By: Chloe Monte
This fall hike was had at Hurricane Creek Park Trail. This area is known for its summer splashes in Hurricane Creek where families and friends alike gather in the peaceful flowing water to beat the heat. The area is also known for its amazing trail system that loops through the cascading hills.
The trails are open to both mountain bikers and hikers; however, the trail system tends to be peaceful and low in traffic. It’s the perfect trail to hike when one wants to feel in touch with nature and to get away from the noise of town.
The trail has both North and South loops. The North loop is 4.3 miles long and the South loop is an extra 1.1 miles. This is the perfect length to feel like you’ve gotten away, yet it is short enough that it can be done without giving up your entire day.
During my hike this past weekend, I found myself enjoying the trickling sun that danced upon the colorful fall leaves and beautiful birds that cascaded between the branches. It was truly a pleasure to experience this.
Hiking during the fall is one of the best times to hike in Alabama because the weather is often dry and temperate. In other words, Alabama is not making it difficult to have an amazingly relaxing day. Football season often competes with the call of the trail, but the die-hard outdoorsy people know that this often works to their advantage. And no worries, though, if game day cannot be missed to enjoy the tranquility of the trails, simply go on another day. It will be win-win! (Pun intended.)
Article sponsored by Tuscaloosa Tourism.
Find them on the web at: http://visittuscaloosa.com
By Candice Morris
As a new homeowner, one of the first things I wanted to purchase was something for my front door. I love the look of monogrammed door décor, but wanted mine to be special, something that was uniquely “me.”
With most of my new home budget going towards things like paint and home-repair supplies, I knew I needed something for my door that was inexpensive and could easily be updated each season. I loved this rustic frame I found at Hobby Lobby. Between hitting Hobby Lobby on the right sales day and a having a digital coupon, I managed to get all of my supplies, which included burlap ribbon, some fall décor, and a wooden “M,” for around $20.
The trickiest part of this project was fashioning the bow. If you’re unsure how to make one, a pre-made bow would be perfect for this project. You could also tie your ribbon into a simple bow. I attached the bow to the top of the frame by using the ends of the bow to tie it on. I then tied the fall décor, which were fall-colored jingle bells, to a smaller ribbon and attached to the back of the frame. I left the letter unpainted and glued it onto the frame using small dots of wood glue. After adding a loop of ribbon on the back, it was ready to be hung!
This versatile door décor is a simple afternoon project that is sure to look great on your front door. You can always put your own personal touches on it, too – paint the letter your favorite color and voila!
Happy Fall, Y’all.
Article sponsored by Russell Lee Flooring.
Find them on the web at: http://www.rslee.com
By Chloe Monte
Haunted houses are everywhere in Alabama and we put together a list of ones to visit if you dare!
- 8404 Parkway Drive, Leeds, Alabama
- Parking is free / $20 general admission
- 306 South Main Street, Columbia, AL 36319
- $13 general admission
- Doors open at 7:30 pm
Haunted House of Horrors
- 1205 Tennessee St., Courtland, Al 35618
- Parking is free / $20 general admission
- Generally open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in October
Haunted Lester Hospital
- 30338 Lester Road, Lester, Alabama 35647
- $10 general admission
- The Hospital is open from 7 pm to Midnight
Hollis Haunted Chicken House
- 7522 Hwy 431, Heflin, Alabama 36264
- $15 1 Token / $25 2 Tokens / $40 3 Tokens
- Open every Friday and Saturday from 7pm – 12am.
- 5320 Miles Spring Road, Pinson, AL 35126
- $10 general admission
- Open each Friday and Saturday evening at 7pm until midnight starting September 25
Popes Haunted Farm
- Lee Rd 724, Salem, Alabama 36874
- $13 per event / $30 three event combo
- They are open from 7:30 pm until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights or 10 pm on Thursday
Sloss Fright Furnace
- 20 32nd Street North, Birmingham, AL 35222
- $20 - $24 general admissions
- All ages can take the furnace tour. The trail tour is restricted to age 14 and up unless accompanied by adults
- Open every day of the week
Spook Trail Maze of Monsters & Mayhem
- 17347 Highway 269, Quinton, Alabama
- $15 general admission or $10 with a canned food item
- The trail is open every Friday and Saturday night. It opens at 7pm and closes at 12am.
