I had my annual college friend reunion this year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where my five friends and I rented a farmhouse on the mountain and partied like we were in college again (a lot of wine and talking over a movie). Unlike the hustle and bustle of Nashville, Chattanooga is a nice, laid back city to have a relaxing girls’ weekend.
Staying in Chattanooga
Accommodation in Chattanooga can be expensive even when you’re looking on Airbnb and splitting the cost six ways. I guess that’s just the price of staying in a city. Ultimately, we decided to broaden our search to further outside the city since we’re not much for the nightlife or bar scene anyway, so we didn’t really see the need to have a place to stay downtown.
The Airbnb we chose was an incredible mountain-top farmhouse called Mountain Willow Manor. The house was built in the style of an 1860’s farmhouse, so all the major modern appliances were hidden away or disguised as antique appliances. They even hid the light switches behind picture frames to give the home a pre-electricity vibe (and hunting down the light switches made me feel like a Nancy Drew super sleuth, which I loved). Outside, the house had a well, a hitching post and watering trough for horses, an outhouse (that we couldn’t get in to, so I doubt it was a legitimate outhouse), and plenty of other fun period-appropriate details.
This house is huge with three floors and five bedrooms, so we each got our own bed. It also had three bathrooms, which is a huge step up from our last Airbnb reunion rental where we only had one. There is so much space in the house and all these little hidey holes, giving the house a bit of a haunted feel, but we made it out alive! We even played drunk hide-and-seek, and I consider it a huge success that we didn’t lose anyone just in that one game alone.
The home sits on a ton of acreage on the top of a mountain. The drive up was over a bumpy one lane road with some twists and turns as you go all the way out into the middle of nowhere. At the top, the yard in front of the house opened up into a panoramic view of the valley. They have hiking trails, a small feed pond, a fire pit, and other activities so that you don’t even have to leave the mountain to have fun.
If you do want to leave the mountain and explore Chattanooga, the farmhouse is only about 30 minutes away from downtown (but when you drive from the farmhouse into Chattanooga, you change time zones from Central to Eastern, so keep that in mind!). We went into town one day to walk around the riverfront and eat lunch in the Northshore neighborhood.
We parked south of the Tennessee River in downtown, near the Tennessee Aquarium, and walked along the river to the Hunter Museum of American Art and crossed the Glass Bridge before heading across the Walnut Street Bridge to the Northshore. This iconic blue bridge is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. On the Northshore, the streets are lined with independently owned shops and the sidewalks are imprinted with dance steps. So in between shopping for used books and cute clothes, you can learn how to waltz!
After lunch, we headed back to the farmhouse, but for those of you who aren’t keeping your visit super low-key, there are also the usual Chattanooga sites to see like Rock City and Ruby Falls. But the great thing about Chattanooga is it make it easy to have a nice relaxing vacation.
How do you like to spend your weekend trips? Let me know in the comments!