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- [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by... - [Spokesperson] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff, and students have shown strength, compassion, patience, and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech. - [Joe] This time on "Tennessee Crossroads", we're in Nashville first for a healthy visit to the Sunflower Cafe, then off to a gorgeous smokey mountain B&B with a breathtaking view. You'll meet a stone artist in Nashville who tells stories with rocks and discover the mission of Redemption Road Rescue in Jackson. Hi, everybody, I'm Joe Elmore. That's the lineup for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads." Welcome. As you might imagine, country music star sightings are relatively common at a number of Nashville restaurants. Cindy Carter found a place recently called the Sunflower Cafe, where you might meet a star, but the healthy food is the real headliner. - [Cindy] If you, like many, need a little jolt of happiness in the morning, you might want to keep an eye out for the sunflowers. They cheerfully mark the spot where you'll find the Sunflower Bakehouse along Nashville's Lebanon Pike. Morning staples, like a good cup of coffee, can certainly provide the boost you're looking for to start the day, as can the Bakehouse's savory breakfast menu item. - [Nicole] A lot of people like to add sausage 'cause, you know, they want a little bit more sausage. Who doesn't? - [Cindy] And of course, the restaurant's display case offers numerous sweet baked goods and pastries for that sweet shock to the system. And here's perhaps another shock. Everything you are looking at is either vegetarian or vegan. - [Brian] And here at the Bakehouse we've been able to do that without butter, without cream, without honey, without any of the eggs or things that we need to use as leavening agents. We've come up with ways to get around that. - [Cindy] I'm sorry, what? No butter, no cream? General manager, Brian Storrs says, "Yes, it is possible and delicious." - [Brian] When you're eating vegan and you're eating healthy, you often think, "I have to give up." "I have to sacrifice all these wonderful things that I'm used to indulging in in order to live a healthier lifestyle." Well, au contraire, let me just tell you. That's what we specialize in. We wanted to bring back those comfort foods, those things that we crave, that you desire when you try to eat healthier. - [Cindy] Brian says he totally gets people's skepticism. The term gluten-free doesn't necessarily inspire confidence. - I remember back in the day when all I could get was something that tasted like cardboard or salty cardboard, and now I can actually get something that is decadent, and delicious, and soft, or that's fluffy. - [Cindy] The Sunflower Bakehouse and the Sunflower Cafe, which is located in Nashville's Berry Hill community are family owned businesses. Brian says the seeds for both sunflowers were planted when he was young. His mother had some health issues and required a special diet. Brian's been figuring out how to make meals that look and taste great ever since. - [Brian] So coming up with products that mirror real products in life, real meaning animal products. Our sausage, you can pretty much put it plate to plate next to regular sausage and have no idea that it is vegan. We've been able to use ground rice and chickpeas and some other seasonings and agents to mix together to come up with the exact same mouth feel and flavor as regular sausage, except without the cholesterol. - I'm not a vegetarian and I don't have any food allergies. So when I see something like this chocolate chip cookie parfait, I think, "It looks fantastic. But how can it taste fantastic when there's no good stuff in there?" Well, it does. - [Cindy] And because it does, there are a lot of regulars buzzing around the Sunflower Bakehouse. Some you might have heard of. - [Brian] Well, for example, Carrie Underwood loves our lavender cupcake. It's one of the ones that she loves. Miley Cyrus comes in all the time. When she's in town, she pops in and she loves to get our Thai ginger tofu is one of her favorites. - [Cindy] The Bakehouse has the pastries, breakfast, salads, and sandwiches. But if you're hungry for more of a meal, then let those sunflowers lead you across town to the original Sunflower Cafe. - [Nicole] It's very quick, it moves quick. You get your food and you go. - [Cindy] This cafeteria style restaurant moves people past several lunchtime options that kitchen manager Nicole Quinn says are cooked up to accommodate a variety of food allergies their customers might have. - Well, if you're allergic to soy, don't have that. If you're allergic to gluten, don't have that. Nuts, tree nuts, all that. We are very aware of all of that. - [Cindy] The Sunflower Cafe features daily specials such as Moroccan Chickpea Mondays or Gluten-free Lasagna Wednesdays. But Nicole says it's the items they serve every day that get her mouthwatering. - [Nicole] My favorite is the Thai ginger tofu, and I really love that dish. It comes in a bowl by itself as a side. Our most popular dish over there is probably our barbecue sandwich. - [Cindy] And like the Sunflower Cafe's sister, this restaurant also has plenty of regulars. The food and the setup has them lining up. - [Nicole] You go in, it's quick, it's easy. You eat, you're done. Half an hour is all you get for lunch. You're back at work, no problems. - [Cindy] The Sunflower Cafe and Sunflower Bakehouse serve not only vegans, but anyone who enjoys yummy comfort foods, which, oh by the way, are good for you. And