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- [Joe Elmore] This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we visit a Williamson County piece of paradise called Owl's Hill. Then we discover how you can camp with the comforts of home near Smyrna, and take in a decades-old fried fish tradition in Nashville. Hi everybody. I'm Joe Elmore. That's what's in store on this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. Well, now more than ever, many of us feel the need to get outside and experience some nature. We're lucky to have many places in our great state to do that. And in our first story, Laura Faber takes us to a peaceful place in Williamson County called Owl's Hill. - [Emcee] Who loves animals? - [Kids] I do! - [Emcee] Who loves nature? - [Kids] I do! - [Laura Faber] Take a group of three-to-five year olds, add one gorgeous day, plus a pigeon named Murray, and you get the best field trip ever. This is the Knee-High Naturalist program at Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary in Brentwood, Tennessee. On this day, it's all about birds. The kids learn which feather belongs to what bird. They have a snack, take a hike and explore the property. - [Susan Duvenhage] Our whole mission is to protect the habitat and the wildlife, and along the way, connect people with nature so that they learn more about what their surroundings are here, and hopefully learn more after they leave here, take it own their own backyards and want to protect places like this. - [Laura Favor] Susan Duvenhage, Executive Director of Owl's Hill, says the wildlife habitat preserve was donated by a woman named Huldah Cheek. Her intent was that this property would be protected forever. - [Susan Duvenhage] It's protected in the sense that it's never gonna be developed. Our founder was Huldah Cheek Sharp, as in Cheekwood. And when she and Walter gave Nashville Cheekwood and they bought 160 acres out here, her dream was for this to be a place for the wildlife and their habitats. And so to this day, we try to balance that human impact with protecting the space for the wildlife. - [Laura Faber] Today, the sanctuary has grown to 300 acres, a home to more than 2000 species of flora and fauna. You see multiple nest boxes scattered throughout the property. Owl's Hill is in its 30th year of aviary research, conducting bird counts and banding. The abundant milkweed lends itself to a monarch study with the University of Wisconsin. And conservation is a big part of the sanctuary, too. - [Susan Duvenhage] A lot of our work on the protection and conservation side is actually removing invasives. If you are looking for a workout these days, I can connect you with a weed wrench, and you can have at it to your heart's content. So it is getting rid of invasive species, because when that happens then the native growth starts to come back. - [Laura Faber] It took a lot of work to create Owl's Hill. This was a cattle farm until 1988, when a naturalist was hired, and the restoration began. Over the years, there are more than a hundred Eagle Scout projects that have helped transform this property. This is one of the most recent: this informational kiosk. - [Susan Duvenhage] When Cheekwood hired their first executive director, their first naturalist, one of her jobs was to try and take back the land, so to speak. And an Eagle Scout back in 1991 was looking for an Eagle Scout project, and she said, "do I have a project for you?" And it was to try and start to remove the fencing that was just crisscrossing across the land. And that was really the start of the revitalization of Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary. And today we, I think we're up to over 124, 125 Eagle Scouts who continue to this day, to help us make this a vital and engaging place to come explore nature. - [Laura Faber] And then there is the name. It came from the many wild owls you hear day and night. Though Owl's Hill is not set up to rehab wildlife, a small number of non-releasable, native owls and other animals do live on site. Boomerang, a gorgeous great horned owl, will spend the rest of her days here. - [Susan Duvenhage] The most touching story is our great horned owl, who a family, good intentions, bad outcome. They found her as a fledgling, probably when she was learning to fly, which typically you'll find them at a base of a tree, and good-hearted people think that they've been thrown out of a nest or abandoned when actually it's part of the natural process of learning how to fly. They decided to keep her. And I think when they started to see those talons developing and the strength of that beak, they realized they were over their heads and turned her over to a rehabber, which unfortunately at that time she is so imprinted on them that she has no idea how to hunt or defend herself. So I think it was when she was found in a local shopping center near a restaurant, looking for