(As seen in Southern Living Magazine, December 2017)

Mountain towns and Christmas make a perfect pair. That’s especially true of Tennessee’s Monteagle Mountain and its tiny towns of Monteagle, Sewanee, Tracy City, and Cowan. Each year, people flock to this spot on the Cumberland Plateau, home of the University of The South, aka Sewanee. Take this winter pilgrimage to relax and breathe in the season’s beauty.

If you are lucky enough to get tickets, take in the spectacular annual Festival of Lessons and Carols held at Sewanee’s gorgeous All Saints Chapel on December 2 at 5 & 8 pm, and on December 3 at 5 pm. The service is modeled after the one first sung at Kings College in Cambridge England, in 1918 (sewanee.edu).

Christmas on the mountain is all about community and the parade thru Monteagle represents small town charm at its best. Admire hometown holiday floats of all sizes and themes.

Check out The Lemon Fair in Sewanee (thelemonfair.com). Monteagle’s Amish Hippie (facebook.com/theamishhippie) and Jim Oliver’s Smoke House Trading Post (thesmokehouse.com). In Sewanee Mooney’s Market & Emporium, with Organic Crescent Juice Bar at Mooney’s, located out back (mooneysmarketandemporium.com).

Tracy City’s Henry Flury & Sons Grocery is a general store/thrift shop/lunch stand (facebook.com/fluryandsons). Don’t miss the authentic regional food at Jim Oliver’s Smoke House Restaurant in Monteagle (thesmokehouse.com). For upscale fare, head to the iconic High Point Restaurant (highpointrestaurant.net).

The 43 guest rooms at the Sewanee Inn feature comfy beds and spa like baths, while exterior architectural flourishes mimic those of The University of the South (sewanee-inn.com). The Smoke House Lodge & Cabins offers a mountain lodge with 80 standard rooms and 23 vacation cabins for couples, families, and groups. Many of the 152 homes on the grounds of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly are available for rent during the off season. This woodland reserve was founded in 1882 (mssa1882.net).