🇮🇹 10 Tips: Venice, Italy 🇮🇹

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Venice is one of the most amazing, unique places on earth. We spent 4 days + 4 nights there and even in that amount of time, we probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there!

But I thought I would pull together 10 tips for when YOU visit Venice! 🎉 Also, I’ll include our 4 day itinerary at the end of this list! 👇🏻

Tip #1: Get lost!

When it comes to Venice, there is so much to see! Even with a map, you’re going to get lost. While most of the time, that seems like a bad idea, in Venice, it’s the exact opposite. If you wander through the streets and bridges going over canals, you will find some great things. You can never go wrong with the pastry and coffee places you find, the small hole-in-the-wall churches usually have decadent mosaics and paintings on their ceilings, and you can stumble upon hidden landmarks!

Take for instance, Liberia Acqua Alta. This place is apparently very hard to find, and due to our short time in Venice, we had sort of ruled out seeing it…until we just found it on accident one day! We had set out and decided to tackle a different area of our Venice map we hadn’t seen when we found it! So, get lost. Wander and see what you can find!

Tip #2: Get a Venezia Unica Card.

These are cards that not only provide unlimited use of the city’s vaporetto system, but also have other benefits, like seeing popular tourist destinations AND even free WiFi for a day if you are under 29!

My husband Tim and I got the “Rolling Venice Card” for 72 hours which included as many rides on the vaporetto as we wanted and WiFi for a day! It was well worth it because even though Venice is a very walkable city, you will want to see it from the canals also! This card also covered our water transport to the outerlying islands of Burano and Murano, which are a must see!

The important thing to note here though is this: TheVenezia Unica Card DOES NOT cover transportation from the Marco Polo Airport to Venice.

For that, you will have to book a desperate transfer via an Aliguna Waterbus on the Blue Line, which was right around €40-54, if I remember correctly.

Tip #3: See Burano and Murano! But if you have to pick one, pick Burano!

Now, this one is subject to opinion, but out of the two islands, I liked Burano the most! It is great for pictures and has the colorful buildings and even a lesser known Leaning Tower that Instagram dreams are made of! 😍 However, if you are going based purely on seeing the lace making or glass making, go to Murano for the glass making.

It is amazing to see the glass creations there and for some reason, it just seemed more visual and was cooler to see than the lace making on Burano!

The vaporetto ride from Venice to Murano is shorter than the one to Burano. I think our ride to Murano was about 10-15 minutes while the ride to Burano was closer to 30-45 minutes from Cannaregio where we stayed.

Tip #4: Check out a mask store or atelier!

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without seeing a mask maker and exploring one of their stores! Even if you don’t come during Carnivale, Venice’s February celebration where people dress up in costumes and masks, it is one of the biggest trades known strictly to Venice!

We visited a store called Sogno Venezia Atelier and the owner Julia had a wealth of information on the art of mask making and she makes all her own costumes!

Masks are only part of Venice’s allure and mystery, but be sure not to miss out on learning more about them!

Tip #5: Stay in Cannaregio!

This is also just opinion, but I felt like Cannaregio was the best and most central location for us when it came to staying in Venice! We were not far from the airport, we were away from the touristy areas and in more of an actual Venice neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the sights, and we were close to the Ospedale stop, or Hospital! You never want to think you’ll need it, but it was nice to know it was close!

We also were near plenty of markets, which we went to to buy fresh produce and things to make meals at home sometimes!

Tip #6: Go during the shoulder or “off” season.

March is considered a slow time in Venice. It is typically a little chillier and right after Carnivale, so flight prices drop. We scored our tickets for around $700, which was a great deal when compared to anywhere from $1,000-$2,200!

If I can suggest though, go in late March or be prepared for cold temperatures. We layered a lot. March is also the time for “high water”, so you will see higher water and even flooded streets in Venice due to the rain. We had to use catwalks to walk over the water sometimes, but if worse comes to worse, they do have these strange looking rain boots you can purchase everywhere. They look a lot like Saran Wrap that just goes over your feet! 😂

Tip # 7: Ride down The Grand Canal.