food, that that was the last straw. - [Laura Faber] Julie Eperjesi, Director of Education at Owl's Hill, shows off Shakespeare, a beautiful barred owl who will also live forever here due to an injured wing. - [Julie Eperjesi] Her wing is damaged too severe, to to be able to fly again, you know, but our owls here, they get the best medical care. They never go hungry or thirsty. And in exchange for that, you know, people get to meet them up close, because this is an animal that you just rarely see in the wild. Now you might hear them, but it's very hard to see them. - [Laura Faber] With feathers all over her body, except her talons, beak and eyeballs, Shakespeare not only has exceptional hearing, but a super power. The secret weapon of all owls is their silent flight. Their prey literally cannot hear them coming. - [Julie Eperjesi] They're famous for the, "who cooks for you," "who cooks for you all?" And you can hear them all day long. We've heard them in the morning, afternoon and evening time, very unique vocalization. - [Laura Faber] Whether it's the birds, or the purple asters covered with butterflies and bees, this is a peaceful place. A day pass will allow you to come hike the many trails, read and lunch in the meadows, or sign up for one of the many programs on the calendar. Like a Marshmallow Hike, build a bluebird box, and yes programs for kids. Owl's Hill is the perfect place to hit your reset button and marvel over Mother Nature. - [Susan Duvenhage] You know, during these times, I think if anything there's a reawakened craving for spending time outdoors. And I think it reminds us all of the emotional and the physical benefits that just being outdoors can do for all of us. - Thanks, Laura. Well, I'm joined again by my friend and NPT colleague Will Pedigo, as we enter week three of our Keep Crossroads Traveling campaign. Now, the countdown begins though. If you haven't called the number on your screen or clicked at tennesseecrossroads.org/donate, I hope we can encourage you to do so right now. - That's right. We've set a goal of 350 contributions from viewers like you, so we can keep Crossroads traveling throughout 2021 and beyond. And we have until Sunday, February 7th, to get there. If we make it, we'll keep Tennessee Crossroads on the air throughout our March pledge here at Nashville Public Television. And I have to say, I've seen the schedules and we're banking on making that goal, but we need to hear from you. Call the number on your screen or make a contribution at tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. - We have already heard from 178 folks who have stepped up and joined the Crossroads family here at Nashville Public Television. But you know what? Now it's your turn. 350 contributions of any amount helps us reach our goal and helps keep Tennessee Crossroads on the road and kickoff another great year, serving our mission to bring you the best stories we can possibly find. - You know, and that's right. Nashville Public Television is the home of Tennessee Crossroads and we know how much the show means to the fans because we see the loyalty of viewers who watch each week and make Tennessee Crossroads one of the most-watched, locally-produced public television shows in the country. That's a big deal. And that mission that Joe talked about really fits in with what we do here at NPT, trying to bring you great stories that are focused on the lives of our community. You're a huge part of what we do, and we need to hear from you now. Not everybody's gonna contribute, we know that, but the folks that do make this service possible for everyone. So make a gift to your community by supporting the work of NPT, Joe, and the Crossroads crew. Call the number on your screen or pledge online at tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. Whatever's most convenient for you. And to thank you for your pledge of support, we have some great ways to say thanks. Joe, you wanna do the honors? - I'd be glad to, Will. You can help keep Crossroads traveling with a financial gift that's just right for you. Donate at any amount and you'll receive a Tennessee Crossroads official traveler sticker. At $60 a year or $5 a month, we'll thank you with a Tennessee Crossroads baseball cap. At the $72 level or $6 a month, you can show your support and keep Crossroads traveling with this polyester-blend, short-sleeve t-shirt. Another way we have of saying thanks for an $84 annual gift or $7 a month, is this 16-ounce glass tumbler with a Crossroads logo. You can put that pint glass to good use at NPT's Tennessee Crossroads Brews & Bites on Thursday, February 11th at 7:00 PM. You'll enjoy a three-course dinner at home, paired with a curated selection of craft beer, all for a contribution of $50 for one ticket or $75 for two tickets. For more great pairings, you can choose both the Tennessee Crossroads t-shirt and the pint glass for an annual gift of $144. That's $12 a month, or you don't have to choose at all. You can have all three of our Tennessee Crossroads thank you gifts at the $204 level, or $17 a month. - You know, these gifts are our way of saying thanks to you all for watching and making Tennessee Crossroads what it is today. With your story ideas, your willingness to join Joe and the Tennessee Crossroads crew on new adventures each week. Your contribution to the station makes it all happen here at Nashville Public Television. - Help us meet our goal of 350 supporters at any level. We have until Sunday, February 7th to get there. Call in at the number below, or you can also contribute online anytime, tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. - And we have something fun we're doing to celebrate reaching our goal. The week after we wrap up this mission to keep Crossroads traveling, Joe and I will be raising those Crossroads pint glasses celebrating everything you love on Nashville Public Television with a special Brews & Bites Tennessee Crossroads event. - That's right, Will. On Thursday, February 11th, Butchertown Hall will be creating a three-course dinner that you can enjoy right at home. Each course was paired with a craft beer selection, and folks at Nashville Brewing Company will be guiding us through the tasting event starting at 7:00 PM, Thursday, February 11th. - I can't wait. And Joe will be hosting the virtual event. For those of you that would like to participate we'd be honored to send you a ticket as our way of saying thanks for your gift of $50, or we'll send you two tickets for a contribution of $75. Either way, you'll be enjoying a great night of food and drink and you'll be helping us meet our goal of 300 contribution, 350 contributions to Nashville Public Television as we keep Crossroads traveling in 2021. - Gonna be a great time. And hopefully, together, we can celebrate reaching our Tennessee Crossroads goal of 350 contributions, and kick off another great year of Tennessee Crossroads on the air, on NPT. - You know, Joe, we've accomplished a lot over this last year, and it's been exciting to see new talented storytellers joining the Crossroads crew. - Will, no doubt. This year, we're honored to have Laura Faber join the team. Now, she brings a ton of experience and passion to the show. And actually, I took a moment to ask her what makes stories on Tennessee Crossroads so special for her. - So what makes a great Crossroads story? It is a story that you would only hear about if you were off the beaten path. So it's not corporate, it's not big retail, it's not something that everybody knows about. These are the restaurants that only the locals know about, the artists that have a really dedicated, loyal following. And then, what does make it a great story? Is there a bit of unique Tennessee history that we can tell people about? Is the proprietor living out a dream, a passion that they've always wanted to do and they figured out a way to make a living doing it? But I'll tell you what, it's an honor to tell the stories. They're all positive and unique, and we love to be able to surprise people with something unique about the state. - That's so great. I can't wait to see the stories Laura Faber will share on Tennessee Crossroads in 2021. And now we need to hear from you as part of the Crossroads crew to help keep Crossroads traveling in 2021 and beyond. So, pick a gift, or an amount to contribute that's right for you, and reach out by calling the number on your screen, or you can go online anytime at tennesseecrossroads.org/donate, and consider becoming a sustaining member at Nashville Public Television. What that means is you can pick an amount that you're comfortable giving on a monthly basis. So $5 a month, or $10 a month, whatever amount is comfortable for you. And then that donation continues until you change it. You don't have to worry about whether you've made a contribution and you're providing NPT a firm foundation to bring you more great shows like Tennessee Crossroads. - Oh, and don't forget, Tennessee Crossroads is also available online at our website, tennesseecrossroads.org. We have episodes, stories available. You can also see all those thank you gifts we have for your support of the show. Also, feel free to reach out to us on our Facebook page at TN Crossroads, where you can always find out where we're headed on the next show, and you can share your own story ideas. Well, your support makes all of this possible. Call the number on your screen, or online, anytime, tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. - And don't forget: we'd love to have you join us on Thursday, February 11th as we celebrate the show with a special Tennessee Crossroads Brews & Bites event that you can enjoy at home. All the details and tickets, if you'd like to support the show at tennesseecrossroads.org/donate, or call the number on your screen. You still have time