Who says you can't travel back in time? It feels that way every time I go back to my small hometown in the rural mountains of northern Alabama.
I graduated during the "MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice" days of old and a lot has changed since then. But even with the changes, I see memories around every corner... racing around in my (spray-painted) white '76 Camaro, gathering with friends at the local Tonka, camping out along the river, and enjoying many a cold, uh, Dr. Pepper.
We went home a few weeks ago to watch my nephews play in their homecoming football game at my high school alma mater. It was exciting to watch (especially those tackles made by my nephew!) and a treat to hug friends that I haven't seen in ages. Definitely a moment of present day time travel.
Beyond the faces and places of home, I connect to a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the landscape and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors every time I visit... hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems that I took for granted in my formative years.
Here are a few of my Blount County, Alabama favorites to add to your adventure plans:
- Kayak or raft the Black Warrior river.
- Catch the sunrise, enjoy a picnic, and take a hike at Palisades Park.
- Rickwood Caverns are awe-inspiring. Descend 175 feet below the earth's surface for a one mile cave tour!
- Cool off at Spring Valley Beach Water Park. Should I share the story of my attempt to sneak in through the trunk of a car only to be busted at the gate? Oops. I've said too much already.
- Stay in downtown Oneonta (bonus points if you say it correctly) for some good eats and drinks on Main Street. Our favorites include breakfast at Historic Grounds at Millers, lunch at JW Bar & Grill capped off with dinner at Giovanni's Pizza.
- Shop along Oneonta's main street and enjoy a cold brew at Tin Town Brewing Company Don't miss The Southern Haberdashery & Provisions Co and the Pink Porch Market for local artisan-made goods.
There is so much more to explore in this beautiful place... this place that will always be home no matter how far I roam.
Tell us about the hidden gems in your hometown. Where should we visit?