It seems like every new hike we do becomes my new favorite, and Edward’s Point is no exception.
Edward’s Point is an overlook that is directly across from Julia Falls Overlook, a place that we’ve hiked to multiple times this past fall. This vantage point allows you to see Signal Mountain directly across from you, as well as the meandering Tennessee River flowing southward.
Edward’s Point can be reached via a few different trails. We started our hike at Rainbow Lake Trailhead, and took that to the Rainbow Lake Damn and Middle Creek Suspension Bridge. This is also another hike that we have done before. Once we passed the bridge, it was all new from there. The total hike was four miles, with two miles there, two miles back.
It is a little difficult in the middle part of the hike since you are starting from the bottom of Middle Creek and making you way up to the top of the mountain, but then it levels out. The trail alternates from relatively flat paths to rocky areas.
Our favorite part of the hike was when we reached the top and the trail followed the ridge line for a while.
We left on our hike fairly early in the morning, and did not see that many people once we left the suspension bridge. We did see some people at Edward’s Point itself, but we were mostly by ourselves. If we do this hike again, we will try to leave even earlier, to beat the heat as well.
This hike was pleasantly surprising, because all though we were expecting the end to be the best part, we saw lots of interesting things along the way. We came across waterfalls that we were not expecting. We also saw different centipedes, and lots of wildflowers.
We have hiked our longest hike to date, 5.75 miles. This was purely by accident, thanks to some poorly marked trails.
Here was our original plan: Start out at Shackleford Ridge Park, in Signal Mountain, and catch a trail that would take us to Mushroom Rock. From the rock, we would take the Cumberland Trail down to the Suck Creek suspension bridge. Once at the bridge, we would turn around and come back the way we came. This was supposed to be maybe a four mile hike at most.
We should have known that we would get lost, because there are few maps with the trail from Shackleford Ridge to Mushroom Rock. We could not use our Google Maps GPS to make sure we were staying on the correct trail. Once at Mushroom Rock, it is labeled more clearly.
I tried to read up as much as I could on the trail, and took a screen shot of the one map I did find, which in the end got us more lost than anything, I think. The issue is that there are multiple trails and unmarked paths that cross. Which one to take? We did not know.
We ended up walking about a mile, including backtracking a few times, before we got on the right trail. However, we did see some nice things along the way, and we got plenty of extra exercise in, so we’re not really complaining. When we saw that first sign for Mushroom Rock, we were relieved!
Mushroom Rock is a really neat formation. I had seen pictures of it, but it’s still impressive when seeing it in person for the first time.
From there we had to jump on the Cumberland Trail, where we got lost again! We were on the Cumberland Trail, but we quickly realized we were going in the opposite direction that we wanted. Thankfully a nice couple passing by pointed us in the right direction. We had gone to the left, but we had wanted to go right, behind the rock.
From there to the Suck Creek Suspension bridge, it is a switch back trail that heads down into the gorge.
We stopped at a large suspension bridge, that we had all to ourselves. Just before the bridge, there is a primitive hike-in camping site, with a few fire pits and benches made out of logs. We both decided we would love to camp here. It would definitely be easier since we know now the right way to go!
The hike back up the gorge was tiring! We had to stop many times to catch our breath. Once past Mushroom Rock, we got lost again! It was the same issue as last time, too many intersections with too many crossed paths. But we will remember for next time! We were thankful to get back to the car and rest our legs!
On Christmas morning we did a short walk to see Falling Water Falls.
Falling Water Falls is just north of the town of Signal Mountain. It is about a 15 minute drive for us. Actually, it was about 20 minutes, but only because we had to take the long way around! W Road, the closest and fastest way up to Signal Mountain, was closed because of ice and snow!
It rained most of the day for us on Christmas Eve, and temperatures continually dropped. No snow by us, but up on Signal Mountain, it was cold enough for a little bit of snow! So in a way, we did get our white Christmas.
There is a small gravel parking lot at the trail head; Derek almost missed it driving by! About three cars can fit there. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. It’s a short walk to the falls. You’ll know you’re on the right track because you can hear the creek and the falls as you get closer.
