Publisher’s Note: Sit for a spell

Lookout Mountain offers many wonders if you slow down to take them all in

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Being publisher of Lookout Alabama, I am constantly on the move – visiting area businesses and meeting the new challenges each day brings. It would be easy to get lost in the day-to-day demands of the job and temporarily lose sight of what a magnificent area this magazine covers.

Oh, I see it as I rush from appointment to appointment – the amazing vistas from the bluffs of Lookout Mountain as well as the historic buildings and unique shops that add flavor to places like Mentone, Fort Payne, Centre, Collinsville, and Gadsden… But I sometimes have to make myself – even if only for a few minutes – experience it.

Occasionally, I will slow down and try to take it all it. I take an alternate route to an appointment just to break from my tunnel-vision of routine. When I can, I eat my lunch at Bluff Park in Mentone or may be at an overlook inside Little River Canyon National Preserve.

I also try to stop and spend a few minutes talking to people at gathering places for locals and tourists such as The Spot Coffee Shop in Fort Payne or the newly opened Vintage 1889 restaurant inside historic Big Mill Artisans & Antiques Mall. If I’m in Mentone, it’s one of several places including the Hardware Café inside Little River Hardware, the Mentone Market, the Rusty Fox Canteen in the lower floor of the Mentone Springs Hotel, Twiggs Coffee Shoppe inside Kamama or the front porch of Mentone Realty.

OK, I know the latter may sound a little strange, especially being listed among a group of eateries and coffee shops as a great place to hang out, but it’s true. There is even a small statue at the corner of the mountain cabin housing the real estate company beckoning you… “Porch Sitters Welcome.”

It is here on the front porch that I often get the biggest recharge during a hectic week and enjoy moments of reflection on what makes this area special and what my mission with this magazine is all about. It’s the laid-back atmosphere among miles of unprecedented natural beauty that truly personifies the Lookout Mountain region.

This issue contains a lot of wonderful stories including our Kids’ View department on Cloudmont Ski Resort, the wonderful Mentone Inn, the many youth summer camps that have made this area famous and the much-heralded Wildflower Café. We also have a small feature highlighting a few of the places in Mentone that open in the winter – something unheard of a few years ago.

_Winter_2013_Page_03_Image_0004No matter the weather or the temperature, the mountain itself – and the porch at Mentone Realty, for that matter – never close. “My porch is always open,” says owner Charlotte Gentry. “I’ll drive by here on an evening or weekend when the office is closed, and there’ll be people here on the porch. We’ve had Scrabble competitions on the porch and artists painting out here or people playing music. That’s what a porch is for, to sit and visit and get to know people you don’t know and make new friends.”

Natural beauty, great people and a down-home atmosphere. It’s the culture we try to capture within the pages of this magazine. We hope you enjoy this issue and invite you to the Lookout Mountain area to experience it yourself. And if you go – please stop, sit a spell and savor it, sit a spell.