Chattanooga for Outside Magazine’s Best Town 2015

Chattanooga made it to the Final 2! Voting continues through June 4 at 11:59 p.m., and the winner will be announced June 5. Click here to vote:



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Tap Wagon Beer Trailer

We met the guys with the Tap Wagon that everyone is talking about around Chattanooga while we were at the Southern Brewers Festival this last weekend. This is such a cool idea I am not sure why there are not more of them. According to the they are locally owned in Chattanooga and are set up to help you with your next event or party. They have refrigerated 5×8 trailers that are set up to bring the beer to you. You hire them to cater the beer part or your event and they take care of the rest. They have literally hundreds of beers that you can choose from depending on the season and the amount of people that you are expecting. Their set up is top of the line and uses the same equipment as most of the Craft Beer shops that have opened in the area. Have you been thinking of hosting a company picnic or a birthday party? Are you planning a wedding? You need to talk to these guys. No matter how large or small your event is they have a solution for you. They take the time to sit down with you and help you with your selection so that you event will be a hit. They can even help you pair your beer and food together to help your attendees have the best experience. I know that every time that we passed their tent the had people in front of them asking questions as to how they could help with everything from weddings to a football tailgate party. I think another great use of this trailer would be for a “tap takeover” at a bar or restaurant.  They could load the kegs of the take over beer into the cold trailer and bring it your bar ready for our clients to enjoy a cold beverage.  Another idea that they have had is to do mobile growler filling.  At this time they can not do it in the City of Chattanooga but they are talking to some of the surrounding areas about setting up shop one day a week and having 6 taps of cold beer from you to choose from to fill up your growler. If you don’t have a growler they have some for you. I know that the next time we have a reason for a party we will use these guys at the Tap Wagon and I think that you should too.


These are a few of the pictures that we took of their set up during the 2014 Southern Brewers Festival in Chattanooga.

Activities and Special Events this 4th of July

There’s plenty to do this Fourth of July!

Many of us have the day off work on this Fourth of July. So now what?

Fortunately, there’s plenty of activities and special events happening throughout the region to celebrate our nation’s independence. offers a few suggestions featuring live music, elaborate parades and worthy causes.

Drink responsibly and enjoy our nation’s day.

Creative Discovery Museum’s Red, White and Blue Day
A day of celebrating the nation’s independence begins at the Creative Discovery Museum. The museum’s annual celebration returns with crowd favorites and traditions. Visitors will gather at noon for crafts and festivities, followed at 2 p.m. by a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson and Uncle Sam. A 21 Diet Coke “geyser salute” will be performed to honor the military men who have served the country. Click here for more information.

When: 12–4 p.m.
Where: 321 Chestnut St.
How much: Free for military families, regular admission applies

Fourth of July parade (Dunlap)
With little Web presence and information to go on, I’ve been told by a trusted source that the Dunlap Fourth of July parade is THE parade—a two- to three-hour epic of horses, four-wheelers, fire trucks, unicyclists, balloons, clowns and patriotism. The parade runs from the Sequatchie County Fair Building (AKA the old middle school) to the Sequatchie County Courthouse. A festival will follow on the courthouse grounds. The festival usually includes plenty of food vendors, activities and a petting zoo. The parade is at 9 a.m. Central time.

When: 9 a.m. CST
Where: Parade runs down Rankin Avenue
How much: Free

Chattanooga FC vs. Rocket City (cookout alert)
The last home game of the season is upon us. The Chattanooga Football Club will host Rocket City in a pivotal match with playoff implications. Currently, CFC is in first place in the National Premier Soccer League; however, a win Friday night would ensure a No. 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs. The Chattahooligans (CFC’s official fan club) will host a cookout and tailgating party beginning at noon. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: 1826 Carter St.
How much: $5 in advance or $7 at the gate

Food Works “fire sale” cookout
No, Food Works did not burn down. But the restaurant will be out of the kitchen for a few weeks while they repair some damage. But fear not, the restaurant’s employees will be serving up delicious food in the parking lot. Their Fourth of July “fire sale” cookout is $20 per person, including three drink tickets. Expect cornhole, pingpong, sidewalk chalk and more. Support the restaurant while they rebuild, and eat everything from smoked chicken wings to pork butt to brisket and potato salad.

When: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: 205C Manufacturers Road
How much: $20 for all you can eat and three drink tickets

That ’90s Show: Red, White and Blue Edition
The Communicators are back with another version of their popular That 90’s Show concerts. The collective of musicians from Chattanooga will perform all the hits from the ’90s, including Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears and a few surprises. Put on your bald eagle T-shirts and flag bandanas. This party is going to be insane.

