What makes Lookout Mountain home

What's on your summer bucket list? A hike to Glen Falls? A mountain bike ride on the Cloudland Connector Trail? Or maybe a road trip to Nashville to see Alan Shuptrine's new watercolor exhibit?

The season has already kicked off with Community Movie Night. There's another in August and here's 5 reasons you can't miss it. Get ready for the fun, because summers on Lookout are anything but lazy!

Lookout Mountain Trivia

image description

Think you know Lookout Mountain? Test your hometown knowledge below. Email answers to editor@livingonlookout.com before February 4, when answers will be published.

The person with the most correct answers will be profiled in an upcoming story or choose another topic to cover. Anyone can enter so forward to your friends near and far.

Got your own trivia ideas? Send them along to editor@livingonlookout.com. We'll credit you if we use them.

  • How did the Cow Path get its name?

  • What was the nickname of the streetcar that serviced Lookout Mountain from 1888 to 1928?

  • What was the name of the original Lookout Mountain School? Bonus: what year did it begin?

  • What was the original use for the Fairyland Club and what was its name?

  • Lookout Mountain was the birthplace of miniature golf. What was the name of the first course?

  • What year did they pave the first road up Lookout Mountain?

Father/Daughter Dance Coming Soon

image description

Father/Daughter Dance
Friday, February 5, 6:30 to 10:00
Fairyland Club Ballroom
$100 per father/daughter pair, plus $20 for each additional daughter

There’s only one thing that would cause a man to dress in light-up disco shoes or do the Macarena – his little girl. Which is why the Father/Daughter Dance at the Fairyland Club is always so entertaining.

Even guys who usually don't like to dance will get out there and cut it up with their daughters – I know that from personal experience,” laughs Dr. Rink Murray, who’s organized the event for the past several years. “The night is a blast – it means so much to the girls.

The annual gala takes place at the Fairyland Club ballroom and features a laser light show and music from DJ Scuba Steve, a photo booth, buffet dinner and ice cream bar. The dress is Valentine’s formal, but a best-dressed award for dads has led to several interesting wardrobe choices.

We’ve had everything from Ted Alling in a camouflage tux to Neil Grant wearing platform light-up disco shoes,” says Murray. “I thought I would win best dressed one year wearing my gold tuxedo, but Jamey Hurst showed up in a powder blue Dumb and Dumber get-up that could not be denied.

The mothers are not completely left out. Many sneak onto the dance floor to take pictures of their favorite “couple.” For the past few years Karen Leavengood has been in charge of decorations, while several other moms volunteer at the admissions table.

The event is open to anyone, but space is limited to 100 fathers and is already more than 75 percent full. To reserve a spot, contact Murray at rinkmurray@gmail.com.

The Father/Daughter tradition started just four years ago, when a group of dads who participated in the YMCA’s Adventure Princess Program decided to forego the downtown dance and organize one for Lookout Mountain. The “chief” at the time, Paul Daniel spearheaded the first event along with the help of his wife, Leah. Murray has carried the torch since then but says this dance will be his last as organizer.

“I’ve asked the Fairyland Club if they’d like to take it over, but they feel it would be better attended if it’s organized by someone in the community,” he says. “I only hope someone will step up the plate to take over the reins next years.”

If the past few years on the dance floor are any indication, it’s almost certain someone will.

Stay Fit Without a Treadmill

image description

Whether you’re a fitness newbie or professional athlete, gyms are annoying in January. The “resolutioners” crowd the treadmills and clog the parking lot. You have to arrive 15 minutes early just to claim a spot in your favorite class.

Fortunately, there’s a solution – run outside. More specifically, in the woods. Chattanooga has 54 trailheads within 30 minutes of downtown. Dozens of athletes have picked up and moved here after competing in one of the city’s many outdoor sport races; one of which is Randy Whorton.

“I’m from Boulder, Colorado and it doesn’t have anything like this,” says the ultramarathon trail runner. “I think Chattanooga is by far the most impressive trail city in the world.”

To say Randy and his wife, Kris are avid runners is an understatement. Each log approximately 1,000 miles every year on the trails. In his 30-year running career Randy has completed 112 marathon (or longer) distance races, including seven 100-milers and six Ironmans. In 2009, Kris had the second fastest women’s 100-mile time in the world at 16:05.

