I left my heart in Chattanooga

After living there for three short but sweet years, I learned that Chattanooga, or Chatty as I call it affectionately, is a great place to live and visit.

from where we start? For history buffs, there are countless landmarks in the region commemorating events that have changed the course of American history, from the trails of the Trail of the Sea to the Civil War in and around Chattanooga. For families with young children, there is the stunning Tennessee Water Museum, Creative Discovery Museum, College Park with a beautiful fountain, an archaeological carousel and an underground Ruby Falls waterfall that has been toured with a guided tour through caves and narrow passageways. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is a promise of a place often called "Boulder, Colorado East"; rock climbing, fishing, cycling, hang gliders, hiking, rafting, and much more awaiting adventure.

What I offer here is a three-day itinerary to Chattanooga. It is an activity guide that has passed the test of many visits from our family and friends, and includes our favorite places we try to re-visit on our trips again. Three days quickly fill in Chattanooga, so you should know that for each place that follows, there are at least five attractions or alternative activities. Also, the itinerary assumes that you woke up in Chattanooga on the first day. Bluff View Inn is perfectly located for both business and leisure guests in Bluff View Arts District.

The Bluff View Inn overlooks the Tennessee River, which flows through downtown Chattanooga. Just a minute's walk from the inn (this is no exaggeration), Hunter Museum of American Art, Houston Museum of Decorative Art, a sculpture garden, a bocce ball court, an art gallery, three restaurants and a thirteen-mile exercise track follow the river upstream to Lake Chikamuga and Walnut Bridge One of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.

Another relatively new accommodation option in Chattanooga is the Delta Queen Steamboat, which has retired to life as a floating boutique hotel. Hotel guests and tourists can board the Queen from Coolidge Park and enjoy the copper maritime history.

First day: Mountain signal and northern beaches

Rembrandt Café in Bluff View Arts District is a great starting point in Chattanooga, so think about this hot breakfast place on your first full day in Scenic City. The locals love this place and frequent as much as tourists. The show cases are filled with breakfasts, pastries, chocolates, pies and cakes, while the menu offers panin, soups and salads. For breakfast, you can't do better than almond croissant. Take it out and enjoy the wonderful patio seats.

Next, head to Signal Mountain, a 10-minute drive from Chattanooga city center. Our visitors particularly liked the "W" road that runs sharply and graded on the rocky side of the mountain – the vertical road if you're ever on a road. Once you reach the summit, consider driving north along East Brow Road to reach the beautiful houses on the left, and a breathtaking view of the valley below on the right. Then head south onto Highway 127 and head for the "old towne" area at Signal Point. The streets here are lined with attractive stone houses and magnificent estates, and you can still see the tram routes that were passing through this neighborhood. The area was developed here in the early 20th century as an escape from diseases, namely cholera and yellow fever, in the valley below.

When you have enough car and watch the historic home, take a break at Signal Point Park. From this spot, you can look at the leafy and vegetative Tennessee River Strait and forget that civilization is close. Park signs indicate that the Signal Point was part of the signaling system used by Native Americans first, and then by Union forces during the Civil War. Depending on your energy level at this point, you can embark on a journey from the park. Cumberland Trail, part of the Great Eastern Trail, begins in this park, a spectacular stroll through the mountain forests.

There are two options for lunch on Signal Mountain, but I returned to the mountain for lunch in the North Beach area. Two of our favorite spots were River Street Deli for amazing charms, Stromboli and Brooklyn accents; or Mercantino for an insurmountable atmosphere. Once you have parked near work in North Shore (it will be Fraser Street), you can leave your car behind you for hours.

Tap shops after lunch, and make sure you don't miss Blue Skies, Plum Nelly, and Sophie. It is impossible to enter any of these three stores and leave empty handed, so just relax. Pamper yourself or a friend with an antique style and unique home and personal accessories, handmade jewelry, glass, and ceramics. These three stores, as well as many other companies located in Frazier – including an outdoor bookstore, outdoor outlets, and art galleries – are a paradise offering gifts.

When you need a break from shopping, you can have fun from Clumpies Ice Cream and stroll to Coolidge Park overlooking the river. People of all ages will surround you while playing in the fountain, throwing frisbee and soccer balls, and relax within a magnificent urban green space. While you are there, you can see if there are any plays that can be seen during your stay – Chattanooga Theater Center is on the edge of the park.

For dinner, Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar are a great choice, just a 5-minute drive from the city center. They serve Louisiana oysters and other wonderful seafood (grilled tilapia outstanding wood) and, oddly enough, their Mexican dishes – especially the Quesadilla – are equally popular. If you have room for appetizers, Mexican shrimp cocktail is unforgettable. Located directly on the Tennessee River, Boathouse has gained plenty of outdoor seating overlooking the water.

the second day: Great outdoors

A trip to Chattanooga without some kind of outdoor adventure is a missed opportunity. Going to New York City without seeing a play is like missing a key element of local culture. Enjoy a delicious breakfast from Bluegrass Grill on the main street. This family-owned restaurant packs people from 6:30 am in search of omelets and delicious changes from retail. Load on carbohydrates. You'll need them today.

For peace and quiet, a guided fly fishing trip is an excellent trip, as it is a gentle and easy floating down the Hiwassee River in an inflatable boat or raft. We also enjoyed walking the extensive Chickamauga Battlefield trails, part of the country's first national military park. There is a seven-mile spontaneous battlefield tour, but on foot or by bike is the best way to experience the beauty and historical significance of this land. The terrain here is relatively flat, which is a huge addition to those of us from areas facing elevation challenges.

