War and local manufacturing. The gift shop carries a wide selection of locally created arts and crafts.
Nearby Red Clay State Park is on the Tennessee-Georgia state line. On this historical site the Eastern Council of Cherokee was able to meet when the State of Georgia banished them from their land. The park has always been an amazing treasure trove of natural bounty, including healing waters, watercress, wild onions and black walnuts.
Where to stay: The Delta Queen is an authentic riverboat now moored in Chattanooga and serving as a hotel. The boat boasts presidents and celebrities as past guests. A stay on the Delta Queen is a romantic step back into the Victorian era: rooms are snug with adjoining shower bathrooms, but luxuriously appointed with plenty of ambiance and tons of huge down pillows. Some rooms face the Tennessee River. The upstairs bar also has river views and recalls the riverboat gambling era. A bountiful breakfast buffet is served to guests in the morning, while Creole-American fare is available for dinner.
What to eat: Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria is one of the restaurants in the Bluff View Art District. Breads and pastas are made within the district. Design your own dish with a huge list of house-made sauces. The ambiance is casual and family friendly.
For Italian food with a twist, check out Café Roma. This Cleveland, Tennessee restaurant offers its own house-made salad vinaigrettes and ice cream of the day in a bistro atmosphere.