When they relocated in 2005, they settled at the foot of Lookout Mountain, home to nearly half of the aforementioned trailheads. One of their favorites is literally in their backyard.

“You can’t beat the diversity and beauty of Lookout and it’s getting better every year,” he says.

While they loved their new hometown, they didn’t love the prevailing attitude that runners belonged on asphalt. They decided to change that. In 2006 they formed Wild Trails, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and preservation of trails.

Wild Trails exists for premiere athletes like the Whortons, but also those who only run to the fridge during commercial breaks. They want to encourage everyone to discover the benefits of outdoor sports, whether that’s hiking, biking or running.

“We want to get people off the couch,” says Randy. “Most people can do more than they think they can. Some of my favorite moments as race director are watching first timers cross the finish line; some break down in tears.”

Their 13-event trail race series has been lauded as the best in the Southeast, with distances ranging from 5Ks to 100 miles. Of course you can’t have trail races without any trails, and the nonprofit has become a leader in their conservation and construction.

“When we moved here we realized no one was really maintaining the trails in an organized fashion,” says Randy. “Today we work with pretty much all of the land associations. The National Park Service relies on us for chainsaw work when clearing fallen trees.”

Wild Trails has helped fund new footpaths across the city, from Raccoon Mountain to Enterprise South. Through a dedicated group of volunteers, they’ve helped restore and reopen long abandoned trails on Lookout Mountain, such as the Shingle Trail and Glen Falls trailhead.

This year, they hope to get even more people outside with their 200 Mile Club. The program is specifically aimed at creating or continuing a lasting fitness program, whether that’s walking, running, biking, swimming, paddling…even unicycling. As soon as you travel 200 miles, you’re in the club (swimming mileage is multiplied by four; biking is divided by four). Club members are rewarded with a membership card that offers discounts all over town.

The program holds special meaning for Randy, as it was his intro into running in high school. His dad joined a similar program at their local running club and encouraged his son to do it with him. Although Randy lettered in three sports every year, he absolutely hated running.

“It took two months before there was any shred of enjoyment,” he recalls. “I finally got into it and that last month was eye opening. I ran my first marathon 18 months later.”

Whether a 200 Mile membership could jumpstart you career in ultramarathons or encourage weekly runs with friends, you have to take the first step to find out.

Sign up for 200-mile club here

Find other trail runners through meetup.com here

Lookout Mountain Furniture Maker Creates Modern Heirlooms

image description

They just don’t make things like they used to…unless you’re Joel Bostrom. Utilizing tools and techniques perfected more than 100 years ago, the Mount Olive furniture maker creates pieces that will likely last another 100 years.

It has to look better 50 years from now,” he says. “It’s real wood – it’s going to move, get damaged or dinged or colored on with crayons. But that kind of wear only enhances a piece like this.

Bostrom learned woodworking from his grandfather, but it wasn’t until working several years as a carpenter that he realized hand tools could actually be faster and more accurate than machines.

“I was working building log cabins from scratch – we literally felled the trees onsite,” he recalls. “The other carpenter on the job talked nonstop about the benefits of hand tools. Once I finally got a plane in my hand that was sharpened and tuned, it sparked something in me.”

Once I finally got a plane in my hand that was sharpened and tuned, it sparked something in me.

He demonstrates how the plane works, translucent curls of wood falling to the ground. He stops, unfolds it and holds it up to the light. “Look at that – you could read through that,” he says, seemingly still amazed by the outdated tool.

Nearly everything in his shop reflects another era. Restored mallets, chisels and planes line his antique tool chest – a nearly three-foot trunk rescued from a yard sale. Initial drawings are in pencil rather than CAD, and he uses oil and wax finishes (never polyurethane). Even his heater is a pot-bellied stove.

“Machines do the grunt work, like first cuts, but after that I prefer hand tools,” he says. “Once a piece is hand planed, the grain of the wood is sealed so tight I often have to rough it up with fine grit sandpaper to accept the stain.”