For more adventure, there is the Cumberland Trail mentioned above on Signal Mountain, or dozens of other fun hiking trails on Lookout Mountain. We never had the chance to leave, but the Claude Land Canyon State Park, located on the border in Georgia, is supposed to be stunningly beautiful in an area referred to as the "country of God." The trails there range from approximately two to seven miles, and there is a 600-step staircase for hikers making the trip to the bottom of the park.

Bold outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Chattanooga is a regional capital for rock climbing, and it attracts mountain bikers from everywhere. Prentice Cooper State Forest is one of many options for each of these activities. Please, oh please, don't try rock climbing without a guide. On the water, the Ocoee River provides a rafting experience that is sought after death. Yes, I thought I would die on the top of Ocoee. Twice. But it's fun if you're into that kind of stuff (the jury is still out of service for me). Some popular names in the Ocoee slopes of the IV + category are "Broken Nose", "Diamond Splitter" and "Hell & Hell". Finally, those who don't care about land or water activities can try flying over the Lookout Mountain side. I couldn't bring myself to a glorious kite, but two friends from France did, and they said it was my sweet.

After a day outdoors, a satisfying shower and dinner are served. Since your body won't want to get away from its bed at Bluff View Inn, you can stroll near Tony for an Italian dinner. The atmosphere forces you to stay long after the meal is finished, especially if you are lucky enough to record a table on the second floor balcony. A green salad with tomato grilled tomato sauce and all reliable pasta dishes is delicious.

the third day: Lookout Mountain, Southside and the city center

Between the hotel and Mount Lookout there is the Niedelove bread factory, which has wonderful cinnamon rolls, cakes, scones, thinks about it, everything in Nedelove is good. The owners love "adore and knead to love" and you can taste the baked passion. Try it for breakfast this morning.

There are many routes that take you to the top of Lookout Mountain; each one is scenic, so choose one to ride up and the other to ride down. Once you get there, enjoy the magnificent views and palaces, especially those along the West Brau road. (This exploration of Lookout Mountain looks a lot like the Signal Mountain itinerary on the first day, but if the Signal Mountain residential area is charming and accessible, Lookout Mountain is caviar dreams. Provide different clues in Chattanooga culture.)

The Lookout lookout point – not to be confused with Signal Point Park – is a must as part of an easily accessible part of the Lookout Mountain battlefield. A small museum across from Lord of the Rings will explain the "battle over the clouds" that occurred on the mountain during the Civil War. Another treasure on Lookout Mountain is the Reflection Riding and Botanical Garden Arboretum, which provides driving and hiking trails through the lawns of meadows, wildflowers, forests, ponds and streams.

After a morning on the top of the mountain, Mojo Burrito – at the foot of Mount Lookout in the beautiful historic district of St. Louis Elmo – brings you back to the ground with tortilla wrapped around super-fresh ingredients. South Star is located in the Southside neighborhood as it keeps real with real Southern home cooking. Don't skip dessert – banana pudding makes you unable to speak.

While you're in the southern neighborhood, there are four shops worth visiting. Revival is located inside the Warehouse Row, and although I couldn't bear much of this store, I enjoyed the presence of its greatness. Just like any luxury goods store, you can find table accessories from Juliska and Piotr with Match. But what distinguishes this store in its own association is a wonderful collection of home furniture, from Italian white leather chairs in the 18th century to modern Belgian coffee tables. You will discover Revival home design elements that you never knew you wanted. Shadow Box Paperie on Main Street will make you put the pen on paper and give up all forms of electronic communication. They have other home accessories, too, all displayed wonderful. For serious antique enthusiasts, Southside Antiques are great corner wardrobes, dining tables, antique books and cabinets. Finally, Galleries at Southside, like The Foyer in Baton Rouge, is a group of vendors under one roof, selling gifts, accessories, art and antiques at many price points.

In the late afternoon, return to the inn to park your car and take advantage of the amazing pedestrian activities in downtown Chattanooga. Visit the sculpture park and spend time on the river in one of the Walnut Street Bridge seats. The bridge was converted to pedestrian use in 1993 and, like Pont des Arts in Paris, people cannot get enough bridge time. They were suspended over the Tennessee River, practicing and creating art, gathering for festivals and going to work on a bike, and yes, they manipulate here as if they were in Paris.

Leave enough time before sunset to experience The Passage, Ross Landing Plaza, Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Trees Memorial adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium. Cherokee dwelt in this area that became the first Russian landing, then Chattanooga, until the West was forced to pass the tears. Thousands died during the horrific journey. In this memorial, you'll find impressive quotes by Cherokee and American leaders at the time of the original removal.

For dinner on the last night in Chattanooga, you might be blown up. The St. John is a flawless restaurant like never before. Chef Daniel Lindley has been nominated for the James Bird Award this year and last, and you'll learn why after just one meal in St. John's. The kitchen comes from the best ingredients available, many of which are organic and local, and the menu often changes to reflect growing seasons. The current menu includes handmade quail tortellini, Cuban steak and molten chocolate cake. The service is dreamy, the flat iron building is a beauty, everyone leaves happy.

Everyone leaves Chattanooga happy, although I was kicking, screaming and crying the day my husband and I spent farewell to our house north of Chattanooga. My husband says I expect, but I swear that even our dog misses Chattanooga. We have pulled family and old friends back to Louisiana, and of course we are happy to go home, but we will return to Chattanooga as much as possible for the rest of our lives. It's this kind of place.