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?

Lula Lake Land Trust Founder's Weekend THIS Saturday

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Yoga, Tai Chi, wine and outdoor film screenings. This isn’t your typical walk in the woods.

This weekend, join Lula Lake Land Trust as it celebrates its 3rd Annual Founder’s Weekend with bluff-side yoga led by Allison Foster, Tai Chi with Dr. Johnson, nature walks with Jann George and Michael Green, history tours with Jim Ogden and more.

The event promises to be the largest celebration yet, including newly added nighttime activities such as the Outdoor Film Festival and Wine Walk.

We’re hoping to offer multiple ways families can enjoy the full weekend, day or night," says Executive Director Mike Pollock. "I think Robert Davenport would be very proud of how we’re using the land today to get people out and enjoying nature in different ways.

On Saturday evening, Lula Lake partners with Lookout Wild Film Festival to bring a selection of five short films, which focus on outdoor adventure and conservation. Subject matter ranges from forgotten mountains and lost coasts to recycled skateboards. A donation of $10 per person is suggested for entry. Beer, wine, drinks and snacks will also be available for purchase.

Sunday’s Wine Walk, scheduled from 4:30 to 8 pm will feature five tasting stops on a hike throughout the core property. Each stop will feature wine from Riverside Wine and Spirits, heavy hors d’oeuvres from Dish T’Pass Catering and live music. Tickets are $40 per person in advance, or $50 at the gate.

Buy Tickets Now

Founder’s Weekend was created in 2014 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the land trust and to honor Robert Davenport and his family, whose dying will established and protected Lula Lake Land Trust.

See below for a full schedule of events. For more details, visit .lulalake.org/foundersweekend

Saturday, October 1

All Day
Jim Ogden’s table, photos and costume presenting “Late Antebellum – Civil War Soldier Tourist Visitors to Lula Lake

10:30-12:30 p.m.
Allison Foster leads a walk to the bluff and yoga session

1-2 p.m.
Jann George (Adelrid) will discuss hemlock trees, the Hemlock Wooly Adelaide infestation and riparian shade. A must for those concerned with HWA.

2:30-3:30 p.m.
Dr. Johnson, T’ai Chi lesson: “The slow and graceful movements of T’ai Chi are primarily designed to provide the practitioner with a method of achieving a healthier body, mind and spirit. While it originated as a martial art, it has been modified to become what some have called ‘moving meditation’.”

3:00-4:00 p.m.
Chattanooga Audubon Society critter visitors

MAIN EVENT: 6 p.m.
Lula Lake Film Fest: Family friendly showing of short outdoor adventure and conservation themed films. Gates open at 6 p.m., films start at dusk (approximately 7 p.m.) Soft drinks, beer, wine and snacks available. Suggested donation of $10 per person.

Sunday, October 2

All day
Jim Ogden’s history walk presenting “Late Antebellum – Civil War Soldier Tourist Visitors to Lula Lake”

1 – 2 p.m.
Jann George (Adelrid) will discuss hemlock trees, the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid infestation and riparian shade. A must for those concerned with HWA.

2 – 3 p.m.
Michael Green leads nature walk along old railroad bed

Time TBA
Sue Reynolds from the Center for Mindful Living leads 45-minute sitting/walking meditation


MAIN EVENT: 4:30pm – 8:00pm
Lula Lake Wine Walk – Five wine tasting stops on a hike around the Lula Lake core preserve. Each stop features selected wines and snacks from Riverside Wine and Spirits and acoustic music. Heavier hors d’oeuvre and a feature band at the fifth stop prior to departure. Limited to 125 Participants. $40.00 per person. Advanced registration required. Buy Tickets Now.

World Record Fish Caught by Lookout Mountain Boy

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Teddy Wingfield, far left, gives a thumbs up to his record-setting catch

It took the Old Man & the Sea a lifetime to land his dream catch. At 10 years old, Teddy Wingfield isn’t even old enough to read Hemingway’s classic. But that didn’t stop him from reeling in a world record-setting fish earlier this summer.

The line started bumping, finally he got hooked and started pulling hard,” he recalls. “I asked my dad for help but he said ‘no.’

His father, Joseph said he knew Teddy could handle it. In fact the 4th grader has reeled in bigger catches before, including sharks and a 48-pound cobia. What makes his record-setting 32-pound scamp so special is that the typical weight for the species is just 8-10 pounds.

Perhaps even more remarkable, Teddy is too small for deep-sea fishing belts. His technique is to “ride” the rod almost like a witch on a broomstick.

Teddy takes his time and wears the fish out,” says Joseph. “That’s how he gets the big ones.

The fish was the first landed on their two-day trip off Atlantic Beach, NC. As soon as the captain saw it, he knew it was a record. He warned that if they were serious about documenting it they should turn around and get back to a weighstation. Fish get lighter the longer they’re out of water. They tried to weigh it on the boat, but it broke the rusted scale.