Woodworking started for Bostrom as a hobby in early 2000. After several years his wife Katie was begging him to quit his day job. The move was an enormous leap of faith; the couple had welcomed their first child a few years before and neither were certain he’d make a living as a custom furniture maker. His happiness, however, was guaranteed.

“A lot of people think I’m nuts, but it’s what I enjoy,” he laughs.

Almost immediately he had six months of work lined up and business has been steady ever since. Each piece is made specifically to the client’s taste and space. His pieces aren’t reproductions but rather inspired by historic styles like Shaker, Craftsman and even Asian.

Bostrom knows he’ll never be competitive with mass production pieces, but they will outlast them 50 fold. His type of client appreciates a forever piece that’ll be handed down from generation to generation. Building everything from prayer benches to bathroom vanities, his favorites are dining room tables.

“They’re not the most technically challenging, but it’s one of the few pieces that everyone in the house can enjoy, including guests,” he says. “It’s often a cherished piece because of the memories made around the table. In a perfect world we’d all still have three-hour meals, where we could just sit and enjoy each other’s company.”

Bostrom’s pieces will never turn back the hands of time. But maybe the work he’s doing can inspire all of us to cherish the traditions of past generations.

For more information, contact Joel at blueskymining.joel@gmail.com

Lula Lake 2.0

image description

Lula Lake used to be one of Lookout Mountain’s best kept secrets…but word is getting out. Online trail guide RootsRated applauds it as “one of the most impressive destinations in the Southeast in terms of beauty.”

Its Five Points trail system is praised by mountain bikers as one of the best in the state. Its 800 acres of pristine forest serves as living laboratories for school groups across the region. For many students it’s their first time in the outdoors.

While Lula Lake Land Trust was thrilled to see their annual visitors grow from hundreds to thousands, the extra foot traffic was taking its toll.

“This is something we hoped for and welcomed, but our infrastructure needed bolstering to prevent erosion, improve signage and parking, and make trails safer and easier to follow,” says Executive Director Mike Pollock.

LLLT underwent a detailed inventory of their property, identifying the highest priority items. Then…they took a deep breath at the price tag.

Estimates included considerable savings, such as the in-house construction talent of Land Manager Pat Kelly. The Trust’s committed group of volunteers would help mitigate labor costs. Even so things like equipment rental, materials and site grading don’t come cheaply.

“We still faced a 20 percent increase in our 2014 budget, which is a big bite for any nonprofit to swallow,” says Pollock.

Enter the Riverview Foundation. Director Bruz Clark was familiar with LLLT’s growth over the years and encouraged them to submit a proposal. It was the beginning of an important and effective partnership.

“Riverview has allowed us to provide the highest level of conservation, education, and low-impact recreation services to our visitors,” says Pollock. “We’re deeply grateful for their support.”

The initial grant in 2014 went toward a new sign at the entrance gate and Kelly’s hand-built Welcome Kiosk. Grading and re-seeding the parking area allowed easier flow during Open Days, and trouble spots were addressed along the old railbed that forms the main road through the property.

The grant also helped fund the new Falls Trail – a highlight for many families. Its gentle grade and natural rock steps provide easy access to stunning views of Lula Falls.

Last fall, Riverview stepped up again to fund the construction of a composting privy near the parking area – modeled after those placed at the trailheads along the Cloudland Connector Trail – and a small information kiosk at the Lula Lake and Falls area.

LLLT was also able to replace the utility vehicle previously on loan from their partners at the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, a critical piece of equipment for stewarding hundreds of acres and quickly reaching visitors in a pinch.

Lula Lake is open the first and last Saturday of each month. This year they’ll also be opening the gate on Sundays, but only from May until October. Its six miles of trails range from an easy stroll to the lake, to more adventurous hikes to Eagle Cliff and the base of the falls. Pets are welcome on a leash, and handicapped accessible parking is available.

Lula Lake Open Days
First and last Saturdays (9 to 5) and Sundays (12 to 5, May-October)
5000 Lula Lake Road, Lookout Mountain, GA
Cost is FREE with donations gratefully accepted at check-in

Christmas Tree Bonfire Tomorrow Night

image description

The halls are undecked, but the celebrations continue with the first annual Christmas Tree Bonfire, sponsored by The Treehouse Project.