- 25 West Chocolocco St., Oxford, Alabama
- Enjoy 16 nights of frights on weekends in 2015 starting on September 25th
- Doors open at 7 pm
Twysted Souls Haunted Trail
- 1789 Odom Loop Road, Dozier, Alabama
- They open at 7 pm every Friday and Saturday night.
- 3150 Lee Street, Pelham, Alabama 35124
- VIP pass $49.95
- Gates are open 6:30 pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday and until 11 pm on other nights.
- Free parking is available.
This article is sponsored by Morning Pointe.
Find them on the web at: http://www.morningpointe.com
By Courtney Corbridge
No matter where you live in Alabama, you are close to something fun to do this fall. And since the weather is so nice, it’s hard not to get out of the house and join up with the community. Here are a few of our favorite seasonal activities for each of the big areas of the state.
Field of Screams (Oct. 31, 11a.m.–1a.m.) It’s the largest Halloween even to hit Birmingham. In the morning there is a zombie run and parade. Then in the evening there will be a carnival for the kids and two Halloween parties for the adults. Dress up and get a chance to win best costume. It will be a Halloween must for all ages. http://www.fieldofscreamsbham.com/
Homestead Hollow Arts & Crafts Festival (Nov. 13–15, 9a.m.–4p.m.)Go back in time this fall and see pioneer demonstrators make crafts that were common place in their day. See everything from wood carving, soap making, wood stove cooking and whisky making to blacksmithing, quilting and beekeeping. But that’s not all; for kids, go on a wagon ride, get your face painted and more. http://homesteadhollow.com/
Lowdown in Dubtown 2015—Charity Car Show & Swap Meet (Oct. 17, 10a.m.–4p.m)
Beautiful cars, catering by Chupper Time Catering, and music is all you need for a great Saturday afternoon. It’s a free event, but donations will help in the effort to find homes for the rescued dogs at the Shelby Humane Society. Visit their Facebook page for more details.https://www.facebook.com/events/706257052806049/
The Haunted Lowry House Flickfest (Thursdays, Oct. 1–29, 7:30p.m.)
Get in the mood for Halloween with weekly horror flicks at the historic Lowry House. They’ll have Nosferatu, Alien, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Donnie Darko. The best part is the big screen will be out on the lawn, so bring your blanket, pack a late night snack and enjoy the cool weather of fall.http://www.historiclowryhouse.com/events.html
Greek Fest (Oct. 15–17, 5p.m.) Celebrate great culture and become a Greek for a day as you eat pastitsio, baklava, gyros, souvlaki and more. Plus, while you eat you can listen to traditional Greek music and watch traditional Greek dancing! Opa! http://www.greekfestmobile.org/food.aspx
Greater Gulf State Fair (Oct. 30–Nov. 8)There’s almost nothing better than a state fair, but if there is, it’s probably the Wizard of Oz. Lucky for you Mobile is bringing the two together this year which means a circus, wildlife show, Bengal encounter, fireworks, a rodeo, rides for kids and adults, great food and more. It’s a real highlight of the season. http://thegroundsmobile.com/events/greater-gulf-state-fair/
Montgomery Humane Society’s 4th Annual Haunted House (Fridays and Saturdays in October) If Halloween isn’t Halloween until you’ve been spooked, this is the place to do it. Come and let the guards guide you through a scary tour of previously unseen prison grounds!https://www.facebook.com/mhshaunt4paws?fref=ts
Alabama National Fair (Oct. 30–Nov. 8) Jump on the merry-go-round, the space loop, the giant wheel and more than 50 other rides at the Alabama National Fair. Cole Swindell and Lynyrd Skynyrd will be there, so you’ll want to be there too. Come all day for food, outdoor shows and competitions. Nothing is better than a great fair. http://www.alnationalfair.org/
44th Annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts (Oct. 17 & 18, 9am-5:00pm) Over 270 nationally and internationally acclaimed folk artists. One of Alabama’s largest art festivals and Tuscaloosa’s favorite. Get there early because parking fills up! http://www.kentuck.org/the-festival/
10th Annual Halloween Spooktacular and Monster Mash Ball (Oct. 22, 5:30–7:30p.m.) In Tuscaloosa there’s always a lot going on for students, but what about kids? The Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa opens for free to any kid—or adult—dressed in a costume on the 22nd of October. Come play carnival games, listen to a fortune teller and dance your night away at the monster mash ball! http://www.chomonline.org/events.html
Stockton Sawmill Days (Nov. 7, 9a.m.–4p.m.) Come to Alabama’s first sawmill to log with draft animals, search for treasure, ride in a wagon and eat great food. It’s a great way to get back to your Southern roots while living up the great outdoors. http://www.stocktonsawmilldays.org/
The Shore of AL
Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend (Nov. 6–7) Listen to great music while eating the best that oysters and beer have to offer. This great weekend brings together the best celebrity chefs, who will compete for your taste buds. Join in an oyster shucking competition, watch football in a viewing lounge, and learn how to cook with cooking demonstrations.http://www.hangoutcookoff.com/
Article sponsored by ERC Roofing and Construction.