The path follows Little Falling Water Creek, and ends at the falls. If you’re careful, and daring enough, you can lean over enough to see the falls cascading down. (I got down on my belly and looked that way!) If you’re scared of heights, you can still see the edge of the falls well enough by standing on the nearby rocks that offer a higher vantage point.
The whole walk there and back is about .3 miles, but you can extend that a bit depending on how much you explore. We walked a little bit down the creek, as well as taking an upper level path for a bit before turning back around.
Also, I need to mention how cold it was! We tried to wait a few hours until mid-morning for it to warm up a bit, but driving up the mountain, we lost those few extra degrees anyway. It was about 23 degrees up there! We were mostly fine with layers, but our faces were so cold!
It was a nice, easy way to get outdoors and get a little bit of exercise on Christmas morning. The holidays are usually quiet for us, so this was a way to make the day feel special. I feel lucky to live in an area where there are so many scenic places nearby.
What are we to do on a sunny, gorgeous fall Monday, when I’m home for the foreseeable future and Derek is off, too?
We decided to go hiking, and we took the week day advantage by picking a normally busy trail. We hiked the Rainbow Lake Trail, along with the Bee Branch Trail, for a total of 2.3 miles.
The Rainbow Lake Trail is an easy and popular hike in Signal Mountain. From the trailhead it is 0.7 miles down to the dam.
Rainbow Lake was created in 1916 by damming Middle Creek. The lake was made for the tourists staying at the Signal Mountain Hotel.
The trail leads down to the bottom of the creek and the dam, which creates a pretty waterfall. There is a path that brings you to the top of the dam itself, if you’re brave enough to walk out there!
After spending time down at the dam, we headed to the Middle Creek suspension bridge. We were just here on Saturday, when we hiked from Signal Point.
We crossed the bridge, and started on the Bee Branch Trail, which does a wide loop around Rainbow Lake.
This entire trail was a skinny path, but it was easy to follow. It meanders up and down and around trees, rocks and trickling streams of water.
You cross the creek three times while on the Bee Branch Trail. There are also some cool rock formations along the way. We got lucky and saw some nice fall foliage, too.
It was a great idea to do this hike on a week day. We only saw six people total, with two couples. Everyone was headed in a different direction than we were, so they were quick passes. We were by ourselves 98 percent of the time.
Compared to the two other hikes we did recently (Signal Point to the Middle Creek bridge and Cravens House to Sunset Rock), this one was much easier. It was more of a flat trail, which allowed us to keep up a faster pace, and not strain our muscles as much by stepping over so many steep rocks.
The purpose of this blog is to let our family and friends know about all of our adventures and day to day life in Chattanooga. This, of course, means that there will be some bad mixed in with the good.
If you’re a regular reader of Seeing the Scenic City, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling at my job for the past few months, as well as struggling with depression and anxiety that stemmed from the job.
I went on medication in early September. My anxiety has subsided, and when the medication worked, it allowed me to look at the work problems with clarity.
All of this leads me to say that Friday was my last day at my job. I put in three weeks’ notice in early October. With all honesty, I had wanted to quit my job since the summer months, so I am actually proud of myself for making it that much farther.
I will not go into too many details, but basically I realized that this was not the job for me. I was unhappy with the work I was doing. I was trying my best, but it became apparent that my best was not good enough.
This is probably not the smartest decision, financial wise. But it was the best decision for my health.
I have a few applications already out for some other positions, and I will keep looking for new jobs on a regular basis. In the meantime, I am looking forward to a (hopefully short) resting period.
In related news, yesterday we went on a challenging mountain hike. You can read about that here. One section of the trail lead to a beautiful overlook, where we could see the mountains on all sides, the river and a waterfall.
It was a great metaphor for what I am going through right now. Yes, things are hard, but if you put just one foot in front of the other, you will eventually get to the top of your mountain. Derek and I have made it over mountains before, and we will get over this one, too.
