75 South Road Trip | Georgia and Tennessee

Traveling from Orlando to Chattanooga and north through Tennessee is a trip I’d say I make often. In the old days roadtrippin’, my dad would always say “the trip is not the vacation”, but, disillusioned from the beaten path, I’ve discovered the contrary. Make the trip the vacation and you will find so many wonderful experiences and adventures. Caves, Stranger Things filming locations, Europe in miniature. These just tip the iceberg, but this blog will be cumulative, so as I stop at more places, I’ll add them in. Each of these locations are not more than 15 minutes off I-75 or I-24. I’ve listed them here in order from Florida to Tennessee. Check out the links to the sites’ official pages if you’re interested in more information.

OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT & NATIVE AMERICAN MOUNDS  |  Macon, GA

This stop is the ultimate opportunity to get out and stretch your legs. Trek up and down the largest of three mounds and you’ll get a workout for sure. Scope the city line of Macon and the beautiful surrounding forest while you’re up there. If you’ve got time, the visitor center has a great museum where you can learn about the native art and strategies for building the mounds. See if you can heft the 60 pound basket of earth each worker carried to create the mounds. If you’ve got more time, take a hike on the forested trails surrounding the mounds. If you visit September 21st-22nd, you’ll get to experience the Ocmulgee Native Celebration. It’s on my calendar! More…

AMÉLIE FRENCH BAKERY  |  Atlanta, GA

If you’re like me and you’re more espressolite than you are foodie, you’re losing interest in those few and far between Starbucks along I-75, and you’re pining for a great coffee atmosphere. You absolutely must stop at this cafe in midtown Atlanta. It’s the perfect mix of European kitsch and wonderful coffee. YES they have a full food menu, and it’s delicious. Sandwiches, salads, soups, and of course macarons and other French pastries. And an espresso menu in French that’s fun to try to pronounce. Don’t forget to put your face in either the Mona Lisa or Marie Antoinette cut-outs on your way out. Snag yourself a macaron tattoo while you’re at it! More…

STRANGER THINGS FILMING LOCATIONS  |  Atlanta area

If you’re a supernerd like me, these pitstops are really going to complete your life. These are the locations that were actually filmed for the Stranger Things series. Hawkins Lab (aka Emory University) really does look this foreboding, even without the special effects. I heard set construction inside when I walked up to it. Bellwood Quarry is undergoing a unique overhaul to turn it into a gorgeous public park, set to open sometime in 2019! I can’t wait to [not have to sneak in to] see it. I’ll be through this area again mid-March 2019, looking for anyone interested in Stranger Things portraits at these locations. If that’s you, be in touch! More…

Stranger Things AtlantaEmory University Briarcliff Campus, 1256 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta, GA

Stranger Things Atlanta Hawkins Middle School is in fact actually Hawkins Middle School. 115 S. Lee Street, Stockbridge, GA 30281 Stranger Things Atlanta Bellwood Quarry (the side that says No Trespassing, so I’ll post a real address when the public park opens).

THE ROCK GARDEN  |  Calhoun, GA

I can easily say this is my favorite stop along I-75. So Much Eye Candy! The whimsy and creativity of this place is literally something to write home about. I only partially sold it to my 6 year old by telling him it was a rock garden of miniature buildings you can Godzilla yourself around. He wasn’t convinced. Then he saw it from the parking lot and nearly dashed out of the car to explore. The garden takes up probably a half acre of land behind Seventh-Day Adventist Church (rear lot). These castles, cathedral and other miniature wonders of the world are volunteer-built. No admission, but please contribute to their donation box because: WOW! More…

The Castle at Normandy is his favorite! Tiny checkers! The Cathedral is my favorite.  There’s a giant at my balcony!

HAPPY CAMPER AIRBNB  |  Lookout Mountain, TN

If you’re looking for a more “outdoorsy” overnight stay while you’re passing through the mountains, our experience with this mountainside camper was delightful. If you prefer the outdoors to the indoors, this bnb is going to be another spot you’ll write home about. It sits on the rocky mountain lawn of its host, private, and right next to Chattanooga’s Incline Railway (so close you can walk right up to the Incline rail tracks). Accommodations were very comfortable, including a memory foam mattress and a nice warm interior for us to rest after our wintertime adventures. It is tiny on the inside; and while we thought it was cute and comfy for two petite adults and a child, this wouldn’t suit more than two average sized adults. Check out the listing for more…

The dinette flips into a single bed, so you can be that person who writes home about sleeping on the kitchen table!  The Incline Railway, a stone’s throw from Happy Camper. View from Chattanooga’s Incline Railway that takes you up Lookout Mountain. And do the Incline Rail Tour! It begins at the Depot in historic St. Elmo. More…

RUBY FALLS  |  Lookout Mountain, TN

Get your rocks on, we’re caving! As a seasoned caveaholic, I get excited about all the unique geologic circumstances that form these underground cathedrals. Ruby Falls atop Lookout Mountain claims to have the tallest underground waterfall in the country. It’s really something! The tour ingoing and outgoing is a little tight (beware, claustrophobes), but the view is spectacular, including the view of downtown Chattanooga from atop the exterior tower, built of stones removed from the cave interior during its construction. More…

Cave hair! The most prestigious type of frizz. This cave is rather low in a lot of spots, as my sister discusses how her 6’2″ husband had difficulties. Short people: 1. Cave mud: the most prestigious type of mud.

DUNBAR CAVE STATE PARK  |  Clarksville, TN

Spelunkers unite, Tennessee tops the list of U.S. states containing the most caves, so there are always plenty to explore. This much less commercial cave is gorgeous for its surroundings, huge opening and intriguing architecture designed around the mouth of the cave. Its history is quite fascinating. Having been designed as a dance hall, you can still walk around areas created for concessions and bandstand. I sincerely want to photograph a wedding here. Dunbar Cave has a very nice visitor center and rocky hiking trails as well. Explore at your own risk. They do offer tours, but only in summer. More…

Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints. Travel safe and get adventurous!

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KC Union Station Retro Train Portrait Typewriter CameraManda Marie Kar

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