This is just a MUST. And kind of a given, but you have to see Rialto Bridge from the canals. It is a beautiful sight, not to mention, a relaxing ride. You will get some of your best pictures riding the vaporetto! They have these awesome little back sections of the vaporetto boats where you can go out a door and literally be in the open air. Just hold onto your phones! You don’t want to drop that into the canal!

Tip # 8: Take a gondola ride…but during the day.

Day fares for gondola are cheaper than at night and you’ll get less grainy, higher quality pictures. Now, while the vaporetto is great, gondolas are amazing because they take you down the tight, little back waterways of Venice that are quiet, secluded and interesting. We saw hidden passageways, passed a private courtyard where a couple was drinking red wine and they toasted us… 🍷😂

It was all very Venetian and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we hadn’t gone for a ride! The fare is generally €89, but you can ride up to 6 people in a gondola and that total is split amongst riders, it is not per person!

Tip #9: Go to Cemeterio Island.

I did not take many pictures at Cemeterio and some people think cemeteries are morbid, but I thought it was a cool experience! If you like seeing how Venetians live…and how they died, Cemeterio is an interesting place to go. It is a 5 minute ride from Cannaregio across the channel.

There are beautiful monuments there and even windows that just face off into the sea. While wandering around, we came across a landing of black and white tiles that just gently sloped into the canal and we discovered that it is there that boats dock to offload coffins.

It’s impossible to realize all the things that are different about Venice until you really stop and take a look.

Tip #10: Talk to some Venetians.

Whether it was talking to our waiters at the trattoria down our street, Julia at the mask shop, or anyone we encountered, the Venetians are an interesting people. They are very passionate about things and are set in their ways. They certainly won’t go out of their way to help you, but they are nice if you catch them in a good mood.

If I had to rank all the towns on their “friendliness” that we went to, Venice wouldn’t have the top spot, but more on that later! 😉

Bonus Tip #11: Get used to “Italian Time”.

Italians have their own clock that they go by, whether it’s getting somewhere and meeting up with someone or just eating dinner. Dinners are usually 4 hour affairs with multiple courses and you have to ask for your check, which was strange to us Americans.

One reason for this is that Italian waiters are paid a living wage. In America, waiters barely make $3 an hour and live on tips, so it’s all about turning tables. Get used to taking your time in Italy and you will enjoy your trip so much more!

Those are all my tips for Venice! 🇮🇹🍷🍕

Here is a brief itinerary of our time in Venice! 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻

March 14th: Landed in Venice

*On this day, we basically ate dinner near Rialto Bridge(very touristy, but the pizza was good) and went to our VRBO home to catch up on the time change! Not much accomplished this day.

March 15th: Murano & St. Mark’s Basillica

*We rode over to Murano to see some glass making and also checked out St. Mark’s Basillica and square! We did a lot of wandering this day and got a lot of ground covered!

March 16th: Burano, Riding a Gondola, and Riding Down Grand Canal

We rode over to Burano early and also had lunch there! Poppy had fish with the heads on. 😳😂 We also rode the vaporetto all over, including down The Grand Canal, and got gelato. 🍧

March 17th: Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and Sogno Venezia Atelier

We saw a bunch this day! We explored Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and I bought a Venetian mask!

Stay tuned for my next blog on Florence, Pisa & Lucca!

And there is a quick video I made of Venice, which is on my IGTV, or Instagram tv! I hope you’ll check it out!

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How We Saved For Italy 🇮🇹 (And How You Can Too!)

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  Hey, guys! I have the most exciting news EVER to share with you all!

I’m. Going. To Italy!!! 🇮🇹 🎉

 Last night, I found the deal of a lifetime on airline tickets and took the plunge. I literally stopped everything I was doing, ran to my grandparents’ house and called everyone together for a conference because I hadn’t seen prices this low since February. Not only is my grandfather Poppy going to go, but my parents are too! This is amazing and something I’ve only dreamed about for so long. When I woke up this morning, I had to remind myself it was all real! I can’t wait! We’ll be going this next year! ✈️🌎

*Sidenote: If you want to find great deals on tickets, look today before they go back up. The tickets I found were under $1,000 roundtrip, which is absolutely unheard of. Use Skyscanner also, they are great and cross compare every other site so you know you’re getting the very best deal possible. ✔️*

 Now, I always strive to be upfront with my readers, so I want to share with you how we saved up for this trip. It sounds like a really hard thing to do, but really it just took some perseverance and delayed gratification. Here are my top tips for how to save up for your next trip!

