Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 5:45 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a dinner buffet that includes coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Walking at moderate pace over a 6-block area in downtown Chattanooga, standing up to 1.5 hours during field trip.
Breakfast: In our private conference room at the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as scrambled eggs, choice of sausage or bacon, house potatoes, fresh baked muffins, assorted bagels, butter and cream cheese, seasonal fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, milk, orange and apple juice, coffee, hot tea, water.
Morning: We’ll begin with a presentation by a local expert and city representative on Chattanooga then and now. A century ago, Chattanooga was known as the “dynamo of Dixie” for its factories and foundries. But by the late 1960s it had developed such a bad air pollution problem that it was identified on the CBS Evening News as the dirtiest city in America. The wake-up call spurred great changes, and Chattanooga has remade itself as one of the “greenest” cities in America, notable for entrepreneurship and advancing technology against the backdrop of its history, heritage, and beautiful scenery. Next, we’ll be joined by a history professor who has written books on the Civil War. Chattanooga had one of the great rail centers in the South. We’ll learn about its role with the railway system in the Civil War.
Lunch: Our lunch buffet will include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: We’ll take a walking field trip with a local expert to learn about Chattanooga's history, art and architecture, entertainment, and wealth of colorful personalities. As we see impressive buildings in the downtown area, we’ll learn about the people who generated the city's transformation.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: A local expert will join us and set the stage for tomorrow’s field trip to Chattanooga’s geological wonders, Rock City and Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. At Rock City, walking 100-foot trail; 35 stairs in sets of 4-5 stairs with handrails; uneven, some inclines. Ruby Falls entrance building is handicapped accessible; cave not wheelchair accessible. Elevator down to starting point of cave walk, approximately 4/5 of a mile one way; hard packed dirt, uneven paths.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: To begin a full day of exploration, discovery, and wonder, we’ll board the motorcoach with our Group Leader and take a short drive to Lookout Mountain. The mountain was the setting for two historic battles. The so-called “last battle of the Cherokee” took place in August of 1794. The 1863 Battle of Lookout Mountain —also known as the Battle Above the Clouds — sounded the death knell of the Confederacy when Union troops prevailed. As we ponder its history, we can marvel at the panoramic view of seven states. More than 200 million years of weathering have produced the massive, unusually shaped sandstone boulders in what is now known as Rock City, situated at 1,700 feet above sea level atop Lookout Mountain. During this self directed exploration, you can traverse a walking trail more than 4,000 feet long that features not only these ancient rock formations but caves and gardens with more than 400 species of native plants. You may walk at your own pace and see what interests you most. There are places along the trail to sit as well as easy access back to the starting point. Our Group Leader will be available to answer any questions about trail logistics.
Lunch: At Rock City, we’ll have sandwiches with chips and choice of soft drink, coffee, tea, water.
Afternoon: We’ll hop back aboard the motorcoach for a short drive on the mountain top to Ruby Falls, where we will go on a walking exploration with a local expert. We’ll learn how this extraordinary geological wonder was discovered in 1928 by a team of excavators who came across it 1,120 feet beneath the surface. The waterfall is 145 feet high, falling through a cavern created by the same geological forces as Rock City and Lookout Mountain itself. When they say don’t drink the water, they mean it! The water in Ruby Falls contains high concentrations of magnesium. We’ll return to the hotel with some time to freshen up and relax. We’ll then ride the city trolley to the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station.
Dinner: At the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station, we’ll have a buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert who has been fascinated by trains his entire life. He authored the only book dedicated to the Terminal Station in Chattanooga and has been interviewed for the railroad documentary "Tracing the Tracks." In his presentation, we’ll learn all about Track 29 and the Terminal Station. We’ll then take a short walk to see trains and the grounds of the Choo Choo Hotel, returning to the hotel via trolley.
Activity note: Getting on/off a train, 3 steps with rails; walking 200 yards to roundabout. Standing up to 1 hour in museum. Walking 1.5 blocks in Arts Bluff District; sidewalks.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We’ll be joined by an Appalachian music specialist who has been documenting and performing music of the Tennessee Valley region for many years. We’ll learn about the types of instruments used in pre-1930 string band music including fiddle and banjo and how they evolved into the popular music we hear today. Next, we’ll board the motorcoach with our Group Leader and ride to Grand Junction Station for a train trip that will take us along one of the original railroad lines in Chattanooga, crossing four bridges and passing through pre-Civil War Missionary Ridge Tunnel, completed in 1858. It played an important part in the Civil War as we will hear from our local expert. The train stops at East Chattanooga, where we can see the locomotive rotating on a turntable. We’ll have time to look into the railroad restoration shop before re-boarding for the return trip. Back at Grand Junction Station, we’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are numerous restaurants around the hotel.
