The Sunday New York Times for January 14 lists the 52 best places to go in 2018. I really enjoy this annual feature and pick at least one of the 52 as a destination for our travel year. This time there are 10 American cities on the list. Some are predictable, like Seattle. Others are not. Baltimore?
The #1 destination for 2018 in New Orleans. The New York Times reasoning is that this city, like San Antonio, is celebrating its 300th birthday this year with festivities beyond Mardi Gras. This past year Ruth & I traveled to 3 cities on the 2018 list–Cincinnati, Denver, and Chattanooga. All deserved listing.
Chattanooga has undergone a huge Renaissance that I became fully aware of when I read “A Short History of Chattanooga” in Do Chattanooga, Fall 2017, a local tourist publication. It’s actually not so short. In fact, I’d call it long and comprehensive. Because it’s on the Cumberland Plateau at a large bend of the Tennessee River with mountains all around, Chattanooga has attracted human settlement for about 12,000 years. After the native Mississipians declined, Cherokees dominated the area until English colonists arrived. After the Revolutionary War, the Chickamauga Cherokees were promised peace by the U. S. Government if they would stop fighting and assimilate. More white settlers arrived. The Cherokee Nation was finally ordered to move west of the Mississippi. Many resisted until President Andrew Jackson put his name on the Indian Removal Act and 16,000 Cherokees started walking west. The town of Ross’ Landing grew into the city of Chattanooga, a Cherokee word that settlers thought meant “mountain that comes to a rocky point” (2,388-feet-tall Lookout Mountain overlooks that bend of the Tennessee). Miniature golf was invented on that mountain. Textile firms and other manufactures dotted the city where Moon Pies were made. In 1969 The new Environmental Protection Agency called Chattanooga “America’s Dirtiest City”. Vision 2000 began a revitalization that resulted in The New York Times designation as the 25th most desirable destination in the world 18 years later.
The New York Times is very impressed with Chattanooga having this country’s best “citywide fiber network”. “The world’s fastest Internet lives here,” epb Fibre Optics promises. It also mentions Songbirds Guitar Museum, which I wrote about last December 8, as only one of this city’s new attractions. Many old tourist lures, like Ruby Falls, balance things. I’ve also blogged about Scenic City’s National Cemetery, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Chickamauga National Military Park just down the road in Georgia (Atlanta is only 117 miles south of Chattanooga), etc. I still haven’t run out of topics to write about and hope to go back. What a city!
ps The aerial view of Chattanooga’s downtown is a free download from almay stock photo.