Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forever Wild launches a new website

Alabama's Forever Wild program has launched a new website that makes it much easier to find information on getting to an using Forever Wild properties. The website allows you to select an activity from birding, to hiking, to hunting and see where to go to participate.
When Forever Wild was up for renewal, one criticism leveled at the program was that people didn't know enough about the tracts that had been acquired and how to access them. The new website is another step toward addressing that criticism.

Trek Birmingham Launches Feature on Red Mountain Park

The outdoor adventure and learning site, Trek Birmingham, has added another destination to its growing list. The latest entry,  a comprehensive look at Red Mountain Park, covers everything from the park's geology to its archaeology, its biology and its history.  This impressive collection of information, photographs, maps and charts was put together by Birmingham-Southern College faculty members R. Scot Duncan and Francesca Gross.
It joins 12 other entries, including Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, Ruffner Mountain, the Zoo, Sloss Furnaces and Vulcan Park.

This isn't just your standard how-to-get-there info. It's practically a lesson plan for a multi-discipline course.  

If you study up on Trek Birmingham before a visit, you could really impress your fellow visitors with your knowledge of the rocks, flora and fauna wherever you choose to go.

Friday, October 25, 2013

"A Banjo Is Not A Flotation Device": A Report From Billy Reid's Florence, Alabama, Shindig | style file |

Why wasn't I invited?

"A Banjo Is Not A Flotation Device": A Report From Billy Reid's Florence, Alabama, Shindig | style file | Billy Reid’s priorities have always included giving back to the good folks in his neck of the woods, whom, for the last four years, have been integral to the success of Shindig, the annual music, fashion, and food festival that has become his signature event. “One of our favorite things about the weekend is the blending, having folks in from all over the country mixing with all of our local friends,” said Reid, whose wife, Jeanne, and kids took part in the weekend. “We love being able to play host for our community.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frank Stitt in the NYTimes: Sweet Home Cooking Alabama

Highlands Bar and Grill gets a tip of the hat for longevity from the New York Times:
Sweet Home Cooking Alabama -

Excerpt: "More than three decades later, the Highlands is still crowded every night from 5 p.m. onward with ruddy-faced local salesmen in golf shirts and blue blazers, businesswomen in blowouts and Prada, lawyers in suits, gentlemen farmers and city councilmen, even the mayor, William A. Bell. White and black alike socialize at the Highlands, and have since the start, Stitt said. The restaurant is a kind of social bazaar, the town square, a club where the dues are paid nightly.

Such longevity is notable amid a dining culture slavishly devoted to the new. Most restaurants fail. “Thirty years is infinity,” said Alan Richman, the restaurant critic for GQ. “Old restaurants get eccentric, cranky, difficult, like old people. Like me.”

Best Quote: “There is no more reliable predictor of divorce,” a man there told me, “than a married person coming to the Highlands bar alone on a Thursday night twice in a month.” 

Giving a Wife Her Front-Yard Grave, No Matter What -

From the New York Times: Giving a Wife Her Front-Yard Grave, No Matter What -

Excerpt: STEVENSON, Ala. — James Davis figures that his first mistake was asking permission. If a man promises his wife he will bury her in the front yard, then he should just do so.
But ever since Mr. Davis granted his dying wife’s wish by laying her to rest just off his front porch, he and the City of Stevenson have been at odds. From City Hall to the courts, the government of this little railroad town in southern Appalachia has tried to convince Mr. Davis that a person who lives in a town cannot just set up a cemetery anywhere he likes. On Oct. 11, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a judge’s decision saying as much.

But Mr. Davis, 74, is not inclined to back down.

“They’re waiting on me to die,” he said early last week, standing on the porch of the log house he built and looking out over his lawn, which along with the grave features an outhouse and a large sign demanding that his wife be allowed to rest in peace. “I am not digging her up.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eagle's Restaurant in Birmingham lives up to its new-found hype (dining review) (photos) |

Nice review by Eric Velasco of Eagle's out by the ACIPCO plant.

Eagle's Restaurant in Birmingham lives up to its new-found hype (dining review) (photos) | By Eric Velasco

Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby. And when it comes to soul food, Eagle’s Restaurant is the real thing, baby.

Eagle’s is a too-often overlooked gem near the ACIPCO plant in north Birmingham. Open for a total of 62 years and run by the Rucker family for nearly 40 years, it has a loyal following.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Monthly History Hikes at Red Mountain Park Start Sunday, Oct. 20

Starting Oct. 20, Red Mountain Park will be holding monthly history hikes at the Park (except for December). If you haven't been to the park, this is a nice way to be introduced. If you are a regular, you still will want to know more about the silenced trains that ran on the tracks you travel, the vanished communities hidden in the privet, the deep shafts under your feet.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review of "BIg Fish" on Broadway -

Not an overwhelmingly positive review but how often do we get a Broadway musical set in Alabama? I'd love to see it.

Susan Stroman Directs ‘Big Fish’ on Broadway - Edward is a life-of-the-party Alabama boy still twinkling in the twilight of his life, which (this is not a spoiler) is destined to end soon. Age cannot stale his enthusiasm for retelling the same improbable accounts of his youth or his hunger for the spotlight.

Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places -

Read this Wayne Flynt piece on the contributions of Alabamians to the jazz and the blues music Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places - ...