That’s right; the same guys who successfully built a hotel in a tree are now reclaiming your used up pines to create – quite possibly – the most epic bonfire Lookout Mountain has ever seen. The celebration begins at 7 p.m. with the Bitter Alibi providing adult beverages. Feel free to bring your own hot dogs, marshmallows, chairs and theme music (Blaze of Glory anyone?).

You can drop off your old tree anytime today or tomorrow at 576 Chattanooga Valley Road in Flintstone. If you’ve already ditched yours at the curb don’t worry – the pile is around 10 feet high already. All ages are welcome, and safety will be top priority for the inferno.

The Treehouse Project’s First Annual Christmas Tree Bonfire
Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
576 Chattanooga Valley Road, Flintstone, GA 30725

More information on how to sleep in a tree

Last Open Gate Day of the Year for Lula Lake Land Trust

image description

Will Christmas really come in 70 degree weather? While this mid-winter heat wave isn’t great for getting you in the holiday spirit, it’s perfect for enjoying Lula Lake Land Trust’s LAST Open Gate Day of the year, held December 26 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Burn off those holiday cookies by hiking or biking the property’s more than 6 miles of trails. Lula Lake can accommodate cyclists of all ages and abilities, offering everything from sweet single track to wide fire roads for kids. Dogs are welcome on a leash.

Leftover turkey would make a perfect picnic in “one of the most impressive destinations in the southeast in terms of beauty,” according to RootsRated. And Open Days are the only time Lula Lake and Falls are open to the public. If you miss December’s, make it your New Year’s resolution to take full advantage of this natural treasure in your own backyard.

While there’s no entry fee, donations are encouraged to support their ability to keep the property available to the public. AND, all donations given before December 31 will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to a challenge match by LLLT’s board (up to $5,000).

Lula Lake and Lula Falls is located at 5000 Lula Lake Road. Entrance gate closes at 4 p.m. and exit gate locks at 5 p.m.

Banish Bad Hair Days Forever

image description

(l to r) Leslie Embry, Nini Davenport, Andrea Crouch at Grand Opening

Lookout Mountain's Nini Davenport and Andrea Crouch partner to bring The Blowout Co. to Chattanooga

There’s a new salon in town; but they don’t have any scissors and there’s not a highlighting foil in sight. Even so, they can give you perfect holiday hair at a moment’s notice.

The Blowout Co. opened their fourth location November 9 in Chattanooga’s Southside. As the name implies, it’s a blow dry bar – meaning they will wash and blowout your hair in any style you choose, from messy waves to sleek and straight.

While the salon is operated by Blowout owner, Leslie Embry, it never would have happened without Lookout Mountain residents Nini Davenport and Andrea Crouch.

“We’re silent, but not-so-silent partners,” laughs Davenport.

The idea began as lighthearted conversation over a glass of wine. But what started as lighthearted pipe dreaming became serious business when Davenport and Crouch decided to partner up. As fate would have it, one of Davenport’s nieces knew Embry was expanding rapidly in Nashville and possibly interested in her first out of town location. Davenport’s husband, Elliot, happened to have the perfect retail space that had just become vacant.

All of the pieces started falling into place,” recalls Davenport. “I called Andrea to see if she was really serious and luckily she said yes.

Neither are strangers to entrepreneurship. Crouch has owned a real estate investment and management company for 20 years with her husband, Clay, and worked as Vice President of Brand Management for Chattem for 29 years. Davenport has been involved off and on for the past 35 years in several start-ups her family has been a part of, at one time owning seven Central Park restaurants.

The biggest hurdle so far has been trying to find more hours in the day,” says Crouch. “Nini, Leslie and I have multiple personal and professional commitments going on at all times so it becomes a bit of a juggling act at times.

So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “The sales of this location have beaten the sales in the first few weeks of any of my Nashville locations’ openings,” says Embry. “I have to give credit to my partners for being such great local cheerleaders. I also feel that we have an amazing staff of stylists. If we get people in the chairs, we know they will love it and want to come back.”

The sales of this location have beaten the sales in the first few weeks of any of my Nashville locations' openings.

