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?

Two Lookout Mountain Girls Enjoy Sweet Success

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or in Miller Bostrom’s case – apple pie butter.

Over the summer the enterprising 6-year-old wanted to earn money like her big sister, Tilly, who had just started babysitting as a “mother’s helper.” Miller’s first thought was a lemonade stand, but with only 3 families in the neighborhood she realized sales would be limited. Then one day, she found an apple tree at church.

She picked up the hem of her dress and filled it with as many apples as she could carry,” recalls her mom, Katie. “They weren’t ripe enough for her dad’s famous grilled apple pie, so we helped her make apple butter.

The next Sunday, Miller collected more apples and asked to make more apple butter. She started selling it to her grandmothers, friends and close relatives. Before long, big sister Tilly joined the venture, and the girls spent all summer developing and perfecting their recipe.

“They really are two amazing entrepreneurs,” says Café on the Corner Owner Ruth Oehmig.

She helped the girls launch their product October 2 with a special brunch, featuring the apple pie butter on house-made waffles and biscuits. Since then it’s become a mainstay on her weekly brunch menu, with jars for sale at the front.

We’re so grateful for the love, excitement, and support she’s shown our daughters,” says dad, Joel. “I don't know how far these two will go with this little venture but, as far as I'm concerned, it's a great education.

The girls do the majority of the work with help from their dad, a fellow entrepreneur. They bought all of their starting materials through a loan from their parents, which they’ve already paid back. A Covenant graphic design student was hired to develop the logo, but Tilly knew that she wanted an apple blossom on it. They named it Tilly Mae – a combination of their names.

While Joel and Katie have always tried to teach their daughters how to be good stewards of money, the blossoming business has given them lots of opportunities to discuss finances. The girls are encouraged to divide profits between savings, tithing and spending.

“It’s been amazing how they’ve grasped the concepts at such early ages,” says Katie.

The girls will continue to sell it at Café on the Corner, with plans to market the half-pint size for stocking stuffers. While apple butter may be best known for biscuits, Katie suggests a spoonful over oatmeal, or warming and drizzling over vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

Tilly Mae has recently started accepting pre-orders, with product selling out before it’s even made...proving you're never too young for sweet success.

To place an order, email tillymaeapplepiebutter@gmail.com

Fall Fun on Lookout Mountain

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Trick Or Treating in Fairyland
If Norman Rockwell painted Halloween, it would be trick or treating on Lookout Mountain. Festivities will be held on the actual day – Monday, October 31 – with the Great Pumpkin ramping up around sundown. (Our condolences to all teachers on Tuesday).

Holy weinerschnitzel; it’s Roctoberfest again at Rock City! From now until the end of the month, Rock City will transform into a Bavarian wonderland with live German music, dancing and dishes like beer cheese soup and bratwursts. You can interact with characters like Ik the Troll King or Rocky the Elf, catch the popular Birds of Prey show, or take a guided heritage tour to learn more about Rock City’s founder Frieda Utermoehlen Carter and her beloved fairytales and folklore. Kids can get a stamp in their passport (handed out at the door) as they visit different areas of the park, as well as visit a balloon artist and mime. The best part? It’s all FREE if you have a Rock City residents pass. Birds of Prey shows take place 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Heritage tour is at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. More details here

Enchanted Corn Maize
Corny family fun awaits at the foot of Lookout, now until October 30. You can pet an alpaca, ride a cow train, take an old fashioned hayride, or fling corn in a slingshot. And that’s all before you get lost in the famous Enchanted MAiZE. Some new additions this year include pedal car racing, duck races and a corn text game to help you find your way through the maze. Open Fridays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ($10 admission; 3 and under FREE). More details here

Haunted Caverns
Voted one of the top 10 haunted houses in the country by Rand McNalley, Ruby Fall’s Haunted Cavern boasts that it takes you 26 stories underground where “no one can hear you scream.” The experience takes place both inside and out of the cave, with the parking lot being transformed into a dilapidated village with zombies and ghouls lurking behind every corner. An elaborate back story – like this year’s “Flesh Farm” – is created each year in hopes of transporting you into your very own horror flick (popcorn not included). More details here

Blessing of the Costumes at The Church of the Good Shepherd
Grab your goblins and head to Good Shepherd’s annual Blessing of the Costumes, a fun addition to their usual 10:30 a.m. service on October 30. (You may never have an easier time getting your kids ready for church.) Meet at the main entrance beforehand so they can process down the aisle in their Halloween finery. They can then depart for their age-appropriate children’s programs (nursery available under 2), only to return at the Peace for the blessing. For more details, contact Kathleen Crevasse at kathleen@gslookout.com.

