In April of 2017 my husband and I walked across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Chattanooga for the first time. “What do you think?,” he asked as we gazed out at the Tennessee River. Before I could answer him my mind wandered to our home in South Carolina. I thought of our house and how we had just completed it in a way that was perfect for us. I thought of our friends, our church, our community and finally our parents. How would we tell them? Were we really willing to leave all of that behind? My thoughts were interrupted as my husband asked again, “What do you think, should I accept the job?”
“Let’s do it!,” I exclaimed. With those three words we began the journey of moving our family of eight from Hartsville, South Carolina to the Chattanooga, Tennessee area.
Moving is hard. Moving with kids is exceptionally hard. Sometimes in life we have to do hard things. We certainly never planned to move away from our home, but the job opportunity for my husband was something we wanted to pursue. It’s been nearly a year and a half since our move and while we still miss our community, friends, and family we are finally starting to feel at home here.
Chattanooga is a unique place.
We are constantly surprised by new things to do. My parents purchased family memberships for the Creative Discovery Museum and the Tennessee Aquarium. We have spent hours at each of those places. We have also visited Cloudland Canyon and Point Park on Lookout Mountain. Those are beautiful areas with great hiking trails and some are easy enough for our children to tag along. We have visited the Chickamauga Dam, which our children love, and we have returned to the Walnut Street Bridge a few times since that first visit. We have discovered great shopping, great restaurants and the scenery never disappoints.
While all of those things are important for a growing family, we have also found great community here.
The people in Chattanooga are the definition of southern hospitality. It seems we never meet a stranger and have grown to love the small town feel that is still found in this ever-growing city. As with most places we have lived, Chattanooga has stolen our hearts not only by way of the beautiful mountains and the family-friendly atmosphere, but by its people.
“Chattanooga Strong” was a phrase I first heard years ago on the news. Now it is a feeling I have experienced.