• Alabama Restaurant Week under way
• Alabama Restaurant Week aims to turn spotlight on local eateries
• Historians to mark 200th anniversary of historic Fort Mims massacre
• Jamie Foxx to host BBVA Compass Concert for Human Rights
• Brian Jones promoted to public relations director
• Regions Field named Ballpark of the Year
• ESPN’s new Camellia Bowl takes root in Alabama
• Reese’s signs four-year deal to title sponsor Senior Bowl
• Lucy Buffett’s newest cafe promises an upscale, New South menu
• Sweet Home Saving campaign to boost August tourism
• Reefmaker’s new ship, Kinta S, arrives in good shape
• Guy Hunt Museum offers new tourism ideas
• Alabama drive-in theater seeks votes in Honda’s “Project Drive-in”
• Pan for gemstones, arrowheads and fossils at Cheaha State Park
• Twenty-two “can’t miss” U.S. beaches
• Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Alabama Restaurant Week Underway

More than 200 restaurants from sixty-four Alabama cities and towns are participating in the statewide Alabama Restaurant Week promotion. The promotion has generated news coverage on broadcast stations, websites and newspapers across Alabama. In addition, many of the Chambers, CVBs and Economic Development offices across the state used the promotion to start their own Restaurant Week promotion.

Cities and towns with restaurants participating are:

Anniston, Ashland, Auburn, Birmingham, Bon Secour, Brundidge, Calera, Camden, Centre, Citronell, Columbiana, Cullman, Daphne, Decatur, Delta, Dothan, Elkmont, Enterprise, Eufaula, Fairhope, Florence, Grove Hill, Gulf Shores, Guntersville, Hammondville, Hartselle, Highland Home, Homewood, Hoover, Huntsville, Jackson, Luverne, Lineville, Madison, Magnolia Springs, Millbrook, Mobile, Montgomery, Moulton, Muscle Shoals, New Market, Northport, Orange Beach, Oxford, Pine Hill, Point Clear, Prattville, Roanoke, Robertsdale, Saraland, Selma, Sheffield, Spanish Fort, Tanner, Troy, Trussville, Tuscaloosa, Tuscumbia, Tuskegee, Union Springs, Wadley, Wedowee, Wetumpka and York.

During last year’s Alabama Restaurant Week, our Alabama Restaurant Week website received over 13-thousand visitors with over 100,000 page views in the peak period of August. This was excellent exposure for the restaurants participating in the event for the first year of the public relations promotion.

Martie Duncan has been visiting many of the restaurants during August. Her planned schedule includes Birmingham, Prattville, Mobile, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Tuscaloosa, Decatur, Elkmont, Huntsville, Florence, Muscle Shoals, Auburn/Opelika and Montgomery.

To view the Year of Alabama facebook page and see many of Duncan’s posts, go to:

Alabama Restaurant Week aims to turn spotlight on local eateries
by David Holloway,, Aug. 16

Martie Duncan, the traveling ambassador of Alabama cuisine, is about to hit the road again to sample as much food in the Yellowhammer State as she can.

The charming Birmingham caterer and Food Network Star will be crisscrossing the state as part of Alabama Restaurant Week that runs Aug. 16-25. As the state’s unofficial ambassador of eating, it’s her task to sample as much as she can.

She is hitting as many of the state’s highlighted eateries as she can. It’s a road trip of epic proportions.

It’s safe to say that Duncan has a lot on her plate – literally. “I’m really excited about this, more excited I think than I was last year,” she said.
This year’s culinary road trip will include stops that they couldn’t fit in last year, places like the Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia and Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur.
Only this year, Duncan vows to not try and eat it all. “This year I’m going to take one bite, I’m not going to gain 20 pounds on the road,” she said with a laugh.

Her mission is to open up the state’s restaurants to the rest of the world through the use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. “Hopefully we can tell the rest of the world about the wealth of fine food found here in Alabama,” she said.

Alabama Restaurant Week is put on the by Alabama Tourism Department as a way to market and spotlight the wide array of locally owned and operated restaurants. During the 10-day period the eateries that choose to participate are offering special deals on signature and other favorite entreés.

Grey Brennan with the Alabama Department of Tourism said this is the second year for the program and it is actually as part of the state’s successful Year of Food in Alabama promotion that highlights local cuisine and chefs. “We were looking for ways to broaden the scope of our year of food campaign and include as many people as we can; it’s a great way to celebrate what we have to offer,” he said.

