Like any proud American, I’m also proud of my heritage—I am a Southern girl born and raised, but somewhere way back down the line my ancestors traveled from the Emerald Isles. Okay, I’ll be honest, that might be way, way back, but still, St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite celebrations.
Last winter felt especially long, so my best friend and I decided to give ourselves a little pot-o-gold treat to break out of the funk and have some fun on my favorite holiday. For our 2016 St. Patty’s Day Celebration, we took a trip to Lookout Mountain, home to Shamrock City during two weekends in March. And, in an extraordinary stroke of luck, were able to get both our daughters to go along for the ride with us. It can be hard to pin down our soon-to-be college graduates these days, but they couldn’t resist a day with their crazy moms at their favorite attraction.
As we curled our way up the mountain toward Rock—rather, Shamrock—City, the road rose to meet us, as they say, green twirls of spring growth spiraling up the trees, energizing us for the full day of sights ahead at Lookout Mountain. When we arrived at our first destination, we were immediately swept away by the friendly leprechauns that had swapped places with Rock City’s familiar gnomes for the festivities. Our girls giggled, ironically at first, as they greeted us at the gates, but quickly caught the spirit and posed for selfies before we headed inside.
Where to begin? Celtic celebration had swooped down over every crag and cranny. The Roaming Pipers—members of the Chattanooga Pipe Band—wandered throughout the gardens, which made for a lovely soundtrack to our trek. We rambled on toward Lover’s Leap and held our breaths as we crossed the Swing-A-Long Bridge, our daughters flying like banshees across the slats like they were kids still trying to give us a scare. But then we saw it—the 140-foot waterfall had literally gone green. We hurried closer to our favorite spot to watch the emerald water cascade over the cliff, casting rainbows into the hills.
Finally, another urge overtook us: to chow down on some traditional Irish grub. At the Pot of Gold Pavilion, we stepped into a full-blown Irish festival where several Irish dancers taught lessons to folks of any—and I do mean any—level of experience. We took in some Shepherd’s Pie while watching the girls encounter the Suffolk sheep grazing nearby. My BFF and I then rewarded ourselves with a sip of Georgia Winery’s special Muscadine Gold and Green wines—it was a well-earned girls’ trip, after all. The experience was topped off with a Celtic band flush with bagpipes and drums welcoming us to the panoramic view where we could see seven states!
We could have spent all day there reveling in the Gaelic gaiety and very nearly did. But we came to Lookout Mountain to do it right, and we still had an afternoon of searching for the end of the rainbow down in Ruby Falls caverns and basking in the springtime green from the comfort of the Incline Railway ahead of us. Still, at Shamrock City, my best friend and I got to experience the luck of the Irish: a chance to kick back and laugh with our girls like we hadn’t in a long time and wake up into a new season surrounded by nature, dance and song. Sláinte!