to reach out, but Joe it's time for us to hit the road again. Where are we heading next? - Well, ever heard the term "glamping?" Well, it's camping with some comforts of home, actually. As Danielle Allen tells us, you'll feel right at home at Pomelo Grove. - [Danielle Allen] You know that old saying, "good things come in small packages?" Well, they do at this place. This is Pomelo Grove in Smyrna, where you can go off the grid, but not so far off that you lose the comforts of home. - [Erin Wolff] Pomelo Grove is a boutique eco camp, where lodgings consist of brand new camper builds that are decorated and stocked with the amenities that you might find in a boutique hotel room. So, I like to tell people that my experience is a boutique hotel room experience in a campground setting. And so you get the best of both worlds. - [Danielle Allen] That world is managed by Erin Wolff, the owner of Pomelo Grove. She has three campers, and each one is 150 square feet. Now, that doesn't sound very big, but you can fit a lot in there. - [Erin Wolff] Well, my campers have a queen-size bed with a memory foam mattress, organic cotton sheets, stocked with fluffy towels, biodegradable, really nice bath products. [Danielle Allen] Think that's it? Nope. There's more. - [Erin Wolff] I also have an artisan s'mores kit, a coffee roast, a selection of teas. I have a snack bar. I also have stocked the campers with board games, and a record player with records, and coloring books, and all of those amenities that make you feel really comfortable that you wouldn't have, obviously, if you're staying in a tent. - [Danielle Allen] Every inch of this camper is well thought out. Like this area. During the day, it's your table, but at night, put another cushion here and you've got a bed for the kids. - [Erin Wolff] I love the layout of the campers, where you feel cozy in your bed space, but then you have your kitchen space, and I'm happy that we were able to achieve really a comfortable space that's easy to live in, even though it is really small. - [Danielle Allen] Another thing that's really small? The impact on the environment. Erin goes out of her way to be eco-friendly. Everything from water conservation, to biodegradable products, she's got it covered. - [Erin Wolff] All of my products mostly are refillable, so I'm not putting little shampoo bottles that are thrown away each time. They're in aluminum containers that are refilled. Same thing with my snack bar. I clean and wash the glass jars between each guest so that I'm not throwing away, extra packaging and things like that. - [Danielle Allen] Before taking on the world of glamping, Erin worked retail in New York. But, when she moved to Nashville, she decided to sell something different. Something you can't buy in a store. - [Erin Wolff] I felt kind of tired with the business of selling things that people don't really need anymore. The other thing that attracted me to this business was selling an experience that creates memories and creates energy and joy. Things that are really priceless. - [Danielle Allen] It was now time to roll up her sleeves and make this dream a reality. Erin took a hands-on approach from beginning to end, spending countless hours, nailing, painting, putting up wallpaper, and making the campers come to life. - [Erin Wolff] Looking good. Painting is going good. I just finished ceilings. - [Danielle Allen] It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. - [Erin Wolff] It's that feeling of accomplishment, of working on this for three years and finally having it real in the world, and actually serving customers is, it's such a good combination feeling of accomplishment even though it's this tiny phase one, but accomplishment of bringing this to fruition and like, sticking with it after so many roadblocks and hardships. But then that combined with just like, the joy of people, getting it, getting this dream that I've had floating in my head and having an amazing time and leaving so refreshed and invigorated and reconnected with people and nature. And so having both of those things happen right now has been really amazing. - [Danielle Allen] Once the campers were done, Erin knew right away that Bloomsbury Farm was the place to set up shop. You can hike on the gravel road toward the greenhouse, and even say hello to the baby goats hanging around. And at the end of the day, you can head over to the fire pit to enjoy nature and some friendly company. - [Erin Wolff] Every night, everybody gathers around the fire pit and enjoys my artisan s'mores kits. It's been amazing to watch people who don't know each other gather around the fire. And sometimes I'll be about to fall asleep hearing people laughing, and having such a great time with these new friends, and that just warms my heart because I want to cultivate a community of fun and joy and laughter. And I'm just happy that I'm attracting the kind of people