1. Spend less on the things that don’t matter so you can spend more on the things that DO matter.

 This sounds like it should be common sense, but it is hard to put into practice, at first. A lot of times, I will find myself wanting to buy new clothes, go to an expensive restaurant or just buy something I really don’t need. A thing I started doing a few years ago was stopping for 5 minutes or so and just thinking about what it was I wanted, really long and hard. If it was clothes, I would carry them around as I shopped and ask myself, Is this something I can really see myself getting a lot of wear out of? What are some outfit combinations I could come up with, using this item? Is it something I can wear during different seasons? Can I wait and find this somewhere cheaper?

Usually, I found that after 5 minutes, the loud voice inside me screaming, “I WANT THIS!” would dull and I would realize that wasn’t really what I wanted most in the world. What I wanted was to travel the world.

 So, try this sometimes, when you feel like you really, really want something and you may surprise yourself. If you still want whatever it is, you should get it. 

2. Thrift, coupon, do whatever it takes.

  I have bought clothes secondhand about 90% of the time over the last few years, or gone to places like Marshall’s, Ross or places that have great deals on clothes. I use coupons when we go out to eat, but only if it’s a good deal and something we would have gotten anyway. (Hint: Those $5 off when you spend $30 coupons are not worth your time. 👋🏻🙄) Sometimes, Tim and I have split meals also to cut costs.

  I also buy hygiene and toiletry stuff only when we need it, but we never run out. I’m one of those people who has to have a back up in case we run out. 😂

3. Speaking of doing whatever it takes…

 I bought toilet paper at an estate sale once, which might sound weird, but I bought it in May and didn’t have to get anymore until this month. 😂 32 rolls for $3, ya’ll. WORTH IT.

 If you want to travel and take this huge trip you’ve got planned, sometimes you have to do things other people might look at and call crazy. I also have scaled back on the makeup I’ve worn this year. Since I petsit, I rarely see people anyway, so I started wearing less makeup, which meant buying less makeup, which also made my skin so much healthier. I saved so much money that way! 💰

 I also just recently finally caved and bought some new tennis shoes. I needed them, so I could justify the purchase, but I went for several months with a hole in the sole of them and a chunk missing from the heel. 🤷🏻‍♀️

 This is what I mean by delayed gratification. In our world now, you’re told that you have to have everything you want, right then and there, which is not true. If you use willpower, and occasionally do some things other people think are funny, you can definitely have what you want, in time!

4. Drop the car payment. 

 It seems like everyone and their mother has a car payment, but hear me out on this one. 

 Tim and I bought our cars used. I know some people can’t resist a shiny, new car, but that is usually anywhere from $100-$300 extra dollars a month that you could otherwise be saving. I bought my car 2 years ago, used. I had it paid off in exactly 1 year. So, for the last few years, we’ve just done routine maintenance on them, but have no car payment each month, which has helped TREMENDOUSLY.

But don’t just stop with the car payment! Take that cell phone bill and chop it in half. I was paying $120 at Verizon just for myself, so I switched to Sprint and now pay only $80. The more you do this and re-evaluate what you’re spending, even if it’s only by $20, the savings will add up each month! 🎉

5. Re-evaluate your job.

 This one is tricky, but something you should do. Maybe you work from home, so your costs are low, but maybe sometimes, you might have a long commute to a job you hate anyway and gas money eats into your paycheck. Sit back and be objective.

 I had to do this almost a year ago and haven’t looked back since! I was working part time at a bakery, maybe 6 hours a day. 🍰 I didn’t like it at all, but I noticed that my petsitting business was taking off like crazy. I did some figuring and realized, if I dropped the part time job at the bakery and went to petsitting fulltime, I could double or even triple what I was making for hardly any extra effort at all! 