Find them on the web at: http://alabamaroofingexpert.com
Moundville Archaeological Park is celebrating its annual Native American Festival this weekend, and if you’re looking for something exciting and unique to do with the whole family in our area, this is it. The four-day event, which begins on Oct. 8, is one of the premiere tourism events in the state of Alabama, drawing thousands to the Park in Moundville each and every year.
Visitors to this year’s Moundville Native American Festival can enjoy performances, browse wonderful arts and crafts displays and watch great demonstrations designed to entertain and educate everyone about the rich culture and heritage of Southeastern Indians. Children are invited to get hands-on by playing native games and making crafts in the special Children's area.
“Moundville Archaeological Park is undoubtedly the most important prehistoric site in Alabama,” said Betsy Irwin, education outreach coordinator for the park. “The massive amount of labor and skill involved in leveling the plaza and constructing the mounds reflects the sophistication of the ancient people who once lived here. Less than 15 percent of the site has been excavated, making Moundville the best preserved site of its kind.”
One of the highlights of any visit to Moundville Archaeological Park is the University of Alabama’s Jones Museum.
“This is very important to Native Americans, many of whom consider these mounds to be sacred,” Irwin said. “In close consultation with Southeastern Indian tribes, we developed the Jones Museum exhibits to reflect their culture from the past as accurately as possible. Moundville and the Jones Archaeological Museum are both treasures that belong to everyone.”
Festival admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children.
The Festival will take place October 8 and 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and October 10 and 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information on the Moundville Archaeological Park, including more information about the 2014 Moundville Native American Festival, visit www.moundville.ua.edu
Photo: Jeff Perrigin
Article sponsored by Trade Partners Exchange.
Find them on the web at: http://tradepartnersexchange.com
By Cokie Thompson
School has started, and elementary school students across the state are all stocked up on fresh paper, unbroken crayons, and if their parents were feeling generous while back-to-school shopping, a new coloring book. This year, those parents might even get in on the fun.
Last fall, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book made its way to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. It might be interesting for any coloring book to reach that status, but this one is especially notable: it’s for adults.
Articles from Slate and Huffington Post have highlighted the stress-relieving benefits of coloring for all ages, especially adults with lives that don’t seem to allow them to slow down and breathe.
Allison Adams, an Alabama artist, drew Southern Scribblings after years of journaling and following Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way. She believes in the power of setting aside time to relax and get in touch with her creative side. Her book incorporates exercises beyond filling in the lines to help people sort out things going on in their heads they may not be paying attention to.
“This one I was trying to also get people thinking about getting creative but also balancing their life,” Adams said.
She said her goal is to help people open up to their creativity, and she hopes this will help them connect with their hopes and dreams from before they cared if they were coloring inside the lines.
“When people get to the point in life where they are asking, ‘What am I doing? Why am I on this treadmill?’ almost always they go back to that thing that they loved when they were five or six,” Adams said.
At Caring Days Adult Day Care in Tuscaloosa, adults with Alzheimer’s disease get creative with coloring books too. Artwork from current and former patients covers the walls and keeps the facility warm and feeling like home.
Executive Director Vicki Kerr said while it can be tricky defining what is or isn’t within a patient’s skill set, coloring has had a positive impact on Caring Days.
“I don’t ever want to do anything that seems to be demeaning,” Kerr said. “When it’s your kids, you’re proud, but of course with Alzheimer’s patients it goes the other way.”
Whether it’s through Wild West themed-coloring books or watercolors on paper, Kerr said Caring Days patrons are able to express some of their deepest feelings.
“What you see come out is from their heart,” Kerr said.
