What makes Lookout Mountain home

Lookout Mountain will soon welcome the fireworks of fall color. That also means LMS Carnival, the Great Pumpkin, soccer at the Commons and camping at beautiful spots like Lula Lake

Speaking of "boo"tiful, Trick or Treating on Cinderella will be held on the actual day - Monday, October 31. Who will you be?

Christmas Magic Reaches 26 Stories Underground

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Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground has returned. And while Santa and caves may not seem a likely pair, the big guy does have a lot of experience with tight spaces. (Just think of all those chimneys on Christmas Eve.)

This underground adventure has way more headroom and includes a trek past the Northern Lights and Sugar Plum Fairy Village. You then stumble upon a magical ice cave that leads straight to the North Pole, where Santa awaits.

Another highlight includes panning for gems with the Ruby Falls miners. Little ones will find the magical “joystone,” which helps spread the spirit of Christmas. The interactive event includes the joystone tester and cracking your own joystone geode.

Celebrating its third year, Christmas Underground launched December 1 with weekend hours. This Monday, December 19 it ramps up to daily Santa sightings from noon until 8 p.m. (until December 23). With an ambient temperature of 60 degrees year-round and no outside light, you can comfortably experience nighttime magic at any time.

The holiday attraction is in a separate part of the cave from where regular Ruby Falls tours are held. Admission is $11.95 for everyone ages three and up. You can also purchase combo tickets that include the cave and waterfall tour for $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for ages 3-12.

Visit their website for more information and tickets.

Local Holiday Treats

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Maybe you’re looking for the perfect foodie gift, or maybe you’re just wondering how you’ll feed all of those crazy relatives coming soon. Either way, below are some local options that will have everyone feeling merry and bright. 

Shuptrine’s Twisted Products
Available at Market on the Mountain, area Ace Hardware’s, Dish T’Pass and online

While the Shuptrine name is synonymous with fine art, Bonny and Alan have created a different sort of masterpiece in their kitchen. It began with a Western North Carolina chow chow recipe from Bonny’s grandmother, which the couple tinkered and “twisted” until just right. Appropriately, they put an image of Alan’s award-winning “Twisted” watercolor on the logo, and a brand was born. It started with relish but they’ve since added “juice” (a marinade/dressing). A popular holiday application for their relish is on leftover turkey sandwiches, but their website highlights all sorts of crafty uses including Shuptrine’s Twisted Cheese Spread.

EdenThistle Holiday Boxes
Order online

If clean eating is at the top of your wish list, look no further than EdenThistle. The 40-acre farm, situated a few miles past Covenant College, raises chickens, pigs and cows all on pasture without antibiotics, hormones or GMO feed. While they offer monthly meat or egg deliveries, their holiday boxes are designed to take you from ‘farm to table’ as quickly as possible. Each includes meat for 3-5 separate meals, easy recipes, side dish suggestions, grocery/ingredients list, your choice of 1 dessert or 1 breakfast item from Cake and Roll, and wine pairing suggestions and 10% discount from IMBIBE. They even include a package of mulling spices as an extra gift. Boxes are available for pick up at the farm or you can contact to arrange delivery until December 23.

Tilly Mae Apple Butter
Order by emailing tillymaeapplepiebutter@gmail.com.

It just doesn’t get sweeter than this. Sisters Tilly and Miller Bostrom, ages 6 and 9, have launched their own apple pie butter business. Café on the Corner featured them on their brunch menu in October, and since then it’s been selling like hotcakes (one of many uses for the homemade spread). They also recommend slathering it on biscuits, drizzling over vanilla ice cream or stirring into your morning oatmeal. The girls (aided by their parents) have been taking pre-orders and selling out before it’s even made. Ask about their half-pint jars for the perfect stocking stuffer.

Catering from Café on the Corner
Order by calling the restaurant directly: 423-825-5005

The sky’s the limit when your holiday meal is catered by the Café. They can do anything from a vegan-only menu to crab empanadas and lamb chop “lollipops.” Other popular items include basil and tomato tarts with Benton’s bacon jam, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, smoked duck breast crostinis, and beef wellington bites. The Café’s catering took off after the fire forced them to close their doors, and continues to be a big part of their business due to popularity. Be sure to also ask about their executive catering menu for office parties and meetings, which ranges from boxed lunches to hot meals.

