I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. In fact, I have been waiting for this day since fall arrived, and I knew that I would experience different seasons and different landscapes. I am sitting in the car, this time as the passenger, which I always prefer. We are on a mini-adventure to a place unknown. Unknown meaning that I know the name of the town and the general direction we are headed but what we will find when we get there has been kept a bit of a mystery. I was given one clue: “We should get there before it gets dark; although, it’s nice too after dark.”
As we drive down the interstate, I am looking out the window to see a beautifully bright day and find myself in awe as I recall I awoke to snow flurries. Now… there isn’t a cloud in the sky. The air is crisp and it is a perfect day for a scenic drive.
Looking to my right, I see icicles hanging off the sheared rock along the side of the road. To my left, are rolling hills with trees stripped bare by Old Man Winter. I can feel the temperature starting to drop as we draw nearer to our destination; but I am prepared with layers, scarf and gloves.
We’ve gotten off the interstate and are taking the back roads to Monteagle. That’s where we are headed. I would venture to say that we will have a few stops along the way. Where they will be will largely depend on what Isabel and I find interesting in the journey. So now, I am closing my laptop to enjoy each other as we travel this new road.
The first thing to catch my eye were the jets on display at Arnold Air Force Base. This scenery cried out “photo op!” I knew getting much cooperation for a beautiful mother/daughter picture was probably unattainable but nevertheless it was worth the effort. We had a great time looking at the planes and running and playing. I knew from this point forward, we were going to have a day together that was more than just fun and adventure. It was going to be about making memories.
We eventually drove through Manchester and not long after reached Cowan where the display of trains was surrounded by giant-sized candy canes, gingerbread houses and Christmas festivity. As we crossed the railroad tracks, Isabel and I saw a lonely dandelion. I immediately picked it to make a wish but not without first having to outrun my daughter who was equally wanting to make a wish. We ran in and around the decorated gazebos until finally I got one good breath and made my wish. We spent some time looking at and climbing on the trains, and then it was back in the car making our way to our next stop.
As we approached the foothills, Mr. Tour Guide pointed out a white cross that could be seen far atop the mountain we were headed towards. As we began to drive up the mountain, we found our next stop. It was a huge rock along the side of the road leading to Sewanee. The view from this rock was magnificent. It overlooked a valley of countryside. This is a place I would like to come back to visit in the spring when the trees have their foliage and the weather begins to warm.
We reached Sewanee home to the University of the South. The campus was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The cathedral was reminiscent of those I visited in France. We made our way up the spiral staircase to the top of the building as sunset approached. That fiery sun that I love so much filled the sky. I wanted to stay and soak up that view but Mr. Tour Guide said we only had a few minutes left and there was somewhere else we needed to go.
We hopped in the car and drove down this straight but very hilly road that ultimately led to that cross we saw in the distance. It overlooked miles and miles of valley. Not only was the sun setting in the west but the moon was also out and shining brightly. We stayed and watched as the sun set behind the peaks. This was the ultimate destination, and it was breathtaking.
By this time, about four hours had passed and the song “I’m hungry; when are we going to eat?” had been put on repeat. That was our cue to make our way to Monteagle for a country buffet. We had a wonderful table next to the fire burning in the fireplace. We filled our tummies, walked through the trading post and then headed back home.
I finally had my first day trip. We saw many different small Tennessee towns. We had conversations with many different people. I could not have asked for a better day. I got to spend it with my best girl and the best tour guide.