Oktoberfest at Our Lady of the Mount
Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church is holding their annual Oktoberfest. Expect German food, bier and lots of pumpkin-themed family fun. Festivities will be held this Sunday, October 23 from 5 until 8 p.m. with dinner at 6:30. All ages welcome. More details here

Halloween at Lookout with Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding
Apparently flying off cliffs isn’t the only thing hang gliders like to do. Described as Lookout’s “biggest party all year,” Halloween at Lookout will feature a costume contest, deadly dance party with DJ Min-O-Tar, Lupi’s Pizza and “hellish hors d’oeuvres.” The party kicks off at 7 p.m. on October 29 at their Landing Zone clubhouse. It’s $10 to enter but top costume will earn you $500, with second and third taking home $250 and $100. More details here

Paddling by Moonlight at Lookout Creek
A perfectly natural way to kick off Halloween weekend? A canoe trip in the dark! Join naturalist Corey Hagen for an after-hours trip down Lookout Creek. Animals often seen on these trips include bats, beavers, roosting turkey and barred owls. (No werewolf sightings to date). The cost is $15 for adults, $7 for children, but members are only $5 per adult with children free of charge. More details here

5 Points 50 This Weekend

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5 Points 50 Bike Race
October 15, 2016
9:00 a.m.
More info: http://www.roostracingllc.com

Tab Tollett has negotiated live train trestles over alligator-ridden rivers, summited volcanos and slogged dozens miles through sand all in the name of mountain biking. Twice. And that was just one race – Costa Rica’s La Ruta de Los Conquistador.

As one of just twelve Moots Titanium Bicycle sponsored cyclists in the country, he’s participated in some of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. This weekend he’ll be tackling Lookout Mountain’s 5 Points 50, which he says can hold its own in the world of endurance mountain bike races.

Shorter doesn’t translate to easier,” he laughs. “I love the 5 Points race. Our mountain provides world class single track, a variety of terrain and of course epic views!

The fact that he considers a 50-mile race “short” gives you an idea of Tollett’s commitment to the sport. The 51-year-old real estate appraiser started cycling about 20 years ago, but left the blacktop for mountain biking 9 years ago and hasn’t looked back.

His addiction started with Colorado’s Leadville 100, which he trained for with his neighbor and fellow mountain biker Brad Cobb. He’s tackled it twice since then on a single speed bike (his favorite way to race). If that doesn’t prove his insanity, then his participation in the Breck Epic might, which is a 6-day stage race in Breckinridge that involves 240 miles at 12,000-plus elevation and 40,000 feet of vertical gain (and loss).

The best thing about a long endurance race is crossing the finishing line,” he says. “It's such a great feeling to accomplish a multi hour race. It's not so much about winning or even beating your age group peer – it's about challenging yourself. And of course the beer.

Most of his monthly races take place closer to home, such as the Cohutta 100 near the Ocoee, the Fools Gold 60 miler in GA, or the Shenandoah Mountain 100 miler in VA. And Tollett has never missed the 5 Points 50, which is a chance to race some of the same trails he trains on about 6 days a week.

Billed as Chattanooga’s ultimate endurance mountain bike race, 5 Points 50 takes loops racers through the celebrated 5 Points trail system, Lula Lake Land Trust’s core property, the Cloudland Connector Trail, and some of the best private trails in the Southeast.

It features a grueling roller coaster of single track with steep climbs, rooted downhills, rock gardens and smooth trails. As with any race, Mother Nature holds the ultimate trump card. Last year torrential rains in the fall made for a soggy day, and Tollett recalls crossing a stream in waist deep water holding his bike overhead in one hand, and a rope in the other so the current wouldn’t carry him downstream.

Now in its fourth year, 5 Points 50 is a local pioneer for mountain biking. While most outdoor sports have enjoyed signature events in Chattanooga for the past decade, a long distance mountain bike race proved elusive until the completion of the Cloudland Connector Trail, which connects Cloudland Canyon State Park to Lula Lake Land Trust.