Dawn Pettway Cakes
Order by emailing dlpettway@earthlink.net

Dawn Pettway started making cakes 17 years ago when her oldest son’s peanut allergy meant she had to forego the local bakery for birthday treats. She took a cake-making class and a hobby blossomed into a business when friends and family tasted her delicious creations. In-the-know Lookout Mountain locals have made her their go-to cake lady for special occasions. Everything is made to order, so allow about a week for delivery. Order one of her chocolate or caramel cakes for your next family gathering – it’ll be like a present to yourself.

Lookout Mountain 50-Mile Trail Race Returns

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It was 6 am, 40 degrees and raining. It would be almost two hours before dawn would illuminate the slippery, rocky trails encircling Lookout Mountain. But in the cold drizzle two years ago, 200-plus runners gathered at Covenant College – prepping mentally and physically for the Lookout Mountain 50 Miler.

That’s right; 50 miles running through the woods...on Lookout Mountain...in December. Bone chilling winds and precipitation of some form are almost guaranteed. But that hasn’t stopped the trail race from becoming one of the more popular ultramarathons in the region.

It takes 7 to 13 hours to finish the course, which stretches from Reflection Riding to Lula Lake. Many run sun up to sundown, with headlamps sometimes needed in the weak light of winter.

You’re not going to have life experiences in the gym,” says race organizer Randy Whorton, founder of Wild Trails. “Being in the woods all day long, that’s what leads to the awesome experiences. A big aspect of Wild Trails is helping people see that.

Whorton started the nonprofit in 2006 with his wife Kris, shortly after they relocated to the Scenic City. Dedicated to the promotion and preservation of local trails, the nonprofit sponsors a 13-event trail race series ranging in distance from 5K to 100 miles.

At last year’s 50 Miler there were nearly 500 runners from 34 states and 2 from abroad. On Saturday, December 17 the race returns as the Regional Ultramarathon Championship for The Road Runners Club of America. Next year, it will be the National Championship.

The RRCA Championship Event Series is the largest grassroots organized running series in the US, representing over 320,000 runners each year. Events are selected through a competitive bidding process. There’s only one race per region, with five regions in the country.

While the premiere event will be the 50 Miler, those with more realistically sized goals (and thigh muscles) can opt for the new 21-mile option. There’s even a 10K and 5K course for anyone wanting to see what the trail running craze is all about.

The goal is to just get people off the couch,” says Whorton – who personally logs approximately 1,000 miles on the trails each year. “If you want to start a new fitness program, trails are where it’s at.

Race details:
Lookout Mountain 50 Miler, 21 Miler, 5K & 10K Trail Race
Saturday, December 17
7:30 a.m. start (50 and 21 Mile)
8 a.m. start (5K & 10K)
$30 - $105

Register at Wild Trails

Cafe on the Corner Celebrates One Year in New Space

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Head to the Café tomorrow to help celebrate their one year anniversary in the new space and you could be eating free brunch for a year!

The old-time grocery store turned local restaurant will be serving up tasty food specials and specialty drinks, including a custom brew from Chattanooga Brewing Company. All proceeds from beer sales will go to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen so you can toast for a cause.

The festivities will last from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. But be sure to stop by from 2-4 p.m. to hear special musical guest Matt Downer, a craft fiddler, banjo player and guitarist.

While you’re there, drop your name in the skillet and enter to win free brunch for a year. A free caramel cake is also up for grabs - the winner will be selected from likes and comments on Facebook and Instagram.

Even if you can’t make it out tomorrow, remember Café on the Corner has myriad catering options for holiday family gatherings, office meetings, and parties. Contact the restaurant directly at (423) 825-5005 to place an order.

Holiday Open Houses on Lookout Mountain This Weekend

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What if your gifts to loved ones this Christmas also supported your friends and neighbors? That can happen if you choose to “shop small” this weekend at Lookout Mountain’s local businesses. It not only supports our local economy, it also saves you from mall traffic and mailing mishaps.

The Fairyland Pharmacy, Mountain Escape Spa and Yessick’s Design are all hosting their Christmas Open Houses this weekend – which means special discounts, refreshments and giveaways. Below are details on each store’s offerings.

Just remember to think “small” this season. It’ll save you from big headaches later.