  Sit back and think about these things before you jump, but sometimes, the answer that makes the most sense is right in front of you.    

6. Resell items on Etsy, EBay, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

 This takes a little more discipline, searching and work, but we have made usually on average, an extra $100 a month doing this. You don’t even have to go out and buy things to resell, first look through what you have. What do you not use anymore? Someone out there, most likely, is willing to pay for it and may even need it!

  Old clothes, knick knacks, musical instruments, whatever it is, put it out there. We have really enjoyed the Etsy platform. I go to a lot of estate sales in my free time between petsits, so I find things I think are cool, buy them for cheap, take pictures, and then list them! It’s that easy! Etsy gets your items viewed around the world. We have sent things as far as Norway and France! 😱 I love thinking about the new homes our things go to! 

 If online posting isn’t your thing, that’s no excuse—have a yard sale! Do whatever it takes. You also get a nice, clean, more organized house out of it! 👍🏻

7. Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.

  This is in no way a plug and I am dead serious. It will cost you $100 up front, but taking his class helped us SO much. It helps you with budgeting, being accountable and just getting you motivated to get out of debt if you are in it, save money even if you aren’t and just handle your finances better.

 We were doing great saving before, but I have to say, after taking his class, it kicked us into high gear.

  I hope these tips have helped! 😄 I want you to know that this is possible for anyone. It has taken us years to get to this point, but you CAN do it. And I know saving and waiting can suck, but there is nothing like the feeling you have when you realize you’ve done something, with no help, by yourself and for yourself! ❤️✌🏻✈️

P.S. I might drop another post on tips for finding the best airline ticket prices, since I’ve been doing this kind of research for over a year. 😂 Who would like to see a post on that?

Love you guys! 

\\ S a v a n n a h |In a| W e e k e n d //

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 Savannah, Savannah, Savannah. It’s a place I’ve blogged on before, but since I recently spent a weekend there for a cousin’s wedding, I thought I’d do another post with things to do! Second time’s the charm, in this case! 

  Coming to the city with fresh eyes, I’ve narrowed it down to some stuff that you can easily fit in for a short weekend getaway! 👉🏻🌎 

Here are my top picks for things to do in Savannah when you only have the weekend!

Bonaventure Cemetery


 Creepy? Maybe. Gorgeous? Definitely. Bonaventure was something I didn’t get to really appreciate until this time around. September’s mild temperatures were preferable to July’s sweltering heat, for sure. I got to walk around and really explore, seeing some really unique tombstones and taking in the history.


 Bonaventure also gives free tours every second Saturday/Sunday of the month around 2:00pm, which can be really informative! If you want to see a peaceful place with Spanish moss galore that is picturesque, Bonaventure is the ticket! 🎟

Carriage or Trolley Tour 🐴 🚋 


 My first time to Savannah, we did a trolley tour and this time around, we did a carriage tour. I’d recommend either one highly! The carriage horses are treated very humanely. Teddy here took us all around the city and we heard so many interesting things about Savannah’s history!

 The trolley tours are also great and you can get on and off as many times as you want! If you want a more intimate tour, take a carriage tour. If you want to cover more ground and experience a lot in a day, do a trolley tour!

Stroll Down Jones Street/River Street


Do one or do both, but get out in the city and walk around!

 Jones Street is residential, but has been voted several times as the #1 Most Beautiful Street in Savannah. Walk around there or any of Savannah’s side streets to get a feel for the beautiful architecture, landscaping and local life. River Street is more commercial. You’ll definitely want to go down there to see the barges come in with cargo, grab some candied pecans and even see some vendors selling things on the weekend! 

Visit Tybee Island


 For some beach time, go to Tybee Island. 🌴You can walk along the beach, check out some stores and local eateries and even tour Tybee Lighthouse if you want! Less commercial than downtown Savannah, it will give you a dose of the beach for your weekend!

Leopold’s Ice Cream & The Olde Pink House


 For food, you have to go to The Olde Pink House for lunch. It’s a 5 Star restaurant and you can also tour the rest of this historic home that was built in 1771 after you eat! 

