What makes Lookout Mountain home

Winter doesn't mean hibernation on Lookout Mountain. Bare trees reveal some of the year's most breathtaking views, and our trails remain packed with hikers, bikers and runners. Can't stand the cold? Try exploring one of Lookout's myriad caves, where it's always a comfy 65 degrees.

Social butterflies haven’t migrated either, and they’re sure to swarm next month’s Night Out for Lookout, the annual auction and dinner benefitting Lookout Mountain School. If your 2016 goals include getting out more and enjoying life, resolve to visit (or live on) Lookout Mountain.

King of the Mountain Road Race

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Have you got what it takes to be King?

The annual King of the Mountain Road Race is set for this Saturday, May 7 at Lookout Mountain’s Town Commons. And while it benefits the scholarship fund of Good Shepherd School, the 4-mile race is anything but child’s play.

The thigh-burning course hugs the edges of Lookout Mountain’s point, traveling East Brow Road to Point Park and back on West Brow Road past Sunset Rock. Expect stiff competition – last year’s top male finisher, Geno Phillips ran it in 21 minutes, 53 seconds, averaging a 5:29 pace.

Last year’s top female, Jessica Marlier zoomed through in 24 minutes and 31 seconds. It was her third win in a row, earning her the indisputable title of “Queen of the Mountain.”

Even if you’re not training for Boston, you can still enjoy this community-wide road race. A 1-mile Fun Run/Walk will feature almost as many strollers as sneakers. Good Shepherd students – all under age 5 – are encouraged to enter. Many “run” before they can walk.

Besides the runner’s high, you can feel good about participating. All proceeds go to GSS’ scholarship fund, which provides tuition assistance for families who otherwise might not be able to attend. As Lookout’s only full-time program for young children, GSS plays an important role in the Lookout Mountain community and beyond.

Ready to run? Enter today

More about Good Shepherd School

How Not to Fail at Mother's Day

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Reoccurring holidays can be hard. So here’s a friendly reminder that Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday. If you’ve yet to get a thoughtful, creative gift for the lovely mom in your life (and you are/or have a kid under 14 years old) we have the answer:

Mountain Escape Spa’s annual Mother’s Day Essay Contest

Here are 8 reasons you should make, *ahem* encourage your kids to enter:

8

If Mama ain’t happy; ain’t nobody happy. That’s a popular saying because it’s true. A spa gift certificate is one of the easiest ways to make mama happy, and the contest is your chance to make it happen FOR FREE!

7

You can’t lose. Even if your wee wordsmith doesn’t score the grand prize of a “Queen for a Day” spa package, every child who enters receives a free thank-you gift AND a special something for their moms.

6

Women like spas. Moms LOVE them. That’s because they’re one of the few places on Earth they can get away from the seemingly never-ending “That’s not fair!” or “She’s touching me!” No one will ask her “Where are my shoes?” as if she’s some omnipotent belongings gatherer. It will be an escape, just as the name implies.

5

The winning essay will be published in the May issue of the Mountain Mirror along with a photo of the winner and their mom. ANOTHER keepsake for Mom? It just gets better and better.

4

If there’s anything moms love more than getting pampered, it’s receiving a thoughtful gift. Getting your kid(s) to put on paper “What I Love About Mom” is a meaningful, thoughtful and creative gift in itself. When’s the last time it was easy to pull one of those off?

3

Mountain Escape Spa is conveniently close to home (read, less babysitting time).

2

Mothers leave spas feeling tranquil and grateful to the person who bestowed such happiness upon them. Hint, hint – you might want to purchase a gift certificate if you haven’t already gotten something. There’s no such thing as “too much” spa time.

1

Father’s Day is next month. You set the tone here, so get cracking.

So to review:

  • Have your kid pen an essay titled “What I Love About My Mom.”

  • Send it to mountainescapespa@gmail.com or drop it by 814 Scenic Highway by THURSDAY, MAY 5 at 12:00 p.m. Make sure to include your phone number so they can contact you if you win.

  • Sit back and enjoy the fact that you have Mother’s Day in the bag!

Fairyland Festival Celebrates 60th Year

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Thursday, April 28 (rain date May 3)
Fairyland Elementary School field
3:00 until 7:00 p.m.

The signs are up and the booths are soon to follow. Kids can feel the excitement in the air…it’s Fairyland Festival time!

While the 60-year tradition is always the highlight of spring for the elementary set, this year promises to be even more exhilarating with two new attractions: Laser Tag and Photo Booth.

That’s right – the Fairyland School playground will be converted into a laser tag obstacle course. Come early and stock up on tickets if you have any Star Wars fans in your house.

Lines at the photo booth are sure to grow just as quickly. It’s an actual booth, complete with props and signs for maximum camera mugging. Each session comes with the traditional 4-photo strip.

Raising approximately $20,000 each year for Fairyland Elementary, proceeds go toward such things as additional staff positions, a fine arts and music program, technology upgrades and other school equipment. This year’s chair is Kim Brock, with Lesley Wingfield as co-chair.