Brian Storrs and his family are excited to see their sunflowers growing every single day. - [Brian] It's the purpose that I feel like I have in this life is to help bring people to that next level of healthy without them even knowing that we're doing it. You know, it's a little bit healthier life and to be able to do so with friends and family, it's the whole reason I'm here. - Tennesseeans are lucky to have the Great Smokey Mountains right in their own backyard. Lots of people stay in Gatlinburg, and when they do, they love the hustle and bustle. But did you know there's a quieter side of Gatlinburg, a more peaceful part of town that boasts one of the prettiest bed and breakfast we've ever seen? And Laura Faber is gonna take us there. - [Laura] Every year, the Great Smokey Mountains call millions of travelers to come experience their beauty. We found a perfect place to take it all in. It's in Gatlinburg, but away from the crowds and busy downtown. This inn covers you in comfort, a warm personal touch, great food, an incredible view, and it's dog friendly too. - You're such a good boy. Look at those eyes. - [Lisa] We had bought this land that had such a gorgeous view. We did think, "Well, people come this far out," because at that time, we were really kind of isolated. Now we're, you know, not so much. But we took a chance on it. - [Laura] That was 30 years ago. Since then, Hippensteal's Mountain View Inn has become the go-to place to stay for people from all over the country. Verne and Lisa Hippensteal are the proprietors. - [Lisa] I think their lives are so hectic that it's just a restless. They come, they relax, they sometimes they just don't even leave. - [Verne] That, and the view. We'll get up at breakfast, fixing breakfast, and we get up early and you'll walk out on the porches and people will be sitting on their porches just watching the sunrise. - [Lisa] It's just a home away from home. - [Laura] While Verne and Lisa Love sharing their passion for the Smokey Mountains with their guests, it's their own love story that is wonderful too. Lisa actually grew up in a hotel, which is where they met. It was the original Mountain View Inn that used to be located in downtown Gatlinburg. - [Lisa] It started out as just this little tiny place. And then of course it grew through the years, but it was the first hotel built in Gatlinburg and I grew up there. My father managed the hotel for almost 40 years, and it was home to me. - [Verne] I lived in Atlanta for five years, hated every day of it. And when I came to watch a friend graduate from high school that was two classes behind me, and I watched him graduate and found a job with her dad. Interviewed with her dad, found me a job and a place to live. And I came back home. My family was still living in Atlanta, but I came back home and have never left since. Stayed friends forever. But we didn't start seeing each other till she was 26. - [Lisa] Yeah, I was already out of college. - [Verne] Well, the biggest thing between the two of us, we both loved to hike. And so I would go to Le Conte and Lisa would call, I'd call her and say, "I'm hiking to Le Conte today, would you like to go with me?" And she would. - [Lisa] So by the time we decided to get married, we wanted to be married on Mount Le Conte. And so we hiked up the day before with a minister and 20 of our closest friends, and got married at sunrise and... - [Verne] Eight degrees. - [Lisa] In November. And then came down that night and repeated our vows in the church with all of our other friends. And that was almost 40 years ago. - [Laura] Verne is a working artist. His watercolor paintings showing the splendor of the Smokies have been collected in this area for decades. - [Verne] This is the green that you actually see in nature. - [Laura] After a career as a dental hygienist, Lisa finally convinced Verne to combine his art and her love of providing people with a place to stay. Verne designed the current Mountain View Inn around the original hotel. - [Verne] The original hotel was designed by Hubert Bebb, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. And when we found out the hotel was gonna be torn down, I wanted to use the same lines of the original hotel. - [Laura] This is one of 12 rooms that you can choose from here at the inn. No two are alike. They're all decorated in a unique way. They do have two things in common, though. Verne's artwork is all over the walls and they all share this incredible view. From the rocking chairs on every porch, you can see the Greenbrier Pinnacle to your left, Mount Le Conte straight ahead, and Mount Harrison to your right for sunrise and sunset. Every bedroom has a wall of windows, king size bed, TV and a fireplace, and an oversized whirlpool tub in a private bath. They're decorated based on a theme and one of Verne's paintings. With names like "Into the Woods", "Spring Beauties", and "Lady of the Mountains." - [Lisa] We want you to feel at home. You can roam around the house any time of the day or night. Enjoy if you need something and somebody's not available, you just find it. - [Laura] The library is full of games and books to borrow. The gathering area downstairs is homey, filled with antiques and gorgeous stained glass lamps. The elegant black and white checkered foyer and dining room are filled with light from the mini windows and, of course, a mountain view. - Let's put more milk in there. - [Laura] And every morning Lisa and her staff make a homemade breakfast. - [Lisa] Probably our favorite is called Eggs Hippensteal. And it's homemade sourdough bread and it's grilled with fried eggs and do bacon, and cheese sauce, and tomatoes and sprouts on top. So it's all kind of stacked up pretty. It's serve with baked apples, cinnamon apples, and fresh fruit. And then we serve dessert after breakfast. - The bread is my wife's homemade bread. - [Lisa] I was determined to get chocolate in everything, so we made pumpkin bread and put chocolate chips in it. - That's lovely. - [Verne] Because we've done this for 30 years and many of our guests have been coming for 30 years. And we watched them when they go through their period where they had to hike every trail in the park. They would get up, they would be on the trail the minute breakfast was over. And as we get older then you'd see 'em. They would, they had to get in the park, but they'd drive. They would no longer hike. And then it got to the point where, "Well, we're just gonna stay at the inn. You know, we've done all that. We don't have to do it anymore." - [Laura] Verne and Lisa Hippensteal don't have an exit plan. This is their home and everyone is welcome. - [Lisa] We feel so blessed because most people don't get to do what they love to do and enjoy. And we've done it now for 30 years and it just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. - Thanks Laura. Well, next up we're gonna meet an award-winning stone artist who also considers himself to be a storyteller. Actually, he lets the rocks do most of the talking. Like his father and grandfather before him, his motto is, "Let the stone speak." Miranda Cohen has the story of stone carver Charlie Hunt. - [Miranda] Since 1928, the Hunt family has been known for their highly skilled and exquisite stone memorials. Creating loving and lasting legacies for nearly a century. Charlie Hunt is the third generation to run the family business, but was the first to pick up a hammer and was certainly not guaranteed a job. - [Charlie] I don't think you grow up saying, "I want to be a tombstone maker." My dad made me apply and interview and he asked me if I had any experience and I said, "Dad, I've been driving the truck for three or four years." He said, "I know, and you're a horrible truck driver." And so, you know, I started and I worked my way through the shop, swinging a hammer. Carving stone intrigued me. - [Miranda] While hunt's father and grandfather were astute businessmen, Charlie was the first to show a real artistic talent for design and hands-on carving. - [Charlie] Well, we had a really good carver named Sam Dorsey who'd come through the Depression. And he would let me watch him carve and I needed some extra money 'cause my dad was paying me what I was worth. And so I started doing an art show here and there, and started out making bird baths. And so it just grew. - [Miranda] And grow it did. Charlie Hunt's unique, one of a kind bird baths became in demand, quickly selling out. - I got titled The Bird Bath Man for years. And I don't know that I'll ever shake it. - [Miranda] And Hunt, who prefers to be thought of as a carver rather than a sculptor, says often the most challenging part is picking up the hammer and staying out of the way. - [Charlie] Isamu Noguchi, who was a Japanese sculptor, he said, "Let the stone be the stone." And I think what he was saying was just kind of follow it a little bit. You know, I'm a stone carver, not a sculptor. Sculptors are, God makes sculptures. I can teach you to be a stone carver. I remember I had a young fella kind of looking over my shoulder learning to carve and everything, and he said one day as we were carving, he goes, "Where's the head?" And I said, "I don't know. It ain't turned up yet, but it's in there somewhere." Early on, I tried to control it. Now, not so much. You know, I want the stone to kind of remain the stone. I see some sculptors and they twist and turn marble and polish it and do all this. That's just not me. - [Miranda] In fact, Hunt does teach stone carving the way he learned it, the old fashioned way, in a series of classes, he calls the School of Hard Rocks. - [Charlie] I teach this workshop. Our motto is, "I'm gonna take you a giant step backwards," because I think that for me, that's the root of it all. - [Man] All right, Charlie. Classic owl here. - [Miranda] Now Charlie is passing along the tricks of the family trade to his sons. The fourth generation Hunts are helping the business branch out, but the family values remain the same. Charlie even found himself repeating his father's words to his oldest son. - [Charlie] I said, "You ought to get a job." And he said, "Well, I don't know how to do anything." I said, "Well, that's just it about a job. If you do something nobody knows how to do or something nobody wants to do, you'll have steady work." So we decided he'd sell driftwood. - [Miranda] And just like that, the works he calls Sticks and Stones, took off. Harvesting drift wood, drying it out, and then coaxing its natural beauty to be revealed. Then meticulously mounting it on granite. - [Charlie] These wood pieces come from little rivers in Tennessee. People will ask me all the tell now, "Did you do those?" And I'll say, "No, actually God did them. But I am a Southeast distributor." - [Miranda] You will know you have an authentic piece of Charlie Hunt's work when you see the initials, JWH. Those aren't his initials. He signs every piece with his grandfather's initials, for John William Hunt. For Charlie Hunt, stone carving is more than a family business. It is in his blood. His work ethic is chiseled in stone. And a beloved family heirloom that is under his watch to pass on. - [Charlie] My granddaddy used to say, "You can build a reputation for 90 years and ruin it in about a month." So it's critical that we give it our