Not wanting to spoil the fun, the guys decided to take their chances and keep fishing. The June 2nd trip was a family affair – Joseph, Teddy and his brothers Wilder, 7, and Hank, 5. The 43-foot vessel was captained by Joseph’s first cousin, Daniel Brisson of Sunrise Charters.

While it was only Teddy’s second overnight fishing trip, he’s been catching sharks from the beach at Hilton Head since he was old enough to hold a rod. He also enjoys catching trout in the stream at his family’s farm, as well as catfish and bass at his family’s place on Chickamauga Lake.

Teddy big catch happened on a Thursday morning. By the time they reached the weighstation late Friday night, the fish was still an impressive 32 pounds, roughly 5 pounds heavier than the state record and almost 3 pounds heavier than the current all-tackle world record.

The international board that issues world records only meets a few times a year, so the family is anxiously awaiting confirmation. North Carolina has already sent Teddy a plaque for his state record.

While this will be Captain Daniel’s first record-setting fish, he hardly returns from a trip without a “citation” fish. That sounds bad, but a fishing citation is actually a commendation for “extraordinary” catches. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries sets minimum weights per species, issuing citations for any catch over that.

As for Teddy, he’s already set his sights on another record – the red grouper. The current state record holds at 42 pounds, which both he and his dad feel is doable. It’ll be on their wish list (along with wahoo, giant Bluefin tuna and swordfish) when the guys take another 2-day trip in November.

Teddy lives on Lookout Mountain with his four younger brothers, his dad, Joseph and his mom, Beth. He also enjoys football, golf, soccer, swimming and riding dirt bikes.

Exciting Changes Planned for Ruby Falls

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Big changes are coming to Ruby Falls. A six-phase development totaling $20 million will mean new ticketing, retail, restrooms, office space and entrance lobby. But for Lookout Mountain residents, the most exciting change will be updated parking.

Ranked as the nation’s 6th best cave by USA Today, the attraction has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. Unfortunately this has also meant cars precariously parked along Scenic Highway mid-summer, with tourists walking up the busy – and curvy – highway. While details have yet to be released, plans include “additional parking” and “improved pedestrian access to new ticket lobby.”

The Green Globe certified attraction revealed its expansion plans September 14 at a media event downtown, promising the changes will make it the most modern tourist attraction in the area.

Plans are to break ground in January, completing two of the six phases by 2018. Additional development will continue into the 2020s. The attraction’s 100th anniversary comes in 2028, bringing with it a beautiful reimagining of a beloved historical site.

“We are so proud to expand and modernize our attraction and become an exciting destination, not only for our out-of-town visitors, but for our Lookout Mountain residents and Chattanoogans as well,” said Ruby Falls President Hugh Morrow. “Ruby Falls is growing as a world-class facility that will bridge our heritage into its second century. One primary goal of this investment is to provide an efficient and comfortable place where guests can enjoy relaxing and hanging out for longer periods of time.”

One primary goal of this investment is to provide an efficient and comfortable place where guests can enjoy relaxing and hanging out for longer periods of time.

To that end, plans include a new pedestrian mall and enhanced observation of the city. Changes to the entrance lobby are aimed at improving queue lines for the cave tour and overall guest experience. See here for a video rendering.

“Ruby Falls is the perfect example of a thriving destination that’s ready for the next big evolution,” said Mike Konzen, principal and chair of PGAV Destinations. “Lookout Mountain and the Falls are saturated with deep, rich stories from the natural science of the cavern’s growth to the love story of its discoverers, Leo and Ruby Lambert. It’s integral to bring those incredible stories to the forefront of the experience.”

Ruby Falls is the perfect example of a thriving destination that’s ready for the next big evolution.

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. In addition to Ruby Falls, PGAV’s clients include SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, the Grand Canyon, Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Georgia Aquarium.

Details of Phases 1 and 2:

- New Entrance Lobby and Ticketing Experience

- Dedicated Guest Locker Area

- New Elevator and Staircase for 3rd Level Access

- New Outdoor Observation Platform at 3rd Level

- Expanded Retail and Relocated Photo Retail

- Expanded Cave Tour Batching & Queue

- New Outdoor Plaza Area

- Improved Pedestrian Access to New Ticket Lobby

- Renovated and Expanded Guest Restroom Facilities

- Improved Staff Circulation (back-of-house space)

- Area for Future Staff Offices/Operations

- Additional Parking

Lookout Mountain School Carnival Wrap Up

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It's hard to explain the significance and tradition of the LMS Carnival...but of course we're going to try. This year we asked real estate photographer Benjamin Grizzell to capture the highlights.

