The Great State of Alabama

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I am really excited about returning to the States in less than 3 months and having the opportunity to explore my own country for a while.  Already on my itinerary for the first month after my return to Maryland is a 2 week trip to Texas and California. But as you can see in the pic below, there are plenty of other places for future itineraries! I have started to research what there is to see in the remaining states, such as Wisconsin, N&S Dakota, Maine, etc, and it got me thinking about Alabama. For those of you who know me, or have read any of my previous blog posts, you know I spent the bulk of my life in Alabama (12 years), more time than I have spent in any other state, which is why I claim Bama as my home… But… if I wasn’t from Alabama, I wouldn’t think there was any reason to visit this state. This leads me to the post you are currently reading. I want to fill all of you in on some of the things that make Alabama the great state that it is!

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Birmingham

I have written previous posts about my former home of Birmingham. I love this city. It is nestled next to the foothills of the Appalachians, making it a medium sized city with a pretty backdrop. I’ll try not to overlap my previous post on Birmingham, so make sure to check this one out too!

Birmingham Skyline

Photo Credit: Famous Wonders

Birmingham is famous for its racism in the 1960s, which is why the Civil Rights Institute is so important to this city. It explains the tyranny that went on in this southern city as well as how Civil Rights were achieved for all people of all races. This museum is a must if you are ever in Birmingham.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and church

Photo Credit: Flickr

Not far from the Civil Rights Institute is the 16th Street Baptist Church, the church that was bombed in the 1960s causing the deaths of 4 young girls during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham

Photo Credit: Julie

The Alabama Theater is a 2 for 1 with not only the great movie/concert/live performance you will see there but the theater itself is amazing as well! Check out the photos below for the stunning interior!

Alabama Theatre Marquee

Photo Credit: Patricia Lovelady

Concert Setup Alabama Theatre 2 Dec 9th - 2011

Photo Credit: Cliff Brane

Alabama Theatre

Photo Credit: Andrew Sims

The Alabama Theater, Birmingham, Alabama Historical Marker

Photo Credit: Nicolas Henderson

The Vulcan is the world’s largest cast iron statue and was created to show off Birmingham’s growing industry during the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis. At one time it held a light that would shine red for a day with a traffic fatality and green for a day without one. There is an elevator to the top of the state as well as a park surrounding it.

Vulcan - Evening

Photo Credit: Delos Johnson

Gulf Shores

For some good old beach fun head down south to Gulf Shores. The beaches are white and sandy and the the Gulf of Mexico is nice and calm!

Gulf Shores Alabama Beach

Photo Credit: John Tuggle

Huntsville

As a kid I always liked the idea of going to Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. I have only been there a handful of times growing up, but I always have fond memories! There are plenty of space related items to see and some activities to participate in!

Huntsville: US Space And Rocket Center

Photo Credit: Alabama Tourism

Alabama / Auburn Football

Pick your team and head to either Tuscaloosa to see Alabama or Auburn to see Auburn’s football team play an SEC game. Whether you like football or not, its worth it to experience football royalty in Alabama. If you’re lucky, you might even get to experience the Iron Bowl.

Alabama Auburn Football

Photo Credit: Here

Site of 1st Alabama-Auburn Football Game, Birmingham, Alabama

Photo Credit: Here

Hoover / Pelham / Helena

This is my neck of the woods. My residence while in Alabama was primarily in Pelham, but I worked in Hoover, and all of my friends lived in Helena, so I know this area like the back of my hand!

To those of us who grew up in the Riverchase area, this mall is not nearly as cool as it once was, but to anyone passing through, this is still an amazingly huge mall! Of all the places I’ve lived in the States, no where has rivalled it (with the exception of the Dallas Galleria, but hey – its the same company!)

riverchase-galleria-10

Photo Credit: Here

Oak Mountain State Park offers lots of outdoor activities for nature lovers. Hike to Peavine Falls, swimming, BMX riding, petting zoo, golf course. Its a great place to spend the day!

Peavine Falls

Photo Credit: JWagnon Photography

  • Old Town Helena

Old Town Helena is a newly restored area complete with coffee shops, restaurants, stores and museums. Its a quaint little area to spend a couple of hours on a nice afternoon. After you’ve finished lunch, you can explore the park and waterfall near the railroad tracks.

Old Town Helena Waterfall 2

Photo Credit: Stephen Wolf

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The Slab is a piece of concrete bridge which fell into the water and raising the base of the river. As teenagers we would walk out onto the concrete or try to cross it in 4WD vehicles.

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Photo Credit: Here

Cullman

Head to Cullman to see the Ave Maria Grotto, a 4 acre park of miniature reproductions of religious and historical sites!

ave_maria_grottoPhoto Credit: Here

Talladega

I am not a Nascar fan… at.. all… but I can’t write a post devoted to Alabama and not mention Talladega. It is one of the biggest nationally televised sporting events in Alabama and it’s only fair to include it. I have not experienced the race, just the traffic outside the track…

Talladega Draftin!

Photo Credit: Richard Barclay

Montevallo

A little out of the way, but totally worth the drive, is Orr Park in Montevallo. Orr Park is full of old cedar trees that have been transformed by Tim Tingle. Follow the link for the complete story.

Orr Park
Orr Park (Sepia)

Orr Park (B&W)

Orr Park (B&W)

Photo Credits: Tywain Griffin 

Childersburg

If you lived in Alabama and went to school there, you have probably been to DeSoto Caverns in Childersburg. You might have even been there more than once! This park has underground caverns, places to ‘pan for gold’ and a maze to get lost in! Its a fun place to take your kids, or if you’re an adult, explore the caves.

Desoto Caverns

Photo Credit: Tar Guevara

Gadsden

Not far off the highway, making it an easy road trip side trip (that’s what this was for my family) is Noccalula Falls. A bronze statue made from pennies represents a Cherokee Indian princess jumping to her death from the top of a waterfall. It is said that she chose death over marrying a man she did not love. (Although this claim has been disputed)

noccalula falls

Photo Credit: Rian Castillo

I couldn’t really find much on the internet about Sandrock, so I guess I’ll just have to share my personal experience. Sandrock is a mountain near Gadsden where I would go camping as a teenager. We would camp at the top of the mountain, risking falling off in the middle of the night. Just down the road was a swimming area with additional rock formations. From what I remember, this is a great place to rock climb or boulder.

sandrock

Photo Credit: Here

So that’s it! I know I haven’t included all the great places in Alabama, but  I have included many of them! These are some of the secrets Alabama has to offer! Now you tell me! What does your home state have to offer?

2 thoughts on “The Great State of Alabama

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: The Places My Feet (Shoes) Have Taken Me | The Journey of My Feet

  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Name that… You! | MEM | The Journey of My Feet

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