Today we hiked a segment of the Cumberland Trail, starting from Signal Point in the town of Signal Mountain, and going as far as the Middle Creek suspension bridge before turning back, for a total of 2.8 miles.
For some odd reason, I thought this hike would be easier than the hike we did two weeks ago on Lookout Mountain. I was wrong! This hike was extremely rocky. There were very few spots where the trail was flat and even. There were many spots where we had to climb or duck under large trees that had fallen in the path! We just had a large storm pass through this week, so I’m not quite sure if a lot of those trees had always been there, or if some of the damage was new. There was one spot where a tree took out a small section of a wooden walkway, and that seemed new.
We started at Signal Point, and first enjoyed the overlook for a few minutes. The trail starts to the right, and almost immediately there are a ton of steep steps, known as “The Mousetrap.” I am not sure why it is called that, but this is what the internet told me!
After all of the steps, the trail starts out fairly easily, but gets quite hard! There were more rocky areas than flat areas. You had to look down with almost every step.
I was glad that the trail was well marked (white squares either in paint, or screwed into the trees as metal plates) because there were quite a lot of sections where we thought, “Is this really the way we’re supposed to go?”
At 0.4 miles into the hike, you reach Julia Falls Overlook. I have read online that the falls is usually dry, or just a trickle. I am glad that we went after two days of heavy rain, so we could see it!
We had Julia Falls Overlook all to ourselves for about 15-20 minutes. A few groups came in, but by that point we were ready to head on our way. (On the way back, after lunch time, there were quite a few people there.)
After that, we followed the trail for about a mile to the Middle Creek suspension bridge. We were by ourselves for about 5 minutes, and then all of a sudden so many people showed up! We think it’s because the bridge is close to the Rainbow Lake Trail, another popular area.
This hike was hard, but only because of the uneven ground. It was slow going, for sure. If I were to do this again, I would probably only do the first section to Julia Falls. As always, I am glad we did it, and I felt accomplished (and exhausted). This makes two mountain hikes in three weeks!
I do not have much of a sweet tooth for some “heavier” type desserts, like cakes and cupcakes, but I will not turn down a good cookie!
One of our favorite bake shops in the area is The Signal Mountain Cookie Lady. We discovered the shop the very first weekend I moved here. My parents were visiting and we were exploring around the mountain.
My mom is a good baker and is colloquially known as The Cookie Lady among her friends. So you can imagine us driving down the road, reading the names of the stores out loud, and us shouting “The Cookie Lady!!!” Naturally, we had to stop.
The Signal Mountain Cookie Lady’s website, www.signalmountaincookielady.com/, says that she has over 900 designs! Some of the ones we’ve gotten over the last year include fall leaves, llamas, polar bears, suns, flip flops and dinosaurs. It’s usually hard to choose which one to pick!
Her signature cookie, the one made into all of the designs, is a sugar cookie with almond flavored icing. I love almond flavored desserts, so this is one of the reasons why this place has become a favorite.
Of course, you can also get other types of cookies too, like oatmeal and chocolate chip. She also does custom orders too.
She wraps each cookie individually and ties it with a colored ribbon — a nice touch.
I always look forward to stopping here on a weekend and wondering which design I’ll get next!
Derek and I have exhausted all of the walkable areas in our neighborhood. Last weekend we decided to drive somewhere random, to be able to walk in a new, different neighborhood. We found something even better, a small trail.
We drove up to Signal Mountain and parked in a CVS parking lot. We walked two blocks to Green Gorge Park, a skinny, but long trail. Even though there are houses and main roads on all sides, the trail is heavily wooded, so it makes you feel like you are miles from civilization.
The park is a long loop, almost 2 miles long, and passes next to Shoal Creek. There are two bridges crossing the creek on either sides (one of them is a swinging bridge, and there is a bridge in the middle. We took the middle bridge, so we only did one half of the trail.
It was relaxing to walk along side the creek, which formed small rapids and waterfalls. There was a lot of greenery and wildflowers. We even came upon a friendly cat!
