All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
After dinner we hooked up with our friend, Emily, and headed over to The Basement on 8th Avenue to catch a set by The Dirty Guv'nahs, an up-and-coming young band out of Knoxville who we recently saw at The Bele Chere Festival in Asheville (see previous blog) that really impressed us. The Basement is a tiny music venue that is literally the basement of a huge 3-story house. The second floor houses Grimey's Used CDs & Records. We had never been here before but have been wanting to check it out since they always seem to have a fairly impressive line-up of new artists gracing their stage. The place is cramped and short of space...hey, it's a basement, but the sight lines and acoustics are actually pretty good...much better than the oft bally-hooed 3rd & Lindsley venue which we despise.
There weren't too many people there when we arrived at the start of the short set of opening act, Patrick Sweany, but by the time he had finished a solid half-hour of good blues and rock, the crowd was thick in anticipation of the Guv'nahs who seem to have a pretty loyal grass-roots following. They were just as good as we remembered them from their Asheville performance. Their energy and musicianship on stage is exhilarating. We were almost as sweat-soaked as they were after an hour in the packed room, but it was well worth the effort. We are already looking for another opportunity to see them perform.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
We headed down Saturday and arrived in Atlanta early in the afternoon. Our friends, Will and Jenna, invited us to a cookout that evening at their house as well as allowing us to spend the night there. Will and Jenna went with us last year to the OAR show, but couldn't attend this year's show since they have had a big change in the lives since last summer with the arrival of their new baby, Payton. Turns out Jenna was pregnant at the show last August and didn't even know it. Don't be surprised if Payton turns out to be a huge OA\R fan, folks! Jenna is back at work now and didn't get off until 6 PM, so to kill a little time we sought out the nearby Atlanta Brewing Company who offers tours and opens their tasting room on Saturday afternoons.
Atlanta Brewing is a bit smaller than Sweetwater Brewing who we visited during our last trip to Atlanta (see previous blog: April 26, 2010), but their beer is pretty good. We skipped the tour since you can see the small production area from the tasting room and opted to just sit and enjoy our bountiful samples. For more info on the beer itself, check out Rob's beer blog. We had a great time at Will and Jenna's that evening reliving how we all met on a wonderful Mediterranean cruise a few years ago (preblog) and kicking around some ideas for a possible trip together next May when Payton's a little older and can stay with the grandparents. In order on our wish list of places to possibly visit are Tahiti, South America, Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera.
Sunday morning we slept in a bit. Well, we did, Miss Payton did not allow that so much for Will and Jenna. We made arrangements to meet one of Ashlee's childhood friends, Dana, who also lives in the Atlanta area, for lunch. She and her husband, Brad, suggested the West Cobb Diner in Marietta. The place is owned and operated by a neighbor of Dana and Brad's who hails from Louisiana. The food was great and we had a great visit Brad and Dana and their two children. After lunch we headed north toward Alpharetta and checked into our hotel: a nice Hilton Garden Inn in a quiet business park that we got for only $50 for the night - thanks, Travelocity.com! We relaxed in the room for a few hours and made arrangements with our friend, Rex, who was going with us to the OAR show, to meet for dinner in at a local barbecue joint called Smokejack. The food was delicious here as well. It had definitely been a great day of eating in "The Atl!"
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The place has been kept up quite nice over the years and visitation does not seem to have slowed down. Fortunately, we only had to stand in line a few minutes to get our tickets, but then our visit took an unexpected turn as we were told the elevator that usually takes visitors down 260 feet into the mountain to the start of the half-mile cave trail was shut down due to maintenance, and we would be going in the "alternate" entrance after a short bus ride to the bottom of Lookout Mountain next to the Moccasin Bend of the Tennessee River. So already our experience was different from the past visits since neither of us had been in this way or even really knew it existed. Evidently, it was constructed (i.e. blasted out of the rock) back in the 80's by pressure from OSHA after the elevator broke down stranding several visitors in the cave for over 12 hours. It was a ten-minute walk to the bottom of the elevator shaft where the actual tour begins. No big deal, but kind of cool to get to experience the back way in to the place.
We had a great guide named Andy who cracked fairly lame but well-intentioned jokes along the way. We had truly forgotten what an easy and interesting walk it is to Ruby Falls despite a gradual descent of over 900 more feet. The cave is full of amazing formations along the way tastefully lit for easy viewing with cool names like "Dragon's Foot." The 145' falls themselves are truly spectacular. They have now extended the walkway behind the falls. Neither of us remember that from our childhood visits. It's truly inspiring.
We rode back up Lookout Mountain after the tour and took a look at the sweeping vista atop the castle-looking visitor center that included good views of Moccasin Bend and downtown Chattanooga (photo above). On the way home we stopped at the foot of the mountain for some tasty pizza at Crust, a hip little restaurant with a couple of locations now in Chattanooga. We hope Ella retains great memories of her first visit to Ruby Falls, and perhaps go back again years from now and see it again with different eyes and enjoy it all over again just as we did.