Tag Archives: chattanooga

Meet Lumpkin, the Ageless Pumpkin from Chattanooga

To celebrate my 22nd birthday in October, Niko and I adventured off to Chattanooga for a weekend of exploring, local eats and even a little climbing. We visited the Tennessee Aquarium, strolled the streets of downtown and spent a few hours at my favorite crag, Little Rock City.

The most lasting impression was made by a small, plump vegetable gifted to me by Niko at the Chattanooga State Farmers Market. Our trip occurred during the peak of autumn, so naturally I insisted on getting a pumpkin souvenir to commemorate my travels to a destination that experiences marked seasons.  I picked him out from a pile housing dozens of pumpkins. His perfectly round body and firm stem made him a perfect choice. He earned the name ‘Lumpkin’ during our drive back to Tallahassee, where we passed a ghost town bearing the appropriate name.

Months passed, and I sadly watched as pumpkins perched on doorsteps throughout Tallahassee became soggy with mold and were carelessly slumped into the trash. I refused to carve my darling Lumpkin, but considered painting him gold and dipping him in glitter a few times.

Lumpkin has traveled from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Tallahassee, Florida, and even made two trips to Miami, Florida for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. He’s a natural adventurer.

Today, little Lumpkin remains firm and hearty as ever. He bears a single little mark, where it appears that a fingernail pierced his thick hide, but his wound is entirely healed over and shows no signs of infection or impending pumpkin demise. It has been three months since I acquired my little vegetable buddy, and I reckon that it’ll be a few more before I am forced to abandon my prize to the inevitable decomposition that awaits him.

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Top 6 Reasons I’m Moving to Chattanooga

I didn’t come up with this plan on my own – in fact, I probably never would have realized how perfect Chattanooga is without outside influence. However, as soon as someone asserted that Chattanooga would be an ideal city for me to live in, everything clicked. How had I not seen it before? Everything about the Tennessee city is screaming my name. The local food scene, the amazing aquarium, the buzzing downtown area, the proximity to sweet climbing – it all makes sense. So here you have it, the Top 6 Reasons Why I’m Moving to Chattanooga:

1. Downtown Chattanooga

If you have never visited Chattanooga, you are truly missing out on one of America’s best ‘little’ big cities. The downtown district offers the best of both small local community and big city conveniences. Locally-owned boutiques sit beside apparel chains, yet the city achieves a seemingly perfect balance between the two different worlds. Strolling through downtown is easy and charming. One of my favorite shops is the mismatched book store on Broad Street, which is overloaded with a cluttered haven of books, knitted goodies and all sorts of trinkets. Local art adorns countless street corners, and some buildings have been entirely dedicated to artistic causes. The community here is humble, friendly and not the least pretentious.

2. The Food

By now, you should have a fully realized understanding of my passion for eating. I may be startlingly thin, but don’t let my skinny appearance fool you – I am a lean, mean eating machine. Chattanooga boasts some of the best grub in the southeast. First, there’s the Chattanooga Cupcakes shop that serves outrageous bakery creations. Then we have local grubberies like Lupi’s Pizza, comparable to Tallahassee’s hometown favorite Momo’s. If you’re looking for something more upscale, the Terminal Brewery serves the most fantastic – and beer-friendly – food in town. I ate there for my 22nd birthday dinner with Niko, and we still talk about our delicious meal of juicy burgers, sweet potato fries, freshly-brewed beer and tantalizing hummus. I can only imagine the culinary spread that awaits throughout the rest of Chattanooga.

3. Climbing Accessibility

One of the biggest drawbacks of living in Florida is the distance between my house and a decent crag. It’s at least a 5 hour drive to the nearest climbing area, which is a big bummer for days when I wake up craving some real rock. Living in Chattanooga would put me within day-trip distance to excellent spots like Little Rock City and Rocktown. Imagine, waking up on a Saturday morning to perfect weather, and being able to load up the car with gear and simply head out to climb in the boulder fields for a day. After a long day of crushing rock, it’ll be a short drive to the comfort of home. Chattanooga claims to have a pretty sweet indoor gym as well.

4. Chattanooga’s Beautiful Outdoors

I will defend Tallahassee’s modest attempt at autumn until I become blue in the face, but there is no denying that Chattanooga offers a vastly greater fall experience. The trees blaze with fiery shades of orange, red and yellow. Aside from the stunning fall foliage, the Tennessee area is home to a host of different natural wonders. You’ve got the Tennessee River, rolling mountainsides, roads winding through steep forests – it’s all right in Chattanooga’s backyard.

