Today marked Day 1 of our mini-adventure across the South. Dad and I left the house a little before 7:00 this morning and headed down I-40W towards Asheville. We stopped in Black Mountain for breakfast at a favorite place of ours, Blue Ridge Biscuit Company. As such, we managed to knock out ‘bacon’ and ‘biscuits’ off our list when the day had barely started: a great success. Dad got “The Lookout”, a biscuit with sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, and fried chicken, smothered in sausage gravy. I deviated from my usual breakfast combo and tried the chicken and waffles. Both were excellent!
After breakfast, we hit the road again. We opted to go the long way (via Highway 74) instead of fighting Knoxville traffic. It turned out to be a good decision. We followed the Nantahala River Gorge and enjoyed some beautiful scenery for the next hundred miles or so.
After a quick pit stop in Murphy for some gas, we finally arrived in Chattanooga. After debating what to do first, we opted to go up Lookout Mountain, since we were never able to explore it during Appalachian’s FCS National Championship years. A place called Sunset Rock caught our eye on a map, so we parked and did a quick–but steep–hike to a great view.
After our hike, we sat in the car for a while until we could feel our faces again, then headed to the other end of Lookout Mountain to Point Park, the Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park. We explored the park for a while, and learned about the siege/battle of Chattanooga via the National Park Service’s exhibits and videos.
Once again, we were quite cold, so we headed off the mountain in search of a barbecue place, Shuford’s Smoke House, that we discovered in 2007 partially by accident when our turn lane dead-ended into their parking lot. Dad got a plate with beef, chicken, slaw, beans, mac & cheese, and toast, while I got a simple pork sandwich and borrowed a little of Dad’s sides. With this meal, we check the third ‘B’ off our list. Once again, great success.
We continued up Signal Mountain road in search of another bakery we originally discovered in 2007, The Bread Basket. They have three locations in the Chattanooga area, and used to have a location South Charlotte that they tragically closed because it was so far away. We got some ginger cookies to eat right away, and a cream cheese muffin, a chocolate muffin, and a piece of strawberry cream cake to split later. We were definitely ambitious. I can’t yet tell you exactly how good they are, but I’ll just say we went through the free sample line twice, so I have high expectations. I think maybe three times for Dad.
After scarfing down our ginger cookies, we decided to attempt some Christmas shopping. We headed to some section of town that the Google suggested, found a parking spot, and started roaming the streets and sticking our head in stores long enough to determine if they were worthy of the shopping presence of two men. After about two or three stores, we stepped outside and immediately recognized a delicious smell. Though we were full and already had some wonderful baked goods for later, we never ignore food that is wafting its way down the street. Turns out, this particular scrumptious smell was coming from a donut shop a few doors down.
We walked in with the innocent intention of “just looking” or maybe “only getting one to split”……….. Yeah, we walked out with a half dozen. We immediately ate one each and saved the rest for future breakfasts. Dad ate a coconut cream cake donut, and I ate a Bavarian cream donut with chocolate and sprinkles. The shop’s two specialties were donut sundaes (think brownie sundae with a donut instead), and “Pancakes and Bacon” donut. One simply cannot ignore a donut shop with that much creativity. Not kidding though, I’m pretty sure our donuts weighed at least a pound each. Dad says it’s the best donut he’s ever had. I wouldn’t know because he didn’t share, though to be fair, I didn’t either.
After the impromptu donuts, we did some more window/actual shopping in that area of town, and then headed back toward Hamilton Place Mall to kill some more time at various stores. We checked into our hotel and retired for the evening with our baked goods.
Tomorrow, we head to Birmingham and Montgomery.