Tips for Helping Your Lawn Survive the Winter

Tips for Helping Your Lawn Survive the Winter 01

We need to tuck our lawns in for their long winter’s nap so that they will wake up lush and healthy in the spring. While we are doing that, we can also do right by our planet by employing eco-friendly methods and products. The following tips ensure that our lawns bounce back with the least possible damage to the environment.

Clear Up the Lawn

Rake up the leaves and add them to your compost pile. If left on the grass, they prevent sunlight from reaching the grass and allow patches of mold to settle in. The dead leaves also adversely affect water quality. The phosphorus and nitrogen run off, feed algae that kill fish and contaminate our water.

For the same reasons, it’s not okay to let leaves go down storm drains. Those nutrients go right to the nearest body of water. You might as well dump a chemical fertilizer directly into the river.

Dethatch and Aerate

Thatch is that layer of shoots, stems, and roots on the surface of the soil. It prevents the grass roots from getting the water and nutrients they need for the winter. You may be able to rake the thatch up with a garden rake. If it’s especially thick, use a thatch rake or a vertical mower. The good part of thatch is it makes for more material for your compost pile.

Aerate a lawn that had too much traffic in the summer, is now compacted and, like the thatch, is creating a barrier between nutrients and grass roots. Punch plugs of soil from your lawn with a tined garden rake or a rented self-powered aerator.

Weed

Dig up invasive weeds completely, or else they will sprout again in the spring. Don’t add them to the compost pile like they are or they will grow and spread. You first have to “cook” them to death, or practice hot composting. Seal them in a black plastic bag and put the bag in a sunny spot off by itself. In a couple of months, you will see that the weeds are mere vestiges of their former selves, and you can toss them into your compost pile.

Note: Most chemical herbicides are toxic to animals and the environment in general.

Overseed

This tip is region-specific. If you live in a warm region, overseed with cool-season grassseed, such as Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass. As the warm-season grass types go dormant, the cool-season grasses will keep your lawn green throughout the winter. In the cooler regions, overseeding prevents weeds from attacking. Thin lawns are open invitations to invaders such as crabgrass and dandelions.

Tend to Your Compost

Material composted over the summer should be ready. Use that “black gold” that is brimming with nutrients to amend deficient soils or improve the fertility of your lawn. The compost gives your lawn a jump-start for the springtime.

For new compost, add a layer of straw or leaves. It needs to be alive and active even in winter, and the additional layer keeps up the internal temperature. Do not put any diseased or insect-infected plants into your compost pile, or else you’ll be returning the diseases and pests to the soil in the spring. Destroy the plants instead.

Written by Katie Marie for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Gus Ruballo

Fall and Winter Composting for a Lovely Spring

Fall and Winter Composting for a Lovely Spring 01

Autumn provides ample brown material for composting, and turning food scraps into fertilizer gives you everything you need to get a jump start on soil enrichment before the frost sets in. Whether you are already skilled at composting and want to make the most of the nutrients you save or are just starting out, the results can make a major difference in the health of your lawn or garden. Fall and winter composting ensures that your garden is ready to shine the next year, and it makes it simple to recycle and reuse organic material in an eco-friendly manner.

Preparing the Soil

If you already have a home composter setup or an outdoors composting bin, remember to keep the balance of green and brown materials — from the kitchen and the yard respectively — at about an even 50/50 blend. There are a few ways to speed up the composting process, from shredding and heating the materials to agitating regularly, but all fertilizer creation takes time, and it’s best to get an early start in the fall for plenty of prep time.

As the compost matures, try using a garden tiller to aerate the soil and work the material into the ground. Adding nutrients during the fall months can promote faster and healthier growth in spring, but preparation should end before the first snows fall. Adding more nutrients during the cold winter months can actually promote mold and undesirable decomposition of roots or bulbs, making it a better idea to save compost for later use when the ground starts freezing.

Planting Seeds

Planting in autumn is only natural, as it is harvest season when the fruits drop and wildflowers spread seeds abundantly. Once your soil is ready, begin planting the seeds for next year’s blossoming flowers. Annuals and perennials both benefit from early planting before the ground hardens. The natural hardening and packing of the soil during the winter months provides added protection against scavenging animals and freezing winds.