Arts ‘n Autism in Tuscaloosa works with children on the autism spectrum through after-school programs and summer camps. Amy Grimes, the art teacher for the program, said she could see how adult coloring books would help people relax.
She uses Zentangles, a drawing method, to help calm her students who have difficulty with transitions. The task is focused, but not fraught with potential error, and helps them work through anything that is frustrating them.
“Particularly if you have kids who are used to doing things in an order,” Grimes said. “It does center them and make them feel quite comfortable.”
Like Allison Adams, Grimes said helping people engage their creative side can be difficult at first.
“When you try to get them to revisit it, they’re frightened by that, but it’s amazing if you give them step one or step two, they aren’t as overwhelmed,” Grimes said.
Whether you’re stressed about bosses and clients or learning how to read, a coloring book might help you unwind.
Article sponsored by Belle Chambre.
Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BelleChambreTuscaloosa
For those that haven't explored the many public museums and attractions in the State of Alabama, this list is a great place to get started.
By Tori Linville
A five star experience doesn’t mean a bad bed in a gross hotel and it doesn’t mean bad food. Even if you’re not on vacation, no one wants to deal with subpar experiences, regardless of the establishment. So wherever you’re going, whatever you’re doing – whether you’re a native or a visitor, we’ve hit up Trip Advisor in the area to help you have a top-rated time.
Top Hotel: Embassy Suites by Hilton
This Tuscaloosa hotel gets nothing but praise for its staff and amenities. One reviewer labels it a “southern gem,” while another says “Tuscaloosa got exactly what was desperately needed” while describing their stay. Most visitors really enjoy the location of the Embassy Suites, as it’s next to plenty of restaurants and shopping opportunities. And if you don’t like it, be sure to say so on Trip Advisor – the general manager, Steven, makes sure to reply to most reviews and digs deeper into why a customer didn’t enjoy his or her stay.
Top Restaurant: The Ave Pub
Great burgers, great fish tacos, great drink selection. Trip Advisor has spoken and The Ave Pub is one of the best places to fill a stomach. One review by added, “I am glad that they offer healthier foods with real substance, such as their greens in their salad; it's not just your average iceburg lettuce.” From the service to the food presentation to the drink selection, people are raving about all the good things happening down at The Ave.
#2 Thing to Do: Paul W. Bryant Museum
Why the second? Because in a town like Tuscaloosa, the obvious first choice is Bryant-Denny Stadium. No need to explain. Since it’s off-season, the second choice is Paul W. Bryant Museum. Just down the street from the stadium, the museum is the perfect off-season stop to help all your Alabama football yearnings. As one reviewer said, “Bear will love to see you stop in and visit.”
Top Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham/280 East-Eagle Point
If you’re in the mood for some comfortable beds, clean rooms and some above-average complimentary breakfast (seriously, who isn’t?) then Trip Advisor says the Hampton Inn is for you. The location and hotel basics are a shoe-in at this place and the staff seems to be on top of their game. As one reviewer put it, a stay at this Birmingham hotel is “always a great stay.”
Top Restaurant: Highlands Bar and Grill
Trip Advisor has 834 restaurants listed for the Birmingham area and Highlands Bar and Grill lands at number one. Highlands offers a fine dining experience that can’t be missed. The menu changes frequently and the wine is not to be missed. It is a more high-end place though, which threw some reviewers off. That’s not to say you won’t be welcomed regardless – it’s still true to its Southern hospitality.
#1 Thing to Do: Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
The top-ranked thing to do in Birmingham lies with Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Why? The Trip Advisor consensus is that there’s just so much to see, one trip is only the tip of the motorcycle iceberg. The museum boasts the largest collection of Lotus cars in the U.S. and as one reviewer said, “This is a one of a kind museum for everyone to see. You don't have to be interested in motorcycles or a 'gear head' to appreciate this spectacle.”
Top Hotel: Henderson Park Inn
Not only is it the number one hotel for Destin on Trip Advisor, Henderson Park Inn is also Destin’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice for the website. Number one thing to know? It has a no children policy – this is for the adults who need time away! The staff is more than accommodating and the beach location definitely doesn’t hurt. Dinner reservations are a must, but freebies abound in the form of water, candy bars and other treats. Take it from the guy who flew from New York City on a whim: “We were very impressed. It's got excellent location, a solid restaurant, friendly staff - everything we wanted for a getaway. Highly recommend. We will be back.”
