Middle Tennessee is full of breathtaking locations. Sewanee is one of my favorites. There are few places where I feel more connected than this mountain town. It has it all, from outdoor recreation to some of the most beautiful architecture in the state. The campus of the University of the South is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. There are so many things to do in Sewanee, but I’m going to give you a run down of my favorites. Please Note: This post contains Affiliate links.
Where to Stay
Sewanee Inn – located next to a golf course, tennis courts, and hiking trails, the Sewanee Inn is a great place to stay. This hotel was renovated recently and has unbelievable views. Rooms start at around $170 per night and have amenities ranging from wireless internet to complimentary loaner bicycles.
Red Oak Hollow – this approximately 1000 square ft 2 bedroom cottage is located on 30 acres. Red Oak Hollow has native and butterfly gardens, stocked ponds (Catch and Release), and hardwood trees. They also provide Television, internet, and hammocks by the pond! Average nightly cost is $150. Search for them on VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner
Just a short drive outside of Sewanee puts you in Monteagle. There are nice places to stay there and still in easy driving distance to all of the things you want to do.
Smokehouse– this family owned property is conveniently located and has a restaurant on site. At the Smokehouse, you can stay in either a hotel room with all of the standard amenities, or a cabin if you want something a little more private. Rooms start around $80 nightly, but this price may vary depending on season.
Monteagle Inn & Retreat Center– Monteagle Inn & Retreat Center is a perfect setting to relax on the mountain. The Mediterranean atmosphere, Rocking chairs on the front porch, and beautiful gardens all lend the,selves to your complete relaxation. Rooms are around $165 and up.
Where to Eat
Ivy Wild – Open since 2010, Ivy Wild owner and chef Keri Downing has been creating amazing meals with seasonal and local ingredients. Add in the wonderful drink menu (try the Annie Oakley) and perfect service and you get a fine dining experience not to be missed. Although definitely in the higher price range, this is truly one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.
Crossroads Cafe – Crossroads Cafe is located right next door to Ivy Wild and serves Singaporean Cuisine. I like to start with the Shanghai Dumplings and finish with the Malay Chicken Curry. Both are excellent! Vegeterian options are also available.
Shennanigans – This iconic Blue Building has been a local favorite for years. Great Sandwiches, Cold Beer, and Good pie, what else could you want? How about a great atmosphere too! You can dine inside or enjoy your meal on the spacious upper level deck.
Blue Chair Cafe, Bakery, & Tavern – Tuesday Night Trivia, Craft Beer, free wifi, and Milk Shakes are all staples of this great little joint. They also sell Out of the Blue Granola which supports Blue Monarch, a long-term residential program for women and their children recovering from abuse and addictions.
Stirling’s-Owned by The University and staffed by students, Stirling’s Coffee Shop keeps the mountain supplied with great coffee drinks! My favorite is the All Saint’s. They also have sandwiches and small snack items.
What to Do in Sewanee
Perimeter Trail – running for 20 miles around “the domain”, the perimeter trail is excellent for hiking, biking (in select areas), and trail running. This trail has enough to keep you busy for a long time. Take the 3.5 mile loop hike through Shakerag Hollow, or hike from the Memorial Cross to Morgan’s Steep.
Mountain Goat Trail– a rail to trail project to convert an abandoned railroad right-of-way into a multi-use trail running straight through Sewanee on its way to Grundy County. Currently approximately 5 miles between Sewanee and Monteagle and is accessible to bikes, runners, and hikers. The ultimate goal for this trail is a 35 mile connector between Franklin and Grundy Counties.
Golf-The Course at Sewanee is a 9 hole course right on the campus that was renovated in 2013. Play a round in this picturesque setting.
Lemon Fair-A nice boutique featuring arts, crafts, and local items.
Locals-An Art Gallery featuring regional artists
Woody’s-Buy new or used bikes, rent a bike, or have your bike serviced here. Woody’s is the go to place for cyclists in the area.
Mountain Outfitters-Located just outside of Sewanee in Monteagle, Mountain Outfitters has all of the gear you need for outdoor recreation.
Mooney’s Market &Emporium – Natural Foods, yarn, antiques, this unique little stop on the road between Sewanee and Monteagle is definitely worth checking out.
Natural Bridge– is a natural sandstone arch with a span of 50 feet that provides a scenic overlook of Lost Cove. This area is part of the South Cumberland Recreation Area managed by the State of Tennessee. You may get a little light headed crossing this bridge (I do).
Memorial Cross – Located at the end of Tennessee Avenue is the Memorial Cross erected in 1922 to honor WWI soldiers who did not return home, now it honors every soldier from Franklin County died in war. Set over an amazing view of Cowan below, this is a must see.
Greens View – Located at the end of Green’s view Road you will find Green’s View overlook. This parking area also serves as a trail head for the Perimeter Trail. As much as I enjoy hiking, my favorite thing to do here is just sit and think.
All Saint’s Chapel – If you find some quiet time during your trip check out this Gothic Style Chapel. The inside is unbelievable, and word on the street is that there may be a Volkswagen Beetle in one of the pieces of stained glass (I have to go again to see this).
Lake Cheston – Perfect for a short walk around the lake, or a Summer swim, Lake Cheston is right off of Texas Ave. I have never seen this lake crowded, in fact we were just there during Homecoming weekend and only saw 2 or 3 other people at the lake.
Abbo’s Alley – Abbo’s Alley runs parallel to University Ave and Florida Ave and is almost magical. It is at its most beautiful in the Spring when the Dogwoods are in bloom, but worth visiting in any season. Stroll through during the Summer Music Festival, you might even get to hear some of the musicians. Do not miss this if you visit Sewanee.
University Cemetery – Across the street from Stirling’s is the University Cemetery. This beautiful moss covered cemetery is the final resting place for bishops, generals, and university officials. Take some time to learn the storied history (good and bad) of this beautiful university.
Did we miss something? What are your favorite places in Sewanee? Tell us in the comments.
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