Need a Digital Detox? Here’s Where to Go.

Here’s my 24 hour guide to Monteagle Mountain. Take a break from tech (looking at you, Nashville).

We recently shared our opinions on taking social media off your phones. TLDR; take social off your phone.

I personally have had social media (instagram, facebook, snapchat, and tiktok) on my phone for as long as I’ve had a phone – around 13 years. As I am slowly trying to adapt to doing away with socials on my phone, I have found myself with a few extra hours a day that I have dedicated to learning how to knit and reading more.

Living in the tech savvy city of Nashville, I have a feeling we all need less screens in our lives. As we start the new year, why not take a break and unplug from technology on Monteagle Mountain?

Sewanee: A Hidden Gem in Middle Tennessee

Located on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee is a small town called Sewanee. It is nestled off highway 24 an hour and a half from Nashville towards Chattanooga. Often when mentioned, people are unfamiliar with it or only know a few basic facts. Most people know it as real life Hogwarts due to the architecture and Gowning tradition. If you have never heard of the town or had the chance to visit, hopefully this article will help give you an idea of what you have been missing and persuade you to take a trip to Monteagle Mountain. 

It is my favorite place in North America, but it truly is a magical place…I’ve confirmed this with multiple people.

I may be biased in my perception of Sewanee because it is my favorite place in North America, but it truly is a magical place…I’ve confirmed this with multiple people. The town of Sewanee was built around The University of the South, a small liberal arts college founded in 1857 that roughly 2,000 students attend today. The serene beauty of the Sewanee Domain, consisting of 13,000 acres, is the perfect spot to disconnect and reconnect with nature.

Before I get into details on what to do with 24 hours in Sewanee, take a second to google “Sewanee Domain images”, so you have a better understanding of the place.

Best Time of Year to Visit

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I suggest planning your visit in the Spring or Fall to fully experience the Sewanee Domain. Capture the new blooms and fields of daffodils in the spring, or the flood of orange, red, and yellow leaves filling the sky during the autumn season.  

When you set out on your road trip, it is probably a good idea to put on a playlist that embodies Monteagle Mountain. Lucky for you, I happen to have one. This playlist I found on Spotify is a nice place to start – plenty of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash to help you set the tone.

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Driving through the Gates

As you arrive onto the Sewanee domain, you will drive through the gates that welcome you to the mountain.

Sewanee custom is to tap the roof of your car as you enter or leave through the gates to release or take with you your Sewanee angel. Rumor has it they protect you wherever you go when not on the domain.

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Now is a good time to do a quick drive down University Ave. You will pass by a few dorms, themed houses, and buildings filled with classrooms. The big show stopper is All Saints Chapel. I highly recommend parking on the road and walking through the Chapel to admire the architecture and beautifully crafted stained glass windows. 

Walk around Campus

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Since you’re already located on central campus, you need to take a stroll through campus and admire the rest of the stone buildings and landscape (make sure to stop by the Rain Garden designed and built by my friend, Ashley Fox, as a sustainability fellowship!).

On your walk, make an effort to go in the direction of Stirlings. Depending on what time you arrived, Stirlings, the yellow coffee house, is the perfect stop for a delicious breakfast or lunch.

My favorite items on the menu are the Fiery Gizzard Sandwich, Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwich, and the Crunchy Salad. You also can’t go wrong with one of their specialty lattes. I suggest the “Cool Sewanee Morning.” Whatever you decide on at Stirlings there are no wrong choices. 

Time for a Hike

When visiting Sewanee, taking a hike is a requirement that you cannot skip out on. The university has multiple hiking trails to choose from, but I would suggest staying on the Perimeter trail– a 20 mile loop surrounding central campus. 

Now, for only 24 hours in Sewanee, I would not suggest doing the entire 20 miles, but also dedicating your day to a long hike isn’t a bad idea. 

This easier hike will include vegetation, boulders, and pretty views.

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If you want to keep things on the easier side, a good first time Sewanee hike I suggest is the Cross to Morgan’s Steep. You’ll start parked at the cross where the view in itself could suffice for an entire hike and find the trail to Morgan’s Steep. This hike will include vegetation, boulders, and pretty views. 

If you’d like to extend the hike further, travel down to Bridal Veil where you’ll see an intense underground creek that flows into a large waterfall. I suggest dedicating as much time to the hike as you can.

Relax, Chat, and Sip

After a day of exploration you’ll be hungry and tired. The perfect casual dining experience will help you replace those calories you burned during your hike. 

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Shenanigans is Sewanee’s “easy-going, long-running hangout offering draft beers.” I suggest anything under “fried stuff” and sharing a pitcher of whatever local beer they’re serving. The outdoor seating at dusk is one of my favorite Sewanee sunset spots. Check out the multiple board and card games Shenanigans offers to entertain yourself for before and after your delicious meal. 

I hope you decide to stay the night in one of the close-by Airbnb cabins to cap the night with a campfire and enjoy the crisp air and starry night. As you leave Sewanee, carry the serenity of the mountain with you, stay at least partially unplugged from technology, and return to a more relaxed and rejuvenated reality.

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