Thursday, June 17, 2010

We Clicked!

I snapped this photo of Heather Smith and her daughter at the Discovery Museum in Chattanooga. When I got home, I sent her a copy. I just received a thank-you note and, guess what? Heather and her husband have a photography business in Chattanooga. She sent me their website -- -- what beautiful photos! Having a wedding in Tennessee? Check this out!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Falls to Fall for

I've fallen in love with Ruby Falls. This super cave opened 80 years ago and doesn't look a day over 30 million years old. There are certainly older caves -- I've seen a number with huge stalactites, stalagmites and columns. These formations are not particularly impressive in Ruby Falls.

There are lots of soda straws and some nice drapery. Flowstone is common in the cave.

On a recent press trip to Chattanooga, we had the opportunity to see two different faces of the cave. One evening we took a lantern tour of the caverns -- seeing them more like discoverer Leo Lambert might have seen them. Our guide, Bill Weichert, loves geology and he told us several times that he prefers the lantern tours to the more conventional lighted tour we took the next day. But he knows the cave like the back of his hand. For me, not so much. I was too concerned about keeping the light on the path so I wouldn't slip or trip and I found later that I'd missed many features of the cave.

The next morning we took the traditional tour. Purists may disdain the colored lights but, frankly, I loved them. Especially when we arrived at the highlight of the tour -- Ruby Falls itself. We could hear the water before we could see it. Then, around a corner, there it was -- 145 feet from top to bottom. Dramatic lighting and majestic music blended, making it an absolutely magnificent experience. We only had seven minutes to admire it -- and I spent my time snapping as many photos as I could -- hoping one would come out. Next time I go, I want to just stand and soak it in.

This is one of the easiest caves to visit. Visitors take an elevator 260 feet down to the beginning of the cave trail. The path is practically level -- less than two dozen steps in the 4/5 mile route -- it's the mountain that gets higher. By the time you reach the falls, you're over 1000 feet below the surface. Ruby Falls is one of Chattanooga's oldest attractions and still one of the best.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Reuben, Reuben, I've Been Thinking.....

I'm an absolute sucker for a good Reuben sandwich and, as much as I wanted to try some of the innovative items on the Sproutz menu, I had to succumb to the call of corned beef. Sproutz makes their own corned beef and it was truly authentic.

I was really tempted by the Hyman Roth sandwich -- described on the menu as "a hefty schmear of chopped kosher chicken liver with red onion and chopped gherkins on rye toast." Looking at the menu, I thought I'd been transported to the East Coast or maybe Nate 'n Al's in Beverly Hills.

"Are you Jewish?" I asked owner Don Eller. "No," he answered, "but I've traveled around a lot."

He said he'd run the menu by a Jewish friend who told him he should take about 40 per cent of the items off. "My generation doesn't eat that way," he told Don, "and the older generation will just tell you you didn't make it right."

I'm not Jewish either, so what do I know? I know I enjoyed that Reuben.

There are lots of other great sounding items on the menu -- salads, sandwiches and wraps -- like the Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad sandwich, Lobster Roll and The Gunni wrap with hickory smoked turkey, jalapeno ranch spread, tomato, sprouts, avocado and cheddar cheese.

Check their website at for info.