 Leopold’s is also a must for dessert! Their ice cream is delicious and they have been around for nearly 100 years! Other notable mentions for food: The Cotton Exchange Cafe, Cafe M, Huey’s & The Pirate House. 

The only restaurant I would not recommend is Paula Deen’s. I know, utter blasphemy coming from a fellow Southerner’s mouth, but it wasn’t worth the hype. Subpar food, not that great of service and, you didn’t hear this from me, but I saw employees going to the bathroom still wearing their aprons, which is a no-no. 🤢

 
 Whatever you choose to do on your next trip to Savannah, I’m sure you’ll have a great time! The Southern food, charm and sightseeing can’t be beat! 🍹

\\ S a v a n n a h, G e o r g i a //

A Musing

 Savannah, Georgia. It’s a beautiful city, full of interesting architecture, hanging Spanish moss that sets a romantic & spooky mood at the same time, great seafood and hundreds of things to do!

  We covered a lot of ground this past week while we were there for the first time, so I’ve tried to highlight some of the coolest things we did! Savannah really has a little bit of something for everyone.

For The Outdoor Lover/Green Spaces Enthusiast


  I’ve heard Savannah compared to Charleston quite a bit, maybe because they both have pretty, pastel colored homes, wrought iron, nice beaches and history, but Savannah has way more parks and squares per mile than Charleston. About every couple of blocks, there is a nicely outlined square that was designed in the 1700’s and then there is Savannah’s biggest park, Forsyth Park, which you have to visit! The fountain at its center resembles the one in Central Park in New York and there are a few Civil War monuments as well.

 I would definitely recommend taking a stroll through one of the many squares or Forsyth, which is so beautiful.

For the Antique Lover/History Buff


  I love exploring antique stores in the new places I go to! A great one is Alex Roskin’s Antiques on Forsyth Park next to The Armstrong House. It’s in a 4 story mansion that definitely gives off some haunted vibes! 😱 I couldn’t afford anything there, including an awesome bust of Mark Twain’s head and several furniture pieces from the 1800’s, but it is so interesting just to go through and look at this old house. Every room is crammed full and there are even some porches you can walk out on to where you are level with the palm trees and you can gaze out at the park below. It was awesome!

  I would also suggest taking in the River Walk. There are several antique stores down there, as well as cobblestone streets, cute eateries and a view of the port, which can accommodate 98% of America’s cargo, where ships bring in and take out things going all over the world.

For The Beach Goer


   A vacation wouldn’t be a full trip without a trip to the beach! Luckily, Savannah is close to Tybee Island and Hilton Head. Hilton Head is a little fancier, but they are about the same parking expenses wise.


  My pick would be Hilton Head if you’re just going for the sun and waves, but Tybee if you would like to take in a lighthouse while you are there too. The admission to Tybee Lighthouse is only $9 and you get to see all the outbuildings, go up the 178 stairs to the lighthouse observatory and check out the museum under the battery.

For The Cemetery/Church Explorer


 Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of Bonaventure Cemetery, but it is a beautiful place full of 100+ year old tombstones and a Grave Lookup Machine, which comes in handy when you are trying to find specific markers.

   For a great church to see, I would visit Old St. John’s Cathedral. It is gorgeous and has free admission, but be respectful since it is still a functioning church with regular services still held.

For The Foodie


 Everyone has to eat, right? There are so many great places to eat in Savannah. I personally liked Fiddler’s Restaurant, which had delicious crab cakes and Leopold’s Ice Cream for its amazing desserts. Pictured here is the peppermint ice cream, which is to die for! 😍 Leopold’s is one of the top 5 ice cream parlors in the world!

  For The Plantion Lover


  Now sadly, we didn’t get to go in Wormsloe Plantation this time around since we had a packed schedule, but I will definitely be going back! I had to snap a picture or two of their tree lined driveway though! It is a $10 admission. Definitely someplace I want to visit when I come back to Savannah!

Have any of my readers been to Savannah? Where are some of your favorite places to go?

