Chattanooga, TN

The Best Way to Spend a Few Hours in Chattanooga, Tennessee — From Trains to Delicious Southern Biscuits

Kristyn Burtt

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Chattanooga, TennesseKristyn Burtt.

If the kids aren't already back in school, August makes for a great travel month as the lazy days of summer start to wind down. A recent family wedding took me back East to a tiny town in Georgia, but it was only 30 minutes away from the quaint downtown area of Chattanooga, Tennessee. With a wonderful late morning and early afternoon to spare before the nuptials, we decided to take a drive to check out the area.

The city of Chattanooga has around 182,799 residents as of 2019, per the U.S. Census Bureau, but the area has been undergoing a major revitalization over the last few decades. I didn't know much about the city other than that famous Glen Miller song, "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," so we decided to investigate the train industry sites during our short visit. The Chattanooga Terminal Station is a stunning historic building that has been turned into a multi-use location with restaurants, shops, and of course, trains. The terminal has also been turned into a hotel for anyone who is looking for the full Chattanooga experience, but book early because they are already selling out those prime fall weekend dates.

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Beaux-Arts architecture in Chattanooga, Tennessee.Kristyn Burtt.

The Beaux-Arts architecture will charm you as the Chattanooga Terminal was the first railway station in the South, opening in 1909. It functioned until 1970 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. While you walk through to enjoy all of the classic design features, be sure to stop by the Glen Miller Gardens and sip a drink in the bar located in the train cars. We were enthralled with taking in the history and the beautiful architecture — it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

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Maple Street Biscuit Company's "The Squawking Goat" biscuit.Kristyn Burtt.

Since we were looking for the full Southern dining experience, a local told us to try the biscuits at Maple Street Biscuit Company. While this is a chain, their "Squawking Goat" biscuit comes highly recommended by the Food Network. The flaky, moist biscuit is piled high with a fried chicken breast, fried (yes, it's a lot, but delicious) goat cheese, and surrounded by a spicy homemade pepper jelly. My husband ordered "The Five," which included fried chicken breast, pecanwood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese, topped with a shiitake mushroom gravy on their tasty Maple Street biscuits. While we both enjoyed "The Five," we agreed the Food Network pick was the winning meal.

This little adventure took about three hours for us since we had to get back for the wedding in Georgia, but it's a great way to get a sneak peek at a city that has so much more to offer. (The Riverwalk and Ruby Falls cave tour are on our list for next time.)

Sites to Visit:

Choo Choo Hotel

Maple Street Biscuit Company

Visit Chattanooga

Before you go, check out: Hollywood Gets a Brand New Moviegoing Experience Nestled Right Behind the Iconic Egyptian Theatre

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Kristyn Burtt is a commercial dance journalist, TV host and producer. She was the West Coast correspondent and host of "To the Pointe" on Dance Network for five years. Her coverage of "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing With the Stars" and "World of Dance" is popular with dance fans across the globe. Kristyn's love of dance began early in her life. She trained at the Boston Ballet School, danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in "The Nutcracker" and won a dance scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She currently serves on the American Dance Movement’s Marketing & PR Committee and is a member of the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA.

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