Protect the Ground

It’s entirely likely that you’ll end up with far more brown matter during the fall season than your kitchen scraps, grasses and other green materials can match. Avoid adding too much brown material to your compost mix, and instead use these nature-made tools to keep the ground safe and ward off unwanted mold or mildew that can crop up when the ground freezes and materials break down on the frozen surface.

Protect the ground in your planting beds as well as lawn areas with layers of mulched brown materials. Pine needles and similar yard waste provides ample protection against both frost and mildew throughout the winter months as the needles and bark do not break down easily.

Winter and fall don’t necessarily mean an end to your efforts composting at home. The materials produced naturally during this time can help ensure the ground has all the nutrients and protection it needs to weather the snowy seasons and spring back when the warm weather returns. Taking the time to get the right mix of materials and focusing on composting early and protecting the ground as the seasons change can make a real difference the next year.

Written by Avery Phillips for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Justin Ha

The Dark Side of Sustainable Technology and How We Can Fix It

The Dark Side of Sustainable Technology and How We Can Fix It 01

Advancements in technology have the potential to do great good and great harm to our environment. The toxic lake of tech waste in Batou, Mongolia, is testament to the damage that modern technology can do to the environment. The man-made pool of toxic sludge is a result of the tech industry, which relies heavily upon rare earth elements to create everything from magnets to smartphone screens.

On the other hand, advances in technology have allowed renewable energy industries to thrive and gain traction in many countries across the world. About 2.5 million Americans work in renewable energy, which benefits from technology coming out of the tech sector.

Is Clean Energy Truly Clean?

It would be quite difficult to do a proper analysis of the actual environmental costs of the industry and innovation that actually goes into producing the components for renewable power. The production of materials and technology required for a renewable energy operation could potentially be executed in extremely environmentally unfriendly ways — which defeats the purpose.

There have been a number of advancements in electrical engineering, one of which has made batteries an increasingly useful resource in clean energy. They’re used in clean cars and provide increased energy security. There are, however, severe environmental impacts associated with batteries, especially those designed for electric cars and renewable power operations.

Sustainable From the Ground Up

Clean energy is a noble goal, and despite the political climate it remains competitive in the U.S. There are a lot of reasons to hope for a future in which the majority of energy is clean, but without clean methods of production we might just be spinning our wheels.

We need to start thinking about sustainability in the design process. The engineers who create advancements in renewable power need to start considering the impact not just of the result of their ideas, but of the systems that create them. From the production of basic materials, to transport, to the machines required for assembly, we need to change the entire supply chain that creates clean technology.

Good News: We’ve Already Started

Green careers are popping up across a number of industries, which include electrical engineering and design, giving sustainability-minded individuals the chance to push change forward at all levels of innovation, creation, and production.

From legal careers that focus on green issues, to corporate social responsibility positions that give people the opportunity to change the way an entire company thinks about the business they do, there are opportunities emerging for individuals to create real change. For people concerned about environmental issues, it’s rare to have the opportunity to do so much good. The work can be so daunting that we don’t know where to begin.

Solar power, wind power, and electric cars are high-end products and the result of long, complex production chains. Until we change the way those chains work, the footprint of clean technology may continue to have an unpleasant dark side. The bottom-up change is absolutely achievable.

Written by Avery Phillips for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Solomon Hsu

Cleaner Indoor Air Quality Can Help You Sleep Better

Cleaner Indoor Air Quality Can Help You Sleep Better 01

The key to a healthy indoor environment is clean air, but many of the finishes and furniture in a typical home or office off-gas pollutants that can compromise air quality. While opening a window might help, it also could make matters worse by introducing auto exhaust and other noxious emissions in. So, what’s a clean air lover to do about keeping the indoor environment safe?

Change Your Filters

For starters, it can’t hurt to change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner(s) on a regular, scheduled basis. Manufacturers recommend changing out furnace filters every three months, but mileage may vary depending on square footage and other factors. (When you install a new filter, write the date on it when it should be changed to keep yourself honest.) Also, getting your HVAC air ducts cleaned once every few years—or more frequently if you have pets or lots of people using the space in question.

