Historic Rugby plans a day-long celebration to introduce a new “Hidden Trails, Hike Rugby!” brochure that is our memorial to late TTA charter member Eric Wilson. Hikes are planned for morning and afternoon. In between we will have lunch at the Harrow Road Café, followed by a program unveiling the new brochure and honoring Eric’s contributions to hiking in our area. Rugby is on eastern time.


9:30 am :  Invasive Plant Removal

Plan to meet Rugby State Natural Area Manager Lisa Huff and warm up for the morning hike while spending an hour helping us “rowdy Rugbeians” remove invasive Japanese spiraea. Meet at the Café for breakfast at 8:30, or at the parking area behind the Historic Rugby Visitor Centre at 9:30

11:00 am   Massengale Homeplace Hike

Meet at the Visitor Centre to begin an easy two-mile hike to the Massengale Homeplace, site of an early Appalachian farmstead that predates Rugby, then along Allerton Ridge on a trail that follows one of Rugby’s old roadways. Lisa Huff will guide this hike and describe opportunities for environmental restoration on Rugby State Natural Area land. Dress for the weather with sturdy footwear, and be prepared for mud if it’s been rainy.

12:30 – 1:30   Lunch at Harrow Road Café

1:45 pm  Program and Brochure Unveiling: Rebecca Johnson Theatre in the Visitor Centre.

Jim Poteet will share images and recall how he, Eric, and Bob Hemminger discovered Rugby while exploring Cumberland Plateau hiking.

2:30 pm  Laurel Branch Trail Hike

Assemble on the Visitor Centre porch for a moderately strenuous hike along Laurel Branch Trail to Laurel Dale Cemetery (about a mile). From there hikers will continue on the Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole Trail (.4 mi.) and Meeting of the Waters Trail (2.1 mi.). Julian Bankston will lead this hike. Optionally, you can return to the village along the scenic Laurel Dale Cemetery Road (about .5 mi.). Dress for the weather with sturdy footwear, and be prepared for mud and minor stream fording if it’s been rainy.

Stick around for a special St. Patrick’s Day Pub Night Dinner at Harrow Road Café. Join us to lift a glass in remembrance of Eric, whose birthday was St. Patrick’s Day. Menu for St. Patrick’s Day dinner: Choose from Lamb Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef & Cabbage, or Hand-Battered Fish & Chips. Also available: ales & wines to enhance your experience.

All activities are free except for meals. For St. Patrick’s Day Dinner reservations, call 423-628-2441, or 888-214-3400.