sustainably smitten

A community of ideas to celebrate, nuture, and protect our planet for generations to come

Chattanooga: Choo Chooing Toward a Green Destination

For many, Chatanooga brings back memories of the infamous Choo Choo, or Lookout Mountain, but for me, it was the “big” city closest to my alma mater in the smalltown of Cleveland, Teneesee. Those 4, cross-cultural/wonderful years spent in The South were marked by dry-county living, friendly southern hospitality, and lots of mom and pop restaurants serving the classic meat and 3 combos equalling a couple daily servings of calories, however, progressive, healthy and creative would not really be what came to mind when I think about the community there.

No so true anymore! Just getting back from a visit to Chattanooga, I am so excited about the growth and energy in this city! From Kickstarter funded start-up businesses, creative workshop/cooperatives, outdoor adventure, bike and canoe rentals in the downtown, to unique locally focused restaurants, micro-breweries, and sustianable downtown housing developments… I think I fell in love and am planning my next return already.

Here’s a couple new things that are a must if you visit:

Pure SodaWorks: Take a break from sweet tea (or “un”sweet) and head over to the new, organic soda fountain and bottling venture funded by Kickstarter near Coolidge Park. Besides interesting soda flavors (lavendar mint, strawberry jalepeno, apple pie, etc.) there are other local giftings to buy from crochet mustache warmers to candles and bath soaps, to pinterest worthy decorations and small batch popcorn.Photo by brookearmbrester

Fork and Pie: I can’t get enough of restaurants who choose to specialize in one thing and do it well. Such a fun niche! The orzo, spinach, and goat cheese pie was my personal favorite, and they had a great selection of micro-brews, small batch spirits, and local wines. Very reasonable prices as each entree/savory pie comes with a side. They are part of a city development goal of connecting the downtown with the area near the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Hopefully a sign of things to come for this section of Market St.

Urban Stack: Killer Burgers & Manly Drinks is their mantra, which sounds a bit rough around the edges for a place that is doing such good things for the environment, from locally sourced meats, produce, and breads, to their LEED certified historic building (circa 1867), they are truly making old things new! To boot they give 3% of their profits to local causes and as a team donated over 120 volunteer hours to local organizations last year. If that’s not enough to get you motivated to visit, there is a new Clumpies location across the street serving up the best ice cream in East Tennessee.

Tennessee Aquarium’s “Serve and Protect” Project: The largest freshwater aquarium in the world is now making a mark in the local community through public education on sustainable seafood and fishing, with the help of Food Network’s Alton Brown. This year the facility will have 5 exhibits raising awareness about the fact that over-fishing has led to the collapse of 1/3 of the world’s fished species, and empowering consumers to make choices that reduce impact on the world’s oceans. Local restaurants are partnering with the initiative by highlighting sustainably harvested seafood options.

To get around, there are electric buses as well as pay by the hour bike rentals at Bike Chatanooga.

Whether you are into eating, shopping, hiking, or city exploring, Chattanooga should make it to your list of sustainable cities to visit!


One comment on “Chattanooga: Choo Chooing Toward a Green Destination

  1. M Seaser
    October 20, 2012

    Wow Cleveland TN! It all sounds so good– we may have to take a side trip on our way to GA

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