- written by Jackie Errico, Chattanoogan
Last weekend, seven of my closest friends from Colorado, Florida, and Maryland met me here in Chattanooga and we all stayed at the Stonefort Inn. My friends loved the charm and personality of the Inn and the Inn's wonderful staff. Each room is so unique and comfortable, and the limestone dining room is spectacular. The highlights at the Inn included the wine & cheese hour, chocolate covered strawberries, and, of course, the fabulous breakfast that is included with the room fees.
Normally, I take our visitors to some of Chattanooga's big attractions such as the Tennessee Aquarium, Southern Belle and the Hunter Museum of Art. But this group of ladies preferred more low-key activities.
Here are some of the fun things we did in Chattanooga.
- Warehouse Row is just 2 blocks from the Inn, Some of the shops my friends really enjoyed included Revival - "uncommon goods" for the home, Shadowbox Paperie and Kayce Hughes.
- North Shore, on the other side of the river, offers some unique shops, restaurants, the world's longest pedestrian bridge and Coolidge Park. I brought them by one of my favorite shops - Plum Nelly which features the work of artisans around the country. We also visited Frankie & Julians, and a few of my Colorado friends purchased mood rings at All Things Groovy for kicks and grins.
- Chattanooga has a large artisan community and we celebrate public visual art throughout various neighborhoods in the city - including the Southside, Riverfront area and the North Shore.. We also enjoyed many of the galleries in the city.
DINING & DRINKS
- Public House Restaurant, one of my favorite locally owned restaurants, is a few blocks from the Inn and was the perfect place to enjoy a gourmet southern style meal on the patio. The Pimento Cheese Appetizer w/Fried Pickles is "to die for" according to one of my friends. The Petit Filet Wedge Salad and Picket Farm's Trout Entree seemed to be a big hit with everyone, as well. The Social (tavern connected to Public House) had live music on Friday's after 8pm, and drink & appetizer specials for happy hour.
- St. John's Restaurant | The Meeting Place is owned and operated by Daniel LIndley who was recently nominated for the James Beard Southeast: Best Chef award. The Meeting Place shares the kitchen with St. John's restaurant, but is more casual and affordable. And, recently redecorated, made a favorable impression on the girls. The Meeting Place also has a bar upstairs that is a fun place to grab drinks.
- Tony's Pasta Restaurant was also enjoyed by the group, as one of my friends requires a gluten-free menu and Tony's offers gluten-free pasta selections. We stopped at the Back End Cafe to have a drink before dinner, and Renaissance Commons for a little dessert afterwards.
Many of my friends are on the adventurous side, so I had a few outdoorsy things planned for out trip.
- Hiking: Chattanooga is surrounded by some great hiking trails within 20 minutes of the downtown area. We took the trail from the bottom of Lookout Mountain to Sunset Point with great views of Lookout Valley. It was about 1.8 miles to the top of the Lookout Mountain and pretty vertical. It was a great workout for us all.
- Boating: My husband agreed to rent a boat from Lake Shore Marina and captain the double decker pontoon boat for a few hours. This was a definate highlight. It was a realxing, more intimate way to introduce people to the Tennessee River, and we made sure the boat was well stocked with refreshments and snacks.