After an exhausting travel day for us yesterday, we lounged around the vacation home for most of the morning and through lunch.
The kids enjoyed more time outside playing pretend restaurant in the small cabin on the property and then it was time for a nice lunch. We had calculated the time needed to drive in to the Incline Railway, but once we were in the van and ready to go, Google told us that it would be much longer due to some accidents. We found alternate route that led through the county roads of Alabama and Georgia and took that option over sitting in traffic on the interstate. Fortunately, for our timing, this route took us to the upper depot of the Incline Railway. This worked out well because our next stop would also be at the top of Lookout Mountain. Our drive took us through some beautiful country, including Covenant College and some signs to “Save Fairyland” (which I think is related to the Enchanted Gardens).
Five out of the six kids were asleep when we arrived, so we took a short drive down from the Railway to Point Park . Caitlyn awoke once we arrived, so along with Emily and Patty, I entered the park that memorialized both sides of the Civil War battles that had occurred in the area. There were old cannons, lots of interesting information listed on the placards throughout and some fantastic views of Chattanooga, TN below from Lookout Mountain.
Caitlyn was still waking up, so she did not make it very far into the park before wanting to turn back, so I returned to the car and tagged Brooke into the park to visit with Emily and her mom. They returned shortly thereafter and we drove down to the entrance to the Incline Railway. We successfully roused the other kids and headed inside. Our timing was on point as we had just enough time to ride the railway down to the bottom and back up for the last rides of the day. Walking down the stairs inside the train car was intimidating at the minimum, but we felt secure in the railway with some reassurance from the conductor. A short while later we headed down the mile trip at the steep decline of 72.5 degrees (the sharpest descent for a railway in the world!).
Emily and Aunt Lisa
We stayed on the train car for the ride back up and enjoyed some great views of Chattanooga as dusk settled in. Returning to our car, we gave the kids a snack to tide them over for later and then headed around the mountain to Rock City .
We had learned, when buying the tickets for Ruby Falls, that we could enter Rock City during the daytime normal hours, or because of the time of year, enjoy a night time visit to their Enchanted Gardens. Because we had already seen some great views from atop Lookout Mountain, we opted for the nighttime visit. The gardens were completed decorated with all sorts of lights and Christmas themes, but I think the kids will most remember the story scapes of all the famous nursery rhymes and other stories (like Snow White).
They loved peeking into each “window” to see what would be depicted next. We ate dinner at the gardens and walked the entire length, exploring every exhibit along the way. The kids did absolutely wonderful taking pictures at every whim of Brooke and Lisa (and there were a lot of picture stops).
They got to see Santa, eat some light-up Cotton Candy and fit through Fat Man’s Squeeze.
We entered Rock City just after 6 PM and didn’t load into the cars until 945 PM. The kids walked the entire way (well almost), which is most impressive for our age groups.
We opted for the interstate to drive back to the vacation home to avoid the curvy, hilly roads at night. We made it back, placed the kids into their beds and quickly fell asleep.