Also, P.S. I would highly recommend a trolley tour while you are there. Old Towne Trolley Tours offers a $29 per person deal which I found to be worth every penny! They have 15 stops and an all day on-and-off feature so you can go back to stops you missed and disembark and get on as many times as you want! 

Vacation Update ☀️

A Musing

   Hey, guys! So…I decided to get on here and do an update on our vacation, but it’s not what you think. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows.

   I like to be completely transparent with my followers and…I used a sun emoji because I was just trying to look on the brighter side for a second. I know that, a lot of times, in this crazy world of bloggers, social media and Instagram, we all get caught up in trying to make everything seem “perfect”.

  Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not.

 This has been a very emotional week for me and my husband’s family. His mother has dementia and mobility issues and my husband’s father is her primary caregiver and he has mobility issues as well. I tried my best to plan this vacation to be everything we wanted: fun, easy and relaxed. Sounds simple, right?

 I started by booking us a place in Savannah through VRBO months ago. I always look there first because you have a more unique experience that way. With Savannah, this presented a challenge, since most rentals had stairs, but I found one that was one level, finally, and said it was wheelchair accessible.

 Now, when something is wheelchair accessible, that usually means that there is a ramp, a walk in shower with no raised ledge, and bars for handholds in the bathroom shower and near the toilet. From the pictures, the angles were deceiving, with the shower curtains closed and pictures taken just so, but I thought that this rental would be a big hit.

  Well, I was wrong. Now, let me be very clear. I love VRBO. A lot. But this rental was listed on VRBO by a third party called Vacasa.


Take my advice and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER rent from this super shitty company. Like, seriously, read the fine print and just DON’T. Don’t just walk away, run. Basically, they’re a third party company who tries to take allllll of the hassle out of renting vacation homes for people, mostly rich ass people who are too lazy to take the properties they own and do something with them themselves, and they rent them out for them. This also means they take care of repairs, housekeeping, etc.

  It’s a business model that is mediocre at best and set up to fail.

When we arrived at the property, it was NOTHING as advertised. No bars in the shower or near the toilet. In fact, the shower didn’t even have a ledge for shampoo at all, causing my husband’s parents to stoop for everything, which is totally comfortable when you’re in your 70’s, you should try it sometime. There was a ledge to get in the house and no ramp, so definitely not wheelchair accessible at all, which is what they claimed in the listing. 


 They also had advertised that we would have two parking spaces, one in front and one to the left of the building. When facing the building, the left side is just sidewalk. We were not driving a freaking Kia Soul up onto a sidewalk, nor were we going to do that for the rental van we were using. If you faced away from the house and checked that left side, there was a commercial dumpster, which you would be towed from if you violated and parked in front of it. Also, there was no mention whatsoever that street sweepers came through Wednesday night to Thursday morning. 

 Just, all in all, a lot of things that were not as advertised.

So, the second night we were there, also the first night my mother in law tried to use the shower, she slipped and fell and had to get stitches in her elbow.


  That is her blood on my husband’s shirt. We contacted Vacasa immediately. To their credit, we eventually demanded they put us up in a handicap accessible hotel and they did. They were not even going to do that at first, though. They were only going to refund our money, which would have left us out of a place to stay. They pulled all this crap about how we “preferred” to move and I let them HAVE it. I told them they needed to look up “preferred” in the dictionary because you prefer shade to sun or vanilla ice cream to chocolate ice cream, we needed to move because they didn’t have their shit together and falsely advertised and we didn’t want to be mopping anyone else’s blood off the floor or running to the hospital again.

  Oh, I can be nasty, and believe me. Sarcasm is my fine honed weapon that comes out when people are liars, cheats and try to take advantage of me or people I care about.

 They only obliged, probably, because they know they could have a lawsuit on their hands. This made me furious. Anyways, I am writing this post to warn all of my followers to NEVER book through Vacasa. Their properties are not as advertised and if you have an accident on their property, they don’t care. $200+ in hospital bills and they did not care.

  I’m sorry for the tone of this post—well, not really—but I had to do this. It’s the right thing to do by my family. I hope they never get another cent.

