Life on Lookout Mountain

Dekalb's Best 2008-2010 Images 1 020a

text and photography by JOHN DERSHAM

LIKE MANY OTHERS, MY WIFE KYLE AND I BEGAN COMING to Mentone and surrounding areas on Lookout Mountain as tourists. We lived in Hoover, Ala., and as our kids grew up and we rarely saw them on weekends we began coming to this beautiful mountain.

I already had nearly 30 years of employment at Eastman Kodak by this time. Kodak had moved us to various locations in the United States, so we got to see and enjoy other parts of our great country along the way…but there was something magical on Lookout Mountain. Something kept drawing us here.[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]

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[s2If is_user_logged_in()]After awhile we decided to invest in some property, buying some acreage in Mentone and a larger piece on Lookout Mountain closer to Dogtown. We couldn’t stay away from this place, so before you knew it we had a camper on our land and could not wait to get here nearly every weekend. In 2000 we could no longer resist the attraction. Our kids had moved out, my Kodak regional office was closing and I was going to home office, so we decided to make the move to paradise. Of all the places we had lived and traveled, we chose this area.

With all this said, we are not alone. Hundreds of people have done the same thing we did and many more want to. We hear it from people visiting our DeKalb Tourist Information Center everyday; they are so attracted to this area they want to move here, too. CNN noticed, selecting Fort Payne as one of the nation’s 25 best places to retire in 2012.

Every weekend and especially in early summer and in the fall we are flooded with visitors from all around the region who keep coming back because they are drawn to the area’s natural beauty, easy driving conditions, great food, lodging, attractions, art, music and intriguing gift shops, galleries and stores.

In addition, we are a low-cost, conveniently located destination. Visitors can’t wait to get away from the busy hustle and bustle of Birmingham, Atlanta, Montgomery, Pensacola, Chattanooga, Nashville, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Jackson just to relax and enjoy what we have to offer.

I am now tourism director for DeKalb County and have the joy of talking about and promoting this beautiful mountain throughout the country and the world. As a place to visit or to live, there is magic on our mountain.