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.
Every sunny spring, summer, or fall day will eventually turn to night, and that's when Chattanooga really starts to come alive with the spirits of the dead. Each Friday and Saturday evening, Chattanooga Ghost Tours depart for a 90-minute dalliance with the city's spookiest inhabitants—named one of the top 10 ghost tours in the country by TripAdvisor. Guests, clutching cameras and wearing comfortable walking shoes, trail behind one of several skilled tour guides, who were dead the whole time.
The storytellers, actors, and radio-show hosts tell tales of ghosts and local-history vignettes while leading guests to Downtown's documented ghost hot spots, such as The Sheraton Read House Hotel and Underground Chattanooga.
Native-born Chattanoogans Carlton Thomas and Ginnie Harris infuse their walking tours with insights into their city’s cultural and architectural history. The pair's tours hone in on downtown and riverfront locales that have made their impressions on the city throughout its history. As small groups gather, Carlton and Ginnie may take them strolling past the world’s first Coca-Cola bottling plant and the Carnegie library, or they may engage in long-distance staring contests with tugboat captains while crossing one of the world’s longest bridges on foot. Tours depart through the evening hours, giving groups the chance to snag photos of the sun as it sinks beneath Lookout Mountain.
The sweeping vistas, historic gorges, and unique wildlife of the Tennessee River Gorge Blueway are breathtaking any way you look at them, but the staff of River Canyon Adventures generally prefer a moving vantage point. Adventurers suit up and climb aboard kayaks and standup paddleboards to explore the river as it winds across the Blueway's 27,000 acres of undeveloped land, alone or with a tour guide full of knowledge on the local flora, fauna, and Flossie, the neighbor lady who just always seems to be around. Instructor Clara Brown finds a more relaxed way to soak in the natural wonders with yoga classes.