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Longleaf Botanical Gardens is an oasis of rare and interesting plants

2023-02-20T17:15:53-06:00By |Outdoors, Travel|

If the dinosaur in the museum came to life, it would recognize at least one plant in Anniston's Longleaf Botanical Gardens—a pre-historic relic, a cycad. These plants date back from 9 to 65 million years and in all probability endured plenty of dinosaur nibbling. With plants that complement the mission of the Anniston Natural History Museum, the Gardens are packed with both native and exotic plants that beautify and mystify those who walk its trails. 

Attend an Eagle Awareness Weekend at Lake Guntersville State Park

2023-01-13T15:45:53-06:00By |Outdoors, Travel|

As the sun begins to set over Lake Guntersville, a bald eagle bullet dives into the water, emerging with a wriggling fish. It heads back towards the ridge, where a nest awaits with a mate overseeing a couple of chicks. On a dock astride the lake, a group watches as the eagles fly in for dinner time. There is something exhilarating about a white head and tail feathers flying overhead. Watching it fish for its young against the orange and red sunset transforms it to mythical status. 

Meet Alabama thriller author Robert Bailey

2022-12-13T09:57:50-06:00By |Culture|

He started out as a smart aleck. Robert Bailey sat through his law school classes wondering if his professors could succeed in an actual court of law. After becoming a lawyer, Bailey wrote an 800-page thriller about an aging professor called to work a trial. After honing it down to the real kernels of the story, he sold a two-book deal to a publisher. Now, with more than one million books sold, Robert Bailey is releasing his ninth book in June. 

Plan a getaway to Jubilee Suites in Fairhope

2022-11-19T12:56:52-06:00By |Travel|

There are only two places on earth where the natural phenomenon called a jubilee occurs: the Fairhope area and Japan. Dana Maloney has had the good fortune of living in both places. Rather than the bounty of sea creatures lulled out of their watery homes into the shallows, her personal jubilees came in different packages. While others may be snapping up flounder, crab, and shrimp during the brief oceanic wonder, Dana gained more permanent gifts. In Japan, her third son was born. In Fairhope, she realized a dream of owning her own bed and breakfast. Jubilee Suites Bed and Breakfast now welcomes others to enjoy their own personal celebrations whether it is a vacation, gathering, or business that brings them to this elegant lodge overlooking Mobile Bay.

Where to see the best holiday light shows in Alabama

2022-11-19T12:09:16-06:00By |Culture, Travel|

For those who bravely untangle last year's Christmas tree lights, imagine covering an entire zoo or botanical garden with the illuminating bulbs. All across Alabama, the custom of lighting up Christmas rises to the level of art with dancing elves, prancing reindeer, walking Gingerbread men, and in one case, a mooning Santa. The displays range from dramatic to whimsical, high in the tree tops to below ground, and from elegant to so tacky that the infamous Griswold house would not make the cut. From November through January, you can fill your senses with holiday cheer. Start early, and follow the lighted trail from north to south. Or, choose an old favorite to share with the whole family. These light displays are filled with joy, whimsy, motion, humor and the holidays at their best. 

Visit Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama

2022-11-15T15:46:32-06:00By |News, Outdoors, Travel|

Rising above the clouds, it earned the name, “Island in the Sky.” The Creek Nation labeled it “Chaha,” meaning “high place” in the Muskogee language. At 2,407 feet above sea level, Cheaha State Park towers over the rest of the state as its highest point. Located in the town of Delta in North Alabama, this oasis stretches wide across the horizon in the midst of 2,799 acres of state park, plus the surrounding 392,567 acres of the Talladega National Forest, which in turn encompasses more than 7,000 acres of the Cheaha Wilderness. It affords a rare luxury in these crowded times—miles of vista oblivious to human touch.

7 questions with Birmingham’s boutique beverage expert

2022-08-06T15:31:39-05:00By |Food & Drink|

LeNell Camacho Santa Ana fell into the world of bartending by necessity, but discovered a passion instead. Her boutique liquor shop in Birmingham's Norwood neighborhood has gained a staunch following from those looking for small-production brands of wine and spirits. But more than that, they've found expertise, integrity, charm, and humor in the woman behind the bar. We sat down with LeNell herself to learn more about how she got into the buzzy biz.

Discover a world-renowned rare doll shop in Homewood

2022-07-29T16:09:38-05:00By |Living|

It all started with a 1930s Shirley Temple doll for Mary Charles Robbins. Living in a home with no radio, before television, dolls provided her main entertainment. Today, the Mary Charles Doll House is one of 10 repair shops world-wide that are approved by the Madame Alexander Doll Company. People seek out the tiny historic house in Homewood—formerly the location of Carriage House on Oxmoor Road—from all over the country. Part retail, part museum, the Mary Charles Doll House is crammed with antique and vintage dolls, teddy bears, doll clothes, doll houses and doll house furnishings. Very few things are new, except for the exquisite miniatures for tea sets and doll houses designed and painted by artists specializing in working small. 

Find more than books at Jim Reed Books in Birmingham

2022-07-20T14:34:18-05:00By |Culture|

A confessed hoarder, Jim Reed divides people into keepers and tossers, landing solidly in the keeper lane. His quirky collection resembles a combination of a college professor's office, a yard sale and an old bachelor who was never really housebroken. Spend an hour or two at Jim Reed Books and Museum of Fond Memories in downtown Birmingham, and your senses flood with memories and chuckles. It is serious, too. There is a feeling as you browse the shelves, that his shop holds a significant percentage of the world’s knowledge. Books range from new to five hundred years old. Items range from a giant porky pig head to movie posters, election buttons, vintage toys, and Amazing Spiderman comic books. You can find everything from a life-sized Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, hoisting a ruby slippers thought bubble, to a rare 150-year-old diary, perhaps complete with old love letters. 

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