Also, check out Death's Dream Kingdom, by my fabulous coauthor, Jessica Penot. She is an award-winning author, and I could not have asked for anyone better to work with. Check out her blog. Our guide Vincent Phipps has a CD of spooky stories out. Check out Spooky-Nooga! Chattanooga Ghost Tours, Inc was proud to be featured this year in an episode of Shock Theatre. Check out their website!
Places to Enjoy in Chattanooga
Our favorite restaurant in Chattanooga is currently the haunted Southside Saloon. We used to take folks upstairs to the haunted ex-brothel rooms on our extended tour (until they started closing at night- now our extended tour stop is inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo), but the food downstairs is fabulous at lunch. We recently tried their jerk chicken and their reuben- yummy! Tell them the ghost tour sent you. If you need a snack or drink before the tour, drop in at The Ice Cream Show, in the same plaza where we start. They also sell various soft drinks, teas and coffee drinks. The Mexican Hot Chocolate has just a touch of cinnamon- yummy!
After the tour, try City Cafe, whose sample cake (several layers in one cake, each a different type of cake) is one of my favorite desserts in Chattanooga, plus huge portions on all their food.
If you love desserts and are in Chickamauga (for example, if you've been hunting for Ole Green Eyes or Bigfoot in Chickamauga Battlefield), stop in at Chocolate Therapy Cafe on Gordon Street. Folks rave about their chocolate cobbler.
If you enjoy local history, take a walk with Chattanooga Sidewalk Tours.. They have both a daytime Dynamo of Dixie Tour that starts at the Read House, and an evening Bluffs & Bridges Tour, that includes the Bluff View Art District, Walnut Street Bridge, and Coolidge Park.
Try checking out Raccoon Mountain Caverns, ranked as one of the top five caves in the country. Raccoon Mountain has its own ghost, which you can read about, in the upcoming book Haunted Chattanooga (available October 2011). They have even had some success lately in communicating with him! Make sure to ask about Willie when you go.
Check out the beautiful outdoor Virgin of the Poor shrine in nearby New Hope, TN. The phone number is 423-837-7068. It is worth the trip.For those with children, the Chattanooga Zoo, billed as "the best little zoo in America," is a delightful stop without being too long. They have recently opened their Endangered Animal Carousel, with some of the most amazing carousel animals you have ever seen, all carved by the folks at Horsin' Around, Chattanooga's own carousel carving school. Also, the Creative Discovery Museum, right off our tour route at Chestnut and Fourth, is a wonder for children ages 2-12! The kids will spot the large ship, built to be accessible for all to play on, in the front glass.
Note that our FAVORITE attractions in and around the area, that is, the truly WEIRD, have been moved to the bottom of the page in our new WAY Off the Beaten Path section. Check it out!
Haunted Places to Stay in Chattanooga
For those adventurous souls who want to stay in a haunted place while here, there are at least 4 options of which we are aware. The Chattanooga Choo Choo does not advertise their ghosts, but we can tell you about them on our extended tour, and face it- where else do you get the chance to stay in actual Victorian sleeper train car?! The Delta Queen riverboat is now docked in Chattanooga as a hotel, and they do rent out their haunted cabin. I believe the rack rate for that room is $179.00 per night, but not certain.
Or for the budget ghosthunter, many internet sites say the Super 8 Motel in Ooltewah has a haunted room. However, due to the nature of the motel, they have had alot of turnover, and their employees may not even be aware of this particular feature. : )
The Read House does rent out its room 311, and we have been told by our guests that during the off season, you can get the room if it is empty at the last minute at a substantially reduced rate. There are conflicting reports about whether it or the room currently numbered 313 (now used for a storage closet) is the original room 311, but guests have reported paranormal activity in both.
Other Ghost Tours
We love ghost tours, and are happy to share info about the ones we have been on. These are the tours we have experience with:
For those travelling elsewhere in the state, if you are in Nashville, you might check out Nashville Ghost Tours; we liked it alot. We understand they have also opened tours in DC and St. Louis; they are sure to be entertaining.
If you are in Memphis, the folks who operate the walking ghost tour there, Backbeat Tours, also have a bus tour called The Mojo Tour, where musicians take you (with plenty of audience participation) on a musical trip of the highlights of the city. It was unique and VERY fun; check it out!
