- [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by.
- [Phil] I'm Tennessee Tech President, Phil Oldham.
Here in Cookeville, Tennessee's college town, we are bold, fearless, confident, and kind.
Tech prepares students for careers, by making everyone's experience personal.
We call that living wings up.
Learn more at tntech.edu.
- This time on "Tennessee Crossroads", our first stop is a Sumner County diner full of good food and local history.
Then it's off to Chattanooga to a park full of international art.
We'll discover the new life of an antebellum mansion in Lynchburg, and finally visit a business that's all about cedarwood.
Would you believe that?
Hi, I'm Joe Elmore, welcome again to "Tennessee Crossroads."
(gentle music) (music continues) For all the Tennessee history buffs out there, the name Lyncoya Jackson will ring a bell.
Well, some savvy restaurateurs in Sumner County have combined a love of history, and a love of great food in one eatery.
Miranda Cohen tells us the tale of Lyncoya Cafe.
(bright music) - [Miranda] Alexandra Sommese and Seth Yeargan are the owners of the busy Lyncoya Cafe on Sanders Ferry Road in Hendersonville.
This dynamic duo have plenty of restaurant experience between them.
In fact, that's how they met.
So when this spacious, well-lit location came on the market, they inked the deal both on the property, and on their dreams of owning their own eatery.
- I honestly knew with the partnership that Seth and I had, we were both non quitters.
We both will go to the end.
So I knew that we wouldn't let this place fail.
It's just a blessing.
It's, I would've never imagined.
I mean, I always wanted to open up something in my lifetime, and I didn't realize that at 28, I'd open up full service restaurant and it'd be a success.
- [Miranda] And if you think the name Lyncoya sounds familiar, you're right.
Lyncoya is the name of the Native American infant, orphaned during the Creek War in 1811.
Then commanding general, Andrew Jackson, took the child back to his home at the Hermitage.
- [Alexandra] A lot of people don't know the story of Lyncoya Jackson.
We like the story, we like the history.
We thought it applied to our location.
- [Miranda] The story of Lyncoya Jackson is printed on every menu, along with lots of savory favorites, sure to temp your taste buds with a great meal, and maybe even a midnight snack.
- [Alexandra] We wanted to do a bunch of American classics with our own spin on them.
We pretty much take American classics and we embellish them.
We make 'em bigger.
Like everyone's here always compliments our portion sizes.
They always go home with a to-go box.
You have leftovers.
- [Seth] You know, we're not trying to reinvent the wheel, we're just trying to serve some quintessential American classics.
But, you know, use real ingredients.
We make our own dressings, we make our own marinades, you know?
We have the beef here, of course, but we're not just doing just the burger.
You know, we marinate the beef in au jus for a while.
Make sure that it's, you know, nice and juicy, and has a little depth of flavor.
- [Miranda] At the Lyncoya Cafe, they serve up plenty of meat in three southern classics, like meatloaf, Mom Peggy's famous pot roasts, their signature firecracker chicken, and much more.
(upbeat music) - I really like the pot roast.
That's like one of my favorite things.
It's just comfort food.
It's really, really good.
I also like their fish and chips, it's nice, and their french fries are really good.
- [Miranda] There's also a colossal burger.
- [Alexandra] It's two big patties, cheese, everything topping, all these add-ons.
- [Miranda] Crispy and delicate fish and chips.
- [Alexandra] You can't go many places and find a good fish and chips.
We have a really awesome beer-batter on our haddock and it's people love it.
(bright music) - [Miranda] But it was Seth's trip to Canada that inspired one of their most popular dishes.
- [Alexandra] He fell in love with poutine, like most people do, and he decided we've gotta have it here.
No one else is doing it here.
And we did it in our own fashion.
And yeah, it's our top-selling appetizer for sure.
- That's poutine.
It's french fries with, uh, roast beef gravy with pieces of roast beef in it, with the fried onions on top.
I get it every time I come in here, which is a lot.
- [Alexandra] Everything here is going to be high quality ingredients.
Our big, big salad that everyone knows is the Lyncoya Cobb, a loaded Cobb salad and that's always super fresh.
So yeah, it's really important that you have very top tier ingredients.
Everything is sourced locally.
The only thing that's not, are our Amoroso rolls.
They're shipped from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and you can't do a Philly without it.
It's that squishy, nice, beautiful bread.
- Everybody gets it wrong down south.
They don't use the right bread.
You have to get the bread in from Philadelphia.
Six pieces of cheese.
- Their secret is definitely getting out in Sumner County.