Scrub The Air With Houseplants

Another way to help filter your indoor air is the all-natural way: with house plants. While humans have always had a special relationship with the plants around them, it wasn’t until NASA published research in the 1980s that we knew just what an important role house plants could play in ridding indoor environments of noxious chemical pollutants. Plants scrub particulates from the air while taking in carbon dioxide and processing it into oxygen, thereby creating more clean air for us to breathe. Garden mums, spider plants, dracaenas, ficus, peace lilies, Boston ferns, snake plants and bamboo palms are great choices given their especially powerful air purifying abilities.

Get An Air Filter

Yet another relatively easy indoor air quality fix would be to purchase an air purifier that plugs into the wall and uses carbon filtration or other methods for filtering contaminants out of the indoor environment. The Coway Mighty and Winix 5500-2 share top rankings from leading consumer review service, Wirecutter, while the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link gets kudos for great air cleaning with style.

Re-Paint In Low-VOC Style

If you really want to go all out, think about repainting interior walls with paint formulations that use little or no volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that have been linked to respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue, among other health worries. AFM Safecoat is the industry leader in low- and no-VOC paints and finishes, but the big players like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore now also have healthier formulations for a quickly increasing number of eco-conscious home improvement customers.

Refurnish

Another easy albeit more costly way to improve indoor air quality would be to get rid of those old couches, mattresses and other furniture which were required by law to contain flame retardant chemicals before we knew how harmful they could be to our indoor environment and health. Now that California has mandated that new furniture products cannot contain these noxious chemicals, more and more manufacturers (including Ikea and Pottery Barn) are starting to phase them out, so it’s a great time to replace that old mattress with a new one that won’t off-gas carcinogens every time you plop down onto it.

Written by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Mark Solarski

Environmental Heroes LaDuke, McKibben and Fox Inspire Millions To Take Action

Environmental Heroes LaDuke McKibben and Fox Inspire Millions To Take Action 01

Thoreau, best known for his book Walden taught us how to live a simple life and take pleasure in nature’s splendor all around us. Leopold’s 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, encouraged us to respect the land and its inhabitants and manage it with future generations in mind. And Carson, whose book Silent Spring is credited with advancing the global environmental movement, taught us that the world would be sick, let alone way too quiet, without the soundtrack of wildlife. While these voices from the past still guide our conservation ethic, a new generation of visionaries is reimagining what it means to be an environmentalist in response to the new existential challenges facing our species and our planet.

One of them is Winona LaDuke, who cut her activist teeth in the 1980s when she helped launch the Indigenous Women’s Network and campaigned for tribal land claims in Minnesota. In 1993 she partnered with the folk-rock duo Indigo Girls to launch Honor the Earth, which raises awareness and support for Native environmental issues and develops resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth uses music, the arts and the media to spread awareness about our dependency on a clean, healthy planet. Most recently, LaDuke set up her tipi at one of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps; she has been outspoken about the need to reject such projects and the oil slated to run through them.

Many Americans first learned about the potential perils of climate change from Bill McKibben’s 1989 book The End of Nature. McKibben has subsequently penned more than a dozen books on related topics, and in 2006 crossed over into activism, helping lead a five-day walk across Vermont calling for action on global warming. He went on to launch 350.org, a global climate organizing effort named after climate scientist James Hansen’s contention that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide above 350 parts per million would be unsafe for humanity and the planet. Pioneering the use of social media to grow its ranks, the group coordinated 5,200 demonstrations in 181 countries as part of its “International Day of Climate Action” in October 2009 and rallied hundreds of thousands more people at subsequent events. 350.org is currently gearing up for the People’s Climate Mobilization on April 29, 2017 and is hoping for a record turnout in Washington DC and at other simultaneous rallies around the world. McKibben remains an outspoken critic of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline projects.