So far the salon offers four styles, all at $35. They also offer braids ($10 and up), deep conditioning treatment ($10), up-dos and extension application. Don’t worry if you can’t make it down the mountain before your big event – they even offer house-call service ($70 and up). While bachelorette and bridal parties are a perfect time for pampering, you don’t need a reason to get a blowout, says Embry.

We really want the everyday woman to feel like she has a place in town to be pampered every day of the week,” says Embry. “Great style begins with great hair.

Lookout Mountain Introduces New Text Alert System

image description

With winter weather approaching, the Lookout Mountain community is implementing a text alert system. Not only can it notify you of icy road conditions in real time, it can alert you to suspicious activity or give instructions during a flood or fire. The service is FREE to you and the town. The only catch? You have to sign up.

The service is provided by Nextdoor.com, a private social network for neighborhoods. It was created to allow neighbors to connect and communicate online, thereby enriching their relationships in the real world.

The neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person’s life,” says Conor Coady, Public Agency Rep at Nextdoor.com. “Our mission is to use technology to build stronger and safer communities.

Simply put, Nextdoor is an online “classifieds” built just for your neighborhood. You can advertise your estate sale, promote a community event, post rental information or notify about lost pets. You can also recommend a local service or ask for recommendations, or sell one-off items like that brand-new treadmill you never use.

Basically anything you’d like to share with your neighbors in person you can post to Nextdoor. Keep in mind information should be helpful – self-promotion or commercial content is forbidden. Privacy is of utmost concern. While the service is free, Nextdoor never shares your information with advertisers.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect is the company’s “Mobile Alert” function, which allows city officials to send urgent messages via text.

We’re very excited to finally be able to offer this to our community,” says Tennessee Town Consultant Dwight Montague. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for years, and with the winter we’re predicted to have we feel like it’s perfect timing.

To sign up, create a free profile on NextDoor.com. Enter your name, street address, email address and zip code and you’ll automatically be added to the Lookout Mountain neighborhood. (Invite your neighbors while you’re at it.) It doesn’t matter if you live in Georgia or Tennessee. Much like our real world, state lines don’t define our community.

Once logged in, go to your name in the upper right hand corner and select “Settings.” Select the “Mobile Alerts” tab and enter your cell number (this will not be shared with neighbors). It’s a simple, yet necessary step to opt in the text alert function.

Unlike Facebook, our community’s Nextdoor website is password protected and only visible to those who have joined and verified their address. For this reason, street numbers are visible on the site but can be hidden by modifying your privacy settings.

Another key difference is each post becomes a message that is automatically pushed out to all neighbors via email. If you download the Nextdoor app you can opt for push notification instead. You can also choose to receive all, some (top posts), custom (only the emails you specify), or none of the notifications by tweaking your settings. “Some” is the default option.

Finally, Nextdoor allows you to connect with “Nearby Neighbors,” which are determined by a distance-based algorithm. This is helpful for reporting suspicious activity, lost pets or promoting events. You choose whether to post to nearby neighbors or exclusively your neighborhood.

For questions about the new site, please visit Nextdoor’s robust Help section or contact us via editor@livingonlookout.com.

Cafe on the Corner's Party on the Patio

image description

Fires were blazing at Café on the Corner last night, but this time it was a good thing. Little ones huddled around the outdoor fire pit, while a grill on the patio seared hot dogs and hamburgers over open flame. Inside the new dining room and bar TVs glowed with the fireplace channel.

It was a fitting ambiance for a celebration honoring the Georgia Volunteer firemen, who helped bravely fight the Café’s infamous gas fire nearly two years ago. The Party on the Patio was also a fundraiser to help the men purchase much needed gear. Read more

“Fill the boot!” Oehmig said, standing on a chair surrounded by a sea of people.

Several hundred crowded the new restaurant inside and out, with little ones climbing on the fire truck parked in front. Food and drinks were complimentary thanks to US Foods and Athens Distributing.

If you couldn’t attend, donations are still welcome. Checks can be mailed to 1207 Cinderella Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750 or dropped off at the restaurant after it grand opening on December 10. Make checks payable to Friends of Lookout Mountain Fire Department (or Friends of LMFD).

Community calendar