Lookouts baseball game

Last night we attended a Chattanooga Lookouts baseball game, finally.

This was the one thing I had wanted to do for the longest time, because COVID-19 shut down last year’s season.

We watched the Lookouts play the Tennessee Smokies. Unfortunately, they lost 11-3. We left after the 7th inning and the score wasn’t that bad at 6-3. In the eighth inning the Smokies scored five more times! I am glad we left when we did. I wish baseball games weren’t so slow; it was past my bedtime!

Even though they were losing, we had a good time. The game started at 7:15 p.m. so it wasn’t so hot out, and there was a cool breeze. In between innings there were little games that they picked people out of the stands for. The stadium played good music so that kept things entertaining as well.

The concessions were decent. There was not much to choose from but you had all of your basics, and the prices were not too bad. We got a pretzel and dippin’ dots. There was also a store to buy apparel and other Lookout items, but we did not go inside.

I was glad that we stayed through the 7th inning to see the “7th inning stretch.” We had never experienced it before. At the only other baseball game we’ve been to, a Houston Astro’s game, we left after the 5th inning. Baseball really is so slow! The mascot, Looie, came out and lead the crowd in singing “Take me out to the ballgame.”

Overall we had a good time, and I think we might go again later in the season, which lasts through September. Friday nights have fireworks, so I think that would be a good time to go, plus perhaps we could stay the whole game since it would be a weekend.

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Ice on the Landing

We went ice skating this afternoon. The ice skating rink is set up in the gardens outside the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.

I have not been ice skating in at least 12 years. Usually I am too afraid to go ice skating, because I am afraid of falling and hurting myself.

We have been to the Choo Choo a few times since the rink was set up, and we learned that it is $10 per person to skate for 80 minutes, which we thought was an excellent deal. They also offer “ice buddies” for those who are not as surefooted on skates.

On a Monday at 2 p.m., the rink was mostly empty. There were actually three older adults, me included, using the ice buddies. This made me feel a little less embarrassed. I think using one was great, because I was able to have a better time, not having a fear of hurting myself.

Newsflash: I ended up hurting myself at the end! But more about that later.

In the middle of our skating session, we got a crepe and hot drinks at the Adelle’s Creperie food stall. Adelle’s has been set up specially for the rink, which was a nice addition to our afternoon.

I enjoyed starting out skating with a buddy, because I got comfortable with knowing how to move my feet. Eventually, I tried pushing the buddy a little bit ahead of me and skating toward it, and then skating while holding on with just one hand.

Toward the end, I skated a few times around the rink without the buddy at all. I even managed to go one whole time around the rink without needing to grab onto the edge. I’m proud of myself!

Derek did end up falling twice himself. The first fall wasn’t so bad, but on the second fall he went down on his knee, which he said hurt pretty badly.

After the fall on his knee, Derek went to sit down outside the rink. I said I wanted to go around one more time before we left. I went around about 95 percent of the entire rink when I fell backwards! I was close enough to the edge that I grabbed the wall, but the force of me falling down was so great that I think I pulled a lot of muscles in my arm and shoulder area. It hurt badly! But I was able to pull myself back up and get over to Derek.

It’s laughable now, that I was SO CLOSE to finishing without falling at all. Oh well. My arm is still pretty sore, and it’s hard to move it in some directions, but I took some aspirin and a hot water bottle is helping.

Even thought we both took some spills, we had a great time doing something new.

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Derek ice skating around the rink. You can see some other people using the buddies in the background.
Skating on my own!

Pioneer Day

This past weekend Derek and I headed up to the town of Soddy-Daisy to check out their Pioneer Day event. A thank you goes out to the Chattanooga Times Free Press for publishing an article with the weekend’s events, otherwise I would have had no idea this was happening! It is helpful to follow local news!

Now, I will admit, with no fault to Soddy-Daisy, that the living history event was, well, a bit dinky. This feeling of mine only stems from many, many years of reenacting at very large living history events! Still, I was glad to get out and do something new and different for an hour.

Pioneer Day was held at Poe’s Tavern Historical Park, next to City Hall. Poe’s Tavern was originally constructed in 1817, with a replica on the original foundation now.

According to soddy-daisy.org, Poe’s Tavern was Hamilton County’s First Courthouse and County Seat. The tavern was also used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War.

At Pioneer Day, there was a woman in a historical outfit cooking cornbread on the fireplace. Everyone got free samples.

There were also booths showing historic rifles, locally found arrowheads, basket weaving, coal mining supplies and an 1800s cider press, which I got to take a turn on for a bit.

The big draw for me was a Civil War set up, presented by the Tennesseans for Living History. We were treated to some music by a banjo and fiddle player. I really miss reenacting sometimes!

There was a Robert E. Lee impersonator there, but I only wish I hadn’t seen him walking around the grounds with a can of beer — or soda, I’ll try to give him the benefit of the doubt — in his hands!!!

