Saturday, October 4, 2008

Chattanooga Choo Choo and Rock City

Today is our last day for site seeing in the Chattanooga area and Rock City was our destination. However, Jim and I weren't leaving until we found the Chattanooga Choo-Choo! So, we instructed Mark that he was to find it or else! Well, we did and here is what we saw.

This crossing sign is at the entrance to the hotel parking lot

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo

A little history

This big clock hangs outside of the station so you won't be late

This is the inside of one of the train cars and it used for a conference room.

A view from the back of the original depot. By the way it is now a gift shop, restaurant, and hotel/convention complex

Some of the beautiful flowers we found still blooming are the depot gardens

While we were at the gift shop, Mark purchased a Moon Pie. Ellie fessed up that she had never had a Moon Pie, so we all shared in Mark's find. And, if there are any of you who have never had a Moon Pie, here is a little background...

The History of the Great American Moon Pie

The Chattanooga Bakery was founded in the early 1900's as a subsidiary of the Mountain City Flour Mill in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The bakery's original purpose was to use the excess flour produced by the mill. By 1910, the bakery offered over 200 different confectionery items. In 1917, the bakery developed a product which is still known as the Moon Pie. The exact history of how the Moon Pie was invented was never documented by the Chattanooga Bakery, but one historian, Ronald Dickson of Charlotte, North Carolina, believes he found the "missing link."

In his book, "The Great American Moon Pie Handbook", Mr. Dickson had written of the Moon Pie's® lost history. Not long after his book was published, he received a telephone call from Earl Mitchell, Jr., identifying his deceased father, Earl Mitchell, Sr., as the person responsible for the invention of the Moon Pie®.

Mr. Mitchell’s story goes like this ... Early in the 1900s, while servicing his territory of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, Mr. Mitchell was visiting a company store that catered to the coal miners. He asked them what they might enjoy as a snack. The miners said they wanted something for their lunch pails. It had to be solid and filling. “About how big?,!” Mr. Mitchell asked. Well about that time the moon was rising, so a miner held out his big hands, framing the moon and said, “About that big!” So, with that in mind, Mr. Mitchell headed back to the bakery with an idea. Upon his return he noticed some of the workers dipping graham cookies into marshmallow and laying them on the window sill to harden. So they added another cookie and a generous coating of chocolate and sent them back for the workers to try. In fact, they sent Moon Pie® samples around with their other salespeople, too. The response they got back was so enormous that the Moon Pie® became a regular item for the bakery.

By the late 1950's, the Moon Pie® had grown in popularity, so much that the bakery did not have the resources available to produce anything else. The phrase "RC Cola and a Moon Pie®" became well known around the South, as many people enjoyed this delicious, bargain-priced combination.

After the choo -choo, we made our way up Lookout Mountain for the third or fourth time this week. This time our destination was Rock City.

In the late 1920's, Garnet and Frieda Carter began to develop a large walk through garden on their private estate. In 1930, Frieda marked the original path which was constructed and is now maintained by master craftsmen from this area. There are over 400 varieties of plant life indigenous to the region.

On May 21, 1932, during the Depression, the Carters opened their "Rock City Gardens" to the public. Today Rock City is preserved as one of America's great private gardens and family attractions.

Here are a few of the sights we enjoyed on our trip through the gardens.

A natural rock bridge

Jim, you go first...

Ellie and Mark didn't like walking across this swinging bridge

This is the spot in the gardens that you can see 7 different states...Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee

A little fall decorations in the gardens

This waterfall is located at a spot in the gardens known as Lover's Leap

This old water wheel is one of my favorite spots

Once we were finished at Rock City, we headed down the mountain to "Sugar's Rib's" for lunch and then back to the RV Park for the rest of the day. Mark and I sit outside and enjoyed a little Saturday afternoon football...that is...until he got bored and got out his wax.

Later, Ellie and I put together some dinner. She made a sausage and peppers combo, I made some rice and a salad, and she made a really yummy apple dessert. And, yes, it was all Weight Watchers.

What a great week we have had here in Chattanooga. Tomorrow we will make our plans for moving to Pigeon Forge on Monday. See you there.


  1. Very cool history on the Moon Pie! Glad you got to Rock City, it is very neat. Another recommendation (hope you don't mind these!) is Cades Cove in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. It's a great drive and lots of history. You can read about it in our blog if you want. Go to the archives for October 2007.

    Safe travels!

  2. Wow another wonderful place to put on our list to see. It's so close to us but we've never been there. I can't wait!!! Thanks for the great coverage. Oh, the moon pies are awesome, thanks for the history.

  3. I like the Chocolate Moon Pie and a Dr Pepper. That was an after school snake at our house. And to think it all started there.

    Joe and Sherri