Sunday, January 8, 2012


With towns named: Aimwell, Burnt Corn, Slapout, Smut Eye, and Trickem, Alabama is an interesting place.  It makes you wonder how they got those names!

I’ll admit, I haven’t spent much time in Alabama.  First, work sent me to Montgomery where I passed the state capitol building, went to Wal-Mart like a good southern belle, ate some BBQ at Smokey Bones (it has since closed I hear), and worked the rest of the 3 days we were there.  There wasn’t much time for being a tourist.  My 2nd trip was when my church choir was passing through on a road trip to and from Mississippi.  We stopped, ate dinner at Cracker Barrel in Tuscaloosa, changed bus drivers, and continued on.  Smokey Bones and Cracker Barrel are AWESOME chain restaurants to eat at if you see them along your travels.  That being said, I’ve done some research into what I might do if I ever go back to Alabama.

Two of my favorite things are music and food, and Alabama has plenty of both.  Blues, boogie-woogie, country, rock-n-roll, jazz, and soul music have roots in Alabama.  The father of the blues, W.C. Handy (http://www.youtube.com/artist/W.C._Handy) was from Florence and you can go to the house he grew up in there http://www.ci.florence.al.us/Community_Arts/Art_Museums/Art_Galleries_Museums/WC_Handy/index.html.  His music is so upbeat, it’s not the typical blues I’ve heard.  I liked it! 

Photo from Wikkipedia - Statue of WC Handy on Belle St in Memphis that I've seen many times and wondered who that was

Alabama has toe-tappin tunes but also finger-licking food.  There is a brochure on their tourism website titled “100 places to eat in Alabama before you die!” That’s serious! http://www.alabama.travel/dining/food-brochure/

I visited most of the 50 states on road trips.  One Alabama road trip I found is the Covered Bridge Trail.  I love covered bridges, and it turns out Alabama has a trail of them.  Jack Pot! http://www.alabama.travel/activities/tours-and-trails/covered-bridge-trail/  Blount County, where many of the covered bridges are, has a Covered Bridge Festival in October every year - http://www.blountoneontachamber.org/covered-bridge-festival

Photo of Swann Covered Bridge found online.  It's in Blount County.

If you want a long road trip, I’d suggest Natchez Trace Parkway.  It’s a 444 miles drive from Natchez, Mississippi, through NW Alabama, to Nashville, Tennessee.  It was used by American Indians, boatmen, and settlers, so it has a lot of history.  For example, The Mount Locust Inn and Plantation along the parkway dates back to the 1780s. http://www.nps.gov/natr
Photo from internet of Natchez Trace Parkway.

When we talk about the south, we have to mention the civil rights movement.  If that interests you, take a road trip along the Selma to Montgomery March Byway which traces the historical march led by Martin Luther King Jr in 1965.  http://byways.org/explore/byways/2050.  Also, Birmingham has an awesome looking Civil Rights Institute - http://www.bcri.org.  It’s a self-directed journey from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to the human rights struggles of today.  The institute celebrates its 20th anniversary this year so there will be a lot of events to celebrate the occasion.

If you were around for the 80s, you might remember the good movie - Space Camp (1986).  Filmed mostly in Huntsville, it was about the US Space and Rocket Center/Space Camp there (http://spacecamp.com/).  By the way, it’s not just for kids - they have adult programs where you go for three days, and live out your childhood dreams and see if you could cut it in the space program.

Another out of this world type place is the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro.  http://unclaimedbaggage.com/.  It’s the “land of lost luggage” where you can find “incredible finds amongst thousands of lost treasures.” Hot dang!

Now, if you’re into Nascar, then you’ll want to visit the Talladega Superspeedway - http://www.talladegasuperspeedway.com .  I’m more of a Darlington Darling myself (raceway in South Carolina).

These are just a few of the things I’d like to do in Alabama.  My friend, Lori, wanted me to include Lamberts Restaurant Chain for some awesome family style southern food where they throw hot rolls at you. Also, Gulf Shores is a good vacation spot (beach with boardwalk).  If you try these places and they suck - blame her! lol.

If you know of any places/activities in Alabama we should check out, please leave a comment below.  There’s so much to do if you just do a little research and look just round the corner.  See you next week when I talk about my Alaskan Cruise.

1 comment:

  1. My husband is from Alabama. We've been to Enterprise, where you can find a statue monument of the Boll Weevil, an insect. It was an agricultural pest that ruined Alabamas cotton crops, and encouraged the people of Enterprise to begin farming peanuts- a crop which brought a lot of money to the county. Hence the gratitude they feel for the Boll Weevil, which I suspect is probably the only winged pest to have been honored in the form of a statue.