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Wreaths Across America

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Wreaths Across America, a national program held at many different cemeteries at the same time, honoring veterans by laying wreaths at their graves.

I was familiar with this program, but I have never participated before. I was there to cover the event for work, but I still enjoyed it and I was glad I got to have the experience.

There was a ceremony at noon before the wreath laying, and it was moving. There was a man who played the bagpipes, which sounded amazing. The ceremony also featured two men playing echoing taps, which brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of my grandpa, who was in the Navy.

Chattanooga National Cemetery, which is where I was for the program, has about 47,000 graves. About 30 percent were able to be decorated with wreaths, which are sponsored and purchased by the public. I would like to possibly do this next year, sponsor a wreath or two, and then lay them at a Civil War soldier’s grave, because of my interest in Civil War history.

There is an interesting side note in this story.

A Civil War reenacting unit fired a cannon during different times of the ceremony. I got my hands on a program, and I realized with excitement that it was Burrough’s Battery.

A few years ago, while I was still reenacting myself, we fundraised to have a group from Tennessee with six horses come to Gettysburg to pull our original 1863 cannon in the 150th Remembrance Day Parade. I was actually got to ride one of the horses. And I guess you know where this story is going now. The group firing the cannon during the ceremony was Burrough’s Battery.

After the ceremony, I introduced myself to some of the members, some of which I recognized through my photos. They did not remember me, but they did remember that parade. They even tried to recruit me. I said, thanks but no thanks. I don’t even have my uniform anymore! I just wanted to say hi. But it was a small world to be in the same place that morning.

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The start of the ceremony.
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People starting to unbox wreaths to lay at the graves.
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The cannon belonging to Burrough’s Battery at the top of the cemetery’s hill.
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“Christmas in Dixie”

I completed a small bucket list item this weekend!

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama. It has been my favorite song since I was little. I cannot explain why, seeing as I was born and raised in the northeast! More recently they have become one of my favorite bands. The band members are from Fort Payne, and so at the end of the song they sing, “And from Fort Payne, Alabama… Merry Christmas tonight.” We went to Fort Payne for the day and I got to spend a “Christmas in Dixie.”

I never knew much about the boys from Fort Payne, that is until we literally drove past Fort Payne, Alabama, when we were moving from Pennsylvania to Texas, over three years ago.

Living in Texas, there were more country stations on the radio, including a country classics one, which became my favorite. I was introduced to a whole new (well, new to me) section of country music. I kept hearing Alabama song after Alabama song and I enjoyed all of their music.

When we moved to Chattanooga, I realized that Fort Payne was only an hour away from us. I knew that going to Fort Payne during Christmas time would make the trip extra special for me, to make my favorite Christmas song come true for me personally.

We ended up having an activity packed day, and we learned a lot about Fort Payne’s history.

We arrived at lunch time and started out at The Spot, a cafe in downtown.

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After lunch, we walked up and down the street. We browsed in a few shops, and admired the Christmas decorations. Seeing all of the banners in town that said “Christmas in Dixie,” was a treat for me.

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“Christmas in Dixie, it’s snowin’ in the pines
Merry Christmas from Dixie, to everyone tonight.”
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James Dean is an artist from Fort Payne. He is famous for his Pete the Cat work. Pete was all over town!

We walked down a few blocks to the City Park, where there are Alabama statues. We stopped to take a few photos and then we scoped out the park, where a Christmas event would be taking place later on that night.

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Me with Randy, the lead singer of the band.

We walked across the street from there and checked out the Depot Museum. The Depot was built in 1891. Admission was $3 and there were a ton of interesting artifacts donated from Fort Payne residents inside.

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A wedding dress from 1903.
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A collection of old items.
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An old newspaper press! I was excited to see this and learn what it was.

Did you know that Alabama was known as the sock capital of the world? We learned at the free Hosiery Museum that during the height of the sock boom, one out of every eight pairs of socks was made in Fort Payne. The Hosiery Museum had machines that made the socks on display, as well as old historical photographs of the town.

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An old photo of the historical DeKalb hotel (named after DeKalb County) which burned down.

From there we walked next door to the Fort Payne Opera House, where we also got a free tour. The Opera House was built in 1891, and still holds performances today, including Alabama! The woman who talked to us at both the Opera House and the Hosiery Museum was wonderful and full of knowledge. I wish I had remembered her name.

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Then it was off to the Alabama Museum, the whole reason for the trip. It is a small museum and gift shop, but it is filled to the brim with items from the band members. We ended up buying a Christmas ornament from the gift shop.

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After that we checked out the Big Mill Antique Mall, housed in the old hosiery mill. Also in the mill was Vintage Cafe, where we had a mid afternoon light meal.

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When it got dark we headed back to the park for their annual “Christmas in the Park” event. There was a bonfire, free concessions, music and a tree lighting.

