Tourism Tuesdays February 27, 2018


U.S. Civil Rights Trail guides tourists through black history
‘Get Out’ cast and crew say Alabama stereotypes were proven wrong
Mobile’s Contemporary Art Center announces new executive director
Stay at Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s former home
24 hours in Fairhope
“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website

U.S. Civil Rights Trail guides tourists through black history

From the article by Michael Cottman on

For Wanda Battle, serving as a tour guide for the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the historic red-brick building where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accepted his first pastoral assignment, has enriched her soul.

“I have been transformed by this job,” Battle told NBC News. “It’s been a life-changing experience.”

Battle said thousands of tourists travel from across the country and from around the world each year to visit the celebrated church in Montgomery, Alabama, that was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1974.

“They come to this little church because people want to be inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s legacy,” she said.

The neighborhood that surrounds the church is immersed in compelling civil rights accounts. Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, Dr. King led the Montgomery bus boycott and visitors continue to commemorate the Selma-to-Montgomery March where demonstrators crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

Today, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church is one of over 100 historical landmarks included on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which is part of an interactive website focusing on specific locations that explain and honor the Civil Rights Movement, including cities from Topeka, Kansas, to Memphis, Tennessee, from Atlanta, Georgia, to Selma and Birmingham, and Washington, D.C.

Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department, which led the trail project, said many of the historical sites are located in Alabama and across the Deep South.

“We’re sincere when we say what happened here changed the world,” Sentell told NBC News. “These foot soldiers in the Civil Rights Movement inspired people around the country — and around the world — to pursue the concept of passive defiance.”

He added: “Those who focus on [former] Governor George Wallace are missing the point. This is about the black volunteers — and some whites — who were the victors in the struggle to dismantle segregation.”

Sentell, who witnessed one of King’s momentous speeches outside Montgomery in March 1965, encourages people to visit the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

“These sites were selected not just because something happened there,” Sentell said, “but because we want to give visitors an experience.”

At the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, visitors learn about King’s first pastoral position from 1954 to 1960 and view the pulpit King used to preach his sermons and address marchers during social justice demonstrations in Montgomery.

Battle said Alabama’s former Governor George Wallace, who supported racial segregation in Alabama, would not allow King to stand on the steps of the state capitol to speak to marchers following the Selma-to-Montgomery March on Mar. 25, 1965. Demonstrators positioned the pulpit on a flatbed trailer in front of the steps where King delivered one of his groundbreaking speeches.

“When people come to tour the church, I talk about King’s legacy and we discuss human rights issues and issues that matter to people,” Battle said. “We talk about people of different cultures living together and working together on their jobs. We also talk about children growing up in a diverse society and teaching them how to treat people.”

Glenn Eskew, a history professor at Georgia State University and the Director of the Georgia State University World Heritage Initiative, said the Civil Rights Movement is a critical global narrative and a “shared story of bravery and determination by people who worked for social justice and change.”

“These sites represent a reflection of a difficult past, but it also represents reconciliation and embracing social justice reforms,” said Eskew, who contributed many historical landmarks to the Civil Rights Trail. “These landmarks encouraged demonstrations for social justice and racial equality and they are also energizing, inspiring and bring hope for a brighter future.

”Battle, meanwhile, said tourists — some searching for hope — visit Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church from far-away places such as Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada and England.

“This church is a place that changed the world,” she said. “And it continues to change us all.”

For the complete article please see

‘Get Out’ cast and crew say Alabama stereotypes were proven wrong
From the article by Ben Flanagan on

Jordan Peele’s massively successful and popular film “Get Out” is up for four Oscars including best picture, director, actor and original screenplay.

Come March 4, when the 90th Annual Academy Awards broadcast live on ABC, Peele could be thanking the state of Alabama for its contribution to the horror hit.

Peele, who made his directorial debut, filmed part of the movie in Fairhope and Mobile. It has since grossed more than $255 million worldwide on a production budget of just $4.5 million.

In the film, Daniel Kaluuya stars as a young African American man who visits his white girlfriend’s cursed family estate, only to learn that things are not what they seem and he could be in serious danger.

“Girls” star Allison Williams plays the girlfriend. You might recall Williams posting a photo on instagram saying she “fell in love” with Fairhope while filming the movie.

New York Magazine recently shared an oral history about the production of the film, which they dubbed “The First Great Movie of the Trump Era.” The piece chronicles how Peel’s film “began as a rebuke to Obama-inspired dreams of racial harmony and became a conduit for fears reignited by the rise of the new president.”

The piece features Peele, Kaluuya, Williams and others reflecting on their time spent in Alabama, including the director’s own assumptions about the area he quickly learned weren’t all true.

“I went to Alabama with my own stereotypes and preconceived notions about getting chased out,” Peele says. “There’s definitely a feeling that you’re in Trump country. But I have to say, the stereotypes were proved wrong. People were very sweet, very open, and there’s a lot of film lovers there who are very intelligent. Ultimately, I loved Alabama.”