We have not personally been on Appalachian GhostWalks - Haunted Vacations Ghost and History Tours http://www.AppalachianGhostWalks.com, but some of our guests have enjoyed their tours, and they have pasted many great comments on their website. They operate tours in various places in NE TN and Virginia.
In Georgia, Dalton Ghost Tours seasonally operates a reinactment-type ghost tour, with actors. We learned some new things about locations we previously THOUGHT we were familiar with on this tour. Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama also has actors portraying the ghosts on their ghost tour, which is only offered one night per year, usually on their Kids' Day in the spring. (This is not to be confused with their fake haunted house they put on each fall.) One of our party got several orb photos on this tour.
Also, for those of you who have been waiting for a walking ghost tour in downtown Atlanta, you are finally in luck. We went on a tour with the owner of Dark Side Tours, which has only been operating since summer 2009, and really enjoyed it. Ask to go with Liz, the owner.
Our friends at Paranormal Research Of the South East (P.R.O.S.E.) are no longer doing the tours at Hale's Bar, but they still do private investigations, free. However, the Ghosthunter Chattanooga folks are now doing the haunted tours at Hales Bar, and you can buy discounted tickets for those tours at our shop at 138 Market St, or by calling us at 423-821-7125!
Check out Shock Theatre Presents The Woman in Black. Watch the classic movie for free, while also enjoying a wraparound episode of the resurrected Shock Theatre with Doc Shock, Nurse Goodbody, & our very own Hope Holloway & Kevin Bartolomucci!
Links to Other Ghost Sites
Here are a few links to other ghost sites in cyberspace:
Tennessee Paranormal Investigative Team
Angels and Ghosts
Paranormal Directory (which lists a LOT of ghost tours)
Ghost to Coast
(WAY) Off the Beaten Path
For those of you, like us, who are fans of the definitely different, we have listed below some of our favorite sidetrips here, and within an hour or two of Chattanooga. They are ALL worth the drive!Chattanooga
The Spaceship House. This is a unique private home that is worth the trip to drive by. Simply take I-27 N to the Signal Mountain exit, and follow that road up the mountain. The Spaceship House is on the left of the curves before you reach the town. Thanks to a sharp turn, you can see it from both front and back.
There is a new attraction in the area, which we can only describe as a combination boat, go cart, and hang-gliding apparatus. While we haven't worked up the courage to try it yet, we think it looks fascinating and certainly unique! Reserve your flight! Or for something slightly more conventional, watch the hang gliders at Lookout Mountain Flight Park, which boasts that it has 5 times more pilots than any other school in the country. If you're REALLY brave, you can take a tandem flight there for around $200.
For something truly unique to Chattanooga, check out the International Tow Truck Museum, at 3315 Broad Street.
Further OutHead west on I-24 and stop off in Hendersonville at Trinity Music City (formerly Twitty City). It has a a radio and television station, recreation of a street from Jerusalem, the former home of Conway Twitty, and a statue of what appears to be a Crusader with sword raised, that the staffs insists is "Jesus!" Take a drive afterwards around the luxurious neighborhood that lies behind- it's home to many country music stars. Even Taylor Swift is rumored to have an abode there.Then head towards Adamsville, TN for a visit to the famous Bell Witch Cave & homestead. Call for reservations. If you're heading towards Alabama, we'd strongly suggest you check out the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama, which has a miniature recreation of the city of Jerusalem, as well as many of the world's most famous buildings. And give a listen to our friend Blair Jett on the radio while you're in town! On the way there or back, you might stop off at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, AL, which besides the falls, also boasts mini-golf and a petting zoo. And if you're looking for something interesting in nearby Georgia, take the opportunity to visit Paradise Garden, home of the late great folk artist Howard Finster. His art and creativity fill the place, and if you are an art aficionado, you can pick up an original there cheaper than almost anyplace else. We hope you enjoy your travels off the beaten path as much as we have enjoyed ours!
Many many thanks to the folks at the Hamilton County Bicentennial Downtown Library for their patience with me as I researched the stories for the tour and got the website ready.