5. The Farmer’s Market

The tomatoes I bought at the Chattanooga Farmer’s Market during my birthday weekend were undoubtedly the best tomatoes I have ever tasted. The little cherry variety came in lush golds, deep purplish greens and bold reds. The market is bursting with fresh, local produce. Everything from string beans and sweet potatoes to warm loaves of bread and bison jerky can be purchased for an extremely reasonable price. I would love to have a reliable venue to stock up on quality food. I could seriously eat those tomatoes forever.

6. The Tennessee Aquarium

Words cannot describe my love for the Tennessee Aquarium. Personally, I think the word ‘aquarium’ is inappropriate for the facility; it’s more like an underwater and above-ground wonderland. Not only do they have enormous tanks filled with marine life, this establishment houses a beautiful butterfly garden and a sweeping collection of amphibians and reptiles. I could get lost in there for hours. I recently spoke of a little fantasy where I became the night staff of the aquarium, and hung out in the jellyfish exhibit with all the lights off except the changing colored glow from the jelly tanks.

My list of reasons could continue for quite some time. There’s the ridiculously affordable mountainside housing, the friendly community of green-minded people that inhabit the city, the beauty of the Tennessee River, etc. I may be nestled in Tallahassee for another year or so, writing for an online travel guide company, but the promise of Chattanooga will keep me forging onwards.

Long lost photography from Chattanooga & my birthday potluck!

I’ve kept you waiting long enough, so here you go readers – the long-awaited film photographs from my 22nd birthday potluck and my trip to Chattanooga have finally been developed.

I had a wonderful pair of birthday weekends, and naturally must thank my amazing friends and boyfriend for their company. My birthday potluck illustrated how many people care about me – largely folks from the rock gym, no surprise there! I can’t thank Niko enough for the beautiful weekend we spent together in Chattanooga. Twenty-two might be old, but I’m ready for another year of growing up and adventuring.

Next set of photos: my developed film shots from the FSU Climbing Club trip to Horse Pens 40 – but first, three more photographs from Chattanooga can be found by clicking the link to see more! The rest of the photos will be posted on Facebook within the next few days, and I’ll be sure to include a link to the album.

Read More…

What Makes a Party?

After a gorgeous weekend in Chattanooga, Niko and I finally pulled into the semi-familiar backwoods of Tallahassee late last night, just as my iPhone battery finally died. We trekked home, and poured ourselves into his bed. I can’t remember the last time I slept so soundly.

This morning I woke up feeling like I was been beaten with a heavy stone. I had felt the tension and pulling of my muscles yesterday afternoon while I attempted The Main Event (V4) at Little Rocky City, but I didn’t realize the extent of my body abuse until the next day. My soreness and overall drained vibes have entirely usurped my urge to tend to my physical appearance, and thus I made my way to my first class of the day with unbrushed hair, unshaved armpits and yesterday’s stale socks.

Naturally, given my disheveled condition, today was one of the few times of the semester that I ran into a friend on campus. Eric and I spotted each other near the Union crosswalk, and followed the brick path towards my classroom together. He said to me,

“You look tired – like you’ve had a long weekend of partying.”

Too genuine of a friend for me to be offended by this comment that many women would liken to being told they look ‘swollen’ – read: fat – I instead began to consider the relationship between looking like I had been out partying all weekend with the reality that my wrecked appearance was a result of a long weekend spent adventuring and celebrating, if you will, Mother Earth.

Yes, I had a long weekend of partying – except for a few minor detail alterations. Switch the beer and vodka with heirloom tomatoes and bison burgers; replace keg stands with boulder climbing; aquariums and winding mountain roads instead of nightclubs and liquor stores. Hell yeah, I had a great weekend of Chattanooga-style partying. Thanks for the compliment, Eric.

Plenty of photos from exploring the Tennessee Aquarium and climbing at Little Rock City are on the way! I snapped a few shots with the AE-1, but I still have a couple exposures left on the roll so it’ll be a few days until I get those up. Until then, I promise a handful of digital photos to satisfy your adventure cravings.

Other things to look forward to this week (and next) on The Morning Fresh: an adorable recipe for cinna-mummy baked apple wedges, advice for camping in preparation for the Climbing Club at FSU’s trip to Horse Pens 40, a feature post on high school classmate Andrew Kenward’s music-based A.K. Jigga and loads more. Also very exciting, my article on Amendment 4 was featured on the Florida2010.org website as a guest blog! Click here to check it out. If anyone missed my interview on the Joyce Kaufman talk show on Friday, shoot me a comment and I’ll send you a recording. Have a beautiful Monday, readers!