One of my goals for living in Chattanooga is to hike as much as possible, so I am glad we found this small trail that we previously were not aware of.
Derek and I love coffee shops. Going out for a drink and a light meal/snack is our favorite thing to do on the weekends. Our first date was actually at a coffee shop in our college town, so I guess that’s where the whole habit started.
Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga area, has many different coffee shops to choose from. I am highlighting our favorite five: Frothy Monkey, Milk & Honey, The Meeting House, Rembrandt’s Coffee House and Mayfly Coffee.
Full disclosure: I don’t even like coffee! So if you’re looking for coffee recommendations, I am sorry, but I cannot help you here. My husband on the other hand though loves coffee, and loves trying out the different flavors. I always order a chai latte at coffee shops.
The Frothy Monkey is my favorite overall. It is inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. I love trains and history, so it’s a treat to be able to go there, walk around the hotel grounds a bit, and then get a drink at the Frothy Monkey. The location is gorgeous, with two levels of seating, and large exposed ceilings.
They have the most expansive menu too. However, I will admit they are a bit on the pricier side. We’ve ordered it all though, sandwiches, salads, and pastries. Most recently we ordered a huge cinnamon roll to share. It was delicious.
Milk & Honey was the first coffee shop we went to when we first moved to Chattanooga. I think their chai latte is the best out of all of these coffee shops. I’ll drink a super sweet chai but it’s not my favorite. (I’m looking at you Starbucks…) I prefer my chai to have spices in it, like cinnamon.
We have also ordered many different things off the menu there too. Derek likes the “Hot Mess” open sandwich, and I recommend their oatmeal, and their grilled cheese and tomato soup.
The downside to Milk & Honey is that it’s small, so there’s not much inside seating. There is plenty of outdoor seating, but it’s not really helpful when we’re in the middle of winter.
The Meeting House is in Red Bank, Tenn., a few miles north from downtown. This is the coffee shop that is closest to where we live. The Meeting House, like the name implies, is used for many community events. The coffee shop business side is closed on Sundays, and the building space is a church. Some people have warned us about this closure when we asked for coffee shop recommendations, but this doesn’t bother us, because I work on Sundays, so our weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Their menu is small, but the most reasonably priced out of this bunch. You can get a large bowl of grits for cheap there. Grits are one of my favorite breakfast foods, so I was sold from the start. You can also get an oatmeal bowl with cranberries and almonds in it. Yum!
Rembrandt’s Coffee House is in Bluff View Art District, and our go-to when we want to spend an afternoon out and about. We park in the free two-hour parking spots, get something to eat/drink at Rembrandt’s and then walk across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge, which is just a few blocks over.
Rembrandt’s, like Milk & Honey, does not have much seating inside. This coffee shop is the most packed out of them all, at least from our experience. However, when it’s warmer out, their outdoor patio is my favorite.
They have an pretty good sized menu, and have an expansive pastry selection. I really enjoy their biscotti. I also like to order the Italian Flag sandwich, which is mozzarella, tomato and pesto.
The last but not least on this list is Mayfly Coffee, which is in Signal Mountain. We usually couple a visit to Mayfly with some other things in Signal Mountain, like a visit to Fairmount Orchard’s store or the Cookie Lady for some delicious tasting cookies.
A visit to Mayfly Coffee feels special. After living in Houston for three years, “going up the mountain” for the afternoon is like a mini adventure.
I like the ambiance of this coffee shop a lot. It is in a rustic looking building. The decorations inside are eclectic and adventurous. There is one wall that is covered with a mountain print that I’d love to have in my house! There is a nice outdoor seating area too.
So far to eat there, I’ve had a delicious breakfast bagel sandwich, and some cookies too. They have soups on their menu in the winter time that I’m planning on trying out next.
Of course there are so many more coffee shops than just these few I have listed here. Others that we have been to, but only once, include Mean Mug and Stone Cup Cafe. Do you like coffee shops? What are your favorites in your area, or in Chattanooga?
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!