While McKibben worked his way into our hearts through his writing, Josh Fox did it with video. The filmmaker’s 2010 documentary _Gasland_ focused on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of shale formations to recover natural gas deposits. The Oscar-nominated film became a key lever in the anti-fracking movement and Fox went onto become a vocal opponent of fracking. In 2016, Fox traveled the country on behalf of Bernie Sanders’s campaign for President and helped pen a historic climate amendment to the Democratic Platform calling for the institution of a national carbon pricing system, the phase out of gas-fired power plants and higher efficiency standards for federal energy projects. Fox currently works as Creative Director for Our Revolution, a non-profit Sanders launched following the 2016 Democratic primaries to get more Americans involved in the political process and organize and elect progressive candidates.

Of course, the work of LaDuke, McKibben and Fox is nothing if not inspiration for others to become part of the solution to our environmental problems. Cut down on your own emissions, tell your neighbor, and show up at the next big rally to fight global warming. We will all be glad you did!

Written by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Rodion Kutsaev

Saving Our Soils and Climate with Biochar

Saving Our Soils and Climate with Biochar 01

Biochar is a naturally occurring, fine-grained, highly porous form of charcoal derived from the process of baking biomass and it’s been associated with fertile soils for some two thousand years. “Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices,”� reports the International Biochar Initiative (IBI), a trade group representing the world’s burgeoning biochar industry. “Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.”

Indeed, researchers have been hard at work perfecting their own methods for manufacturing biochar by baking biomass in giant oxygen-free kilns. The resulting biochar can then be used as a soil amendment to help restore tired, compromised farmland, not to mention contaminated industrial sites, all the while taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. A liquid by-product of the biochar production process can also be converted into a carbon-neutral “biofuel” that can displace other carbon intensive fuels.

Farmers can layer biochar into their fields where it becomes part of the soil matrix and helps retain water and essential agricultural nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. “You can basically think of it as a soil reef upon which abiotic and biotic phenomena happen,” says David Shearer, CEO of Full Circle Biochar, one of a handful of U.S. based biochar start-ups working to commercialize the age-old “technology.” Farmers like the fact that using biochar can lower their water and fertilizer bills as well as yield more and better quality agricultural products — leading to better market performance overall. “This is really a hedge for farmers,”� reports Shearer. “It really helps them manage their financial risk and it helps them manage risk into the future around production.”

Beyond agriculture, biochar can also be used to clean up polluted land. “For example, if you have a mine that has contaminated soil adjacent to it, biochar … will allow you to remediate soils,”� says Shearer. He adds that biochar also makes for an excellent filtration medium: “We know that activated charcoal has been used for millennia as a filter mechanism, and so there is discussion in the biochar community that maybe the first step is we’ll use it as a filtration media, and then we’ll move to agriculture as the cost of production of biochar comes down.”

As far as environmentalists are concerned, the greater the demand for biochar the better, given the fact that it is a potent storage mechanism for carbon dioxide that would otherwise head into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. “The carbon in biochar resists degradation and can hold carbon in soils for hundreds to thousands of years,” reports IBI. “We can use this simple, yet powerful, technology to store 2.2 gigatons of carbon annually by 2050. It’s one of the few technologies that is relatively inexpensive, widely applicable and quickly scalable. We really can’t afford not to pursue it.”

Written by EMagazine for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Manuel Sardo

Small Ways to Save Big

Small Ways to Save Big 01

The recession may be officially over, but it doesn’t feel that way for anyone still out of work or working for less. With retirement savings still looking shaky, banks still reluctant to give loans and employers continuing to tighten belts and lay off workers, it’s essential that we all start saving.

Fortunately, money-saving tips are frequently planet-saving tips, as smart conservation, wise stewardship of resources and future planning work together. Some of these tips may at first seem like putting the proverbial band-aid on the gaping wound—but remember that California’s serious blackout crisis of 2000 and 2001 was largely solved (and in short time) by individuals and businesses ramping up energy conservation, not by bailout packages or government maneuvering.

Also, if you talk to folks who weathered the Great Depression, they"ll tell you that they got through it primarily by saving pennies, growing their own food and stretching what they already had.

It can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help you get started.

1. Spend Less on Gas

Yes, it’s true that gas prices have fallen somewhat with the rest of the economy, but they remain much higher than in years past. One of the most immediate ways to reduce your bills is to drive less. Sound too easy? Consider starting a local carpool with your friends, neighbors or coworkers. Combine errands and walk around town.

