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Head to Monteagle for Trails and Trilliums

A decade ago the very first Trails and Trilliums was launched to promote native plants and the beautiful, rugged terrain of the southwestern face of the Cumberland Plateau near Monteagle.

The family-friendly nature-based festival continues to thrive under the sponsorship of the Friends of South Cumberland State Park. Enjoy more than 15 guided hikes including Fiery Gizzard, Raven Point and Shakerag Hollow from April 12-14. Gardening workshops, art show and sale, craft vendors, native plant sales of more than 100 varieties of wildflowers, ferns, vines, trees and shrubs, and activities to nurture tomorrow’s naturalists and provide something for everyone to enjoy.

Raven Point

The panoramic view from Raven Point is one of the most dramatic in the South Cumberland. Photo: TN photo Svcs

Visit http://www.trailsandtrilliums.org for complete details including a three-day nature journaling workshop on April 10, 11 and 12.

Foster Falls Monteagle

A van tour available during Trails and Trilliums includes stops at the Stone Door and 60-foot high Foster Falls at the South Cumberland State Park with limited walking. Photo: Cathy Summerlin

This year’s Trails and Trilliums is headquartered at the historic Monteagle Sunday School Assembly grounds. The Monteagle/St.Andrews/Sewanee area is a treat for hikers and wildflower enthusiasts but it’s still well worth visiting even if you’ve never broken in a pair of hiking boots or worn out a pair of garden gloves in your life. It can seem like a trip to a world magically frozen in time.

Founded in 1882, the Monteagle Assembly was inspired by the Chautauqua movement of the 1870s that was intended to combine the training of Sunday school teachers with a broader range of educational and cultural pursuits.

On Saturday, April 13, as part of Trails and Trilliums you may explore an old stagecoach road leading down the hill from the Assembly grounds, tour one of the wonderful cottage gardens and learn about the Assembly’s intriguing past and the family-friendly inter-denominational religious, educational, and cultural programs and activities. The summer session lasts eight weeks for the benefit of Assembly members and guests, persons renting Assembly cottages and the local community. For more information check out this site or call 931-924-9000 or 931-924-2286.

Monteagle Homes

Many of the Victorian cottages nestled among footpaths, picturesque bridges and serene tree-lined lanes on the Monteagle Assembly grounds remain in the same family for generations but several are available as weekend rentals during Trails and Trilliums. Photo: Scott Parrish

Fans of bed and breakfast inns should also come on down. The historic Edgeworth Inn on the Assembly grounds and the luxurious modern brick Monteagle Inn & Retreat Center across the highway from the Assembly Grounds are destinations in and of themselves.

And don’t forget to save room for the food. My wife, Cathy, and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner, the service and the atmosphere at the High Point Restaurant during one of our last trips to Monteagle. They serve appetizing salads and tasty seafood dishes like Horseradish Crusted Grouper. I was tempted to go for the 16-ounce prime rib but happily settled on a deliciously rare filet mignon topped with crab meat. They open for dinner daily at 5 p.m. Call 931-924-4600 for reservations.

High Point Restaurant

The High Point Restaurant in Monteagle is housed in a 1929 mansion purported to have escape hatches on the roof and underground tunnels in the basement used by notorious gangster Al Capone. Photo: Cathy Summerlin

Sewanee and the 13,000 acres owned by the University of South with its graceful stone buildings and lush landscape are only six miles away from Monteagle. We had planned to have lunch at Pearl’s Foggy Mountain Café, but it was a Monday, and they were closed. We intended to walk the Shakerag Hollow portion of the 20-mile Perimeter Trail at the University of the South but booming thunderstorms sent us heading for home. We’ll check the weather forecast next time.

Shakerag Hollow

The wildflower display at Shakerag Hollow on the domain of the University of the South is one of the finest in Middle Tennessee. Photo: Cathy Summerlin

Earth Day Activities

Speaking of weather, Earth Day Festivals on April 20 will proceed come rain or shine across Tennessee.

Nashville’s Earth Fest in Centennial Park kicks off at 11 a.m. with nearly a hundred family-friendly booths with information about protecting our environment. International music and dance plus hands on activities are geared for the younger set. You can recycle old cell phones, chargers, and other small hand-held electronics such as MP3 players, PDAs and digital cameras and dispose of your unused or expired pharmaceuticals. For a complete schedule, visit http://www.nashvilleearthday.org.

Knoxville’s salute to Earth Day at Pellissippi State Community College’s Hardin Valley campus is a “zero-waste” event with food, fun and entertainment for the whole family, including your pets! See http://www.knox-earthfest.org for details.

What are you planning for Earth Day?

Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I...Read on

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