A week in Tennessee
September 30, 2020 5:04 PM   Subscribe

My adult son and I are headed to TN (from VA) in a couple of weeks to spend a week exploring civil war battlefields (he is a historian and civil war nerd). We'll be camping in Chattanooga for 2 nights, Shiloh for 2 nights, and Murfreesboro for 1 night. What shouldn't we miss in those areas, outside the obvious battlefields?

I lived in GA for 9 years and managed to never see Rock City. It looks kind of cheesy, but is it worth 2 hours? Any other local secrets, BBQ joints not to be missed, etc?

Note - did the Aquarium years ago, and anyway due to Covid-19 we'll be avoiding any extended time indoors.
posted by COD to Travel & Transportation around Tennessee (9 answers total)
 
Yes, you should see Rock City!

Ever visited Memphis or Nashville? Nashville is on the way; Memphis is west of Shiloh by an hour and a half or so.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:01 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I love Rock City! There are a couple of parts that are cheesy in an earnest, endearing way, but a lot of it is just really pretty outdoor space.

Ruby Falls is worth doing once, but I would not advise going in a pandemic due to the required elevator ride and lack of ventilation once you get underground.

The Hot Chocolatier in Chattanooga is amazing.

Also, if you haven't heard, the TN governor (R) is dropping ALL Covid-related business restrictions on all but the six counties that are controlled by their own health departments (sob). I'm in Nashville, where our mask mandate is still in effect (though our mayor is being raked over the coals for it, unfortunately); even with the mandate, masks are few and far between in the touristy area downtown. I believe Murfreesboro just dropped their mask mandate earlier this week; not sure what the deal is in Chattanooga or Shiloh. Try to make your food or supply stops in cities or counties where the mitigation measures are still in effect if you can.
posted by timestep at 8:57 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Community Pie in Chattanooga has great pizza including a fantastic gluten free Detroit style.
posted by LoveHam at 4:15 AM on October 1


Fall Creek Falls state park is just north of Chattanooga. It is the highest waterfall in the Eastern U.S. and has nice campgrounds and amenities.
posted by serendipityrules at 5:11 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Hagy's Catfish Hotel is near the Visitor Center at Shiloh...excellent food and they do takeout.

I'm assuming when you say Shiloh you are also including the Civil War Interpretive Center at Corinth, MS? It's only half an hour from Shiloh and has excellent exhibits. There are remnants of siege and battle earthworks all around Corinth, plus the site of a contraband camp.
posted by Preserver at 7:18 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


In Murfreesboro, please make sure you are there for lunch and go to Jeff's Family Restaurant. It's amazing good food. If Jeff's isn't open, hit up Slick Pig, especially if you're gonna be there on a Tuesday and you can score the 1.50 pork sandwich. And say hi to the rangers at Stones River, they're good people.
And if you pick the right road, you can be on a portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway which is a cool as hell road to be on.
posted by teleri025 at 9:35 AM on October 1


Don't miss Rock City! It is cheesy, but also beautiful, and it's cheesy in the best way. IT's really wonderful.
posted by Miko at 4:49 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


If you haven't been, and if it's open, of course, I really enjoyed the Lookout Mountain visitor's center and its amazing little diorama/production of the battle. It seemed cheesy - it was cheesy! - but the exhibit really gave us context for the view from the mountain, where we could see in real life the lay of the land that had affected the battle.
posted by Occula at 1:44 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


if you are outdoorsy and slightly adventurous, then i would suggest taking a half day to visit Stephens Gap just across the state line in Alabama.

you are going to be in the heart of America's caving community TAG - its still a bit underground (lol) and not well known even in the region (TAG is the Tennessee Alabama /Georgia border region), but cavers come to TAG from all over the world.

you do have to pull a permit from SCCi and Stephens Gap does have a "walk in" entrance that doesn't require rope access and skills. there are tons of other preserves worth visiting, but i would not recommend doing so without an experienced caver and proper gear.

also, there should be some amazing colors in the foliage this year due to all the rain in the region. less risky and easier to access hiking options abound. other day hiking options would include Savage Gulf in Tennessee and Cloudland Canyon in Georgia.
posted by buttermilkmeeks at 2:20 PM on October 2


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