The Lyncoya Cafe is quickly becoming a hotspot and a must stop on foodie travel lists, both for the delicious abundant menu items, and also to take in some of the famous Tennessee treasures adorning the walls.
Like this giant wall clock that announced the time at Twitty City for decades.
It said things naturally find their way home and that's exactly what happened with this huge cuckoo clock on the wall.
Alexandra and Seth found this at an antique shop in Manchester.
It had once belonged to Conway Twitty and lived here in Twitty City.
So it was just like coming home.
(upbeat music) - [Alexandra] I think we've changed the mindset of a millennial business owner in a lot of people's eyes.
For someone to believe in us, especially us being young, young business owners, um, it's really remarkable.
It's a different feeling than walking into a, um, a corporate restaurant.
You know, this mom-and-pop feel, the local feel, feel everyone and their mother wants that.
- Thanks a lot, Miranda.
When we travel the state, sometimes we run across a place we assume everybody must know about but we're often surprised how few actually do.
Laura Faber found such a place while traveling through Chattanooga.
Now it's a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
It is full of international art.
(soothing music) (music continues) - [Laura] In the shadow of Lookout Mountain in downtown Chattanooga in the heart of an industrial area, sits 33 acres full of art, sculptures from renowned artists from around the world.
- Welcome to Sculpture Fields at Montague Park.
It's a vision of John and Pamela Henry.
It's owned by the city of Chattanooga.
This is actually a Chattanooga public park that was deeded to the city in the early 1900s by Mary Montague as remembrance to her husband.
And this used to be just a spectacular beautiful piece of property with live trees, live oaks and hickory trees, a creek running through it.
And she dedicated this piece of land to the city for the city residents to have an oasis and a, and a place of peace and calm within the city of Chattanooga.
- [Laura] Board member Jay Heavilon says that progress was not kind to the park.
At one point, the city used it as a landfill and it became a brownfield, an environmental hazard, was actually shut down in 2003.
But in 2006, the idea was borne by an internationally acclaimed sculptor, the late John Henry to transform this acreage with art.
(gentle music) - I think now it's a surprise to most people when they come out here and they're like, this is amazing.
And it is amazing.
- After years of environmental repair, texturing of the land and John Henry asking his sculptor friends to help fill the park, Sculpture Fields opened to the public in 2016.
Now it is the largest sculpture park in the southeast.
The first installation in the park is the work of John Henry himself.
This is 'Bette Davis Eyes', 70 feet of steel, his medium of choice but it didn't take long for one sculpture to become 40.
And the park continues to grow.
(machine whirring) The most monumental piece in the park is 'Anchors' by Peter Lundberg, at 75 feet tall, it can be seen from the interstate.
- [Jay] It was done a few years ago as a reaction to the fallen five when we had the incident where the military recruiting officers were attacked here by a gunman and he killed five local officers.
And so the community came together and did various fallen five remembrances.
And John had one of his friends come down here and construct this, actually in the park and then lifted and put it in place.
There's a time capsule underneath it and a remembrance for the fallen five.
(gentle music) - [Laura] The park is open 365 days a year, free and all are welcome, pets and kids included.
- Rowan, do you remember the name of this one?
- Yeah, Lime Green Wedding Cake.
- Lime Green wedding Cake - Lime Green Wedding Cake.
- [Laura] Christopher Stewart is leading an annual summer camp at the park.
- The kids have really like adopted this park as their own which I find awesome.
Chloe, you gonna crawl underneath it.
So just about every week we do a tour of, of the statues.
And then normally on Friday, they want to go do a second lap of everything.
They've got their own names for them all.
They love the little maps, being able to, you know, try to figure out where they are.
We've done some stuff with some compasses and landmarks as far as using the sculptures.
They think they're great.
They like trying to figure out what they look like.
The statues call least amount of space.
Let's see who can curl up into the smallest ball and take up the least amount of space.
Who can take up the least amount of space?
- [Laura] As a nonprofit, the park relies on donations, a skeleton staff and volunteers to maintain the sculptures.
It offers spectacular fundraising events like the 'Burn'.
- [Jay] It's like a 'Burning Man' celebration where we have a local artist, creates a small maquette of what we intend to build.
And then he builds a large 20, 30 foot version of it.
And we have bands out here and fire-eaters and fire parade.
And we get a large crowd and at 10 o'clock at night, we light it on fire and it takes a half an hour for the thing to burn completely up and crumble to the ground.
- [Laura] Sculpture Fields at Montague Park is a vibrant space to find peace, art, and community.
