Spring Break - See Rock City

Who is ready to see Rock City?

Spring Break! Spring Break! The blessed reprieve from work, a chance to literally stop and smell the roses, the gathering of a breath before diving deep into the fourth quarter sprint to the finish line. If you're a teacher with small children at home, and the children are being good, it's a happy preview of the glories of the coming summer off. (If the children are being bad, well, it gives you ample time to line up your schedule of day camps.)

Many spring breaks are utilized by the mister and I to take a break from the kids. The first time we ever left Violet overnight was a spring break mini-vacay to Serenbe. Then there was the spring break we used as an excuse to celebrate our ten years of wedded bliss at the Grove Park Inn. (We tried hard to justify another trip there this year... maybe in another decade!)

But as the kids get older, it is becoming easier to take them along on our jaunts, and I suppose it's not entirely fair to always ditch them for our own fun. So this spring break we decided to let them in on the action and planned a three-day getaway to Chattanooga. I know, Rock City versus the Grove Park Inn, definite downgrade right? But before you roll your eyes, I have to say how pleasantly surprised I was by this city to our north. I used to live in Dalton, just a stone's throw from the Tennessee border, so Chattanooga has never seemed like a destination. We'd regularly hop the state line to go to the mall. But it was perfect for our little family of four. 

Our first stop, on the way into town, was Rock City. I've been within spitting distance of this tourist destination many times (growing up, there were company retreats held just down the road on top of Lookout Mountain) but never actually visited. Say what you will, but I found it utterly charming! The kids were ready to get out and run around after our car ride, and this place gave them the perfect opportunity. Violet was eager to lead the way, and would have happily brought us through the entire attraction at a jogging pace. In fact, the entire trip was pretty much just her asking if it was time to move on to the next thing - the excitement for her was less in what she saw, but how quickly she was able to get there. (For Annie, the entire trip was pretty much just convincing me to pick her up. Girlfriend oscillated between fierce independence - pushing the stroller herself, jerking out of my grasp - and complete potato sack of noncompliance.)

This girl led the way!

Fat Man Squeeze!

But back to the delight that is Rock City. We were fortunate to get there before any school groups showed up and ran through the entire place with hardly an interruption. If you've never been, you follow a path over and through various natural rock formations, entertained along the way by cheesy gnomes doing whatever it is gnomes do. The path eventually leads you to a lovely lookout spot that will inspire you to grab your children by the backs of their shirts lest they lean too zealously over the railing. Had Annie not been on the verge of naptime meltdown, we probably could have gone through the entire park again, based on the breakneck speed Violet led us through the first time, but we decided to call it while everyone was still relatively happy and we headed to our hotel to check in and chill out.

Look out!

After exploring the hotel, we headed to an Italian restaurant on the river for dinner. We explored the little park next to the restaurant, then discovered a walking bridge that spans the river. It was filled with families, joggers, puppies and it was the perfect way to cap off the day, enjoying the sunset over the water. It was nice to be able to let the kids go and allow Violet to push the stroller without fear of fast-moving cars. What a lovely city! Everything looked very clean, very safe, definitely family friendly. Day 1 for the win!

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