Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023
Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lost Sea Adventure & Chattanooga highlights - Friday, February 25, 2011

5:30 a.m. was a long time ago. It is now 10:50 p.m. We spent some time in Chattanooga and need to go back for another day or two. Both of us agreed we loved Chattanooga.

To fill in the time gap, here's what we did today...

1. Drove through Great Smoky Mountain's southwestern area (Cade's Cove Rd) to exit the park.  Near the Sugarlands Visitor Center, we saw a flock of about 13 wild turkeys. While driving, I had to dodge small branches, sticks, pieces of branches, rocks and even a tree as a result of the high winds experienced in the area overnight. We pulled into a roadside lot to let someone who wanted to go fast pass us. In the lot, a park ranger driving a pickup with a plow on the front of it (who had come from the other direction) asked us if any trees were down on the road from the direction we had come. We told him that there was a small tree blocking half the road. He headed out to move it. On the road he had already cleared, we didn't have any problems.

2. The Lost Sea Adventure, Sweetwater, TN. This is a unique tour. We hiked down into a cave, passing interesting cave formations along the way. Our destination? A 4-1/2 acre underground lake which is 30' deep. And what did we do there, you might wonder? We took a glass-bottom boat ride around the lake. The owners of the cave stocked the lake with trout a number of years back as an experiment to see if there was another exit to the cave. Apparently there isn't as the trout didn't leave. They feed the trout on their tours and keep lights on 12 hours a day so the trout don't go blind and don't lose all their pigment. No fishing is allowed in the lake.

We are on Tennesee's Civil War Trails.
Screams "tourist trap," doesn't it? Still interesting.
If you're really adventurous and want to explore other parts of the cave, you can pay extra, don overalls, helmets, headlamps and boots and really go for the spelunking thing. Not my thing.

Motorized boats take us out on the underground lake.
Here's the trout.
After the Lost Sea Adventure, we ate lunch as we drove to Chattanooga--tuna sandwiches (we had prepared in our room before we left), sliced green peppers and cookies.

3. Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, TN. What a day for attractions! To get to Ruby Falls, we took a tour that descended 260' in an elevator to a natural cave. On the cave tour, we saw all the usual formations--cave bacon, columns, stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, flowstone, etc. 

The one thing that made this cave so special to us is the 145' waterfall that is 1,120' down in the earth. Not only that, but the cavern the waterfall is in is lighted so it looks surreal, but beautiful.

Lighted cavern...light changes color.
Ruby Falls.
Yep, definitely water droplets in here!

Ruby Falls Cavern has gone green. That's right, this cave is solar powered. 

Here's the bank of solar panels, hard at work.
4. Lookout Mountain Incline Railway (funicular). At a gradient of 72.7 percent, this is one of the steepest railways in the world. There are two cars that counterbalance each other...as one goes down, the other goes up. Each is pulled or lowered by a large cable. The view from the railway is spectacular. The overall experience, though unique, proved to be a little slow-paced for us.

Inside the railway car.
Looking out the front window on the way down.
The view out the "roof" of the car from our seat.
Looking out the back window at the steep tracks.
Here's the funicular.

Up at the top, we had spectacular views of Chattanooga and the surrounding countryside.

Chattanooga, Tennessee
More Chattanooga, Tennessee.
5. Rock City Gardens. To me, this place was awesome. It's a garden that was created around large rocks. Pathways meander and wind up, over, under and through the rocks. Music plays softly as you explore the delightful, peaceful, and sometimes playful gardens. There's a swinging bridge, rock bridge, seven-states overlook, High Falls, Lover's Leap, Rainbow Hall, Fairyland with Mother Goose Village, enclosed spaces and wide-open vistas. This was a great way to end the day.

Swing-A-Long Suspension Bridge

I like suspension bridges!
Click on photo to read.
The original owner's home is on the property and still a private residence.
Bald eagle sculpture.
Bob at High Falls overlook.
 Whimsical to boot.

Gettin' my goblin on.

 Fairyland Caverns had beautiful black-light dioramas of many Mother Goose and other fairy tales.

Hansel and Gretel.
The Three Little Kittens.
I want one!
For dinner, we headed to downtown Chattanooga and decided on the Big River Grill on Broad Street. Hands down, this was the best meal on our trip to date. I had Hazelnut Crusted Chicken with Dried Cherry Gravy, white cheddar mashed potatoes and green beans. My chicken was exquisitely prepared. The dried cherry gravy complemented the hazelnut chicken and the mashed potatoes. YUM! The food just melted in my mouth. I gave Bob half of it and he loved it too. Bob ordered chicken nachos with black beans and tri-colored chips. The nachos were excellent as well, but the hazelnut chicken won best food of the trip.

That's all for today. Are you tired of reading yet? I know I'm tired.

1 comment:

  1. Been there, done that! One of my fave places to explore. Thanks for the memories!


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