Despite 30-plus miles of the CCT, race organizers still had to negotiate access with private landowners to connect key parts of the course. An opportunity to ride trails closed the other 364 days of the year is motivation enough for some, and the race attracts bikers from across the Southeast.

This year there will be a 25-mile option for those wanting a shorter ride. The 50-mile course features 5,000 feet of elevation gain, while the 25-mile features 2,700. The race is organized this year by Roost Racing, LLC, a newly formed entity by local racer Justin Mace.

Justin and his wife, Amy have taken over the organization of the 5 points 50 this year and will be producing other races nearby," says Tollett. "They are an amazing family and very generous to take on the challenges of putting on long races. Especially with two young children.

Roots and Wings Learning Conservatory Opens at Lookout Mountain School

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“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.”
- W. Hodding Carter II

Gardeners know that beautiful things come from hard work, patience and a little bit of luck. When Mayor Carol Mutter and LMS Principal Ruth White cut the ribbon for the new Roots and Wings Learning Conservatory this past Sunday, all of the above had come into play.

It all began when Chrisi Hopper and Candace Chazen, co-presidents of the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club approached LMS science teacher D'Arcy Hughes in the hall. Their 100-year-old club has a long history of community outreach and education, meeting annually with both schools for specific ways they can help.

I asked them if they wanted a big project or a little one,” Hughes says with a smile at Sunday’s dedication. “To my surprise, they said they liked the big project. They really took it and ran with it.

Her initial dream was for some raised beds and cold frames. Thanks to the excitement and dedication of LMBGC, that vision morphed into a fully functioning greenhouse and outdoor learning space.

Their generosity brought me to tears,” says Hughes. “Many of them never had children at this school, or their children are now grown. It’s really been incredible.

Outdoor education has been part of the LMS science curriculum for several years. The school’s outdoor pond has been used for things like studying water and soil samples, leaf pressing, and collecting insect casings. In the small garden spaces, Hughes’ classes have studied the life cycles of plants by growing pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelons and lima beans – some of which went to the school’s cafeteria.

Until now this work has been weather dependent. Now, thanks to bleacher seats in the nearly 400-square-foot building, Hughes plans on conducting entire classes in the space. On pretty days she hopes to spend all day in the greenhouse, with teachers taking students to and from the main building.

Taking one year to construct, the project hasn’t been without challenges. There were construction delays thanks to prolonged winter rains, which dumped six to seven inches several months in a row. The original design had to be completely scrapped when organizers realized the original location wouldn’t work.

It’s been a labor of love,” says White. “What started out small has become something huge. The power is its going to be important for generations to come.

Good fortune also played a part. The day they announced the project in garden club, past president Valerie Tipps came home to see her neighbors were replacing all of their windows. She rescued them from a fate at the dump, and Chazen volunteered to have them stacked in her driveway for months until they could be installed. And while the relocation prolonged things, the greenhouse more than doubled in size thanks to the move.

Designed by Michael Bridges of SURfACE Architecture and built by Larry McGill of Black Creek Builders, everything in the cedar shingled building is geared toward conservation. In fact, the building will operate without electricity or running water.

The slanted roof funnels rainwater into a 600-gallon cistern, which connects to a gravity-fed spigot inside that will water plants. On the west side of the building a cinderblock wall acts as a thermal mass, absorbing heat during the day then releasing it at night.

On the south side, a polycarbonate plastic wall fills the greenhouse with soft light – perfectly angled to capture direct sun in the winter, yet deflect the worst of the high summer sun. The recycled glass windows are strategically placed to create cross ventilation, while top-of-the-line spray foam insulation in the roof will maximize energy efficiency.

“When we were working in there this summer, the breezes swept right through the building keeping it really pleasant,” recalls Chazen.

Future plans for the space include launching a junior Master Gardeners program with help from the LMBGC. During class, students will learn about worm composting, and transplant seedlings into existing garden spaces. Any vegetable harvests will be used in the cafeteria, but ultimately Hughes and White see this unfolding organically, with the kids having input.

My goal is to help the students see tangible results of their work, and to use horticulture as a springboard to conservation activities for the rest of their lives,” says Hughes. “I want them to catch the bug early, and change the way they think of this landlocked property they call their school.

