Alabama Restaurant Week crosses the 50 mark
• July 1, deadline for towns to sign-up for April Walking Tours
• 2014 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to participate in Blue Star Museums
• Once dying, Birmingham is suddenly hot
• Official Alabama Vacation Guide & Calendar of Events 2014 – deadline extended to July 15
• National Geographic GeoToursism project team visits Alabama
• Ross Bridge Resort launches summer camp program for children and adults
• State tourism director and state parks director to appear on ABC-32 in Montgomery
• First White House of the Confederacy – update on silver bowl purchase
• Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism 2013
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Alabama Restaurant Week crosses the 50 mark

As of Monday, June 10, more than fifty restaurants have signed up for Alabama Restaurant Week, a Year of Alabama Food promotion that runs Aug. 16 – Aug. 25. Those restaurants are:

Auburn – Ariccia Italian Trattoria & Bar
Centre – Pat’s
Decatur – Albany Bistro, Simp McGee’s, Timbuck 2, Vittone’s
Dothan – Basketcase Café, Fire Stone Wood Fired Pizza and Grill
Elkmont – Belle Chevre Cheese Shop & Tasting Room
Enterprise – Milky Moo’s Homemade Ice Cream
Eufaula – Phip’s BBQ, Water’s Edge Restaurant
Gulf Shores – LuLu’s, Coast Restaurant, Pelican Sam’s Roost, Village Hideaway
Hammondville – Big Jim’s Bama Q
Huntsville – 1892 East Restaurant & Tavern, Clementine’s, Shea’s Express, Café Berlin, D&L Bistro, Tazik’s Mediterranean Café, Clementine’s At the Garden, Nick’s Restorante, Happy Tummy, Grille 29, Sage Grill
Mobile – 219, Serda’s Coffee Co., True Midtown Kitchen, The Italian Fisherman
Monroeville – David’s Catfish House
Montgomery – Martha’s Place, Wishbone Café
Moulton – Lang’s Latte’ Café
New Market – New Market BBQ, Ole Hickory BBQ
Orange Beach – Colbart, Cosmo’s Restaurant, Dancing Cup Café, Gulfgate, The Southern Grind, Villaggio Grill
Rogersville – Café Savanna, Daniella’s In the Park
Tanner – LawLers Barbecue
Troy – Milky Moo’s Homemade Ice Cream, The Party Pad
Tuscaloosa – Cypress Inn
Tuscumbia – OH! Bryan’s Downtown

This list does not include the many restaurants in the Birmingham area that participate by signing up for Birmingham Restaurant Week, held on the same dates.

Grey Brennan of the Alabama Tourism Department encourages restaurants to sign up. “The process is quick and easy using the on-line sign up program at, says Brennan. “Restaurants should enter now and then go back by the deadline date of July 15 to enter their special Restaurant Week meal offerings.”

There is no cost to the restaurant to participate in Alabama Restaurant Week. Birmingham Restaurant Week does charge a small fee.
For more on Alabama Restaurant Week, contact Grey Brennan Restaurants in the Birmingham area should contact James Little of REV Birmingham 205-324-8797

July 1 is deadline for towns to sign-up for April Walking Tours 2014
Town interested in participating in the 2014 April Walking Tours should respond with an email giving their town’s name, starting location, and shipping address to

Towns who have already signed-up include: Arab, Athens, Atmore, Cullman, Decatur, Eufaula, Fairhope, Heflin, Huntsville, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Phenix City, Prattville, Selma, Sheffield, Sylacauga, Troy, Tuscumbia and Wetumpka.

The hour-long tours will start at 10:00 a.m. each Saturday in April. Dates for the 2014 April Walking Tours are April 5, 12, 19 and 26.

“These tours are an excellent way for towns and communities of any size to be involved in a state-wide tourism campaign,” said Brian Jones with the Alabama Tourism Department. “There is no cost to participate and state tourism provides all the posters, brochures and collateral materials. More than 20,000 people have participated in the tours since the beginning of the program ten years ago” he said.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to participate in Blue Star Museums
BCRI is one of more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer
June 7

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) has joined Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America. By joining the Blue Star Museum program, BCRI will be among over 2,000 museums nationwide that offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve and their families from now through Labor Day, September 2, 2013. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after completing a military move.

The complete list of participating museums is available at
“Blue Star Museums is something that service members and their families look forward to every year and we are thrilled with the continued growth of the program,” said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Through this distinctive collaboration between Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and more than 2,000 museums across the United States, service members and their families can connect with our national treasures with this unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country’s finest museums for free.”

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve, as well as members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps—and up to five family members.

Once dying, Birmingham is suddenly hot
by Jay Reeves, The Associated Press, June 9
It feels like Birmingham finally is emerging from the shadows cast by the ugly racial violence of 1963.
Long haunted by black-and-white newsreel footage of the fire hoses and police dogs city leaders turned on blacks demonstrating for civil rights, the city has a new vibe that’s generating buzz all its own 50 years later.
Birmingham’s culinary scene is a jewel, with nationally known chefs and restaurants, and decades of white flight are giving way to people moving into flats and condominiums with bare brick walls in once-vacant downtown buildings. The tables are full at trendy bars and bistros nestled in old brick mercantile buildings.
The city’s minor league baseball team relocated this season from the suburbs and is drawing big crowds to a new downtown stadium that opens to Birmingham’s skyline. It’s across the street from an urban park built on what was an unsightly lot strewn with weeds and gravel along railroad lines.
Combine all that with a thriving nightclub scene, new craft breweries and an entertainment district that has started opening, and suddenly Birmingham is becoming a hot spot for residents and visitors alike.
“If Birmingham is trying to come back they’ve succeeded,” said visitor Ron Lee, loading his car after staying at the city’s new Westin hotel during a vacation trip with his wife.
Lee, who lives in Washington, D.C., was impressed by the city’s parks and trees. The welcoming attitude from residents and slower pace are what really stood out, though.
“It’s very Southern. Everyone is very friendly,” he said. “It’s more progressive than I expected.”
For the entire article, go to:

