Grove Hill is the county seat of Clarke County and is in Southwest Alabama. The area was occupied by Creek and Choctaw Indians for years before the town was established. Population is around 1500. Grove Hill seemed like a pleasant little place. The Clarke County Court House was built in 1911. Grove Hill is also home to the Clarke County Museum. The museum is housed in the Alston-Cobb House, which was built in 1854 by Dr. Lemuel Lovett Alston as a Greek Revival I-house, a vernacular style also known in the South as Plantation Plain. There are several historic structures that have been moved to the site and restored. They also have a nice Veterans Memorial.
Evergreen is the county seat of Conecuh County and is located in the Southern part of the state. Population is about 4000. They have a fairly pretty courthouse. Evergreen has a small historic district with a few buildings of historic and/or architectural interest. One of the most interesting is the old railroad depot.
Elba is located in Southeast Alabama along US Highway 84. Elba is the county seat for Coffee County and has a nice small historic district dominated by the 1903 courthouse. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Noccalula Falls, which drops a spectacular 90 feet over a Lookout Mountain ledge, is the centerpiece of a Gadsden city park which offers much of interest for the entire family. A day could easily be spent here to enjoy it all. Ammenities at the park include:
According to legend, the falls is named for Cherokee Princess Noccalula, who threw herself from a rock ledge into the falls and died, rather than marry a wealthy neighboring chief, as arranged by her father. Her heart had already been given to a young brave in her own tribe, but he had been banished
I have been to Noccalula Falls in late summer when a relatively small amount of water was flowing over the ledge. This picture was taken in December, after a day of rain. The falls are beautiful in any season.
Open daily year round, 9:00 a.m. 'till dusk.
Ages 6-11 $1.00
Burritt-on-the-Mountain is a "living museum" on top of Monte Sano Mountain above Huntsville, Alabama. Featuring the mansion Dr. William Henry Burritt, it also has a historic park which shows visitors how southern farmers lived in the past making the most of their environments benefits. There are also many nature trails on the grounds, and a spectacular view out over the city day or night.
The barnyard area is especially enjoyable for children with its many animals and gardens to get to know. In autumn they have fun pumpkin patches andd haystack mazes. Also interesting are the various houses and cabins decorated and maintained in late 1700s and 1800s styles. Period furnishings, handmade items like quilts, bedspread and clothing, antique necessities and furniture. Also found on the property are authentic blacksmith shops, smokehouses and furnaces to show how early settlers prepared for the seasons.
Modern accommodations include a souvenir shop, meeting facilities, and rooms available to rent for picnics, family or business gatherings. The gazebos are in demand for outdoor weddings.Inside the mansion you will find displays which vary by season. They range from works of famous artists, musical instruments or technology exhibitions. Often concerts are given in summer, and in winter light festivals. Check website for upcoming events.
All in all its a pleasant place to visit, especially if you love nature and history.
Admission fees are $5 adults, $4 Seniors, Students and Military, $3 children 3-12, FREE to Members of Burritt association and children under 2.
The Annual Native American Heritage Festival is usually held in October of every year, at Burritt on the Mountain. Although it's official date is on a Saturday, everyone sets up on the Thursday before so that children from local schools can visit on a field trip.
There are refreshments for purchase, grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and the like, and a children's corner so they can make bead jewelry or items, but the real draw are the on-going demostrations that take place.
Silverworking & Indian jewelry, beadworking, blowguns, wood & stone carving, poetrry and pit firing, atlatls & flint knapping, children toys, culture and genealogy sessions, and our favorite: the storytelling. Amazing ability to hold a crowds of hundreds completely enthralled! Scheduled programs that are crowd interactive is the dancing, the Stomp dance, the Guinea Dance, the Broom Dance, as well as Native American players of the flute and drums.
A special program usually given by a guest speaker. This year it was Dr. Abram who spoke on Cherokees and their Beliefs, as well as Dreams Interpretations. He also is available to discuss How to Trace Your Ancestry, if one is unsure.
Main events are from around noon until 4pm, although vendors of jewelry, books, weapons and other items are there prior and afterwards.
Check the website to find out when next year's festival will take place. Manners for the museum and festival:
>Take only pictures
>Leave only footprints
>Smoking in parking lot only
>No pets on the grounds
Its an annual event marking the path Native Americans were forced by the government to take away from their ancestral homes so that new settlers could have the land. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 required all Indians from the southeast to move to Oklahoma. 1838 was the deadline to have them all moved. Soldiers came into houses and lodges driving men, women and children out with only the clothes on their backs and little else. They were put into "concentration" camps in horrible conditions. Thousands died, their bodies littering the trail, tears falling for those lost, no honor was allowed to be given to the dead except in the heart. It was a terrible time.
For years, many Native Americans had lived and intermarried with others people of the areas, not only Caucasian settlers but also Africans brought over as slaves who were greatly oppressed just like the Indians. When this call came, families were divided because of this, half and quarters bloods. This is one of the great reasons why to this day many in the South have Native blood but can't prove it legally: documents were destroyed or lost, oral histories and the wisdom of elders broken, families were split up.
But the point of the ride is not to call up wrong deeds and finger pointing, but rather to remember those who were lost. From their organizers: "Let us learn from the mistake, accept each other as we are, and walk together in peace."
It is the Largest Organized Motorcycle Ride in History, with usually 100,000 to 130,000 riding along. Its about 230 miles one way, riding speed around 55mph the first day from Chattanooga, TN to Waterloo, AL.Experienced riders only.
The second day is 625miles, for advanced riders only. From Tuscumbia, AL all the way to Tishimingo, OK. Everything is ride at your own risk.
The website is excellent, well-kept, and has all the information you need from maps to Trail history, sponsors and contests, and rules for riding.
