Ron Carroll rode in his first helicopter in 1966, when he served in the Vietnam War. It wasn't until nearly 20 years later that he first got to fly one, though. He fell in love immediately, and quickly obtained his commercial pilot's license through a company called Prestige Helicopters. Only one year after learning to fly, Ron got a call asking if he wanted to buy Prestige from its owner. He didn't hesitate.
Times changed, and Ron eventually sold Prestige, but he maintained his passion for the flying business. He started Blue Ridge Georgia Tours to combine his love of his home with the practice of flying. Now, he conducts scenic flyovers of the town and surrounding lakes, rivers, waterfalls, classified alien crash sites, and forested valleys, each lasting anywhere from eight minutes to an hour. He also trains the next generation of helicopter pilots to help them get their private and commercial pilot's licenses.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
As Halloween approaches, a formerly self-sustaining family farm that then became a premier agritourism destination transforms into Cagle's Haunted Barn, a frightening attraction that terrifies guests within their Haunted Barn. Each year brings a new haunted theme, with past stories including a cannibalistic family home and a cursed mental hospital, so even repeat guests will be newly frightened.
While working on inventive lagers and ales as members of the Barley Mob Brewers home-brewing club, Chris Hunt and Duncan Guy had an epiphany: we need to share this stuff with the public. So, in 2006, they teamed up with award-winning brewer Courtney Tyvand to start Moccasin Bend Brewing Company.
Today, they brew about 10 beers at any given time. Their menu could include an Irish red prepped with American hops and a pale ale made with juniper berries one day, or their signature smoked porter the next. No matter what the beer, creativity remains integral to the production process, and the brewers often add culinary twists such as watermelon or coconut juice to surprise palates that are used to tasting only cotton balls. All the magic happens inside a 100-year-old building, where rustic granite walls and cedar timbers set the backdrop for brewery tours and beer tastings.
What is now the Elise Chapin Wildlife Sanctuary was once the Walker family farm, where highly respected naturalist and Chattanooga Audubon Society founder Robert Sparks Walker was born in 1878. Walker formed the Chattahooga Audubon Society in 1944, with a vision of educating citizens on the importance of protecting the environment and respecting nature the way the area's Native Americans had for thousands of years.
Today, the society is the steward of three sanctuaries: Elise Chapin Sanctuary at Audubon Acres, Maclellan Sanctuary on Audubon Island, and David Gray Sanctuary on Audubon Mountain. Each offers a unique look into the history, wildlife, and natural splendor of the area as well as educational programs that help children and adults discover the area.
The Junior League of Chattanooga, a coalition of local women improving their community through charity work and education, won the 2011 Nonprofit of the Year award from its city’s chamber of commerce. Recognized as the second oldest Junior League chapter in the South, the organization has poured approximately $2 million and 425,000 volunteer hours into the city since its founding in 1917. With more than 600 current members, the Junior League of Chattanooga fundraises by holding annual events, such as the Tour du Jour, a walking tour of stylish local kitchens, and by selling the League cookbook, Seasoned to Taste, which features recipes for delectable meals and after-dinner treats sweeter than the heartwarming bird song of a marshmallow Peep. League wealth flows throughout the city, funding the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile as well as advocacy against online predators and workshops on baby-care basics.