Fairyland Pharmacy
Saturday, December 3
9 am until 4 pm

Enjoy refreshments, giveaways and 20% off all retail items including Melissa and Doug toys, Luminara faux candles, holiday paper napkins and plates and fun stocking stuffers. Free Norman Rockwell calendars also available.

Mountain Escape Spa
Thursday, December 1, 4 pm until 8 pm
Friday & Saturday, noon until 5 pm

Help Mountain Escape Spa celebrate 20 years of relaxation with discounts, door prizes and treats at their Holiday Open House. Earn $5 in Spa Bucks when you spend $50 or more, or $10 for $100 or more (redeemable for retail items or services). Spend $50 or more and you can also pull an item from the Giving Tree, which features discounts on services, products or even donations to the charity of your choice.

Yessick’s Design
Friday & Saturday
10 am until 4 pm

Yessick’s invites you to fill your loved ones’ stockings, find the perfect accessory to deck your halls, or stock up on entertaining basics like Caspari napkins and plates or Arthur Court serving pieces. Their Holiday Open House will feature light refreshments and a 15% discount on all merchandise (20% off Christmas items).

Annual Community Thanksgiving Service

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Join in a Lookout Mountain Thanksgiving tradition this Wednesday at 6:30, where all Christian churches gather for an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. The service’s location and minister rotate annually, with Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church graciously hosting this year. Roger Gulick, pastor emeritus at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church will be preaching.

The service will include scripture, prayer, music and offering going to those in need in the Chattanooga area. This year’s collection will be given to the Catholic Charities of East Tennessee.

More information

Local Author Launches Mystery Series

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Lookout Mountain resident Barbara Golder has been a forensic pathologist, a lawyer and a teacher. She’s also a mother and a woman of faith. But it wasn’t until she became an author that all of those things blended so beautifully together.

Her first mystery novel, Dying for Revenge was released earlier this year through Full Quiver Publishing, who contracted her to write 11 more books featuring her Jane Wallace heroine. The book’s video trailer describes it as:

…a story of love, obsession and forgiveness, seen through the eyes of a passionate beautiful woman trying to live her life – imperfectly but vibrantly – even if she won’t survive.

Golder describes her foray into fiction as a “shaggy dog story.” An old friend turned literary agent encouraged her to write the first chapter and she would help shop it around. It became clear after review of her first draft by a developmental editor that selling to one of the larger publishers might well require changing the heart of the story: the connection of the characters to their faith.

“I wrestled with the decision, but it’s such a part of who these characters are,” she says. “To remove it would be like taking the skeleton out of the person. Storytellers have a sacred job – they communicate culture to future generations. But we’ve lost control of the narrators, particularly for people of faith.”

Dying for Revenge is a rare gem in a wasteland of anti-family and anti-person narratives. It presents revenge in the familiar context of a mystery thriller, yet moves the reader through to justice and eventually mercy. As reviewer Joan Watson writes, “It isn’t just who-dun-it, but it’s the story of the power of understanding in a world that’s afraid of self-knowledge.”

It’s hard to ignore the similarities between the main character and her creator. Jane Wallace is medical examiner with a background in law, also hailing from a small town in Alabama. While Golder never intended Jane to be her alter-ego, Golder’s candor and strong resolve shine through in her main character.

“Jane is a distinct person who is not me,” she insists. “But every character comes out of my head, so there’s a piece of me in every character.”

Golder moved to Lookout Mountain in 2003. The number of states she’s lived in almost rivals her list of careers – Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Colorado and most recently Tennessee. She loves writing in the peaceful quiet that Lookout affords, her writing table set up over a window in her home.

There’s something about Lookout that’s very conducive to the solitary act of writing,” she says. “This whole place exudes this sense of comfort and community that is special.

Even so, the couple’s time spent in Telluride might have had the biggest influence on her literary career. Not only is it the city in which her first book is set, it was the first place she saw her name in print.

The Telluride Times-Journal had a call for ‘Best Ski Accident Story,’” she recalls. “I remember reading the winning entry and enjoying it. I got to the bottom and realized it was mine! It was a very Mark Twain moment.

Her budding literary career continues to surprise and delight her. Since the book’s release in June, she’s crisscrossed the country with book signings and events. She never tires of talking to book clubs about their experience with the story.

“It’s always interesting to see what they find – we all encounter books loaded by our own experiences,” she says. “I love the relationship between writer and reader.”

She also remains characteristically humble.