Oak Mountain is Alabama's largest State Park, with almost 10,000 acres of mountains, lakes, and forests.
Swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, horse back riding or just observing nature. Bring a picnic lunch and wear good walking shoes. Or enjoy the beach at the Lake. It was a cloudy day (no rain), so we did the nature walk at the Treetop Nature Trail.
Oak Mountain is one of the southermost "wrinkles" in the Appalachian chain. Check out the Treetop Nature Trail while you're there!
This is a beautiful area to visit!!
The 28th Annual Decorators' ShowHouse to benefit the Alabama Symphoney Orchestra was put on by the The Alabama Symphoney Volunteer Council. April 13 - May 4, 2003
The Boothby-Wehby Estate
Each room in the house was given to a designer to decorate for the showcase event. We couldn't take pictures inside, but take my word for it, it was very impressive. But I think my favorite part was the view from the back, both from the house and from the yard. A beautiful view of Samford University, Birmingham. Check out my travelogue for a couple of pictures of the view ...
Ironmaking was one of the first industries to be developed in Birmingham because the raw materials needed for making iron--iron ore, limestone, and coal--are found in abundance in the hills and mountains surrounding the city.
For over 90 years, those raw materials were turned into pig iron at the Sloss Furnaces. The heart of the Sloss operation was a pair of blast furnaces used to melt down the raw materials into iron. In addition to the blast furnaces, the ironmaking process involved blowers to pump blasts of air; stoves to heat the air; boilers to produce steam to drive the equipment; and a network of pipes to carry steam, water, and gas.
The Sloss Furnaces closed in 1971, but have since been developed into a unique community center, hosting concerts, dramas, and special events, with the east cast shed having been transformed into an amphitheater.
Since the facility closed, there have been numerous sightings of apparitions and reports of unexplained voices and sounds. This prompted two popular televisions programs, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures to film episodes here, making the Sloss Furnaces a must-see destination for those interested in the paranormal.
The Sloss Funaces have been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Approaching Huntsville on Interstate 565, one of the first things visitors will see in the distance is the 363-foot (111-meter) Saturn V rocket, which towers over the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The Saturn V rocket was built for NASA and used by the Marshall Space Flight Center for dynamic testing before being used to transport astronauts to the moon.
The Saturn V rocket, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, is the centerpiece of Rocket Park, the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of rocketry. Former astronaut and Senator John Glenn called Rocket Park "the finest rocket collection in the world."
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the number one tourist attraction in Alabama. Visitors can experience dozens of demonstrations, hand-on exhibits, simulators, and movies in an IMAX theater, all of which focus on the past, present, and future of space exploration.
Just some of the many rides and simulators at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center include the Space Walk, which is a motion-based simulator that makes participants feel as if they are on a mission to complete the International Space Station. The Space Station is another motion-based simulator that blasts participants 140 feet (43 meters) into the air with four Gs of force. The G-Force Accelerator lets participants experience three times the force of gravity while spinning on the accelerator. At the Mars Climbing Wall, participants can climb a mock-up of a cliff face on a Martian volcano, or on Olympus Mons.
The grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center include Rocket Park, the world's largest collection of rocketry. Other exhibits include an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and an actual space shuttle where visitors can stand behind a "full stack"--the space shuttle, external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters.
At the McWane Center, visitors can explore the wonders of science and learn how the world works according to scientific principles. It is the largest interactive science center in a four-state region.
Five permanent exhibits provide entertainment and learning for visitors of all ages. Adventures in Science features hands-on exhibits and a six-story, 280-seat IMAX theater. At ScienceQuest, visitors can discover the fun of science among 9,000 square feet (836 square meters) of more than 50 interactive exhibits. World of Water has habitat tanks with aquatic animals from around the world. Visitors can touch salt marsh creatures in the "Water's Edge" exhibit, and can make waves and learn about the importance of water to life on this planet. The Challenger Learning Center, one of 30 nationwide and created to honor the crew of the space shuttle Challenger, offers a space mission simulation. And finally, Just Mice Size is for children five years old and under. There, they can experience a fantasy environment where everything is ten times larger than normal.
Fort Gaines was established on Dauphin Island, Alabama in 1821 and is best known for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War. This is where Admiral David Farragut uttered the famous words "damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead" from his flagship the USS Hartford. The anchor from that ship is one of the items on display here. The fort also has the original cannons used in the battle, five pre-Civil War brick buildings in the interior courtyard, operational blacksmith shop and kitchens, tunnel systems to the fortified corner bastions, and similar features. There is a nice museum detailing the history of the period, as well as the French colonial presence beginning in the late 1600s. It offers nice views of the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay. This site is one of the best preserved Civil War era masonry forts and has been nominated for listing as a National Historic Landmark.
The fort received significant damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and more damage in later storms but appeared to be in good shape when I visited in March 2010.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 6 to 12.
For more information/photos see my Fort Gaines Page.
Historic Blakeley State Park preserves the location of the ghost town of Blakeley along with the remains of a Confederate fortification and the Union positions built to support their attack. The battle here raged on from 2 to 9 April 1865. The battle resulted in a Union victory. Ironically the battle ended 6 hours after the war ended with Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. There were a total of 4475 casualties in the battle with 3529 of them occuring on 9 April.
Today the park commemorates the battle. Parts of the breastworks and fortifications are preserved along with sites of battles and the site of the town of Blakeley. The park also offers a good look at the wildlife from the area and in the Tensaw River Delta.
There are a number of nice hiking trails, a Nature Center, and even a two hour cruise on the Tensaw on the Delta Explorer. Hours are daily from 9 AM to dusk. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for kids 6 to 12; and free for kids under 6.
For more information/photos see my Blakeley Page.
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