Odds are good that if your older than 30 or live in Eastern Tennessee and North Georgia, you know the lyrics -- or at least the tune -- that goes, "Pardon me, boy. Is this the Chattanooga Choo Choo?"
My earliest recollection of this Big Band song is from somewhere around age five or six with a brief skit on "The Muppet Show" involving the song. The magic of YouTube made the memory complete a week or so ago, when my boss at Edelman mentioned we'd take a return road trip to Chattanooga to meet a few new contacts and learn more about the city (we visited the city often in 2007 for our client Rock City Gardens and invited media).
It was a delightful day, complete with gorgeous autumn hues in the North Georgia Mountains and outstanding views from all the great lookouts in Southeast Tennessee's growing city with a spirit of "The Little Engine That Could" (and as we learned from some great tour guides today, the ARE making things very special in Chattanooga).
We learned about the Bluff View Art District (which my girlfriend and I visited in 2006 -- it's very cool), stopped by the Hunter Museum of American Art (fabulous), and took in the shops and parks on the north shore of the river that cuts through town. All this was after a delicious local lunch at Niko's Southside Grill (I recommend the scallop appetizer and shrimp & grits) and great coffee and conversation at the Choo Choo site (thanks to our hosts!).