- [Jay] I think it's a beautiful gift to the community.
I think this fulfills the Montague dream.
The Montague family members that we know that are still in town, think this is a beautiful use of the land and they support it very much and we're glad to have their support and, and, and we hope they're proud of it as we are for the legacy of Mary Montague who started all this.
(soft music) - Thanks a lot, Laura.
You know, all too often historic homes are bulldozed in the name of progress or just left to wither away.
Well, Cindy Carter met a young family in Lynchburg that has repurposed an antebellum mansion as a wedding and event venue.
Well, the place is aptly named 'Promise Manor'.
(soft music) - [Cindy] For decades, people in Lynchburg, Tennessee drove by this old home on Motlow Barn Road every day but paid little attention to it.
Though they saw it often, they just didn't really see it anymore.
Owner Kayla White admits she rarely gave the old place a second glance.
- I grew up here, I've passed this house a million times but I had no idea that it was still here or even the history.
- [Cindy] Now Kayla and her husband Dennis think about the house and grounds every single day.
The couple bought the old Green Evans Hudgens home in 2018, renovated it and turned it into a wedding and event space that celebrates promises, (all laughing) the ones made between couples, between friends, between families.
- I wanted to create an experience for our guests.
A lot of people are craving being able to be in a home that's feels like grandmas.
It creates this sense of peace and calm.
So my whole thing was I went to my husband and I said how can we create a place that actually gives people an experience?
(cheerful music) - [Cindy] The place is now called 'Promise Manor', a space that provides a home for events like baby showers, weddings, engagements and other celebrations.
(cheerful music) (music continues) And Kayla and Dennis say they had no idea how full of promise this place actually was when they decided to take a risk.
- My husband and I had started kind of a spiritual journey into figuring out what God had planned for our lives.
And we knew, we knew that whatever the plan was, it was gonna be great.
And we knew that it was a promise from God.
We always say that our first child is our first promise.
And once we purchased this place, we knew it was our second promise.
- [Cindy] Kayla says she always had a passion for event planning and she and Dennis decided to follow that passion straight to a very crowded local auction.
- I was like, there's no way, there's too many people here.
- [Cindy] But when the time came, Kayla excitedly raised her panel and heard the word that changed her life, "Sold".
- Auction started and we raised our paddle and we were the only one in the air.
- I cannot believe, this news is actually a shock.
I was like, oh my gosh, really?
- [Cindy] Kayla and Dennis had the right place to grow their event planning business but the time wasn't quite right.
There was a lot of work to be done.
- [Dennis] But it's been really exciting.
I've really enjoyed taking care of it, always painting, doing something, fixing something.
So it's what I'd like to do.
- [Cindy] Once they started renovations, only then did Dennis and Kayla fully understand the history they had in their hands.
- So this house was built in 1858 and it was the home to Miss Mary Bobo.
And if you know anything about Lynchburg, you know Miss Mary Bobo's boarding house, she was the sole proprietor of the boarding house.
And it has now become a nationally renowned restaurant.
(upbeat music) - [Cindy] Original owner Townsend Port Green moved to the area from West Virginia and started a local lumber company.
After the Civil War, he lost his fortune and sold it to the aforementioned Miss Mary Bobo's father, Daniel Evans, who commissioned a young artist to make the home look and feel a bit more stylish.
His solution, these unique landscapes.
- Mr. Evans commissioned Fred Swanton.
Fred was about 20 to 25 years old when he moved to Lynchburg.
And Fred was from Buffalo, New York.
He was a circus cart painter.
And Mr. Evans hired him and then wherever he would paint, it's where he would board.
And so they were painted in 1888.
And if you notice, there's seven murals painted in the Wainscoting.
- These landscapes aren't just beautiful, they're unique.
This house, the Hinkle-Price House also in Lynchburg and a Bedford County home are the only three spots in Tennessee that can claim this type of mural.
(soft music) - People just enjoy being in a place where they don't have to worry about decorating and coming in and creating this huge thing because when they walk in here, it's kind of already set.
(soft music) - [Cindy] These days the old house that once blended into the Moore County landscape is much harder to ignore.
The Whites invite a new generation to take a second look and notice just how full of promise 'Promise Manor' really is.
(bright music) (music continues) - And that's what we want everyone to know when they walk through these doors, that there is a purpose and there is a plan and that's why you're here.
And so we're thankful for this journey and we're thankful for everyone that we're getting to meet.
(soft music) - Cedar is a soft wood that smells good and it's a natural insect repellent.