While “Get Out” began shooting the film in Los Angeles in February 2016, they moved production to Fairhope after missing out on a California tax rebate.

It notes that much of the cast stayed in the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa during production, while also spending time at a house Williams rented for the duration of filming, which she said helped to create a bond within the team that may not have existed had they stayed in Los Angeles.

Kaluuya, who is nominated for best actor, noticed “a lot of Confederate flags” but says he didn’t really get to explore the town due to the filming schedule.

His co-star Lil Rel Howery, who plays his best friend in the film, tells a funny story about him stressing over seeing Kaluuya run in a hoodie through town at night.

While not currently the favorite to win best picture, watch out for “Get Out” as a potential surprise winner on March 4.

For the complete article please see

Mobile’s Contemporary Art Center announces new executive director
From the article on (WPMI-15)

Alabama Contemporary Art Center’s Board of Directors announced  that Amanda Solley will be the center’s new executive director, effective immediately. The board also voted unanimously to appoint Julie H. Friedman (Alabama State Council on the Arts) to the position of vice chair.

Currently director of exhibitions and programs, Solley has broad-ranging experience within the non-profit institution, having previously held the roles of curator of education and co-director of development & communications. “Amanda’s impressive track record within the organization has been driven by her energy and excitement for bringing world-class exhibitions and educational programs to Mobile,” said Board Chair Mike Dow. “As we look toward Alabama’s bicentennial year, our board and team is working hard to earn the continued support of our generous funders. Amanda’s talents will be integral as we continue to strengthen our offering for our members and the wider public by forming strategic partnerships throughout the city. It is truly an exciting time!”

“I am honored to accept the responsibility of representing Alabama Contemporary Art Center as executive director,” said Solley. “The arts are a community asset that can bring people together and provide them with a voice. This year and next we join organizations across the state in celebrating our bicentennial by recognizing our collective stories and writing new ones. Alabama Contemporary is poised to take an even greater leadership role as a vibrant local and regional arts and education resource and I look forward to cultivating partnerships to energize and engage the communities that we serve.”

Open through June 1, the art center’s current exhibition Back to Havana is made possible by funding from lead sponsor Wind Creek Hospitality, and also through generous support from The City of Mobile, Mobile County Commission, Alabama State Council on the Arts, The Hearin-Chandler Foundation, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, The Crampton Trust, Sybil Smith Foundation, Visit Mobile, The Support The Arts License Tag, and The Community Foundation of South Alabama.

Founded in 1999, Alabama Contemporary Art Center is a non-profit arts center located on Cathedral Square in the heart of Mobile’s historic downtown district.

Alabama Contemporary brings world-class exhibitions and over 100 classes and workshops for all ages, summer camps, artist talks, guided tours, and film screenings to Mobile every year, generating 56 jobs and $1.67 million in local economic activity annually.

For the complete article please see

Stay at Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s former home
From the article by Julie Pennell on

Attention, writers and readers: We may have found your next literary vacation spot.

One of the former homes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, has been converted into a museum dedicated to the Jazz Age novelists, and upstairs there’s a two-bedroom apartment you can actually stay in.

Located in Montgomery, Alabama, the home is the last of four still standing that the couple resided in through the years, according to the museum.

The two lived there from 1931 until the spring of 1932, and F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have worked on “Tender Is the Night” while Zelda Fitzgerald wrote portions of “Save Me the Waltz” during that time.

Originally built in 1909, the home has been updated with modern amenities, including a full kitchen and half bath.

The decor gives nod to the Roaring ’20s, with details such as an old radio on the bedside table, along with antique furniture and vintage lamps throughout. While not as lavish as something in “The Great Gatsby,” it’s still cozy and warm.

There are also plenty of references to the writers’ works thanks to the books scattered around the apartment, and even pillows featuring their quotes.

In the master bedroom, there’s a queen bed, while the second bedroom has two twin beds. The separate living room, dining room and sun porch all have views of the sprawling magnolia tree on the front lawn.

Those who stay in the apartment have access to a complimentary tour of the museum.

Sara Powell, director of the museum, told TODAY Home they’ve had writers from across the nation stay there, using it as a writer’s residency.

While the apartment is booked through May, it will be made available to the public again through Airbnb, where it costs $150 per night. For writers or scholars doing research or working with the museum, lodging is on a donation basis. If you’re interested in staying there, you can contact the museum at 334-264-4222 or to be notified when bookings are open again.

For the complete article please see

24 hours in Fairhope
From the article by Julia Sayers on

While you’re in Mobile for Mardi Gras, take an extra day and head to Fairhope (just a 30-minute drive) to check out what this quaint bayside town has to offer. From streets lined with Spanish moss-draped trees to beautiful views of Mobile Bay, Fairhope is the charming and picturesque town of Southern dreams. The community atmosphere is felt just walking around downtown, where shop owners greet you with a smile and restaurateurs invite you in to have a drink. Fairhope also holds its own Mardi Gras celebrations, including the Order of Mystic Magnolias parade on Monday, Feb. 12 this year. Visit to learn more.