Official Alabama Vacation Guide & Calendar of Events 2014 – deadline extended to July 15
The Alabama Tourism Department is preparing the vacation guide and the Calendar of Events for 2014. The deadline for getting your listings updated or included has been extended to July 15.
So that the listings in the vacation guide will be up to date, we need to find out about new hotels, motels, hotel or motel name changes, bed and breakfast inns, campgrounds, outfitters, etc. that have opened in your area in the past year in order to include them in the 2014 printed vacation guide. Please email the new facilities’ names and telephone numbers to: pam.smith@tourism.alabama.govor call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

All events to be in the printed Calendar of Events 2014 need to be entered or updated by July 15. To enter or update an event, go to:
For any questions, e-mail or call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

National Geographic GeoToursim project team visits Alabama

Two companies working on the US Gulf Coast States National Geographic GeoTourism project met in southern Alabama last week to visit nominated sites.

Jill Kidder of Tourism Builders and Simon Jones from Solimar visited Gees Bend with Grey Brennan of Alabama Tourism, Ike Lyon of the U.S. Corps of Engineers and Linda Vice of the West Alabama Tourism and Film Office.

From Gees Bend, Kidder and Jones were scheduled to go to the courthouse in Monroeville, Blackbelt Treasures in Camden, two Corps of Engineers parks on the Alabama River, The Battle House Hotel in Mobile, and Historic Blakeley State Park and the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, both in Spanish Fort.

Kidder and Jones visited the sites as part of a four state National Geographic Maps project that is in the nomination stage.

Nominations are being accepted through July 15th. Alabama attractions that are unique, such as local restaurants, wildlife and scenic trails, bed and breakfasts, historic attractions, fishing destinations, museums, artist galleries as well as events are encouraged to self nominate.

To see the submitted nominations or to nominate your site, go to

For more information on Alabama nominations, contact Grey Brennan of the Alabama Tourism Department. or 334-242-4459

Ross Bridge Resort launches summer camp program for children and adults
by Tamika Moore,, June 5
Children aren’t the only ones who will be able to reminisce about their favorite camp memories at summer’s end. The Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spais now offering Camp Kilt, a new summer program filled with activities catering to families as well as adults.

Resort guests now have the opportunity to participate in activities such as sunrise yoga and meditation, join a group bicycle ride or tennis clinic, taste signature drinks and food, make pottery, and cap it all off with a complimentary 10 minute massage and the sounds of sunset bagpipes.
For families, the camp also includes poolside contests, dive-in movies, lawn games, cookie and cupcake decorating and more. The activities are led by members of the Ross Bridge recreation team and local experts. While the resort has operated as a traditional resort with pool, golf course and spa, they wanted to expand opportunities for guests by giving them a variety of new activity options which is a growing trend in the hospitality industry.

“We’ve had great success with golf and spa, but let’s face it, not everyone wants to do those things “said Steve Miller, general manager at Renaissance Ross Bridge Birmingham Golf Resort & Spa… “We started thinking about going back to when you were a child and what intrigues people now. Its those memories you want to take back with you.”

The camp, which started Memorial Day, runs through Labor Day, is complimentary for resort guests. To make Camp Kilt reservations visit Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spahere or call 205-916-7677.
To see the story, go to:

State tourism director and state parks director to appear on ABC-32 in Montgomery. 

State tourism director Lee Sentell and state parks director Greg Lein will appear Sunday on ABC-32 at 9:00 a.m. as guests on “Your Community This Week” with host Tim Lennox. The discussion will center on the summer travel season.

First White House of the Confederacy – update on silver bowl purchase

A notice about a silver bowl, once owned by the wife of Jefferson Davis, appeared in the Alabama Tourism News on May 28.

The White House Association was able, with the help of three friends of the First White House, to purchase at auction on June 8, the magnificent silver bowl that belonged to Varina Davis, a gift from the people of Macon, GA in 1887.

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism 2013

Mark your calendars for the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Aug. 17-20, at the Westin Hotel in Huntsville next to Bridge Street with its’ seventy upscale shops, restaurants, movie theater and spa just footsteps away.

Nominations for the Tourism Awards are now open. Please use this link to nominate a tourism professional:
The last day for nominations is June 21.
For information and registration, go to:

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Aug 4-7 Alabama Motorcoach/Georgia Motorcoach Operators/South Central Motorcoach Association, Birmingham
Aug 17-21 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism – Huntsville, AL (Westin)
Sept 19 Alabama Mountain Lakes Annual Meeting

ATD is currently registering and planning for the following 2014 Consumer Shows:
Cincinnati Boat and Travel Show – Jan 17-19 & January 22-26, 2014
Louisville Boat Show – Jan 22-26, 2014
Indianapolis Boat and RV Show – Feb 14-23, 2014
Nashville Southern Women’s Show – Mar 27-30, 2014I

If you are interested in working in the Alabama Tourism Department’s booth, please contact Rosemary Judkins at 334-242-4493

The Alabama Tourism Department News is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry. The newsletter can also be accessed online by going to: