"A Quarter of a Century and Still on Track"

SAIR 99 Conference - Web Factbook Contest/Winners
Chattanooga Scrapbook


     In 1999, the Tennessee Association for Institutional Research and the 400,000 citizens of Chattanooga invited you to visit our city for the Silver Anniversary SAIR Conference in October. Lots of natural beauty, preserved history, great food, super entertainment, and Tennessee hospitality awaited members who came to America's Scenic City at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Mountains. 

     Over the past three decades Chattanooga has experienced a dramatic transformation, symbolized by its new nickname, "The Environmental City." The beautiful mountains and lakes that surround the city are now clearly visible. Free electric shuttle busses, manufactured in Chattanooga, move tourists and locals throughout a revitalized downtown business area. Chattanooga is a fun town with a wide variety of things to see and do. Museums, shopping, nightlife, and a variety of first-class restaurants abound throughout the downtown area. 

     Chattanooga is easy to get to and from with over 20 daily non-stop flights to and from Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Memphis arriving and departing from our new passenger terminal just fifteen minutes from downtown. The Choo Choo provides a free airport shuttle for its guests who attended the conference. We are within a day's drive for most everyone in the SAIR region. Approximate driving distances from selected cities are as follows: Washington, D.C. and Dallas-Ft. Worth- 600 miles, Orlando- 550 miles, New Orleans - 500 miles, Charlotte, Louisville, and Memphis - 300 miles, and Atlanta - 100 miles. The conference hotel for the Silver Anniversary Conference is the Holiday Inn - Chattanooga Choo Choo, a restored Victorian era railroad station where you can eat 'dinner in the diner' and even sleep in a real Pullman car (not at the conference rate however!). The property is spacious and beautifully landscaped, and is well suited for strolls between sessions. The Choo Choo is within easy walking distance of Chattanooga's Warehouse Row, an upscale outlet mall located in lavishly restored warehouse buildings. 

     On Monday night we rode the free Electric Shuttle from the hotel to the Tennessee Aquarium for the Silver Anniversary Special Event. SAIR members had the Aquarium, the world's largest freshwater facility, all to ourselves for the evening. Cash bars were set up for members to refresh and socialize while viewing the many exhibits from the 'Mountain Cove' to the 'Mississippi Delta' to the 'Rivers of the World'. The newly renovated gift shop was also opened for souvenir shopping. A Tennessee pit barbecue feast was served by one of the city's many excellent barbecue caterers. Busses ran every fifteen minutes to shuttle members back to the hotel. Upon our return to the hotel a dance floor and music provided an opportunity for SAIR members to kick up their heels without leaving the hotel. For the more adventurous members who wished to venture away from the hotel for late night entertainment, directions were provided.

     For those who came early or stayed late, there was lots of adventure for the whole family. Chattanooga has spectacular autumn foliage, and was near peak colors during the conference. The southern Appalachian region offers more varieties of hardwood species than any other part of North America. Numerous craft fairs and fall festivals are held throughout the region on October weekends. Several decisive Civil War battles were fought in Chattanooga and nearby North Georgia. Chickamauga battlefield, just eight miles from downtown, is America's oldest national military park. Lookout Mountain, which looms above the city's skyline, was the scene of 'The Battle Above the Clouds.' The mountain is also the home of Rock City (see seven states!), Ruby Falls, Covenant College, numerous hiking trails and, for those who crave adventure, a facility for hang gliding. Extreme sports enthusiasts may also wish to make a short side trip to the Ocoee River, site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater events. Whatever your pleasure, from ghost tours to tow trucks, Chattanooga has it! 


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Last modified: September 16, 2001