Image of the Day

I have spent my entire day pacing in front of my front door, waiting for my La Sportiva Katanas to get delivered – thank you for the awesome birthday present, Niko! Trapped at home, I have had a lot of time to kill. I entertained myself by flipping through photos from my housemate Brooke’s recent trip to Arizona. I was smitten the moment I came across the featured photo; it speaks to my lifestyle completely, and can be adapted to apply to all of our lives. Life on the rocks. ‘Cause it really always is, isn’t it?


Speaking of rocks, the Climbing Club at FSU is heading off on a trip to Horse Pens 40 next weekend – and I cannot wait. If you haven’t experienced the adventure of a rock-climbing trip, you really should give it a shot. There is nothing like spending a few days out in nature, eating bagels smothered in Nutella, toasting marshmallows over a real campfire and escaping the demands of your daily life. Coincidentally, our trip is happening the same weekend as HP40’s Pumpkin Moon Motorcycle Rally and family camp-out. I reckon things are going to get real interesting. You can be expecting some sweet photos upon my return.

Before I head off on that excursion, I’ll be enjoying my first proper visit to Chattanooga for my 22nd birthday. Niko and I will be traveling to Tennessee this weekend to explore everything that the city has to offer. I’m most excited for the Tennessee Aquarium, which houses the largest freshwater facility in the world. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of photography loaded with creatures. They have a butterfly garden, free-flying birds, a large selection of frog species, enormous aquarium tanks and my favorite, an exhibit dedicated to invertebrates like jellyfish and cuttlefish.

Hoorah, adventure!

Happy October!

Happy October, everyone! May your month be filled with pumpkin carving, open windows, rock climbing adventures, cinnamon scented candles, falling leaves, and lots of cuddling. October is filled with exciting ventures, and lots of birthdays.

To celebrate the beginning of this stellar month, everyone in Tallahassee should come out to Railroad Square’s First Friday event tonight! There will be heaps of delicious local food, a crazy costume showcase, rock climbing belays for only $5.00 (and I might be belaying you – doesn’t get better than that!), great vintage shops, art galleries and more. Come check it out, and get a refreshing beer from Skyla over at StarSea’s Cafe.

Other October festivities to look forward to:

  1. The Foals playing at Club Downunder on October 6th.
  2. Yeasayer playing on the Green on October 8th – free for everyone!
  3. My birthday potluck on October 9th.
  4. Matt & Kim playing at Club Downunder on October 13th. (Sleeping Spiders featuring my buddy Phil Andre will be opening for them!)
  5. Roadtrip to Chattanooga with Niko October 15-17th.
  6. I’m turning the ripe ‘ole age of 22 on October 16th!
  7. FSU Climbing Club trip to HP40 October 22-24th.
  8. Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity in Washington, DC on October 30th.

I hope everyone gets outside to enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts! Go explore, get lost in the woods somewhere, find a new local eatery and try something you’ve never sampled before. Get out there, and LIVE!

October 2010 – Adventure Month!

Folks, we are only 11 days away from the best month of the year – October. Not only does this fabulous tenth month of the year contain my birthday, this October will be full of adventure. Great bands are playing, climbing adventures shall be plentiful and my birthday weekend will be celebrated with a romantic road-trip to Chattanooga! October is going to be jam-packed with new experiences and exciting ventures.

First in the month, we’ve got awesome bands playing at Florida State University back-to-back. On Wednesday, October 6th, the phenomenal band Foals will be playing at Club Down Under – for free! Then, on Friday the 8th, Yeasayer will be treating our campus to an outdoor performance on the green – also for free, and all ages. Other bands playing in Tallahassee during October include Mae, Matt & Kim and more. (And on November 19th, Iron & Wine will be jamming at the Moon!)

The rest of the month will be filled with road trips. During my birthday weekend in the middle of October, Niko and I are planning a trip up to explore Chattanooga, Tennessee. Niko found a ton of fantastic places that I’m dying to see. I’m really looking forward to Tennessee Aquarium, which currently features an exhibit that combines live jellyfish with the glass-blown art of Dale Chihuly – two of my favorite things. We’re also going to check out bountiful fresh produce and a free rock climbing wall at the outdoor Chattanooga Market. The next weekend, we’re heading to Horse Pens 40 with the FSU Climbing Club for our semester trip. I’ve never climbed at HP40, so I’m looking forward to getting outdoors in a new destination.

In the spirit of exploration and travel, I’ve harvested a handful of WeHeartIt images to arouse the adventurer in everyone. Whether you’re able to pack up and head out towards uncharted territories, or have to find adventure in your nearby backyard – get out there and experience what your surroundings have to offer!



“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.”
– Wilfred Peterson

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