See Seven States; Save the Planet

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Ok, so going to Rock City this weekend won’t stop global warming. But you CAN celebrate Mother Nature through their EarthDayz special event, held Friday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Recycling and educational demonstrations will be throughout the property, including how to make a rain barrel. Little ones will love the local wildlife encounters, such as meeting a young deer from Amicalola Deer Park or petting an owl with John and Dale Stokes of Wings to Soar. (Don’t miss their stellar birds of prey exhibit at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily.) Also keep your eyes peeled for local animal ambassadors from Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center!

The RockQuest Adventure is available for a $5 ticket upgrade and includes a free climb on the 25-foot Climbing Wall, a bag of polished rocks and a guide with a photo scavenger hunt to look for clues to many geological wonders throughout the park.

As long as you’re supporting Mother Earth, be sure to visit Ruby Falls too. The underground adventure recently received a Green Globe Sustainable Leadership Award – a prestigious honor reserved for leaders in sustainable tourism. To date, it’s only been awarded 11 times with Ruby Falls being the FIRST in the US.

This Saturday is a particularly delicious time to visit the falls thanks to their “Battle Below the Clouds” BBQ cook off. Enjoy live music, free giveaways and “all you can smell” barbeque. Proceeds benefit Lana’s Love, a nonprofit started by Lookout Mountain’s Jim and Cindy Webster after losing their daughter, Lana Beth to Neuroblastoma.

Free Admission to Point Park this Week

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Even if you’ve only thought about taking a trip to Chattanooga, you’ve likely seen the above photo.

The Point Park overlook is one of our city’s most iconic photo ops. And from now until Sunday, you can have this “Above the Clouds” view for free.

In honor of National Park Week, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park are waiving Point Park’s $5 entry fee. An annual event held each spring, this year’s celebration is extra special as it marks the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary.

In addition to free admission, ranger-guided programs are also being held on Saturday and Sunday at Point Park and Chickamauga Battlefield. See below for details, and make a plan for some outdoor fun this weekend.

Lookout Mountain Battlefield (meet inside Point Park entrance gate)

Walking Tours led by Park Rangers
Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24
11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Chickamauga Battlefield (meet inside Visitors Center)

Car Caravan Tour at 10 a.m.
Special Program exploring history of the NPS at 2 p.m.

Baseball Parade April 23

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Two great American past times – baseball and parades – come together on April 23. That’s when all players in Lookout Mountain’s Dixie Youth Baseball/Softball League will kick off their season riding on floats and throwing candy to cheering spectators.

It’s one of the best things about living on Lookout,” says Dawn Pettway, who’s three boys have all participated in the program. “It’s a great way to kick off the season.

The “floats” come in all shapes and sizes – fire trucks, decked-out trailers, pick-up trucks. One year there was even a SWAT truck, she recalls. There have been different routes through the years, but this parade will kick off at Fairyland Elementary. The procession will head down Lula Lake, continuing through the four-way stop onto Scenic Highway and past the Tennessee stores until it reaches the Commons ballfields.

At the end, every team is announced by name and sponsor. With approximately 170 players, parents and grandparents, the crowd can easily swell to more than 500.

There’s a great energy the morning of the parade – the players love it!” says Coach Scott Shell, assistant director of Parks & Playgrounds.

The Parade – as well as the League – relies heavily on parent support. That wasn’t always the case according to Baseball Board President, Lee Dyer. When his sons were playing in the early ‘90’s, Coaches Buck Stamps and Rick Dockery managed and coached the entire program.

“They worked hard and ran a great program, but they needed more hands to take it to the next level,” he recalls.

Taking note of a neighboring league in Durham (on the back of Lookout), Dyer, Gene Williams and others spearheaded the effort of parent coaches. In doing so they were able to grow the league and its offerings, such as “player pitch” for the 9-year-old age group. Before then it didn’t start until age 11.

Dyer’s boys have long since moved on from youth baseball. He has even moved off the mountain, living in his hometown of Trenton, GA, and working in Dalton as a sales rep for Display Craft. He also travels frequently as well as an official with the NFL. Even so, he remains as board president simply because of his love for the game.

In a day when every parent seems bombarded with volunteer requests, it can be easy to grumble about one more “ask.” But the Baseball Parade is yet another example of how crucial parent involvement can be.

When we all come together at the Commons and everyone is cheering the kids on, we’re reminded of why we’re doing this,” says Pettway. “We’re helping them become better players, but more importantly better teammates.

Grab a chair and join the fun! Parade begins at 8:45 at Fairyland Elementary, continuing down Lula Lake Road, through the four-way stop on Scenic, in front of the Tennessee stores and ending at the Commons' ballfields.

Reflection Riding Native Plant Sale

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Even if you didn’t wrangle weeds last weekend, you can still join the fight against invasives by mindfully selecting native species for your yard. And there’s simply no better place to get them than the Reflection Riding Native Plant Sale, held this Friday and Saturday, 9 to 4 p.m. (and Thursday 2 to 7 p.m. for members-only).

Columbine, Foamflower, Rose Mallow and Flame Azalea are just a few of the species for sale, many of which are not found at local nurseries. What’s more, most are propagated from seeds gathered on Reflection Riding’s property. As descendants of the local gene pool, these plants are perfectly suited to our climate and naturally more disease and pest resistant.