One of those highlights included Carnival veteran and Mountain Tracker Gwin Tugman. After 28 years manning one of the most popular booths, the "Children's Corner," she's pretty much seen it all - until this year. While setting up around 2:30 this year, she looked up to see her best friend and former Carnival co-chair, Susan Taylor.

"I looked up and immediately started tearing up," says Gwin.

She had flown in at noon from Charleston, SC and was leaving at 7, coming just to support her long-time Carnival comrade. The visit was even more meaningful since Gwin's husband, John, has been battling health problems in recent months.

Susan and Gwin started running the "Children's Corner" 28 years ago, the same year they chaired the entire event. Someone backed out last minute and they stepped in, running it every following year until Susan moved away in 2008.

For more Carnival moments, visit our new share site where you can view pictures and even order prints.

LMS Carnival Comes This Tuesday

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Tuesday, September 20
3-7 pm
Lookout Mountain Town Common

Next Tuesday, the Town Commons will be transformed into the Lookout Mountain School Carnival. There will be silly string, hay rides, fake casts, bouncy houses and lots of happy children. Some new highlights this year include balloon artist, Grandpa Giggles; laser tag; and a tented cooling station with large fans.

To understand the scope of this community-wide tradition, we sat down with Lauren Caldwell, this year’s co-chair with Beth Wingfield. Here’s a glimpse of Carnival by the numbers.

Total fundraising goal for the event

Number of tickets (tokens) printed

Total sales from Carnival’s Marketplace, which auctions off original class paintings and sells mugs and other keepsakes featuring that artwork

Total sales at Gwin Tugman’s “Children’s Corner” booth, one of the longest standing Carnival traditions. Her top seller – silly string.

Approximate number of attendees

Number of times someone was called to “Jail” last year. Each time a name is called, it signifies $2 toward the school

Number of volunteers required to pull off the event, including parents, teachers, Town employees and community members

Current number of students enrolled at LMS

Number of homemade goodies that parents make to sell at Carnival Kitchen

Number of years Carnival has taken place

Number of event sponsors

Number of booths

Number of teachers and LMS employees who volunteer, including 5th grade teacher Mr. Mann who is recovering from a broken foot. School secretary and bookkeeper Mary Duncan will work this year even though she has a family commitment later that day.

Number of Public Works Town employees who help set up booths, starting about a week before the event

Number of months it takes to plan and execute Carnival

Number of police officers needed for day-of traffic control

Mayor who attends every year, Carol Mutter

New Co-Ed Flag Football League Forms

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Hey football fans…there’s a new league in town and Lookout Mountain Rec wants YOU (well, your kid)!

While youth football has been available for years, a new co-ed flag football team has recently formed. Registration opened late August for boys AND girls in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. It's not too late to sign up, but hurry – registration ends Monday, September 19.

Practices and games will be on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Saturday games starting after the soccer season. Organizers are working around soccer schedules so kids can play both. Most games and practices will be held at Stamps Field behind Lookout Mountain School.

The cost to play is just $65 for the season, which will run from October until mid-November. Sign up today on the Lookout Mountain Rec Blue Sombrero Site.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Scott Shell at (423) 619-4944 or lookoutmountainsports@comcast.net.

Why I Love Lookout: Ashley and Benjamin Grizzell

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Choosing a place to live can be a difficult decision. And then sometimes, it chooses you. That was how it went for Benjamin Grizzell and his wife Ashley, who moved to Lookout Mountain in 2011.

We were driving up 59, headed to Chattanooga to look at places to live,” he recalls. “As soon as I saw Lookout Mountain I said, ‘I want to live up there.’

At the time they were living about 45 minutes outside of Birmingham, where Ashley worked with a software consulting firm and Benjamin owned his own tech company. Just one month back from maternity leave with their first child, Ashley was encouraged to apply for a promotion that would move their young family to Chattanooga.

Before relocating, Benjamin went to a Chattanooga alumni gathering for University of Alabama – where he and Ashely met as undergrads. While he never thought anywhere but Tuscaloosa could be home, he was hoping his “Alabama family” would help steer them toward the best area to live.

In the parking lot afterward, Tim Miller of Lookout Mountain introduced himself and even offered a place to stay during house hunting trips. Benjamin took him up on the offer several times, visiting local churches, schools and meeting with real estate agents.

Everyone I met on Lookout Mountain was so nice,” he recalls. “I just remember thinking, ‘these are the kind of people I want to live around.’

Even so, the Grizzells house hunt wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. When they toured their current home – a two-story brick home built in 1984 – the couple had very different experiences.

“I fell in love immediately,” says Ben. “Halfway through I was planning which walls to knock down and I think Ashley was still standing at the front door crying.”

The renovation process has been a long journey, taking it room by room with Benjamin doing most of the work. It’s a far cry from their second choice home – a fully renovated house on the 17th green of Signal Mountain’s golf course.

In the end we chose the community,” says Ashley. “Signal is great, but it seemed too big. It’s a city on a mountain, whereas Lookout is more like a community.