#2 Restaurant: Buck’s Smokehouse
Since the top rated restaurant was Beach Walk at – you guessed it – Henderson Park Inn, we decided to switch the scenery and check up on the number two. Buck’s Smokehouse is home to some of Destin’s best barbeque. Though some reviewers were disappointed in comparing it to Texas barbeque, the brisket is still a crowd favorite. Add it to a clean atmosphere, friendly staff and an array of sauces that’ll have you coming back for more, it’s no wonder it’s dubbed the “best BBQ on the beach” by one reviewer.
#2 Thing to Do: Crystal Sands Beach
In a coastal town like Destin, obviously the main thing to do is to veg out on the beach and get some well-deserved sun. The number one beach was back to the Henderson Beach State Park, so we again saw what number two had to offer. Crystal Sands Beach stands on its own (not literally), with “sugary white sand” and “gorgeous blue water” that has reviewers handing out five stars all around. The best parts? It’s great for children, but not too crowded.
Article sponsored by Tuscaloosa Tourism Black Warrior and Tuscaloosa Tourism Veterans.
Find them on the web at: http://visittuscaloosa.com
A summer past time everybody remembers is taking a huge, refreshing swig of water from the water hose while playing outside. Nowadays, there’s more than one way to catch that refreshing swig all over again. We’ve listed some virtually inexpensive water games that don’t even require you leaving the driveway to cure the summertime boredom we all face. Other than slip ‘n slides and water balloon fights, these fast and easy games will offer a quick way to cool off without breaking the bank.
Unlike hot potato, cold potato is considerate of the summer heat. Using a pin to poke a small hole in a water balloon, the ‘cold potato’ is passed around in a circle before it runs out of water. The idea is that every one cools off, but not too much.
Add a twist: The player who catches the balloon as it runs out of water gets an entire leaky water balloon squirted at them.
Marco Polo – without the pool
The idea is the same but instead of treading water, the infamous Marco is blinded and strapped with a water gun to seek out his or her Polos. Mixed with a bit of hide and seek, Marco counts to ten with his or her back turned, and then calls Marco. When a Polo is successfully drenched, switch roles.
Add a twist: Add some water balloons to the Marco’s arsenal.
Maybe one of the easiest water games ever. The goal? To make the biggest splat with water balloons. Just throw them in the air. The higher the throw, the bigger the splat. Winner is the player with the biggest splat.
Add a twist: Challenge players to create a shape from their splats.
Bobbing for Apples
A carnival tradition, bobbing for apples is a perfect way to chill down. Just stick your face in the water and try your best for a fruity prize.
Add a twist: Switch up fruits and turn the edible prizes into smoothies.
Article sponsored by Alabama Power and Tuscaloosa Environmental.
Find Alabama Power on the web at: http://www.alabamapower.com
Find Tuscaloosa Environmental on the web at: http://www.tuscaloosa.com/recycle
By Tori Linville
Headphones are in and the world is blocked temporarily. In your head, you’re dancing all-out to your favorite artist. No one can stop you. Really, you’re probably doing dishes. Or yard work. So why not actually live your dream for one night? Narrowing down the best live music options in your area is always a toughie. So much music, so little time! Now there’s no need to worry because we’ve got you covered right here.
Great music is known to find its way to Tuscaloosa and this August is no different. While there isn’t much floating around now, keep your ear to the ground and more acts will line up soon.
August 20: Alabama Shakes with Drive-By Truckers – 8 p.m.
Birmingham’s centers and arenas always attract big names. Country, alternative and pop have all made a name for themselves in the Birmingham area.
August 10: My Morning Jacket at the Legacy Arena in the BJCC – 7 p.m.
August 14: Tim McGraw, Billy Currington and Chase Bryant at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre – 7 p.m.
With a music scene that’s been growing rapidly over the years, Mobile isn’t short of a variety of acts to hear around the city. New and upcoming acts are spread all around and artists from rap to rock to EDM find different venues to showcase their talent.
August 13: SoMo at Vinyl Music Hall – 7 p.m.
August 29: The Molly Ringwalds at the Soul Kitchen Music Hall – 11 p.m.
Article sponsored by the Pants Store and Lakeside Dental.
Find the Pants Store on the web at: http://www.pantsstore.com
Find Lakeside Dental on the web at: http://www.lakesidedentalsmiles.com