The mission of the native plant nursery at Reflection Riding is to educate the public in the use of native flora in landscaping. With a small army of volunteers and dedicated staff, they propagate more than 200 species of eastern native wildflowers, shrubs and trees, which are available at their spring and fall plant sales. Despite extensive research and knowledge, this is no easy task.

Some species like Solomon Seal require two years before they emerge from seed. Many others such as Jack-in-the-pulpit and Dwarf Larkspur spend two to three seasons in propagating trays before being stepped up to individual containers.

This Herculean effort means native species can continue to thrive despite habitat destruction and competition from non-natives. Help keep Lookout Mountain beautiful by picking up some of these lesser-known beauties for your spring planting. You’ll be rewarded with a plant that’s not only pretty, but also lower maintenance.

Spring Plant Sale Listing

Love Lookout's Trail Clean-Up Day

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Trail Clean-Up Day
Saturday April 16
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The vast network of footpaths right outside our doors is one of the biggest perks of living on Lookout Mountain. But just like your kids’ rooms, those trails don’t clean themselves. Overgrown limbs and creeping weeds must be cleared – and you can help!

Next Saturday, April 16 Love Lookout invites you to join their first Trail Clean-Up Day. From 9:00 until 11:00 a.m., volunteers will be mulching the path between Fairyland School and Carter Field. Bring your shovels, wheelbarrows, leaf blowers and a strong back.

Many hands make light work, and all ages are welcome for this community-wide effort. To join, meet at the Fairyland School rear parking lot (next to the gym) at 9 a.m.

For more information, contact David Bennett at dsbennett@bbandt.com.

The War on Weeds

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It’s finally spring planting time! But as backyard gardeners stock up on petunias and pansies, The Garden Club of Lookout Mountain (GCLM) is declaring war…on weeds.

They invite you to join the effort with WeedWrangle 2016, a work and information day held April 9 at Lookout Mountain’s historic Point Park. This battle isn’t just above the clouds – it’s part of a state-wide effort to stem the tide of invasive species, also known as “biological pollution.”

The Garden Club of Lookout Mountain is spearheading Chattanooga’s involvement with WeedWrangle – a program started last year by the Garden Club of Nashville in partnership with The Garden Club of America’s “Partners for Plants” program as well as Invasive Plant Control, Inc. (IPC) out of Nashville.

The ‘war on invasives’ has been around a while but is gaining momentum in the general public,” says GCLM member Fran Rittenberry. “When non-native plants proliferate they choke out plants important to wildlife, which in turn harms humans.

Anyone who’s personally battled a privet hedge understands just how malicious these plants can be. With aggressive root systems that have no natural controls, plants such as kudzu, honeysuckle, winter creeper and English ivy overtake forests and other natural areas. Once they’ve settled into an area they choke out sunlight and prevent native plants and trees from propagating when they drop their seeds.

Fortunately the WeedWrangle is spreading almost as quickly as the plants it aims to eradicate. Garden clubs in Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga have adopted local efforts this year. IPC Founder and President Steve Manning will be on hand next weekend to guide local volunteers on how to identify and eradicate invasives.

Bring your gloves and clippers and prepare for battle from 9 a.m. until noon. Local organizations have also been enlisted such as the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Park Service, The Lookout Mountain Conservancy, Lula Lake Land Trust, The Fairyland Club, The Lookout Mountain Golf Club, the towns of Lookout Mountain GA + TN and area schools.

Volunteers can expect a short presentation followed by a work day. Some volunteers will stay at Point Park to tackle ivy while others will head to the Commons. Later that afternoon LLLT and LMC will meet together with Howard students to work on an area at the foot of the mountain.

We’re really excited for this inaugural event and look forward to working with other entities downtown that might be interested in this effort,” says Rittenberry.

If you can’t make the work day you can still help by being aware of what you are planting in your own yard, says Rittenberry. Consider native species that may not need fertilizer or as much water – particularly bee friendly plants.

For more information on how you can help, visit the Weed Wrangle Resource Page.

USA Today nominates Ruby Falls as "Best Cave in the Country"

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Ruby Falls

We all knew it, but now USA Today knows it. The national publication has nominated Lookout Mountain’s own Ruby Falls in its “Best Cave in the Country” contest.

If selected from 20 others across the country, our fav’ cave will be featured in USA Today’s “10 Best” travel guide series. You can vote once a day from now until the contest ends, April 11, 11:59 EST. Winners will be announced April 15.

VOTE HERE

Your vote matters. This week alone Ruby falls has jumped more than 15 spots in its rankings according to NewsChannel9.com. Currently, Ruby Falls is ranked number 4. Our not-so-distant neighbors, Sweetwater’s “The Lost Sea” is holding the number 1 spot.

Vote today, tomorrow and every day after until April 11, and help share this natural treasure with the rest of the world. The USA TODAY Travel Media Group websites – including 10Best.com – rank among the top 10 most-visited travel information sites in North America, according to comScore.

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