Take extra junk out of your trunk and unused racks off your roof. Drive the speed limit, use cruise control, keep tires inflated and forget jackrabbit starts. Don’t idle your savings away. Take public transit when possible, and maybe you can eliminate a whole set of wheels in your family—leading to big-time savings.

2. Reduce Those Utility Bills

Next on the list come the things you love to hate: bills. You have to pay your service providers, but why pay more to the folks at the other end of the wires?

Turn off lights when you leave a room, or better, install motion sensors and timers. Use low-flow showerheads and toilets (the former will also save you money on water heating). Speaking of that, turn your water heater down (experiment with how far you can go before your family members mind). Get an energy audit to asses air leaks and trouble spots—either by hiring a pro (call your utility) or going DIY and doing a walk-through yourself.

Make sure your HVAC equipment is properly maintained, with clean filters, and boost insulation anywhere you can. Put draft snakes under leaky doors and windows, and install (practically invisible) plastic film over windows. Make sure you use storm doors/windows and shutters if you have them. Fix any water leaks and winterize your castle.

3. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Every little bit helps, so avoid plunking down hard-earned cash on fancy store-bought cleaning products when you can easily make your own. Did you know that most messes can be cleaned up with a combo of baking soda, borax, salt, vinegar, lime juice and elbow grease? It’s true! For glass and mirrors, put a mixture of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray away (it’s a bonus if you love the smell of vinegar). Plus, you can sleep easier knowing you aren’t leaving toxic chemical residues over your sacred abode (or leaving nasty things under sinks for kids or pets to find).

4. Relearn Your Grandparents" Wisdom

Chances are your grandmother did not have an electric dryer in her basement. Instead, she likely strung up the laundry on something called a clothesline, maybe between leafy trees in the backyard or across an alley in a city. You can do the same, and save a nice chunk of change (your linens may even ultimately smell fresher, depending on where you live).

You can also take up canning, start a little root cellar (you only need a dark, dry place, like under some stairs), compost your waste, sow some vegetables, rediscover hand-me-downs, use rags for cleaning, and much more. Give your grandma a call for more ideas—she’s probably hoping to hear from you anyway.

BRIAN CLARK HOWARD is the author of Green Lighting (McGraw Hill Professional) and the Home and Eco-Tips Editor of The Daily Green (www.thedailygreen.com).

Written by Editors of E Magazine for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Daiga Ellaby

How Blue Are You?

How Blue Are You 01

June 8 is World Oceans Day—a day meant to celebrate the oceans of the world and to recognize our connection to them. Originally proposed by the Canadian government at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the day was unofficially celebrated every year since. In 2008, World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the U.N.

With the help of the Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network, events happen all over the world to commemorate the day, in schools, businesses, organizations, aquariums, and other places. Events include beach parties, sand castle competitions, parades, book signing, cleanups and pledge drives.

This year’s theme is "Oceans of Life," where people are encouraged to build a connection with their favorite ocean species. Whether you’re dressing up as a marine creature to clean up beaches in Hermanus, South Africa or attending a screening of the Coral Sea Dreaming documentary in Queensland, Australia, find an event near you to celebrate.

SOURCE: World Oceans Day.

Written by Rebecca Webster for EarthTalk.

Featured image provided by Silas Hao

The 12 Best Casual Adventures in Chattanooga

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Taking an epic, all-day trip into the great outdoors is one of the best things you can do—when you have the time and energy. All too often, though, busy schedules mean that micro-adventures requiring little to no preparation are more realistic.

And with manageable excursions around every corner, Chattanooga makes it easy to get your outdoor fix in small doses. Here are a few of our favorite effortless ways to get outside in Chattanooga—no maps or gear required.

1. Signal Point

Tucked into the cliffside in Signal Mountain’s historic district, Signal Point is the perfect destination for nature lovers and history buffs alike. From the parking lot, it’s only about a hundred yards down a gradual staircase to the first overlook, a spot was used by the Union to send communication signals during the Civil War. From here, you’ll have a clear view of the Tennessee River as it cuts through the steep gorge. Raccoon Mountain is also visible to the west.

