Earlier this year, we had an event to go to in Huntsville but we also wanted to take the boys over to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga — so we drove up, decided to spend the next day around Sewanee and that part of Tennessee, then back down to Huntsville.
For whatever reason, we stopped in Monteagle and stayed at the Best Western Smokehouse Lodge there. I’m not huge on hotelrooms with doors opening to the outside (I guess that actually makes it a motel, right?) but there weren’t a lot of options there and this really wasn’t a bad stay at all:
What made our stay interesting and fun was that right next door is Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse Restaurant which is a neat place — it’s been in business since 1960 and has the aura of being preserved in a certain era. We were staying on a Saturday night and the main dining room had live music; the performer that evening was a guitar player who had written a few country songs for other artists, a couple of which I recognized. The food served in the restaurant was pretty good. I had a vegetable plate of greens, dressing, and green beans. The boys ordered breakfast, which they serve all day. Everyone was happy:
The building is so much bigger than one might imagine. There were big displays of hams, preserves, a little museum to the Louvin Brothers, a coin-operated player piano, a display of moonshine paraphernalia, antiques everywhere…
The next morning,we got up and drove through the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, which my WPA book said had been around since 1882 when a group of ‘Southern churchmen organized a summer conference for Sunday school workers’ and it became ‘a Chautauqua assembly lasting eight weeks, in July and August’.
Occasionally homes here come up for sale, and it looks as though at the website under ‘cottages for sale’ that they often are sold fully furnished. One with 9 bedrooms and 5-1/2 baths is selling for $769k. Another listed has been in the same family since 1919.
During the off-season, groups use the grounds for other events, weddings, etc. Some of the cottages are leased, also, and of course there’s a wide variety of rates. It would be *so* fun to rent one of the cottages for a few days and play house here…the setting is just beautiful.
This is the DuBose Conference Center, which was originally Fairmount College and among its students were sisters who later went by Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, and Soong Ching-ling the wife of Sun Yat-Sen.
After leaving Monteagle, we headed toward Sewanee, and St. Andrew’s, where my WPA book instructed ‘the Order of the Holy Cross of the Protestant Episcopal Church conducts St. Andrew’s School, which cares for 100 boys from the mountains of Tennessee and neighboring states. The buildings, on a beautifully wooded campus, are of the Spanish type, most of them designed by Wilson A. Gosnell of Chattanooga…’