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!

Lula Lake Land Trust Begins Work on Chattanooga Connector Trail

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Work begins this month for a significant new trail on Lookout Mountain. The Chattanooga Connector Trail will only be 2.9 miles long. But once complete it will be the missing link in a network of trails stretching from Chickamauga Dam all the way to Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia.

The significance of the Chattanooga Connector Trail is that it is a key link in not only Lookout Mountain’s trail system, but also the emerging Great Eastern Trail, which will eventually connect New York to the Gulf Coast.

Locals celebrated this summer when the Tennessee Riverwalk expansion connected the downtown trail to the foot of Lookout Mountain. From there, cyclists and hikers can access the popular Guild-Hardy trail then take a National Park Service trail all the way to Covenant College.

The Chattanooga Connector Trail will connect Covenant College to Lula Lake Land Trust. From there, you can access existing trails to the Cloudland Connector Trail, leading into the state park.

The project will also include a scenic 3.1-mile loop through Lula Lake property, for a total of six new miles of trail. A key piece will be constructing a bridge across Gerber Creek, estimated to cost $3,000.

Lula Lake Land Trust is spearheading the project. Their land manager Pat Kelly is overseeing construction with a team of part-time workers and volunteers. A local foundation has pledged $40,000 to the project, coupled with over $5,000 in individual donors. All told, LLLT expects the project to cost between $50,000 and $60,000.

LLLT crews will begin work this month, and expect to complete the project as early as July.

Fifth Annual Potato Cannon Competition This Weekend

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Start you New Year off with a BANG…literally. The 5th annual Lookout Mountain Potato Cannon Competition will be held this Saturday, December 31, at 1:00 p.m. on Carter Field.

There will be hot chocolate and doughnuts, but don’t let the sweets fool you. This is stone-cold competition. The contest will be officiated by Dr. Sam Smartt, the honorable Jay Hildebrand and the venerated BD Chapin, with numerous assistants to be named ad hoc according to an official press release.

The event is a family affair, with members 21 years or older building and firing the canon. All spuds species are welcome as ammunition, and awards have gone to heaviest potato (2.93 lbs. in 2014).

Each cannon must be a traditional potato canon with a basic combustion launch mechanism (no dry ice bombs or pneumatic launchers). Cannons will be inspected and approved by NPCA Commissioner Joseph Wingfield.

If you don't have a cannon, it can be put together pretty easily (about an hour) with about $30 of materials. See more here or here

Many have tried, but few have earned spud stardom like last year’s Single Game Point Total, Stephen Barnes. He was followed John Conrad, Joseph Wingfield and Marshall Brock. Last year’s hang time record went to Jason Lehn. The all-time winner of average points per contest goes to Don Kent (676) followed by Joseph Wingfield (628).

Whether you’re a potato canon pro or a tater tot, this year’s launch promises to be a fun gathering of Lookout Mountain neighbors. Grab your guns and your spuds and head to Carter Field on Saturday!

Watch competition highlights from 2013, compliments of David Caines.

Christmas Church Services on Lookout Mountain

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If you’re in search of a place of worship this Christmas season, there’s always room at the inn on Lookout Mountain. Below is a round-up of church services in and around our community.

Calvary Chapel
3415 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN 37409

Friday, December 23 at 6:00 and 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 24 at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3 pm
No childcare provided, they invite you to bring the “whole family to the party in the sanctuary”

More info here

Church of the Good Shepherd
211 Franklin Road
Lookout Mountain, TN 37350

Saturday, December 24 at 3:30 pm (Pageant and Holy Eucharist, childcare for under 5)
6:00 pm (Festive Holy Eucharist, Adult Choir and Youth Chorale, prelude with choir and strings at 5:45 pm)
10:30 pm (Candlelight Holy Eucharist, Adult Choir and Youth Chorale, prelude music at 10:15 pm)
Sunday, December 25 (10:00 am Holy Eucharist, Rite 1)

More info here

Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
316 North Bragg Ave
Lookout Mountain, TN 37350

Saturday, December 24 at 3:00, 5:00 and 6:30 pm (nursery provided at 3 and 5 pm)
Sunday, December 25 at 11:00 am

More info here

Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church
1227 Scenic Highway
Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Saturday, December 24 at 5:00 pm (Christmas Concert)
5:30 pm (Christmas Eve Mass)
Sunday, December 25 at 9:00 am (Christmas Day Mass at OLMCC)
11:30 am (Christmas Day Mass at SKD)

More info here

Christ Reformed Baptist Church
901 Scenic Highway
Lookout Mountain, TN 37350

Sunday, December 25 at 11:00 am

More info here

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

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