best effort every day. And so I've always approached it that way and I think he would appreciate that. - Adopting a pet from a shelter is a win-win situation. You save a life and gain a loving companion. But what about horses? Some who've suffered abuse? Well, that's where Redemption Road Rescue in Jackson comes in. Their volunteers are dedicated to rescuing, rehabbing, and re-homing our big, four-legged friends. - [Melissa] A lot of them have been neglected, a lot of them have been abused, actually. You know, we have horses that are just petrified and then they're going from being completely neglected, completely starved, to a situation that's unbelievable. - [Joe] The people at Redemption Road Rescue in Jackson, Tennessee believe in unbelievable, happy endings. Lori Collins founded the group after her first rescue in 2009. That was on a visit to her ailing father's farm in Kentucky. - He had always had horses that were in immaculate condition, beautiful, healthy horses. And when I got there, nobody had been feeding his horses and so they were in terrible condition. I always consider those my first rescue, and that's the reason I say that good people get in a bad situation. Had he physically been able to, he would've never even allowed that to happen. - [Joe] Soon, Lori was running a non-profit organization, raising money from donors and reaching out to as many horses in need as possible. - [Melissa] What attracted me to Redemption Road was the idea of non-judgment of the people who are maybe getting in bad situations. Look at you, Calvin. Look at you, big guy. - [Joe] Melissa Floyd is also a lifelong horse lover and now assistant director at the rescue. A place where the former owners are rarely cast as bad guys. - Sometimes it's income-based where they've lost their jobs. Sometimes they get sick. You know, we've had several people who have gotten sick and are unable to maintain their horses. - [Joe] To Lori and Melissa, it can be as much about helping people as helping animals. - [Lori] When people get in the short time of financial difficulty, we will provide hay for them through a short time to help 'em get through that so they can keep their pet. - As they say, all that hay has to go somewhere. - [Lori] Yeah, it does. - And this is where volunteers come in. - [Lori] We have the most amazing volunteers of any organization. This is not easy work, it's hard. You know, it's emotionally hard, it's physically hard, it's financially hard. And every volunteer we have sacrifices so much to save these horses and to help the other people that are in need. - [Joe] Well, sometimes it's not just the horses that get saved, it's their barnyard buddies as well. - Buffalo, llamas, emus, all of that, we have taken in. You know, sometimes we'll try to network 'em through another organization if possible. But a lot of times, as you can see, we've got a little pig running around here. She's kind of taken up residency here until her forever home comes along. - [Joe] Ultimately, Redemption Road exists to save horses, like Dash, who went from emaciated to restored and ready for a new life. - Dash is lucky enough that he's got this nice couple that's come to look at him today. - [Joe] Mary Nathie and her husband drove here from Covington with hopes of adopting a horse, and Dash is a good candidate. - [Mary] I brought my saddle and bridle so I would like to give him a ride just to see if I can get along with him and everything. - [David] How do you feel about that? - I'm excited. I have another horse that's a work in progress, so I was really looking for a good trail horse and I think Dash will fit that need. - [Joe] Volunteer trainer, David Williams, has been working with Dash a lot to get him ready for this possible relocation. - [David] He's an older horse, so I rode him maybe three times or so by now. I'm hoping he comes out to be a good fit. Okay, you're up. - That's good. I really like the fact that it's a rescue horse, you know, that although mistreated, they brought him back and he needs a good home. So I hope I can give him that. - How you think it's going? - I think it's awesome. I love playing matchmaker. It's like a marriage, you know? It's gotta work. - [David] It's just a little bit I can help. It's what makes it worthwhile to me. To see a smile on somebody's face and know that a horse is getting a good home. - Okay, let's go home. - Yeah, you're gonna be loved. I have loved him from the start. It's a process from the rescue to the rehabilitation and then to the adoption. And the adoption is the part that we love the most. Floats like a dream. - [Lori] My goals are to continue to rescue until rescue is no longer needed. I hope that I can see that in my lifetime. - Okay, with that, it's time for us to saddle up and hit the trail, after these little reminders. First of all, there's the PBS video app. Did you know you can watch "Crossroads" and all your NPT favorites anytime, anywhere with this app? Of course, you wanna check in on our website, tennesseecrossroads.org. You can follow us on Facebook, of course, and please join us next week. See you then. - [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by... - [Spokesperson] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff and students have shown strength, compassion, patience, and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech.
January 12, 2023
Season 36 | Episode 21
Cindy Carter checks out the Sunflower Bakehouse. Laura Faber takes us inside Hippensteal's Mountain View Inn. Miranda Cohen has the story of stone carver, Charlie Hunt. And Joe Elmore learns about rehab for horses at Redemption Road Rescue in Jackson.