By Martie, Anderson Tour Director
What a trip. We picked up the last of our passengers in Canton, OH, and headed south with a travel day to Kodak, TN for our overnight. After a great night’s sleep, we left early in the morning to make our appointment at the Incline Railway at the bottom of Lookout Mountain, in Chattanooga. The train was just one car that when loaded went backwards up a very steep incline for one mile.
For those who want great views, this is a must see. We reached the top and exited the train car into a gift shop and refreshment area. The views from the top of the mountain were spectacular and you could see for miles around the beautiful Smoky Mountains. This was a great opportunity to get some beautiful photos of the surrounding scenery.
Next we headed up to Big Rock on Lookout Mountain in Georgia. Interesting ride up for our driver, Paul, with lots of turns, twists, and hairpin turns, however for the passengers, it was a beautiful ride. We had a wonderful picnic lunch prepared for us at the Big Rock Grill, and then had some time to explore the shops and surrounding area. Many passengers took the hike out to Lover’s Leap enjoying the rock formations and the swing-a-long bridge.
Hot and tired, we then headed to the Fairfield Inn & Suites for the next two nights. Fortunately for us, there were many restaurants nearby for our passengers to enjoy dinner after our busy day.
Waking up to a fabulous breakfast buffet the next day, we left the hotel and headed to the Chattanooga Ducks for a tour of the city and a trip down the Tennessee River. Lots of laughter and fun listening to our guides tell us about the secrets of Chattanooga and seeing the beautiful aquarium from the water. One of our young passengers was given the opportunity to drive the duck boat. He smile made the entire trip worthwhile and he did a great job.
Next stop the Tennessee Valley Railroad at Grand Junction Station. We boarded our private, air conditioned car, and had a wonderful box lunch to enjoy on the train while we traveled for a one-hour excursion through Missionary Ridge Tunnel which was completed in 1858. What a fun train ride with interesting scenery all along the way.
Back to the hotel for some time to get refreshed before heading out to dinner on the Southern Belle Riverboat. As we set sail, we were treated to great food, fun entertainment, and beautiful sights along the Tennessee River. At the end of the cruise, we were all ready for a good night’s sleep in anticipation of the next day’s activities.
After another delicious breakfast we departed for the three hour ride to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, NC. We boarded the train, again in our private, air-conditioned car and enjoyed a box lunch as we headed to the Tuckasegee River Excursion. We stopped in Dillsboro, NC to enjoy the shops in this tiny town with lots of history. After the train, passengers had time on their own to explore Bryson City and have dinner.
From Bryson City, we headed to Ashville, NC for our overnight at our hotel. Passengers were able to enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants that were within walking distance of the hotel.
After a good night’s sleep we headed home with lots of wonderful memories. On the way we stopped at the Sagebrush Steak House for a sumptuous lunch in Wytheville, VA. It was the perfect top-off of the interesting and fun trip on the Tennessee Mountain Trains.
Anderson Coach & Travel has been providing Superior Travel Experiences since 1937. In celebration of our 80th Anniversary, college student McKenzie Caldwell will be traveling with Anderson. McKenzie, our tour directors and guests will share their stories from on the road here!