“It’s given me an opportunity to do something different at a time in my life when I might not be doing anything.”

Even so, her favorite moments are time spent at home with her husband of 41 years, Steve and their two dogs and two cats. Their two children, Nathan and Lorna (also a writer) live in Atlanta.

Stuff your loved ones’ stockings with this local thriller. Available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle

Trees for Tots - THIS SATURDAY

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What if you could be ahead of the curve this holiday AND help children in need? All you have to do is order your grade “A” Fraser Fir tree and/or wreaths by this Wednesday, November 16. You pick them up November 19 at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, and know that the proceeds went to help children on Lookout Mountain as well as half a world away.

These are the freshest trees you will ever see,” says local Patricia Lindley. “We once left our tree up until mid-January and it was still as fresh as the day we got it!

Lindley first heard of the opportunity for this fundraiser while serving as Executive Director of Choices Pregnancy Resource Center in Chattanooga. When she retired, they decided not to continue the sale and it became an opportunity to benefit others, beginning in 2014 with Lookout Mountain’s Risley family.

Jon and Sarah Risley have adopted nine medically-fragile children and the funds have assisted in their expenses. This year, in addition to the on-going medical needs of Risley children, “Trees for Tots” will benefit “lots of tots” through Bethany Christian Services’ “Safe Families for Children;” Friends of the Good Samaritans in India; and Children’s Nutrition Program in Haiti. Links to these ministries can be found on the “Trees for Tots” website.

The grade 'A' Fraser Firs are grown on one of North Carolina’s Premiere Tree Farms. They will be cut the day after the sales close and delivered the next day. The delivery is set for the weekend before Thanksgiving so that folks already have their trees to decorate that holiday weekend. If you don’t decorate that early, just keep your tree outside in water and it stay fresh until you’re ready. The wreaths also make great early Christmas gifts.

Tree and wreath prices are comparable to what you would pay at a local retailer, but the quality is unsurpassed. They will refund your money if you’re not happy and you still keep the tree. And the bigger trees often run larger than advertised, warns Lindley.

To place your order, just visit the TeamWorks fundraising page and pay via credit card.

Orders will close Wednesday night, November 16. Pick up is THIS Saturday, November 19 in the parking lot of the Jane Harris Youth Building at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are on hand to load the trees and freshly cut the trunks so the trees can soak the optimum amount of water. Simply put in a bucket of deep water until you’re ready to bring it inside.

Order your tree today and check something off your list, while getting on Santa’s “nice” list at the same time.

A Lookout Mountain Mom’s Crusade

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3 Blind Wines presented by The FEED Co. Table & Tavern
November 18 at 6 pm
Stratton Hall

Ginger Birnbaum didn’t expect to have a deep conversation with her four-year-old on the way home from the pediatrician. It had been a trying week with a virus that quickly turned into an infection requiring Cipro and Clindamycin.

All of a sudden he said having Cystic Fibrosis ‘makes me mad,’” she recalls. “I asked him if it also makes him sad or scared. He said, ‘No, just really mad!’

Normally a happy-go-lucky kid who takes everything in stride, King also possesses a spunk that serves him well as he fights a disease that affects his entire body at the cellular level. He endures two-hour a day respiratory therapy and a nightly feeding tube. He takes 13 medications (on good days), and digestive enzymes before every meal.

But when you talk to the Birnbaums, the only thing you hear is hope – unwavering, unflinching, downright dogged optimism for a cure. And not just for King, but for the other 30,000 Americans living with Cystic Fibrosis.

We have 100 percent faith in the drug development process,” she says. “Our hope is that there will be a medicine for him as soon as 3 years and as long as 10.

That’s why the Birnbaums are relentless champions for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), personally raising over $200,000 since King was diagnosed at birth in 2011. Their most recent endeavor was Xtreme Hike in Damascus, VA.

The trek involved waking up at 2 a.m. and hiking 30.1 miles in one day on the Appalachian Trail. When Ginger got on the bus to take them back to the hotel, she felt like she’d been hit by a truck. And she can’t wait to do it again.

“There are very few fundraisers that you can also say develop you personally,” she says. “It was all around an amazing experience.”

Another event close to their hearts, 3 Blind Wines presented by The Feed Co. Table & tavern, is happening November 18 at Stratton Hall. Guests will enjoy wine tastings, silent and live auction, and music by Slim Pickins. The Top Off: The Three Blind Wines After Party, is being hosted by presenting sponsor The Feed Co. complete with specialty drinks and draft specials and music by Brokedown Hound.

