“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” -Lawrence Block
It’s a long road trip for us to get to our annual family reunion in Mississippi so to break up this year’s drive, we planned to stop and explore the beautiful state of Alabama. With three days, we explored as many of the highlights as we could.
The Alabama state capital of Montgomery served as our home base for the short three days we had to explore. We found a cozy Airbnb in the Cloverdale area of town, which we loved for its tightknit, community feel, street after street of historic homes, and the locally owned restaurants that served wonderful southern comfort food, delicious desserts, and awesome breakfast food. The best part was having a chance to meet up with friends to share a meal which made Montgomery feel like home.
Where we stayed was just outside the must-see sites of historical downtown Montgomery so one afternoon, we explored landmarks such as the Alabama State Capital, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, the First White House of the Confederacy, Hank Williams’ Memorial, and the Rosa Parks Library and Museum. Our visit was after 4 p.m. so we found the capital area to have lesser crowds and parking was metered and abundant.
We had one full day to explore beyond Montgomery so we jumped into the truck and headed north to the sweet little town of Wetumpka, Alabama. We love small towns, primarily because we live in one, and Wetumpka is experiencing a revitalization as part of HGTV’s Hometown Takeover so since we were so close, we wanted to see how it had turned out. When we visited, the work had been done but the actual show had not yet aired. The town is perched along the picturesque banks of the Coosa River which divides the town with the historic Bibb Graves Bridge connecting the community. It was a rainy day for our visit but we managed to see that the town looked like a peaceful community to live in, inviting and refreshed.
After leaving Wetumpka, we chose to take the back roads, through a rain storm, to get into Birmingham. Our destination? Birmingham Botanical Gardens. After the early part of the day enjoying small town life, Birmingham was definitely a lot bigger but we made our way to the oasis that is Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are open every day of the week and hours will vary depending on the time of year. Admission and parking is always free so this is an affordable, family-friendly spot that we highly recommend. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and the gardens were bursting with early spring color for our visit. If you visit Birmingham, the gardens are certainly worth exploring and you can plan your time on the garden’s website at www.bbgardens.org. They are located at 2612 Lane Park Road in Birmingham.
Before heading back to Montgomery, we did a quick search for a local lunch spot. Luckily, we found Post Office Pies just down the street. Since we didn’t know Birmingham, we did a quick online search and decided that this was our lunch spot and boy did we choose wisely! Three minutes from the Birmingham Gardens, we sat in the window of Post Office Pies and while our day had been rainy and damp, our pizzas were hot, fresh, and just delicious. We would highly recommend that you work up an appetite in the gardens and then grab a pizza to top off your day. The location we visited was 270 Rele Street, Mountain Brook, Alabama and you can find out more about them on their website at www.postofficepies.com.
Our exploration out of Montgomery was easy! Wetumpka was just under 30 minutes outside of Montgomery and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens was another hour and a half. It is an easy drive and it was a great way to spend the day.
We enjoyed our visit and our adventures in Alabama and we felt like there was still much more to be seen the next time we are passing through. If you have an opportunity to visit, I hope that our adventures have given you some ideas on some spots to explore.