 I promise in the next few days, I’ll post about the fun things we’ve been doing. 😝 We’ve actually had a good time, once we got done wiping blood off the floor of a place run by scumbags.

Be looking for a happier post about Savannah soon! And remember, don’t book a vacation rental through Vacasa, because they are remorseless, horrible @$)&@$?!!! Toodles! 👋🏻

Chattanooga Adventures 🚃

A Musing

  This weekend, we went to Chattanooga for my mom’s birthday. 🎉 Chattanooga or Chatt Town is one of those places that is so close, you forget about it if you’re a Knoxvillian like me. I’ve been there on field trips, passed through there on the way to other places, or stopped there just for a pit stop on the way home sometimes.


  I had a lot of fun going there yesterday though, mostly because I got to go with my family. 

   We ate at Urban Stack, known for their burgers 🍔, at lunch.


  We also did The Big Tour—and I’m calling it that because you need the whole day to do it and it is worth it! We saw Rock City, Ruby Falls and rode The Incline Railroad.

 

  Ruby Falls was something I have never seen in person, just on magnets or lisence plates that other people have bought over the years. It’s 145 feet tall and they still have no idea where it is coming from. You see, it’s under and inside Lookout Mountain, which is a huge mountain overlooking Chattanooga. In fact, you can see 7 states from the top of Lookout: Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama.


  They say the man that found Ruby Falls in the 1920’s heard the waterfall before he could see it—he was traipsing around in the cave with only a lantern! 😱 It is one of the largest underground commercial waterfalls in the world, so it’s definitely worth a visit!

  

  We also walked all around Rock City, where they have cool rock formations, including Fatman Squeeze, which really has to be experienced to be believed! 😂


 The Incline Railroad at Lookout Mountain is another thing you have to do! It is the steepest inclined railroad in the world.

   I rode it for the first time ever yesterday and it made me nervous! It has a 72.7% grade at the top. When you climb in, you are going into a rail car at an angle, so instead of a flat floor, you have steps going down to the seats.


  You slide down past people’s homes, under a bridge and down to the bottom. This was looking back up when it was almost starting to level out, but we were still halfway to the bottom! 

  The Incline was started in 1895, but the cars were last updated in the 1980’s. I can see why they probably started it—there were mostly dirt roads back then and I don’t picture horses making the trek to the top of Lookout easily. Back then, The Incline was all about necessity, but now it is all about fun! 

 If you’re looking for a fun day trip to Tennessee, definitely check out Chattanooga! There are a lot of other attractions, including the famous Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel, worth checking out! 

\ \ H e l e n, G e o r g i a / /

A Musing

  Seeing is believing. Some places are just so weird and unbelievable that you have to see them in person. Helen, Georgia is one of those places. I decided that it needed an entry all of its own! 🇧🇪🍻🌲

  

  If you were looking at these pictures and didn’t know any better, you would think you were looking at the perfect, quintessential German town, but this village with Bavarian charm is right in the middle of the mountains in Northern Georgia. I think, personally, it’s a lot like Gatlinburg, a mountain town in Sevierville and in my own backyard, just if it had German influences. 

  

  This town is close to a lot of hiking trails, rivers where you can go tubing and plenty of other activities. Downtown itself, a tiny little Main Street, is full of hotels, B&B’s, German restaurants and some tourist trap souvenir shops. There are a few more authentic shops close to the beer garden near the main square, fortunately, that sell some German snacks and little kitschy souvenirs and pottery, which are a little better than your standard airbrushed tees and marijuana bottle openers you find in the usual tourist crap stores. 🙄

 

  You will also be surprised to know that there are quite a few German people who own shops in this town and even live near by. I guess it surprised me because it’s a knock off of Germany and if I had to choose between Real Germany and Fake Germany, Real Germany would win every time. 👍🏻

  Seeing little mock European towns like this makes me appreciate the people who loved a place like Germany so much that they brought it to them, and at the same time, it makes me want to visit the real, authentic thing. 

  So, if you find yourself in Northern Georgia, definitely stop by Helen! It is everything I like in a road trip pit stop: Bizarre, unique and interesting!