While I was up on the Mountain for camp, I had fun making Monteagle and Sewanee my playground. "The Mountain" is what we call the area that houses Monteagle, Sewanee, and the South Cumberland Plateau. I'll do a full camp recap soon but wanted to share some fun things from my month away now. For those in Tennessee, a weekend in the mountains would be a fun, cheap trip idea.
There are some cute places to eat out, especially in Sewanee, which is a college town for The University of the South. My favorite place to go for lunch and coffee drinks is Stirlings:
It is in an old Victorian house on campus. They have sandwiches, salads, hummus, and my favorite - a slice of brie and homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Everyone on campus swears by their coffee. I get one of their iced coffee drinks - usually the All Saint's (they are all named after campus things).
Another place I love to go to eat is Shenanigans. It is also on campus, on the other end of University Blvd. It is in an old blue house that was leaning for the longest time (they have fixed its structural concerns, which was actually a source of dissent for the town). Shenanigans has a grill and does hamburgers and the like but also has a lot of fresh foods on their deli side. They are very organic-chic.
When I went I got an interesting combination - fried cheese sticks and avocado hummus. Both were delicious. Shows you can have the best of both worlds at Shenanigans.
My friend Meredith got a giant black bean burrito and then had a piece of carrot cake for dessert. Their carrot cake was amazing.
I also love Julia's, which is across the street from Shenanigans. It is very fresh and the food is delicious - they have a group of specials for the day and then some constants on their menu as well. I get the fiesta bowl, which is black beans, rice, cilantro, fresh pico, sour cream, and cheese.
While on the Mountain, there are also a few fun places to shop. On campus there is the Lemon Fair and the University Bookstore. Down the road on Hwy 41 between Monteagle and Sewanee there are a few great shops - Hallelujah Pottery is a favorite of mine for local artists. There's also a new shop across from my favorite Mexican place on the Mountain - the shop has a local organic market in the front and then antiques in the back. I found this neat little watercolor for $15 while I was there.
And then of course on Saturdays and Sundays there is the Monteagle Flea Market. This particular flea market is an interesting place. You see a lot of junk and strange things like this...
But then mixed in you'll find neat glass pieces, true antiques, and collectables like these blue Ball jars:
And then in the same booth you'll see jewels like this Tennessee wear:
I did leave the flea market with a fun find - a box of jelly and mason jars to use for drinks at the house:
Also back behind the flea market with the same hours of Saturday and Sunday is a great antique store with lots of furniture. I didn't go this time so I don't have pictures but it is worth exploring.
I also love stopping in and seeing what Mountain Outfitters has on their clearance racks. It is an outdoors store and some of their things can be pricey but they usually have good sales.
The Mountain is full of options for adventure too. We hike, swim, and play the month away.
One of my favorite swimming holes is at Foster Falls. You take Highway 41 and turn right at the second stoplight in Tracy City and then the entrance is off that street. The hike down is very short - about 10 minutes, but very steep. There is an overlook to the falls and then a water hole at the bottom.
There are lots of hikes to do on "the Domain" as the campus of Sewanee is called. Our favorite is the Morgan's Steep to the Cross hike:
You start at an overlook called "Morgan's Steep" and then hike down part of the Perimeter Trail and wind up at the War Memorial Cross overlook:
Another great stop in Sewanee is to go to All Saint's Chapel on the campus. It is beautiful and serene.
Down the street from All Saint's is a nice little walking trail called Abbo's Alley. It follows a stream and is very low-key.
My all time favorite hike, however, is back over in Tracy City off Hwy 41 - the Fiery Gizzard Trail. There are two water holes - the Blue Hole is closer and Sycamore Falls is the "back hole".
Another great thing about the South Cumberland State Park is that the park rangers offer free services - you can set up rappelling and rock climbing trips with them.
As for where to stay, that really depends on your group, your budget, and your interests. If you've got a medium to large group for say a retreat or reunion, Dubose Conference Center where my camp is located is your best bet.
If you're interested in more of a bed and breakfast or cottage house sort of feel, the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly has cute houses and rooms to rent by the day or week.
For your basic hotel feel, the Smokehouse Lodge is your best bet.
As you can tell, I love my Mountain - it really is a little piece of Heaven on Earth!
In hiking, swimming, and summers,
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