2. Riverwalk Cycling

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The Riverwalk is an easy way to enjoy a smooth bike ride.

Kathryn Crouch

Chattanooga’s Riverwalk is impressive both for its length and its scenery. The wide, paved path spans from St. Elmo to the Chickamauga Dam, passing directly through downtown along the way. The Riverwalk is almost entirely flat, making it manageable for all skill levels and ages, and it offers amenities such as restrooms, playgrounds, and picnic tables. A popular access point to the riverfront path is from the Bluff View Art District in the heart of downtown. Don’t have a bike? Pick one up at one of over 30 bikeshare docking stations and pedal to your heart’s content.

3. Reflection Riding Nature Center and Arboretum

Take a trip to this hidden gem for a relaxing day in a beautiful natural area. Located at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Reflection Riding offers 14 miles of hiking trails, a 3-mile scenic drive, calm water, wildlife, and much more. With more than 300 acres of beautiful meadows and forests—plus a native animal exhibit and vibrant gardens—Reflection Riding is a lovely place for people of all ages to spend a day outside.

4. Walnut Street Bridge and Coolidge Park

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The Walnut Street Bridge, as seen here from Coolidge Park, offers excellent views of the Tennessee River.

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Connecting the trendy NorthShore neighborhood to the lively downtown area, the Walnut Street Bridge is one of Chattanooga’s signature attractions. The blue-trussed bridge was constructed in 1890 and was once the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Though it no longer holds that title, the beautiful bridge remains a favorite place for both locals and visitors to enjoy walking, running, and biking. Coolidge Park, located just below the Walnut Street Bridge on NorthShore, is a great spot to relax and cool off on the Tennessee riverfront after your stroll.

5. Outdoor Bars and Restaurants

For breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anything in between, Chattanooga restaurants are teeming with fantastic outdoor seating areas. For coffee, pastries, and café fare, visit the European-style cobblestone patio at Rembrandt’s Coffee House in the art district. At lunchtime, grab a seat outside of 1885 Grill for southern coastal cuisine and premium people-watching experience in the St. Elmo neighborhood. In the evening, have beers, burgers, and fried pickles on the rooftop deck of the Pickle Barrel, which overlooks the busy downtown Market Street. Or, for a slightly swankier outing, stop in at Beast and Barrel for cocktails on the back porch, which looks out over Coolidge Park.

6. Chattanooga Ducks

For a one-of-a-kind tour of the Scenic City, take a spin on the Chattanooga Ducks. The Ducks are amphibious military vehicles that offer a two-for-one tour of downtown and the Tennessee River. After an informative ride around some of the city’s main attractions, the Ducks coast right into the river for a trip around MacLellan Island and a unique view of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum, and the riverfront parks.

7. Sunset Rock

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You only have to go a few steps for amazing views at Sunset Rock.

Kathryn Crouch

Another of Chattanooga’s most well-loved natural features, Sunset Rock is an easy-to-get-to panoramic overlook on Lookout Mountain. The parking lot is tiny, but if you manage to get a spot, it’s only a few steps to catch a gorgeous glimpse of Lookout Valley from Sunset Rock, which was also a key site during the Civil War. While it’s arguably the best place to watch a sunset in Chattanooga, this overlook is worth a visit any time of day.

8. Chattanooga Market

Every Sunday from May to November, vendors and artisans from around the region set up shop at the open air First Tennessee Pavilion for the Chattanooga Market. You’ll find gourmet cheese, local produce, craft beer, unique art, fresh popcorn, and much more among the market’s many aisles. Each week, there are an array of food trucks and local musicians, so you can easily make a day of your trip to the Chattanooga Market.

9. SUP on the Tennessee River

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The Tennessee River has become a very popular place to go stand-up paddleboarding.

Jake Wheeler

If you’ve always wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding, there’s no better place than Chattanooga. With the Tennessee River flowing right through downtown, getting on the river couldn’t be easier. And because of this easy access, there are several places around town to rent gear and get instruction. Rock/Creek Rentals and Outpost on the Riverwalk offers a variety of SUPs and kayaks, and their knowledgeable staff will make sure you’re comfortable and confident before getting on the water. Similarly, L2 Outside on NorthShore offers SUP rentals and weekly guided paddles on the Tennessee River.