Today the two are grateful for their foresight. They are actively involved with their church, Our Lady of the Mount, and Benjamin is a volunteer firefighter for Lookout Mountain, GA.

Ashley also enjoys her 15-minute commute to her downtown office – the shortest of all her co-workers. She works as managing director of a software consulting company. Benjamin is a real estate photographer, with flexible hours that allow him to be the primary parent to their two kids, ages 5 and 18 months.

Sitting on their back deck with the sun setting behind the trees, it’s as if their home was tailor-made for the Grizzells. They have a wooded backyard their kids love to explore, but close neighbors who call when they smell Benjamin firing up his grill.

“Lookout Mountain reminds me of where I grew up,” says Benjamin. “It’s a small, safe community. But the people are by far my favorite thing.”

New Photo Site for Lookout Mountain

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Living On Lookout is happy to announce a new Shutterfly Share Site.

Now you can view and even order pictures from recent community events.

Are you a shutterbug? Then request to become a member and contribute your own photos!

Guidelines for members are that all photos must be of a community event (schools, churches, organizations) and everyone in the pictures consents to being photographed and posted on a public platform.

To request becoming a member - or for any other questions - please email us at editor@livingonlookout.com.

Lula Lake Expands Environmental Education Program

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A new school year means hitting the books. But if you’re Holley Roberts, it means hitting the trail. The 31-year-old Americorps VISTA is busy writing outdoor education curricula for Lula Lake Land Trust. While LLLT has always opened its gates for school groups, Roberts’s work will ultimately take it from “cool fieldtrip” to “outdoor science lab.”

We’re trying to make it a more formalized process,” she says. “Right now I’m writing curricula that can be tailored to any program a class wants to do, while also meeting state standards.

Children may dig for plant fossils at the Durham Mine site, scour Rock Creek for macro invertebrates, learn what color flowers butterflies prefer in the pollinator garden, or how to protect the property’s hemlock from the invasive Woolly Adelgid.

The goal is to have the same group of students out to the property two or three times during the school year, and build long-term relationships with teachers so it happens year after year. Since starting in May, Roberts has personally reached out to local public, charter and even home schools. So far the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Charlotte Mason Homeschool Group, Stone Creek Elementary and Heritage High School have signed on.

“We’re trying to reach out as much as we can, but my problem is overextending,” admits Roberts. “We’re still figuring what a program like this can accommodate, but I think ideally we’d like to partner with 7 to 10 schools.”

Lula Lake’s efforts are part of growing movement to take school outside. Several area schools have built outdoor classrooms to incorporate environmental or “place-based” education. Walker County schools recently hosted an Environmental Education Summit that included every school administrator in the system, and Gilbert Elementary in Lafayette is the first public school in the country to launch a forest kindergarten.

I’ve been super impressed with the local reception,” says Roberts, who previously worked in the New Orleans school district. “It’s exciting that both teachers and parents are buying in to the idea that tangible experiences outdoors are good for not only a child’s formal education but also development.

An important piece of the puzzle for LLLT is a partnership with the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, who recently sent biologists to inventory the aquatic life of Rock Creek. The synergistic relationship helps both groups with their conservation and educational outreach efforts.

In fact, education and conservation seem inextricably linked for any land trust. People are far less likely to protect a place they don’t love; and it’s difficult to love a place you don’t understand, says Roberts.

We would like more kids to have a Lula Lake story,” says Roberts. “The property already has its own personality or character. It’s not just a patch of woods…it’s that, but so much more. Our goal is to share that as best we can with future generations.

Roberts knows that relationship first hand, growing up in the shadows of the Smoky Mountains. She has worked for the United States Park Service, served in the Peace Corps in West Africa and spent nearly a decade teaching indoors and out in both New Orleans and her hometown of Cookeville, TN.

Robert’s position is a year-long commitment (ending in May) but the program allows Lula Lake to employ a VISTA for 3 years through federal grant money. The ultimate goal would be to hire a full-time environmental education coordinator.

Important Message About Skating Rink

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Just a friendly reminder….the Gym and Skating Rink at Lookout Mountain School is only open to residents of the Town of Lookout Mountain, TN or the City of Lookout Mountain, GA. Recent abuses of this rule have led town officials to ask for a photo ID before checking out the key at the dispatcher desk at Tennessee’s Town Hall.

Only residents 18 years and older can reserve the space, which is open on weekends or after 5 pm on weekdays (except during basketball season, which runs January through early March). Reservations are not required, but it’s suggested you call 423-821-1226 to check availability.

People have long enjoyed the space for birthday parties or a play area when weather prohibits time at the Town Commons. The space has also been used as a make-shift rec center, holding ballet or Spanish classes after school. Groups should call 423-821-6212 to request permission from the Community Center Board.

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