that want to have that kind of experience. - [Danielle Allen] No matter how you choose to unwind, Erin is usually nearby making sure your time at Pomelo Grove goes smoothly. - [Erin Wolff] Hi. - [Camper] Hi. How are you? - [Erin Wolff] Good, how are you? - [Camper] Good. - [Erin Wolff] One of my personal missions is to show love through hospitality, and so that's really how I treat my guests, and how I like frame my existence here is using this experience to show love. - [Camper] She has done such an amazing job like, to the detail, like the tiniest little details, it's so thought through and it's just, I mean I love the wallpapers, that makes it so fun. The color schemes and how they're different, and just, um, tie in with even the outside. Um, the beds are so comfortable, and it's just like a little home like, away from home. - [Danielle Allen] And when it's time to say goodbye to that home away from home, guests can grab a pen and write about it all in the guest book. Those smiling faces and notes of gratitude are a reminder to Erin that she's headed in the right direction. But for everyone else, it's a reminder that sometimes you need a getaway. So you can see the good things that come in small packages. - Thanks, Danielle. It takes something special to keep a family-owned business thriving for 47 years, especially when it has an out of the way location, limited seating, and a menu with basically one item: fish. But that's what attracts people from all over Nashville to Ed's Fish and Pizza House. Whether they dine in or carry out, they swear by its supremacy, and they know better than to order pizza. - Music City might be famous for hot chicken, but on this corner of North Nashville, hot fish has been the star of the show since 1972. That's when the late Ed Morris, Senior, opened Ed's Fish and Pizza House. Later, in the early 90s, due to health problems, Ed sold the place to his nephew, Anthony Drumwright, who now operates it with his wife, Pam. - Neither one of us had even a thought of going into the restaurant business. It was trial and error. Ed, the younger Ed was still here. The older Ed was, you know, feeble and so he was here and he kind of taught us the ropes. And he did the spaghetti. We did, we do our own spaghetti. So he had a recipe for that. The fish had a special batter. We continue to do that. So we still maintain everything from the beginning. - [Joe Elmore] Oh, there's one big exception, despite what's still in the name. - [Pam] Don't do pizzas. - Because the fish business was so booming, we couldn't keep up with both. - [Joe Elmore] I know you probably get tired of people coming in and saying, "well, where's the pizza?" - I know, they do. They do. They go, "do you sell pizza by the slice?" We like "no pizza." And they like, "do you put fish on pizza?" No, we don't. No. - In fact, the only sign of pizza making around here is well, this old oven, now serving as a file cabinet. While you can order a fish plate, today the signature sandwich was most popular. And unless you indicate otherwise, you'll get yours with mustard, hot sauce, pickles, and onions. Cheese is optional. Keeping a decades-old family food tradition alive is no doubt demanding, but to Pam, the secret to success is really no secret at all. - [Pam] Well, the food of course, the fish, you know and then the interaction, you know, we have the interaction with the customers. You can get a conversation about anything, any day, any hour of the day, when we're open about something, you know while they're waiting. - [Joe Elmore] Well, here at the original home of Ed's Fish and Pizza, the future is bright. You see, while big Anthony eases into retirement, his grandson little Anthony is eager to take charge after he graduates from Middle Tennessee State. - He's already have, I just haven't left. He does it better than I do. - [Joe Elmore] Are you gonna change anything? - As far as the, what happens back there in the kitchen, not really, um, but you will see a, maybe a few upgrades in the modeling design here. - [Joe Elmore] And chances are, you still won't be able to get a pizza. - [Pam] They'll probably add some young, things that young people like to eat. You know, wings, uh, appetizers or something of that nature. - [Joe Elmore] But the heart and soul is gonna stay the same? - It's gonna stay fish now. I'll just have to come back, "no, it's got to be fish." - Well, that's gonna do it for this week's Tennessee Crossroads. Appreciate you joining us. Why don't you look in on our website, tennesseecrossroads.org? Follow us on Facebook. And of course, keep Crossroads traveling. We'll see you next time.
January 28, 2021
Season 34 | Episode 24
Laura Faber visits Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary. Danielle Allen goes glamping in Smyrna. Joe Elmore goes to a North Nashville diner that's become renown for its hot fish. Presented by Nashville Public Television.