10. Montague Park

This little-known park on Chattanooga’s Southside is part green space and part outdoor art museum. As the largest sculpture park in the Southeast, Sculpture Fields is home to more than 35 pieces of gigantic outdoor art from sculptors around the world. With walking paths and acres of grass, Montague Park plays host to festivals, yoga classes, school field trips, and much more. It’s perfect for a picnic or a casual stroll among the sculptures.

11. North Chick Blue Hole

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Take a dip at the North Chick Blue Hole on a hot summer day.

Kathryn Crouch

One of Chattanooga’s favorite swimming holes, the North Chick Blue Hole is an easy walk from the parking area near Soddy-Daisy. Large boulders in the creek act as natural dams to create several deep plunge pools, perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Though the area is heavily trafficked, especially in the summer, its location in the valley between Mowbray and Signal Mountains makes the North Chick Blue Hole feel like an oasis.

12. Southside Coffee Shop Crawl

Enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Chattanooga’s many cafés is always great, but enjoying it on the porch of one of the Southside’s quaint coffee shops is even better. Take a little tour of the coffee scene and experience the variety of relaxing patios at each one. Treat yourself to locally roasted coffee and fresh-baked bread on the stony patio at Niedlovs, sandwiches and a view of the bustling Chattanooga Choo Choo at the Frothy Monkey, and biscuits and house-roasted coffee at Mean Mug.

Written by Madison Eubanks for RootsRated Media in partnership with Chattanooga CVB.

Featured image provided by Kathryn Crouch

Weston Ski Track – Cross Country Skiing

Weston Ski Track

Intro

Weston Ski Track has great cross-country skiing for the whole family and beginners. Weston Ski Track offers a variety of trails. It has 9.3 miles of natural-snow trails, weather permitting, and 1.3 miles of trails in the snowmaking area. Here you will find four different tracks with various trail where you can enjoy, practice, and even take lessons on cross-country skiing without having to travel far from Boston. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun this place has to offer!

What Makes It Great

Weston Ski Track offers 1.5 miles of trails for a great cross-country skiing adventure in their snowmaking area. However, the trails expand to 9.3 miles of fun in their natural-snow trails with a good snow fall and with the help of their master groomers. When the entire ski area is open, there are four tracks in total. These tracks include John Hart Track, Red Tail Track, Coyote Track, and Fox Track. Each track is filled with different trails that loop and connect with one another. While on the tracks you can enjoy not only the fantastic activity of cross-country skiing, but also the beauty of the Charles River.

The track offers both adult and kid lessons. Adult lessons are 75 minutes classical or skate-skiing. During a classical lesson you will learn the basics of motions, turning, and negotiating small hills. During skate-skiing lessons you will learn the basics of weight transfer, edging, and V1 timing. There are also 75 minute kid lessons for age 6-10 where they will be introduced to the fun gliding on snow. Lessons are offered most weekends and holidays. Reservations recommended for the 10:30 am and 11:30 am lessons. Private lessons for children and adults are available as well. Weston Ski Track truly offers it all!

Who is Going to Love It

Families and friends will absolutely love cross-country skiing at Weston Ski Track. Skiers have four tracks to choose from and the various trail within them. The terrain in these tracks are fairly easy-moderate. Adding to the fun, the adult and kid lessons continue to make this place extremely beginner and family friendly. Or, if you want to learn in a more private setting, you can enjoy the private lessons offered by Weston Ski Track. There is truly something for everyone her and a lot to love about this place!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Boston, Take the Mass Pike to exit 15. Stay left after the tollbooth. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Park Road, following a sign for Route 16. Weston Ski Track is a quarter mile down the road on the left.

Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm, Friday 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm. Parking is free, however, lessons and trail passes are $33 for adults, $29 for children ages 13-16, and $20 for children ages 11-12.

 

Written by Danielle LeBlanc for RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Elizabeth Lloyd