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We had a nice day exploring a new area in a new state. I am glad that we found a lot of different things to do and learned some history of the area. I had worried that Derek would be bored with a whole day devoted to the Alabama band, and it ended up being much more than that!

Holiday Cheer at the Pier

Holiday Cheer at the Pier is a Chattanooga riverfront event that signals the start of the Christmas season.

There were lots of food vendors and craft vendors (we did not check out the craft vendors though.) Derek had a hot apple cider and I had a hot chocolate. We enjoyed our drinks for a few minutes in front of a fire pit.

The two main parts of the event are a lighted boat parade and fireworks. Santa was also available to take photos with kids.

I was happy to be able to see the lighted boat parade. There was one on Galveston Bay, about a half hour from Houston, but we were never able to make it in the three years we lived there, due to the timing of Derek’s classwork. It is nice when things work out in a different way.

The highlight of the boat parade for me was seeing the Southern Belle riverboat in the lineup.

After the parade, we walked a few minutes towards the Bluff View Art District, where we had a nice view of the Walnut Street Bridge, and the fireworks.

Fireworks are one of my favorite things to photograph. I am always happy to be able to take photos of them in different spots with different backgrounds.

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The HoHo Expo

Derek and I were settling in for what was to be a long, boring Saturday. We had nothing planned. Derek was binge watching a show, and I was browsing the internet.

I came across an advertisement for the HoHo Expo, a holiday gift shopping event, held today and tomorrow at the Chattanooga Convention Center. There was free admission and free parking. We figured we might as well go since it wouldn’t cost us anything but our time.

The HoHo Expo is hosted by the newspaper, the Chattanooga Times Free Press. They had a booth in the middle of the expo where they were giving out cookies and apple cider.

There were about 150 vendors selling all kinds of items. There were lots of things that I would have liked to buy, but I didn’t necessarily need any of it. I want to save money so I’m trying my best to be good! However, we did buy a loaf of maple pecan bread from the Dutch Maid Bakery and Cafe, from Tracy City, TN.

Santa was also there to take family photos, and there were also Disney princesses too! At one point my three favorites, Moana, Rapunzel and Ariel were all posing for photos together. I would have gotten in line for a photo, but I think that it may have been frowned upon. This isn’t Disney World!

We enjoyed the opportunity to get out and walk around and see the different items. Now that we know that this is an annual event, I will probably plan to do some Christmas shopping there next year.

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Friday nights at the Mountain Opry

We have found a gem of an event; an authentic Tennessee experience – the Mountain Opry.

The Mountain Opry takes place each Friday night at the Walden Ridge Civic Center on Signal Mountain. Musicians have been gathering here each week since 1979, and it has been written about in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Music starts at 8 p.m. and doesn’t end until 11 p.m., which is way past my bedtime, but we did stay until 9:30, so we saw two full sets.

The two groups we saw were the Scenic City Ramblers and Barefoot Nellie and Co.

The music was a mix of gospel, bluegrass and country. Some numbers were just music with no lyrics, too. Most of the songs were unfamiliar to me, so it was nice to hear something new. I was excited to hear Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors though! The next morning I looked up some of the songs we heard and listened to them on YouTube. I am sure if we keep going to this event, my country music catalog will grow!

The event is low key, and makes for an inexpensive night out. It’s in an old auditorium room. Lots of groups were there and everyone was saying hi to friends and chit chatting. We were the youngest there by at least 30 to 40 years though! There is no admission, but they pass around a paper bag for donations. There is also a concession stand with popcorn and soda.

It was a great evening and I can’t wait until we go back again!

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Barefoot Nellie and Co.
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The building where the Mountain Opry is held.
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Performing Coat of Many Colors – click to play video.
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Performing Little Georgia Rose – click to play video.

Head of the Hooch

Derek and I surprisingly found ourselves to be a part of a large watch party this afternoon of the Head of the Hooch Regatta.

The Head of the Hooch is a two-day rowing regatta held the first weekend in November in Chattanooga. It was originally called the Head of the Chattahoochee, due to its location in Georgia on the Chattahoochee river. The event became so popular that it outgrew its spot, moving to Chattanooga in 2005.

I knew that the regatta was held today, but I had not looked into it enough, so I did not realize it was an all-day, two-day event. I thought it was only a morning race. I had said to Derek, “Maybe we could go watch it another year, it’s too cold to be there right now.” (We just had a strong cold front go through and its been in the 30s in the morning.)

In the early afternoon I suggested we go to Bluff View to get drinks from Rembrandt’s Coffee House, and then walk across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge. We first walked to the Bluff View overlook, and we just so happened to watch the start of a women’s 8 person team race.

We started to walk across the bridge and watched some more races there, along with hundreds of other onlookers.

It was neat to stumble upon something extra like that during our afternoon outing.

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The crowd up on the bridge watching the rowers.
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