Day 1
10:30 a.m. Brunch at Panini Pete’s
Start your day in Fairhope with the best beignets in Alabama. Panini Pete’s, a popular sandwich shop owned by Pete Blohme, opened in Fairhope in 2006 and quickly became known for its paninis and beignets. Light, fluffy, and with a slight lemon flavor, the beignets are a must-order for brunch — or any time of day, really. Make sure also to try a panino while you’re there. The Green Eggs and Ham, with basil-infused scrambled eggs, vine-ripe tomatoes, grilled mortadella, and melted provolone on grilled sourdough bread, will fuel you for a day exploring downtown.

12:30 p.m. Take a tour of Fairhope Brewing Company
Get a taste of the local craft beer scene with a tour at Fairhope Brewing Company, the first brewery in Lower Alabama. The brewery’s two flagship beers have grown into a rotating selection of year-round, seasonal, and small batch brews, with as many as 15 on tap at a time. Learn all about the brewing process and how the team got started with a tour of the brewery — offered each Saturday at noon. It’s $15 and includes a logo pint glass to fill with your choice of beer.

2 p.m. Explore downtown
After a beer or two, head to Fairhope’s quaint downtown, with shops, boutiques, and restaurants all within a central, walkable area. Wander into the Fairhope French Quarter and you’ll find a cute little courtyard with a fountain and shops arranged around it. It’s also home to the largest Crepe Myrtle in the South. Along Frenchmen’s Corner is Fairhope Chocolate, specializing in luxury Belgian chocolates, homemade caramels, Southern pralines, turtles, and chocolate barks. Stop into Page & Palette for books, gifts, coffee — and a drink at the bar. The bookstore’s bar, aptly named “The Book Cellar,” serves literary libations such as the Tequila Mockingbird, Gin Eyre, The Last of the Mojitos, and the Old Man and the Seagram’s. For your daily dose of history, visit the Fairhope Museum of History to learn about the town’s past and present.

5 p.m. Check into the Grand Hotel
Any visit to Fairhope should include a stay at The Grand Hotel. Located on 550 acres of immaculately landscaped property — with numerous ponds, fountains, bright pink bougainvillea bushes, and stately trees — The Grand is a destination in and of itself. Kids can enjoy the massive pools, waterslide, and hot tubs outside, while adults can relax at the 20,000-square-foot spa. There even is a small strip of beach on the bay just outside the pool gates, where you can relax with your toes in the sand. After checking in, grab a drink at Bucky’s Birdcage Lounge for happy hour — the hotel bar is known for its mint juleps.

7 p.m. Sunset dinner at Sunset Pointe
For dinner with a view, Sunset Pointe offers some of the best vistas across Fly Creek Marina. Watch as the sun dips into the bay while enjoying fresh coastal seafood options. The Seared Tuna Nachos, accompanied by a tropical cocktail, is the perfect start to a meal. The waiters will recommend you try the Snapper Throats for an entree, and don’t let the adventurous-sounding cut of fish turn you off. Served grilled or fried, the meaty throats are mild and rich, with a drizzling of garlic butter for good measure. Don’t pass up dessert, including the Key Lime Curd served in a jar.

9 p.m. After-dinner drinks at Italian Downtown
A charming place to cozy up with a date or have a good time with friends is Italian Downtown, a restaurant/wine bar with an extensive menu. Step off Fairhope’s main street and into an alleyway of Italian villa-style buildings where you’ll feel as if you walked right into Florence, Italy. Cafe lights, gas lanterns, and hanging baskets of vines help to set the mood. Grab a table outside in the alley or find a comfortable nook inside one of the restaurant’s many rooms. Order a glass of your favorite red or white, or create your own wine flight of three two-ounce portions for $15.

Day 2
8:30 a.m. Breakfast at The Grand
The breakfast buffet at The Grand Hotel is award-winning. Breakfast is available every day and brunch is served on Sundays. The spread features multiple tables full of breakfast classics, including items like made-to-order omelets, a grits bar, coconut waffles, and plenty of fresh fruit. Make sure to try the Signature Lump Crab Scramble — it’s on the Alabama Department of Tourism’s “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” list.

9:30 a.m. Visit the Fairhope Municipal Pier
On your way out of town, stop by the Fairhope Municipal Pier for one last scenic view of the bay. Considered the city’s “town square,” the 1,448-foot pier is designed for both strolling and fishing. It’s free to walk on the pier, and there’s also a park with a rose garden, picnic tables, duck pond and a sandy beach area.

For the complete article please see

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
It may still be chilly outside, but now is the time for planning summer vacations. Give users a great experience by keeping information and photographs up-to-date on your Partner page. Need an example of an excellent Partner page? Check out Lulu’s!

Ready to update your page? Head over to today!


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