Wedding dress designer Heidi Elnora is no stranger to the spotlight. The Alabama native got her first taste of fame as a contestant on reality television show Project Runway in 2005. Nine years later, she starred in her own show called Bride by Design on TLC. This month, after years designing for the wedding industry with her Heidi Elnora Atelier in downtown Birmingham and Build-A-Bride sister shops, she reached another milestone in her incredible journey. On October 1, Elnora debuted a fifteenth anniversary collection at legendary department store Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.
Louisiana-born and Alabama-raised, artist and interior designer William McLure doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t creating. As one of four boys growing up in the tiny town of Troy, finding outlets for his passion took a bit of resourcefulness. As a kid, he could often be found rearranging furniture, repainting his bedroom walls, and DIYing canopy beds by nailing sheets to the ceiling. For birthdays, it wasn’t bikes or action figures he asked for, but lamps and duvet covers. Though McLure excelled in high school art class and painted throughout his upbringing, he never imagined he would make a living through art. After graduating, college wasn’t in the cards, so he got a job at the Alabama Board of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement changed the course of history in America forever. Many of the places that created the environment for such monumental change are right here in our own backyard. Alabama’s role in the Civil Rights Movement is undeniable. All across the state, our cities and towns became the backdrop for sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, and protests that opened the world’s eyes to the inequality, injustice, and bigotry prevalent throughout our country. Nearly 70 years later, the sacrifices many Americans made to advance the cause for equality are more important than ever. And now more than ever, it’s important to reflect on that history.
If you thought you'd have to leave Alabama to get a cozy mountain town experience, think again. Nestled in the woodlands of Lookout Mountain, Mentone is our state’s highest city—and also one of the most fun to visit. Its location in the northeast corner of the state, teetering near the Georgia state line, renders it a gateway to the Appalachians. But it’s also the gateway to years of history and culture built by the mountain people who call it home. With gorgeous natural surroundings to explore—on foot, skis, or horseback—plus plenty of colorful shops and restaurants, Mentone is ideal for a refreshing retreat. Here’s our guide to spending a day in Mentone.
If the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo were an animal, it would be a cat with nine lives. Since opening in 1989 as Zooland Animal Park, the beloved zoo has survived six major hurricanes—plus a pandemic—and lived to tell the tale. The most destructive of the hurricanes, Hurricane Ivan, which hit in 2004, forced a total animal evacuation, causing more than $500,000 in damage and a 14-month closure. The zoo’s incredible story of survival attracted the attention of The Animal Planet, which chose it as the subject for a 13-episode documentary series called "The Little Zoo That Could" that aired in February 2006.
How many 20-year-old homeowners do you know? How about 20-year-old homeowners who also built their homes? In Birmingham’s Ensley neighborhood, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit private school is working to add to that number by making the dream of homeownership a reality for low-income students.