I remember after I graduated from college, I couldn’t wait to get out of the Southeast. My adverterous heart needed more. My father, who subscribed to National Geographic, was always pointing out the beautiful places in the US and how, while I was young, should go out and explore.
At the time, I was dating a boy who was a physical therapist. He got a job offer in Bullhead City, AZ. The company flew us both out there to check it out and before I knew what was happening, I found myself packing up a UHaul.
Now the boy and I didn’t make it (although we are still very close friends), but the move gave me an opportunity…to travel. My Dad, while I know he missed me, was so excited everytime I told him of my adventures…backpacking in Yosemite, hiking in Tahoe, snowboarding on Mt. Hood, mountain biking in Zion National Park, scuba diving in Hawaii…and the list went on an on. When I went back to Georgia last year to clean out his condo, I found that Dad had kept every postcard I ever sent him. Every. Single. One. I was floored. I guess I never really knew that he was, in a sense, living his need for adventures though me.
But, then, a strange thing happened about 5 years ago. On one of my annual trips back to the Georgia/Tennessee area, I fell in love.
I grew up 7 miles from Chattanooga. It was literally in my backyard. And yes, I know that lots of things have changed, but boy, if Chatt-town had been this awesome in the mid 1990s, I doubt I would have ever left.
But don’t take my word for it, check out that article here: http://www.outsideonline.com/2006426/americas-best-towns-2015
Like to Bike? With over 120 miles of singletrack within the city limits, there is something for everyone. What about climbing? Those who love scaling heights have been making pilgrimages to the area for over 30 years to scale the sandstone cliffs. Watersports more your interest? The Tennessee River and the Chickamauga lake welcome those seeking out boating, fishing, paddleboarding and casual kayaking. If you’re looking for more adreneline pumping action on the water, the Ocoee River is only a short drive away with it’s Class IV-V rapids to test your skills. If you prefer sports with your own two feet, hiking and running trails are everywhere and welcome all levels.
But it’s not just the outdoor activity. It’s the open arms to tech startups and new business development that have this city primed as the southern silicone valley. New eclectic neighborhoods are rising from the ashes of older, delapidated neighborhoods with locally owned, independent business to sustain them. Areas like Northshore, St. Elmo and Southside are hip, locally engaged and support the communities in which they live.