In the hands of one of the Greer brothers, well, it's transformed into Adirondack chairs, swings and more.
Our last stop is a shop just south of Nashville, a family business simply named 'The Cedar Place'.
(soft music) It looks good, smells good, and even repels insects.
It's Tennessee red cedar and it's used for everything from cedar chest to traditional outdoor furniture.
For one Middle Tennessee family, it's been the source of quality handcrafted furniture for several decades.
- Cedar is a great wood for outside.
It will last a long time.
Back in the day, people would have cedar fence post and that lasts forever.
But the good thing about our furniture is you can buy an Adirondack chair and it'll be around 15, 20 years from now if you just take care of it.
- [Joe] Then there's the unmistakable aroma.
- Our cedar chest, if you open the lid, the smell just stays in there and people put their blankets and their keepsakes and things in there and the smell just stays.
- [Joe] That's Danny Greer, who proudly carries on a tradition started by his late father.
Bobby Greer worked here a couple of decades before taking over the business in 1972.
Today, his quality work ethic still rules.
- [Danny] The thing about our furniture is it's very well made.
Now usually companies that make furniture, they'll make it and try to make it cheaper and cheaper as time goes on.
But what we've always done is increase the quality in it and may, it may be thicker, uh, heavier duty nails and bolts and things like that.
- [Joe] Although according to Danny, folks just aren't sitting outside like they used to.
- I think back in the day, people spent more time outside with family and stuff.
But as time has gone on, people are more staying inside with their air conditioning 'cause they just can't handle the heat, myself included, I have a swing on my front porch but I seldom sit in it unless it's just early in the morning.
- You know what they say, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
And to turn out a swing this cool, takes a lot more time, talent and patience than you might imagine.
(drill machine whirring) Today brother Nathan is making swings in the workshop.
He's here full-time, doing a job he wanted since early childhood.
- Man, I was up here when I was five.
I wanted to be a part of it.
(machine whirring) - [Joe] All the wood used has to go through a planer to ensure its specified thickness from end to end.
(machine revs) Next, Nathan's gonna make slats for the seat and back.
After marking each piece according to a pattern, he uses a band saw to cut them to shape.
Over at the drill press, he can make holes for the fasteners.
Then he sands each piece carefully and completely.
- [Danny] Cedar has a lot of knots in it and some are good and some are bad.
Some will come out.
This have to be real cautious about it.
- [Joe] Now Nathan can start putting things together and because of its softness, it's important to drill pilot holes first before these galvanized nails go in.
(hammering) This swing will have a curve in the back for better comfort.
And that's all thanks to a younger Danny and his dad.
- And I was like, I'd say 13, 14 years old.
It was time for us to make a new pattern for swings.
So he sat me down and he traced my back.
And that's the shape of the swing today.
- [Joe] With the body finished, Nathan nails on that swing's arms.
And after some hardware, a frame and a finish, this thing will be ready to swing into action.
- [Nathan] You can get two different type of finishes, one is an old oil finish which is a mixture of Thompson's wood preserve and we add boiled linseed oil to it.
And the other finish is a varnish finish which is a polyurethane, exterior oil-based polyurethane, we put four coats on it.
(machine whirring) - [Joe] Saw milling makes for a lot of shavings which never go to waste.
The Greers bag 'em up, weigh 'em and sell 'em to customers like Paula Underwood Winners.
- I use the cedar shavings for my dog house because it keeps the fleas at bay.
And I also use it for the chickens to lay on.
So a little bit of everything.
- [Joe] Speaking of animals, Cedar Place dog houses are another consistent seller.
Plus they make smaller items like checker sets, toys and even a coat rack.
Danny and Nathan both hope to continue the family business started by their father, even though things haven't turned out exactly as planned.
- So his plan was to get this business going and get us all into it.
It didn't happen that way, but we've all worked here on and off at one time or another in our lives and my dad would be very proud I'm sure.
- You find very few places that still exist like this.
So just having that, that feeling of being back at the old times when you could get good handcrafted chairs and benches and swings, it just feels good, you know, it's like stepping back in time.
- Well, that's gonna have to do it for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads."
Thanks a lot for joining us.
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(upbeat music) (music continues) (soft music) - [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by.
- [Phil] I'm Tennessee Tech President, Phil Oldham.
Here in Cookeville, Tennessee's college town, we are bold, fearless, confident, and kind.
Tech prepares students for careers by making everyone's experience personal.
We call that living wings up.
Learn more at tntech.edu.