Chattanooga, Wings and Coffee, Too

Downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a seriously awesome place. I fell in love with it when I was young and my dad would drive the hour it took to get us there so we could eat at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo and then wander around the top of Lookout Mountain. Luckily, my middle brother and his family live there, so we still get to visit lots. And it’s still one of my favorite places. Chattanooga has done a stellar job of downtown renaissance and making itself into A Must-See Destination. Such as this Broad Street block that’s just up the street  from the Tennessee River and the Tennessee Aquarium. This block is home to Sticky Fingers Smokehouse, the barbecue restaurant-chain that three friends who first met as seventh-graders in Chattanooga started in 1992 in Charleston, S.C. My brother and I were there to pick up wings, pulled chicken and pulled pork for my nephew’s 12-year-old birthday party, and I have to say that Sticky Fingers’ wings rate right up there — meaty, juicy and just-right-hot.  I can see why my nephew requested Sticky Fingers for his birthday. (I think I’ll do the same, even though that means moving my birthday to a city four hours away. Worth it.) Another treasure on this block is Greyfriar’s Coffee and Tea Co., one of my brother’s top choices for coffee — and he knows coffee. And of course there’s more to Chattanooga than wings and coffee. You’ve got history, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, shopping, music, art, more eating and more good times. Go check it out, and tell my brother I sent you.

Tupelo, Mississippi

Tupelo, Mississippi, has everything you could want: Great food, great people and great shopping. And two of those three are at The Main Attraction, downtown at 214 West Main Street. An eclectic clothing and gift boutique, Main Attraction is a place to while away the afternoon and unearth some you-can-only-find-it-here treasures. Owner  Barbara Fleishhacker is the genius behind the collection of flowy cottons, retro jewelry and fun and funky accessories. It’s Hippie Chick meets Southern Lady with a bit of Wouldn’t It Be Fun To Backpack Through India thrown in. Both Barbara and her store are warm, friendly, cool and hip all at the same time. In fact, she’s a vital voice for downtown Tupelo development and her store is a gathering spot for fellow Tupelo fans — and anybody who can’t resist the lure of a find. And, actually, there’s a coffee bar, too, so you can find all three of those things you want. The Main Attraction is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Phone number is (662) 842.9617. Visit for more.