Fall seems to be a little slow coming to us this year and the leaves are just beginning to change color. So I am anxiously awaiting the full color ambiance of my favorite season to arrive. But while we wait for the leaves to change, fall festivals are still in full swing. And all throughout September and October, places all over seem to join in the spirited festivities of Oktoberfest. So wanting to be be part of the fall festive spirit, and hoping for some incredible views of the fall color, we met up with some friends down on Lookout Mountain to enjoy Rock City Garden and their take on the fall favorite- Rocktober Fest.
Rock City Garden is a massive wonderland where visitors walk down, through, around the path carved out of the rock of the mountain. In 1823 when two missionaries came to preach to the Native Americans living on the mountain, they described the mountain as “a citadel of rock, as to afford streets and lanes”. And later on in the early 1900’s those streets and lanes of rock would become the rock garden that it is today when Garnet and Freida Carter bought the land and developed the rocky path through around the mountain. We went down into the formations passing under bridges and through the labyrinth of rock passageways and slid sideways through the slot canyon of rock as we think skinny thoughts.
With a great collective sigh of making it through the slot canyon, we then continued the path along the rock bridges until we came to the Swing Swing-Along bridge that offered some lovely views of the valley below and small glimpses of the colored leaves we were so eager to see.
The most popular spot of these gardens is at the top, overlooking the valleys below. It is from this spot that you can look out and see 7 different states. The mountain itself sits between Tennessee and Georgia. While there is no definitive marker of where the lines are, it is fun to consider how close to so many states you are at that moment. While there weren’t the expanse of fall color below us, the fog that had settled in did add a beautiful contrast to the blue skies.
After enjoying the view, we went to enjoy the Rocktober Fest activities that they had in the central area of the garden. While Tessa painted her small pumpkin, we dined on bratwurst loaded with sauerkraut and beer cheese soup in soft bread bowls and large mugs of beer. We then went up to the pavilion to watch the band play some traditional Oktoberfest music.
Tessa was thrilled to get to meet the resident fall fairy named Autumn as she gathered leaves and tucked them into her basket. Then she met the great Rock Gnome King himself who only ventures out to meet visitors during Rocktober Fest.
We continued down the intricate path of rock marveling at details and pausing to see Lover Leap with the waterfall rushing down next to it.
We ended our day with a visit through the Fairyland Caverns where you are greeted by bright gnomes and scenes of fairy tales and rhymes. Every nook and enclave of rock holds a scene from a story and the color and the detail are truly amazing.
Rock City Garden is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to visit. Their Rocktober Fest was such a fun and lively way to celebrate the fall season. Although we were a little disappointed not to get to the fall colors from the top of the mountain, but maybe we’ll just have to come back in a few weeks and hope for more fall color. Thanks for reading and Happy Fall!