In addition to chairing the event for the past four years with her husband Alex, Ginger serves as the president of CFF’s local board of directors and co-chair for CFF’s national family team program. Next year she has been asked to co-chair the Foundation’s Volunteer Leadership Conference, which brings together roughly 500 volunteers to share fundraising goals and celebrate advancements.

But what excites her most is the 20,000-square-foot, custom-built laboratory recently opened in Lexington, MA. She was invited to attend the ribbon cutting in September.

It was a huge honor to be included,” she recalls. “I got to personally meet the scientists who will one day cure our son.

Funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the research facility will be solely dedicated to identifying and testing potential therapies for CF, exploring cutting-edge technologies like gene editing and stem cell research. The lab frees the Foundation from the bureaucracies of university research, which can often take up to a year for approval to share assays, cells or any other intellectual property.

“We built this lab; everyone who’s ever given a dollar to the cause helped build this amazing lab that will someday save our child’s life,” she says excitedly. “A self-funded lab is basically unheard of, but it’s typical of the Foundation to be on the forefront of groundbreaking things like that.”

Founded in 1955 by parents desperate to save their kids’ lives, CFF remains an institution of impassioned parents. Overhead is kept low, fundraising margins are razor thin and donated dollars go toward research, patient assistance and patient care. Charity Navigator awards them 4 of 4 stars.

CFF was the first disease advocacy group to develop a network of health care centers dedicated to its cause. In the late 1990s, they were the first to delve into venture philanthropy – a business model that’s been studied by Harvard. Virtually every approved cystic fibrosis drug therapy available now was made possible because of the Foundation and its supporters.

“It’s kind of amazing this incredible foundation that benefits my child so much also has opportunities for me to plug in and invest emotionally and physically,” says Ginger.

A dollar is a big deal, five dollars is a huge deal. It’s really about the investment. As a parent, I can’t tell you what it does for us emotionally that anyone would drop anything in the bucket. It’s another reinforcement that we’re moving forward. If you’re moving forward you’re going somewhere.

More information on the Birnbaum's CFF fundraising team, Kenneth King's Believers

New Park Dedication November 12

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Just in time for Veteran’s Day, a Gold Star Memorial Marker and Blue Star Memorial Marker will be erected in the new park across from the Lookout Mountain Methodist Church. There will be a special dedication ceremony held November 12 at 11 pm.

In addition to the military markers, town officials will dedicate the new park to Joe Wilson, a long-time employee who passed away in August. All residents are encouraged to attend this special event. Parking is available at Fairyland School and the Methodist Church. Please arrive before 10:30, as the streets will close at that time.

If you are a Lookout Mountain resident in GA or TN who served, is serving or will serve in the military, please contact Georgia’s City Hall at 706-820-1586 to provide your name, branch of service, and war in which you served. If you have a loved one who was killed in the line of duty, please call with the same information so that all local veterans can be honored in the service.

Started by the National Council of State Garden Clubs in 1944, the Blue Star Memorial Program was inspired by the Service Flags people hung during World Wars I and II. White with a red border, the flags had a single blue star to symbolize a loved one serving in the military, and a gold star for those who had lost their lives in battle.

It began with the planting of 8,000 Dogwood trees along a New Jersey highway, and has morphed into the trademark plaques seen along thousands of highway miles in the continental US, Alaska and Hawaii. Local garden clubs order the signs from the National Garden Club and commit to maintaining landscaping in the area. Lookout Mountain’s most recent markers were spearheaded by Candace Chazen and Lynn Hartman of the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club (LMBGC).

The markers are a meaningful addition to the new park, situated on the corner of Lula Lake and Red Riding Hood Roads. The city aims to link it to the park already developed across the street, which features a gazebo and sidewalk winding through daylilies and hydrangeas – also maintained by the LMBGC.

The additional greenspace has been years in the making, starting in 2014 with the purchase of the property from the Methodist Church. The small brown house on site once served as the church’s parsonage but had turned into a rental property many years prior.

The church graciously took the property off the market, allowing the city several months to raise the funds needed to buy the lot and demo the house. Town officials have been working with landscape designer Sam Baker for a master plan, but planting has been delayed because of the drought.

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