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Our First Month Living in Chattanooga

On January 3rd, 2019, we packed up all of our belongings and left Austin, TX, with Jason’s parents. We headed east to our new hometown of Chattanooga, TN. We made the big move because Jason got a good job offer at a local startup and we were both ready for a change. Chattanooga’s quite a bit smaller than Austin, with only about 200,000 people. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Austin, but we’re having a fun time exploring this new place and making new friends. Jason loves his new job and I started working at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Chattanooga is located right in the middle of a river bend that looks like a horseshoe. We live on the north side and are just about a 1-mile walk from the river. Surrounding Chattanooga are a couple of different mountains: Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain and Raccoon Mountain. All of them offer hiking and biking trails and beautiful views…if it’s ever a sunny day. Oh yeah, it rains a lot here! In 2018, Chattanooga set a record for rainfall and it seems like 2019 won’t be far behind.

Coolidge Park with views of Hunter Museum of Art
Coolidge Park with views of Hunter Museum of Art
Pedestrian-only Walnut Street Bridge, connecting the north and south shores of Chattanooga
Pedestrian-only Walnut Street Bridge, connecting the north and south shores of Chattanooga

We first came out to Chattanooga for a visit in November. Jason applied for the job online and got a call the same afternoon inviting him to fly out and interview in person. I went for the visit too, to see if I’d like it.

We visited Chattanooga in November for Jason's first interview and lucked out with a sunny day, so we checked out Raccoon Mountain.
We visited Chattanooga in November for Jason’s first interview and lucked out with a sunny day, so we checked out Raccoon Mountain.
Views from Racoon Mountain in the fall on a sunny day.
Views from Racoon Mountain in the fall on a sunny day.
Views from Racoon Mountain in the fall on a sunny day.
Views from Racoon Mountain in the fall on a sunny day.
Jason ready for his interview. He nailed it and they offered him the job the following week! He works at a company called FreightWaves that is a giant media, and data, source for the freight and logistics industry.
Jason ready for his interview. He nailed it and they offered him the job the following week! He works at a company called FreightWaves that is a giant media, and data, source for the freight and logistics industry.
We drove up to Lookout Mountain, despite the rain.
We drove up to Lookout Mountain, despite the rain.

After our quick trip to Chattanooga, we flew back to Austin and waited to hear if Jason got the job. He did! They made him an offer and suggested a start date of early January, so we could spend the holidays with family and have time to pack up. After Christmas, we spent a few days packing up our apartment and trying to find a place to live in Chattanooga. Once we’d signed a new lease for a cute little 2Br/1Ba house and rented a moving truck, we were ready to go. Jason’s parents, Denise and Jay, very generously drove out with us and helped us unload and get our house set up.

boiled peanuts
Trying boiled peanuts in Hattiesburg, MS.
Almost to Chattanooga after two full days of driving.
Almost to Chattanooga after two full days of driving.

Once we got to Chattanooga, we were greeted with some family from the Seaborne side–my Dad’s cousin, Karen, and her husband, Kelly. They also helped us unpack and we all shared a meal together. With such a crew, unpacking went by fast!

Hill City Chattanooga
Our rental house in Chattanooga.
Walking across the Walnut Street Bridge on our first day in Chattanooga.
Walking across the Walnut Street Bridge on our first day in Chattanooga.

After the family left, I got down to business applying for jobs. I had a couple of interviews, but none of them worked out. Then I applied for a Digital Project Coordinator position with a temp agency and ended up joining BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

mean mug chattanooga
Applying for jobs at Mean Mug Cafe in Chattanooga.

Our house is just below a park called Stringer’s Ridge, which has a couple of miles of hiking and biking trails and some great views of the city. We can walk to it from our backyard.

stringer's ridge
Sunset at Stringer’s Ridge.
stringer's ridge
Climbing some fallen trees at Stringer’s Ridge.
Stringer's Ridge trails at sunset.
Stringer’s Ridge trails at sunset.
chattanooga trail guide
Bought this book for exploring once the weather gets better.

I’ve still been trying to do some running, but it’s not as big of a city as Austin, so you really can’t go too far. Plus, it’s hilly!

View of the Bluff Arts area from the Veteran's Bridge on one of my runs.
View of the Bluff Arts area from the Veteran’s Bridge on one of my runs.
Lots of elevation on my neighborhood runs.
Lots of elevation on my neighborhood runs.
There's a 13-mile paved riverwalk that runs along the south side of the river and features some public art. Here's a piece I found on one of my runs.
There’s a 13-mile paved riverwalk that runs along the south side of the river and features some public art. Here’s a piece I found on one of my runs.
Sunset view from the Walnut Street Bridge.
Sunset view from the Walnut Street Bridge.
While I've been running, Jason's been enjoying riding his bike in the cooler temps and getting the chance to wear his winter gear!
While I’ve been running, Jason’s been enjoying riding his bike in the cooler temps and getting the chance to wear his winter gear!
I joined the local YMCA, which has been such a great thing. It's right by my work and they have great exercise classes and nice facilities. I'm grateful to have a safe, welcoming, escape from the rain. Plus, it has nice views of Lookout Mountain!
I joined the local YMCA, which has been such a great thing. It’s right by my work and they have great exercise classes and nice facilities. I’m grateful to have a safe, welcoming, escape from the rain. Plus, it has nice views of Lookout Mountain!
We checked out a local film festival at an old theater called the Tivoli. Fun to see so many short films about hiking, paddling, surfing and more. There were even some locally made films, which got us excited about spring and summer.
We checked out a local film festival at an old theater called the Tivoli. Fun to see so many short films about hiking, paddling, surfing and more. There were even some locally made films, which got us excited about spring and summer.
One Sunday afternoon, I cracked open the Chattanooga Trails book and found a short hike for us on Signal Mountain. We did a 2.5-mile loop around Rainbow Lake, which featured two swinging bridges and a handful of blue pools.
One Sunday afternoon, I cracked open the Chattanooga Trails book and found a short hike for us on Signal Mountain. We did a 2.5-mile loop around Rainbow Lake, which featured two swinging bridges and a handful of blue pools.
Checking out our Rainbow Lake route, which is part of a network of trails on Signal Mountain.
Checking out our Rainbow Lake route, which is part of a network of trails on Signal Mountain.
Crossing one of the swinging bridges on the Rainbow Lake route.
Crossing one of the swinging bridges on the Rainbow Lake route.

For Valentine’s Day, we took a ride on an old train and were served a meal in the dining car. It was a fun experience, especially because the dining car was decorated with white tablecloths, roses, garlands and more. The servers even wore bowties! Since it was already dark, we couldn’t see a whole lot from the train car, but it was just fun to think about how all travel used to be like that.

An old train car at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
An old train car at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Jason reading about the railroad history, before we hopped aboard the dining car.
Jason reading about the railroad history, before we hopped aboard the dining car.
All Valentine's Day diners got a rose, even the gentlemen!
All Valentine’s Day diners got a rose, even the gentlemen!

Our first month has been an adventure and we’re just getting into a regular routine. When spring rolls around, I’m sure we’ll have a great time taking road trips (Nashville and Atlanta are within 2 hours!) and exploring trails, swimming holes and campsites.

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