Jerry Summers: I-24 Fall Weekend Getaway

Monday, September 27, 2021 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

Citizens from Chattanooga to Nashville and any place in between have an opportunity to enjoy many historical and enjoyable sights if they should decide to spend a weekend in Franklin County and its numerous villages that provide enjoyable and educational venues.

The fall foliage in the area is outstanding and a variety of opportunities exist in the area.

Getting off of the I-24 W freeway at Monteagle provides several locations that can be arranged in no particular order but can be adapted to your taste.

For overnight stays there are several reasonable priced motel accommodations.

While in Monteagle try out the High Point Restaurant and enjoy good food as well as learn about the history of the place which included alleged use of the premises by notorious criminal boss Al Capone on his trips to Miami and Chicago.

Going north on Highway 41A you enter the domain of the University of the South at Sewanee and the Sewanee Inn which was completely rebuilt a few years ago and also contains a challenging nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and exercise equipment available to patrons.

Take a tour through the 13,000 acres at Sewanee and view the Gothic architecture and history of this unique campus that was originally created in 1858 but the Civil War had significant consequences towards its development.

If football is in your interest, you can watch the Tigers participate in Division 3 collegiate football without the frenzy of being exposed to 50,000 to 100,000 fans.

If you are a hiker, you can travel over the walking path of the Mountain Goat railroad track route when it was the main source of transportation from Sewanee through the coal mining towns of Tracy City, Altamont and Palmer.

Heading six miles down Highway 41A towards the village of Cowan, you will find a standing railroad depot and museum that is another part of the rich locomotive history that is available to the public.

Traveling another six miles along the same highway you will reach the county seat of Franklin County in Winchester.  The renovated Art Deco town square contains many interesting shops and the Oldham Theatre that has been remodeled and available for public movies.  If an indoor theatre is not your favorite method of watching a movie, you might want to travel over to the town of Estill Springs where the same family that operates the Oldham Theatre has an out-door-drive-in named the Montana Drive-In.

Also available in Winchester is the Old City Museum which houses a collection of artifacts from the Civil War and pioneer eras, as well as memorabilia from Winchester native movie and television star Dinah Shore. It is located on Dinah Shore Boulevard within walking distance of the town square.

If you are a bluegrass music fan, The Caverns off I-24 at the Pelham exit in Grundy County at the base of the Cumberland Plateau is both a setting with world class music but is also a unique underground archeological treasury that has opened within the past few years and is a popular tourist attraction.

All of the above-described events can be reached in the order most favorable to your interests.

Hopefully the coronavirus pandemic will eventually ease the traffic restrictions and things will return to normal.

In the meantime, a trip along I-24 should provide a short respite for the weekend traveler.

If you want to sweeten the trip you also want to travel nine miles from Monteagle to Tracy City to visit the Dutch Maid Bakery, where all sorts of cakes, rolls and other delicacies are available for sale.

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Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)

           


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