“A national treasure of botanical, geological, and entrepreneurial significance.”
I was probably seven or eight when I first saw those iconic “See Rock City” signs; white on black painted roofs over bright red barns. Rock City is a dreamland full of waterfalls, caves, gnomes, faeries, and dioramas of German faery tales. The place was founded by a German, after all.
This entry is dedicated to cutiepie G* who, more than anything, wanted to visit Humpty Dumpty in the underground cave.
The Enchanted Trail
Having squeezed in between two giant boulder walls, we entered the park and began the 3/4 mile path.
In addition to faery tales, gnomes, and mythical statues, there are goblins.
This man-made waterfall is also known as High Falls. Earlier in the trail you see the back end of it, and after you pass through the Rainbow Cave you will see the frontal view.
The Stone Bridge
As you approach the viewing courtyard to “see seven states” you can either take the stone bridge, or the swinging bridge. We made a full circle.
The Swinging Bridge
I’ve always liked swinging bridges, but my dog was definitely re-evaluating how much he trusts me on this one. He spider-crawled quickly across it and we were both happy.
See Seven States!
Allegedly on the clearest of days, you can make out some noticeable landmarks that distinguish one distant green/grey patch from the other. I kept hearing people mention that this was written in some old book, so it must be true.
Except I, typical me, had to research it and that does not quite seem to be the situation. Regardless, the view is incredible. It would not really matter what I saw when I got to the top, the walk itself and the design of the park was so enjoyable it forgives any question of authenticity.
Fat Man Squeeze
There were a few times I had to take some deep breaths and push myself through these narrow cracks and crevices. Just recently I had to acknowledge that constricting spaces make me panic, and I hadn’t the sense to anticipate there may be some of that going on here. However it turned out to be quite easily navigable once in motion.
The Rainbow Cave brought us so much joy. Pass through it to reach this frontal view of Lover’s Leap.
After taking in Lover’s Leap, begin the descent into the LED underworld. Follow the fountains and intricate shadow boxes of nursery rhyme scenes to the Mother Goose Village.
And that is the extent of the photo quality I could get after this point. It became really dark, loud, and misty. I could not see very well but it was still a pleasant experience.
There were dozens of children running around and squealing when they found their favourite characters, but sadly G* was unimpressed with meeting Humpty Dumpty. Turns out it was just a statue that did not even have the decency to move or speak to her after she searched for so long. Bless her.
Driving back home along 75N, I stopped in Lenoir City, TN at the Le Noir Belgian Cafe. I came specifically for the Frietjes Carbonnade a la Flamande; a rich, hearty Flemish stew made with beer, tender beef, hints of apple cider vinegar, spicy mustard, and bay leaves over thick-cut crispy potatoes. It was everything I dreamed it would be.
An appetizer size is more than enough to fill you up, but they offer it as an entree on Tuesdays.
If you care to share it with someone else and order a different entree, I recommend the Croque Monsieur. Toasted bread with ham, mixed cheeses, and a perfectly creamy bechamel on top.
They serve beer in slush form, and in locally-made ceramic mugs. Pick up one of their handmade truffles or some fudge before you leave and just try not to eat one on the drive home.
“All ya had to do was give Humpty a chance
And now I’m gonna do my dance.”