Afternoon: We’ll board the motorcoach again with our Group Leader for field trips to the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Bluff View Art District and Gardens. Perched on an 80-foot bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum of American Art has stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains. We will explore the exceptional collection — recognized as one of the country's finest — with a museum expert. The Hunter focuses on American art from the Colonial period to the present day. The collection includes contemporary studio glass, furniture, mixed media, paintings, photography, sculpture, and works on paper covering a range of styles and periods. We’ll then walk then across the street to the Bluff Art District for a brief overview of its history by a local expert followed by time for self directed exploration, walking at our own pace to see what interests us most in this charming space only 1.5 blocks long. In addition to the art work and stunning views, there are coffee shops and spots to pause. The Group Leader will announce a meeting time and place to rendezvous and return to the hotel aboard the motorcoach. If you like, you may walk back to the hotel, approximately 7/10ths of a mile downhill.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking across pedestrian bridge 2,376 feet (720 meters). The river cruise vessel is handicapped accessible; however, only two wheelchairs or small motorized chairs are allowed aboard each trip due to limited cabin space; restrooms and refreshments available.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert who will tell us about the revitalization of downtown Chattanooga. City and county governments, corporations, foundations, and investors collaborated to create a downtown “live-work-play” district to attract innovative companies and their workers. In addition to new cultural institutions, parks, and housing including subsidized apartments, the appeal of the revitalized neighborhood has been greatly enhanced by the development of a high-speed Internet network that has given Chattanooga its latest moniker, Gig City. In cooperation with local citizens and leaders, the sustainable designs of city engineers have made it a “greener” place to live and work, resulting in the first U.S. Presidential Award for Sustainable Development in 1996. Next, we’ll board our motor coach and ride to the Walnut Street Bridge. If you’d like to walk, it’s just over 1/2 mile from the hotel. The bridge was erected in 1891 and at 2,376 feet (720 meters) is the world's longest pedestrian bridge. It connects downtown Chattanooga to the north shore. With our Group Leader, we’ll walk over the bridge to the 1894 Dentzel carousel in historic Coolidge Park at the other end. (The motorcoach will take anyone who does not want to walk.) The antique carousel was restored by local master wood carver Bud Ellis and a devoted team of craftspeople and volunteers at his studio "Horsing Around" located near Chattanooga. Bud will meet us at the carousel and describe the 52 whimsical hand carved animals, talk about the calliope band organ, and ornate gold leaf benches. We’ll also get to ride the carousel! We’ll then return to the hotel aboard our motorcoach.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like, in the hotel or out with new Road Scholar friends. By now, you are familiar with the restaurants near our hotel in the heart of the city.
Afternoon: We will regroup at the hotel and walk to the loading dock on the Tennessee River to board the River Gorge Explorer operated by the Tennessee Aquarium. The Tennessee River Gorge winds along 26 miles of the Tennessee River and contains more than 27,000 acres of protected land. This is Tennessee’s “Grand Canyon.” During our 2-hour study cruise, an Aquarium naturalist will brings human and natural history to life while we look for wildlife. You may stand on the topside observation deck or sit in the cabin surrounded by windows.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: Performance. The saga of the Cherokee people is as much a part of Chattanooga as the Civil War. We’ll be joined by a special guest, Lee Knight, for a presentation and performance. Lee is an instructor of Cherokee history, a folk singer, storyteller, and outdoor leader. He performs at concerts, conducts workshops, and lectures for Road Scholar as well as at festivals, camps, and schools. He plays instruments including the 5-string banjo, various guitars, the Appalachian dulcimer, mouth bow, Cherokee flute, Cherokee rattle, and Native American drum.
Activity note: Getting on-off a motorcoach; driving approximately 1/2 hour to-from Chickamauga Battlefield; walking approximately 1 mile including to Park Ranger station/museum, uneven battlefield terrain.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We will be joined by history professor Richard McMurry, whose field of expertise is the American Civil War. He has authored more than one hundred articles on various facets of that great conflict. In 1994, two of his books — “John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence” and “Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History” — were listed among the one hundred best modern Civil War books for “Civil War” magazine. Prof. McMurry’s classroom presentation will set the stage for our field trip to Chickamauga Battlefield at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
Lunch: Hotel buffet.
Afternoon: En route to Chickamauga Battlefield, we’ll have expert commentary by our historian. Then, during the field trip, we’ll visit the museum and walk the grounds with Prof. McMurry to learn about the battle.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Evening: At leisure. You might like to get out and experience some of the sites, activities, and places not included in our program.
Activity note: Walking over 1/2 mile around Patriot's Point on Lookout Mountain; pathways paved and unpaved. The Incline ride is approximately 30 minutes on a 72.7% grade aboard a narrow gauge railway vehicle.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: A guest speaker from the Challenger STEM Learning Center will tell us about its work and educational mission of introducing students to real-world applications. The space shuttle “Challenger” exploded after take-off from the Kennedy Space Center on January 28, 1986. The Challenger Learning Centers were developed as a memorial to the seven astronauts who died and to the goal of educating students in STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. There are now 45 around the world. The first Challenger Center integrated into a university was on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We’ll also have time for Q&A. Next, we’ll board our motorcoach, head out to Lookout Mountain, and board the Incline Railway, a National Historic Site and Mechanical Engineering Landmark. Visitors came by the droves following the Civil War. The buggy ride to the top took four hours and cost an exorbitant $2! After a resort hotel was built at the top in the 1880s, the buggy was replaced by a narrow gauge railway, which in turn was replaced by The Incline in 1895. At its most extreme point, the angle of incline is 72.7%. When we arrive at the top of Lookout Mountain, our motor coach will pick us up and we will ride on to nearby Patriot's Point. Part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Point Park was the site of the pivotal Battle Above the Clouds in the fall of 1863 that helped give Union troops control of Chattanooga. This self directed field trip has markers provided for reading. We’ll have the advantage over tourists because we already know the story from our professor and our field trip to the Chickamauga Battlefield.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Spend your last afternoon on the program exploring more of what Chattanooga has to offer, visiting friends or family, or just relaxing.
Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a farewell dinner. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: Performance: We’ll be joined by a group of choral singers and entertainers who will have you clapping, singing, maybe even dancing! Then prepare for check out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!