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News and Notes


This is a message from the founders of Once Upon A Time Break Away, Ed and Arleen Decker written in 2020:

First, some background.  We met volunteering on the Cumberland Trail in 2003. It was love at first sight and we married six months later. Ed cut trees on the property and used the lumber to build the house and woodshop. We used the clearing where the trees were cut to plant a 1-acre garden and grow most of our own fruits and vegetables. It's like a fairy tale how we met later in life (we were both widowed) and shared the same interests and passion so we named our place "Once Upon A Time." A dream of ours had been to lead wilderness adventure trips so we built the cabins and hosted our first group in 2006. While reminiscing about good times working with Breakaway students on the Cumberland Trail for many years, we got the idea to develop an alternative college break program at Once Upon A Time during March when the facilities are not used for wilderness adventure groups. And that's how it all got started!


The BIG news in 2021 - 2022 is that Ed and Arleen are semi-retiring and turning over Once Upon A Time Break Away to Wanda, Scott, and Cornelius DeWaard. They have helped us with Breakaway for the past 10 years so we are confident they will continue the tradition of service, education, hospitality, and fun. They also have a farm just outside of Maryville and will provide lodging, meals and service at their home.  The focus issues will remain the same—the Cherokee Indians, the environment, rural Appalachia, and sustainable living.  Keep in touch!

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