My friends and I have proudly been adulting this summer, dutifully reporting to our posts in office parks across the city sunny day after sunny day, while our younger peers have roamed free. We’ve finally finished school, which means getting real jobs—and not having a summer vacation. But we are so ready to plan out a well-earned getaway for Labor Day—out of the concrete jungle and into the natural world, where we can shake loose, recharge, and have a little fun. So, four of us girls are road tripping it up to Lookout Mountain.
It’s actually a really quick and easy drive up from Birmingham, where we all graduated together and still work. Most of us are local and spent our childhoods taking trips up there, but this will be the first time we’re going as grown-ups. But who says having a grown-up job means losing your sense of adventure?
We’ve decided to take on an attraction per day, giving us plenty of time to explore and relax at our own pace. We’ll start with Saturday at the Incline Railway. The bottom station is nestled in an adorable historic town called St. Elmo, and with two breweries, tons of restaurants, and its unique shopping opportunities, we’re thinking this is going to be a great place for us to hang out and treat ourselves with some of our hard-earned spending money!
Once we’ve treated ourselves, we’ll ride up the Incline Railway to the walking trails up top. I remember how much fun riding was when I was little, and I can’t wait to race up front for my favorite first-row view! We’ll have to take a selfie on the observation deck at the top station. Then, we’ve picked out the Bluff Trail, a hike that promises magnificent views and stunning greenery at a not-too-difficult pace. To reward my efforts, I’m grabbing some handmade fudge from the top station on our way back!
Sunday we’ll sink our teeth into Ruby Falls; we really can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the place. Over the summer, the Caverns rolled out a huge renovation, complete with an updated entrance atrium, gift shop, and entertainment plaza, offering even more room to relax or shop for goodies while you wait. One of my girlfriends is an environmental scientist, and she’s excited to return to one of the places that first inspired her love for the natural world. We’re all looking forward to feeling the magic and childlike wonder again at the foot of the beautiful falls.
Our last day will be spent at Rock City, tapping our toes at the last Summer Music Weekend of the year. We’ll get to soak in that summer sun and maybe even feel a taste of autumn air pass over the mountain. I know everyone’s going to dare me across the Swing-A-Long Bridge over to Lover’s Leap—but maybe now I’ll be brave enough to do it! If I can make that leap, we’ll be in the perfect spot to hear some live bluegrass tunes and grab a refreshing drink or two at Café 7, not to mention some of our favorite Southern summertime food!
I’ll miss the old thrill of a season-long summer vacation, but if we can make adulting this much fun, I think I’m going to be just fine. Labor Day weekend may just end up being my favorite holiday if I can keep making Lookout Mountain my summer break!