Obed Wild and Scenic River

Obed Wild and Scenic River

Obed Wild and Scenic River

Veterans Day is a great day to pay tribute to our country, and to America’s Best Idea – the National Park System.  This Veterans Day, Anthony and I both had off so we decided to spend it at a park site we hadn’t visited yet – Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee.  Not too far from our house, this site boasts hiking trails and many opportunities to paddle the river.  We started our visit in the nearby town of Wartburg, at the visitors center.  As usual, there was a film to watch, which we always love, discussing the history of the area and the organizations that fought to preserve it.  We then took a hike from Lilly Bluff out to The Point, overlooking the river.  The views from the beginning of our hike, at Lilly Bluff, were actually the best we had.  High above the river, we peered down at sandstone cliffs and rapid cataracts.  Our hike was an out and back, taking us along leafy trails through flat forest.  The view from The Point again looked down on the river, actually the confluence of the Obed River and Clear Creek.  We paused to enjoy the view and eat a snack before heading back the way we came.  We drove through some of the park, but it is best seen from the water, which we were unfortunately not prepared to do, but we enjoyed our visit nonetheless.  Making it even better, was our stop at Woodlands Indian Restaurant on the way home.  They have a separate vegan menu, and we both enjoyed our dinners immensely.  

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

DragonCon

DragonCon

In early September, we had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta for the weekend.  Anthony was very excited to attend Dragon Con, a festival that attracts over 20,000 visitors to the city of Atlanta every year.  We spent all day Saturday at the fest, attending the parade – where hundreds of people in costume march the streets downtown, advertising their loyalties to various video games, movies, comics, and books.  Ghost Busters, Pastafarians, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones…the list goes on and on.  One word to describe Dragon Con – overwhelming.  We spent much of the day either waiting in line, or fighting our way through hoards of people.  The events and venues are spread out through several hotels downtown.  We had to wait in line or wade through scores of other humans in order to see vendors, get tickets, watch a panel, and even just people watch.  Many are in costume, and people stop to take photos and meet and greet constantly.  By the end of the day, we were exhausted from trying to see things and from the heat of the city in the summer.  Dinner, far from downtown at Soul Vegetarian, was a welcome respite from walking and standing all day.  A restaurant we visit every time we go to Atlanta, Soul Veg serves homestyle delicious entrees – the mac and cheese is my favorite side.

On Sunday, we had a free day to wander the city.  We began our day at Dough Bakery, for an all vegan brunch.  Sadly, Dough is closing, which is so sad because their food is delicious.  When we left, we were already planning our next visit to Atlanta and our next meal at Dough.  The biscuits served with gravy and a choice of sausage, chicken fried steak, or Canadian bacon were so tasty!  I had ran 7 miles that morning, all along the Beltline – an amazing running trail miles long through many neighborhoods, filled with people exercising – so I was especially hungry.  We then ended up going to the Decatur Book Festival, where I was able to pick up several inexpensive books and we ate free popsicles.  Mainly, we drove around the city, enjoying the company of a good friend who lives there.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Monday, before heading back to Asheville, we drove north to visit Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park where we learned all about the battles fought and how each side triumphed in different circumstances on the land and hills surrounding Chattanooga.  There are two visitor center units at the park.  At the Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia, we marveled at the sheer proliferation of monuments erected to commemorate the fallen soldiers, as well as the preservation of the battle itself.  Strict records have been kept in order to recall the exact movements of each division as the battles played out.  Then, on top of Lookout Mountain, we admired the view of Chattanooga as we walked around the small park.  We stopped for food at Sluggos North Vegetarian Cafe before driving home, to feast on delicious sandwiches.  A quick weekend trip, but we managed to pack a lot in.

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