Monday, April 27, 2009

Chester Frost Park/Chattanooga, TN + Cousins

Dianne here -- we left Lake Lanier and worked our way slightly north for a brief stay at Chester Frost Park outside Chattanooga, TN. What a beautiful county park! Lake Chickamauga, rolling hills, tall pines, beautiful landscaping, and mountains as a backdrop.

This park is clean and well maintained. The folks here in Hamilton County, Tennessee should be very proud of their park. The sites right on the lake (BEAUTIFUL VIEWS) have a 14-day limit.

Other sites can be used for 28 days, then you must vacate for a week before coming back. Chester Frost does not take

reservations, so the procedure is that you check in, go find a site, then check back to make sure no one claimed it in your absence. There are over 200 sites, including RV and tent sites.

There are playgrounds, sandy beaches, areas to swim, lots of water for boating, and the "Icy Man" (what we call slushys in Indiana) makes regular trips through the park.

Roger here... Because we could not make reservations, we were a little concerned about not getting a site. We left Lake Lanier pretty early in the morning so that we could arrive early enough to claim a spot. Unfortunately, we had to wait for over an hour at the Lake Lanier dump station behind a guy who was flushing his black water tank. This is a process that typically takes us 15 minutes and we never do it if someone is waiting behind us - very frustrating. We also had to find a gas station along the local roads that could accommodate our motor home with its attached car. We did (barely enough room). It was kind of a tense morning, but things calmed down as soon as we claimed one of the few remaining spots at the campground.

Dianne again: This park is very popular and the community hosts lots of local events here. There was a triathlon this weekend that brought hundreds of people. When we come back we'll time it so that we arrive mid-week to have a better chance at a lake view site. One thing we discovered upon arriving here, however, is that they insist upon wooden blocks under your hitch and/or jacks. We have always used the waffle-designed plastic ones we purchased at Camping World (designed for this purpose). This is the first campground we have ever visited that doesn't allow them to be used. They enforce this rule, too! Luckily, Russ fixed us up with some wood scraps, so we took our plastic ones out from under our hydraulic jacks and replaced them with pieces of wood. Don't ask my opinion on this rule, but you can probably figure it out.... Just be prepared, should you decide to camp here!

The weather has been gorgeous. We open our windows at night so we can let all the tree frogs and other frogs and critters sing us to sleep.


main purpose for visiting this area is to see Roger's cousin,

Beth, and her family. Roger was very close to his cousins growing up, as I was to mine. Lots

of good times and fun memories. Beth is our age, so they have the added history of going completely through school together, and being in the same high school graduation class, along with Beth's husband, Russ.

(Roger here... Since both Beth's and my last names started with "N" we were always with the same teacher and more often than not, in the days of alphabetical order, sat behind each other in the same row.)

I (Dianne) am the odd-one-out; I went to a different small-town-Indiana high school than they did. I know for a fact, though, that had Beth been in MY class, we would have been good friends from the get-go. Not to mention that they are both VERY fun people, so we have had a great time seeing them this week.

We also got to see their two daughters, Becca and Sarah, as well as Sarah's husband, Jimmy, and their beautiful little girl, Abby.

Sarah and Becca are near in age to our two daughters, Robyn and Amanda, and the four of them played and got along great the few times they were able to be together when they were all little girls.

Southern Tennessee is a beautiful part of the country, especially in the spring. I can't even describe how lovely Beth & Russ's back yard is, and the woodsy, serene views they have from their elevated screened


I think I'll let the photos show you. Beth has a very green thumb

and has beautifully landscaped the large back yard.

Roger here, again... Dianne already described how close I am to Beth, and her brother Dennis in Connecticut, who we also hope to visit. We spent every Sunday together at my grandparents' farm which included an apple orchard, huge barn with a hayloft (and snakes), chickens, sometimes hogs, and sheep. Lots of opportunities for fun times and childhood mischief.

It was fun reliving those times, especially talking about how my younger brother (by six years) was often the brunt of our antics. (I wonder if he remembers?)

What luck for us to be in town for Abby's

second birthday party! What a cutie.

Her grandparents bought her a wooden play house that we scooted into a corner of the garden. Abby had a great time playing in her inflatable swimming pool and blowing soap bubbles. At the end of the party we all helped to tip the pool over creating a river of water cascading down the very inclined back yard. Lots of fun.

On Sunday afternoon Russ and Beth took us on a tour of downtown Chattanooga.

What a neat little city. It just had a good feel to it. We started by going inside the beautiful Presbyterian Church (built in 1871) where they are members. We then went to the Sunday market to look at the local wares. Beth led Dianne to a booth and convinced her (after a sample) to buy some strawberry/pepper jelly - sounds horrible, but tastes great. Russ led me to the ice cream booth where we all had a scoop. While Russ and I waited in line for the ice cream, Beth led Dianne to the Kettle Corn booth. It was a great day for tasty snacks.

We also drove by several really cool sites: the Delta Queen (soon to become a restaurant), the foot bridge over the Tennessee River, the artsy north side, several public parks, and even a house shaped like a flying saucer up on Signal Mountain! Every where we went there were tons of people enjoying the beautiful day, often with live music in the background.

Dianne again -- Roger and I commented to each other that as far as the "cool" factor, Chattanooga reminded us a bit of Portland, OR, a VERY trendy place indeed.

We can understand why Beth and Russ love living in this area.

Wednesday morning we leave here and head toward Indiana for two weeks of yard work, then on to New Orleans!

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