The new Nicole Kidman movie, "Stoker," is being fiilmed in Sewanee, Tenn., and I can certainly understand why. The bucolic campus of the University of the South, most of whose buildings are made with local limestion that makes Target Field's facade look drab, is straignt out of Central Casting for Sets. Especially All Saints Chapel.
But the filmakers also blew it, wrapping up production already, well before Sewanee becomes as special a fall-color destination as the nation has to offer. It seems to be a law that every yard have several maples, and the morphing trees -- spread over a much longer season than our windswept version in Minnesota -- punch up the Pastoral Meter mightily.
Ninety miles southeast of Nashville on I-24, Sewanee is on a mountain -- called "The Mountain" by Tennesseans -- and so there are the several spectacular vistas, including one with a ginormous Memorial Cross.
On our most recent autumnal visit, we were headed down a narrow, splendidly canopied road to another of these points, Green's View, with the municipal golf course on our right and tidy homes on our left. We eased up when we saw two does, not 10 feet from the road, in one of the front yards. Without a trace of trepidation, they checked us out as we glided past, then gently lowered their heads, Bambi-like, for another few mouthfuls of acorns.
Even without such did-that-really-happen? moments, Sewanee is a haven for hikers and spelunkers. But for those with less time, Sewanee is a pretty peerless place to drive around, very slowly, with mouth agape. Especially over the next month or so, when it looks like this.