The name – Roots and Wings – was a tribute to long-time LMS philosophy. When the kindergarten wing was built, a butterfly sculpture was commissioned for the pond in front of the school as tribute to former Principal Paula Gossett, who often referenced the quote. The greenhouse now extends the roots and wings concept to the back of the school in a very tangible way.

Our children have strong roots from this school, we’re in the top 5 percent of schools in the state,” says Chazen. “We all want to launch our children to soar, and to do that takes the whole community. We’re honored to play a part.

Floating Aquaponics Greenhouse Planned for Fairyland Elementary

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Three years ago, Fairyland Elementary School was challenged to go where no school has gone before. And when the project is done, it will look like something straight out of a sci-fi novel.

The idea was for the first-known floating aquaponics greenhouse, pitched by HATponics CEO Ryan Cox and John Parker, formerly with Walker County School’s central office. The project immediately appealed to FES Principal Jeremy Roerdink, who is always interested in creating more STEAM opportunities for his students.

"While we’re ranked in the top 6 percent of all public elementary schools in GA, we can’t become complacent,” he says. “I’m always looking to improve, and STEAM was an area we needed to improve in."

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Nationwide there’s a push to expose more students to these fundamentals to help supply the projected 9 million STEAM jobs available by 2020. For Walker County, that has translated into numerous agriculturally related projects, including aquaponics.

What it boils down to is innovation,” says Roerdink. “We want to give kids a learning space to create, but more importantly to fail. Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb on the 1,000th try. Doing research means being allowed to fail.

Students will not only help grow organic strawberries and tomatoes they will also market and sell them locally, with proceeds going toward raising awareness of hunger. Every step of the way, students will be learning classroom fundamentals in very real-world scenarios.

They will use science to determine ideal growing conditions and troubleshoot problems such as fluctuating pH levels in the water. Art will be incorporated when creating branding materials and students will apply math and analytical thinking skills as they develop a business plan. They’ll also learn about philanthropy as they decide exactly what to do with the money they earn from sales.

We want the kids to make these important decisions,” says Roerdink. “It’s about getting them out of the classroom and helping them see the bigger picture.

The greenhouse will feature a domed top, with four holding tanks in the bottom for fish and tiered growing pots above. Water is cycled throughout, with the fish waste fertilizing the plants, and the plant roots filtering the water before it returns to the tanks below. The entire system is enclosed and self-sustaining.

The dome is being built by Pacific Dome Company, who contracts with such companies as NASA and NorthFace. According to the company website, their domes are the “strongest structure known to man” and can withstand winds up to 280 miles per hour. They’re equally sophisticated; featuring climate controls such as solar heat in the winter and solar-powered fans with windows that automatically open in the summer. There will be cameras installed throughout, so students can keep an eye on things from the classroom.

The greenhouse will not completely change the area. The floating dock, built by local company Dr. Dock, will feature external platforms so students can still fish in the pond. A landscaping plan has also been developed to alleviate any residents’ concerns over the aesthetics of the structure.

All of this innovation comes with a hefty price tag. The total bill stands at $150,000 - $75,000 for the dock, $35,000 for the greenhouse and $40,000 for technology and supplies. To date, FES has raised $40,000 from their Music on the Mountain event, a recent “Driven to Give” fundraiser and numerous private and public donors.

They’ve also posted the project to Crowdrise.com, the world’s #1 fundraising site, and will launch a brick campaign next month. Roerdink is exploring the possibility of a matching campaign, and a parent is helping write applications for numerous grants. They will also be reaching out to potential local benefactors with one-to-one donor presentations.

Once built, the greenhouse will be completely “staffed” by current teachers and students. Teacher “champions” so far include Ms. Catanzaro (2nd grade) and Ms. Giddens (5th grade). Ridgeland High School, who launched their aquaponics program in 2012, will also help train teachers as the program gets up and running.

At first it will be baby steps; maybe a couple of lessons a month,” says Roerdink. “Ultimately we might open it to the community for other schools or home schoolers. It will be a really unique space and something that should be offered to all kids – it’s that cool.

Fairyland Elementary plans to break ground in March 2017, with a fundraising goal of $60,000 for Phase 1 (the dock). For more information, visit Crowdrise

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

Community calendar