When: 9 p.m.
Where: 221 Market St.
How much: $10

Wide Open Floor: Out with a Bang!
The first Friday of every month features a Wide Open Floor showcase at Barking Legs Theater. However, with the upcoming renovations closing the venue through September, this show will offer an opportunity for performers to go “out with a bang!” The fireworks reference is, of course, not lost. Seventeen performances will take place at not more than eight minutes each in length. Click here for more information.

When: 8 p.m.
Where: 1307 Dodds Ave.
How much: $5 for spectators

Nightfall: Slide Brothers
Robert Randolph slayed us at Riverbend, and his presentation of the Slide Brothers at Nightfall promises to be just as deadly. Calvin Cook, Darick Campbell, Chuck Campbell and Aubrey Gent embody the sacred tradition of steel guitar. Click here to read more about the band. The Power Players open the show at 7 p.m.

When: 8 p.m.
Where: 850 Market St.
How much: Free

Updated @ 8:27 a.m. on 7/3/14 to update a time: the tailgating event for the CFC game has been moved up to noon instead of 4 p.m., as originally reported.

This is a re-post.


Field Excursions: All aboard the Hiwassee River Railroad Adventure



The Hiwassee River Rail Adventure offers passengers scenic views of the Hiwassee River, waterfalls, wildlife, mountains and the ruins of historic settlements. (Photo: Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association) 

Step back in time to experience the golden age of railroads aboard the Hiwassee River Railroad Adventure. This family-friendly railroad excursion offers train buffs, history fans and adventurous travelers the opportunity to relax aboard a historic train to enjoy scenic views of the Hiwassee River Gorge in Southeast Tennessee.

Hiwassee River Rail Adventures begin in the historic railroad town of Etowah, Tennessee. Passengers board shuttle buses at the L&N Depot Museum for a short ride to Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park in Delano, Tennessee, to board the train.

Passengers may choose a half-day round trip along the Hiwassee Rail Loop or a daylong excursion with a midday layover for lunch and shopping. The 50-mile (3.5-hour) rail excursion travels east along the Hiwassee River through the Hiwassee River Gorge and past TVA’s Appalachia Dam to Farner, Tennessee, near the North Carolina state line. Full-day trips turn south, arriving at lunchtime in the twin towns of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia, returning in the afternoon.


Passengers can relax aboard a historic train and enjoy scenic views of the Hiwassee River Gorge in Southeast Tennessee. (Image: Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association) 

Both routes offer passengers a scenic journey through sections of the Cherokee National Forest with scenic views of the Hiwassee River, waterfalls, wildlife, mountains and the ruins of historic settlements.

Trains used for the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure are pulled along the track at up to 20 miles per hour by historic 1950s-era diesel locomotives. Two dome cars were added to the adventure in 2013, offering passengers spectacular views from the top of the train.

The historic Hiwassee Loop was originally part of the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad Company. Passenger service between Knoxville and Marietta began along the route Aug. 18, 1890.

Shortly after the line was completed in 1890, the Knoxville Southern Railway merged with the Marietta and North Georgia Railway (M&NG) and took M&NG as its name. The following year, the M&NG became part of the Atlantic, Knoxville and Northern Railroad Construction Company (AK&N).

In 1902, the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad took ownership of the railroad when it secured a majority interest in AK&N. The line became known as the “old line” in 1906 after the company decided to avoid the rugged mountain route by building 80 miles of new track from a point near Etowah to Marietta, Georgia. The new line, which parallels U.S. Highway 411 in Tennessee and Georgia, ran over flatter terrain and allowed trains to move in a more efficient manner. The new line, in effect, became a bypass for the old line.


Trains used for the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure are pulled along the track at up to 20 miles per hour by historic 1950s-era diesel locomotives. (Photo: Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association) 

The old line remained a part of the L&N system until 1982, when consolidations placed it under the ownership of Seaboard Systems. In 1987, Chessie System and Seaboard Systems merged and became CSX. CSX continued to own the old line from Copperhill to Etowah until its sole freight—sulfuric acid from Copperhill—was no longer being produced.

In 2001, the last freight train traveled the old line as CSX ceased operations, and the rail line was thought to have been abandoned for good. However, concerned citizens, local governments and regional organizations formed the Old Line Railroad Coalition to save the line; and in 2002, the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association purchased the tracks for preservation. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum became the sole operator of historic passenger trains along the historic rail line through the Hiwassee River Gorge.

Today, 20 miles of the railroad corridor are listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of the historical significance of the rail line and the fact that the corridor has retained so much of the original look that it had when it was built in 1890.

Hiwassee River Rail Adventure tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 423-894-8028.

Jenni Frankenberg Veal is a freelance writer and naturalist living on Walden’s Ridge. She enjoys writing about the southeastern United States, one of the most biologically and recreationally rich regions on Earth, and the people and places that make this area unique. Visit her blog at

This is a re-post. Click here for original article.