It is loosely based on a campaign that has been in place in Birmingham for several years, he said. They basically took the Birmingham concept and opened it up to the entire state and it just so happens that the statewide campaign will coincide with the Birmingham effort.

Participating restaurants feature lunch or dinner offerings at a special pre-fixed price. According to the folks in the tourism department, a three-course dinner meal should include a starter, main course and dessert while the two-course lunch meal should include a main course and either a starter or dessert.

The special promotional meals are broken down into three ranges: $10, $20 and $30 for dinner and $5, $10 and $15 for lunch. Restaurants may participate in all three preset prices, or just one or any combination.

Best of all, there are no coupons to download or bring into the restaurant. All you have to do is ask your server for the Alabama Restaurant Week pricing and they will do the rest. And it goes without saying that the promo prices are only good during restaurant week.

Not all restaurants are eligible to take part in the campaign. Only locally owned and operated eateries may participate; most chain restaurants do not qualify. “It’s not open to national chains because they already have plenty of ways to market themselves,” Brennan said.

The response from the state’s locally owned restaurants has been good, Brennan said. A complete list of the eateries and the specials they offer can be found at the tourism department’s Website at
“You can check out what’s being offered before you go so that you know what you want to order,” Brennan said.
To read the entire article, go to:

Historians to mark 200th anniversary of historic Fort Mims massacre

Fort Mims Restoration Association to Honor All Descendants with Memorial and Dedication Services, Battle Re-Enactments, and Cultural Presentations. The commemorative weekend will be Aug. 30 – Sept.1,

Descendants of Fort Mims will gather on the historic site off Baldwin County Road 80 in Tensaw Fri., Aug. 30 – Sun., Sept. 1, for the “Fort Mims 200th Commemorative Weekend” — an outdoor event marking one of the bloodiest battles in American history and the beginning of the Creek Indian War of 1813-14.

The Fort Mims Restoration Association’s three-day event will honor the more than 400 white settlers, families of mixed heritage and enslaved Africans, and the more than 200 Redstick Creek Indian warriors who lost their lives during a Redstick raid on Aug. 30, 1813. The 53 individuals who survived will also be honored.

A wide range of activities will occur from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. Highlights will include battle re-enactments, living history encampments, and pioneer and Creek Indian cultural presentations. Admission is free.

The historic weekend will kick off Friday (the anniversary date) with a 9 a.m. reception for descendants; and memorial and dedication services at 10 a.m. honoring victims, survivors and all descendants. A dramatic noon re-enactment of the Fort Mims Massacre will follow. The call to lunch will sound just as it did in 1813 when hundreds of Redstick Creek Indian warriors were signaled to attack settlers who had sought refuge in the fort. Other re-enactments of the battle will occur at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Early 1800s-era displays and crafts will include weapons, clothing, covered wagons, arrowheads, wool spinning, blacksmithing, quilting, period music, basketry, pottery, watercolor art, skinning and flint napping. Event participants will wear traditional Native American regalia and early 1800s pioneer clothing. Visitors can wander the landmark’s grounds to see a completed replica of the fort’s Block House; markers explaining the historic battle and what was happening during those early days in the “Tensaw Country”; covered wagons; and cast iron cooking. Attendees also can enjoy a pioneer-style church service and old-time singing at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
“The annual commemoration and living history weekend is an excellent opportunity for individuals to learn about the daily life of early settlers and how their lives intermingled with the Creek Indians during the early 1800s, long before Alabama became a state,” said FMRA President Claudia “2G” Slaughter Campbell.

In the mid-1950s, local residents Carl and June Slaughter assisted the Alabama Parks and Conservation Department in re-discovering the site of Fort Mims. This search uncovered the fort’s charred ruins, leading to the 5-acre area being obtained by the Alabama Historical Commission from the Till family.

“When I think back about my earliest recollections of Fort Mims, a smile comes across my face,” Campbell added. “I can see my brother and sisters running in the freshly plowed dirt in the field near Boatyard Lake playing and throwing dirt clods at each other. It was about 1954 or so.”

Campbell remembers how she and her siblings began finding beautiful pieces of pottery and arrowheads as their father plowed for potatoes. After that, their mother began to write letters to get support for the development of the Fort Mims historic site. The landmark later was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Fort Mims Restoration Association exists to preserve the historic site of Fort Mims, to educate the public about its significant role in the history of Alabama and our nation, and to commemorate the lives of all those lost 200 years ago in the Alabama wilderness,” noted Campbell, whose family lineage can be traced to the settlers of Fort Mims.

The FMRA has hosted Fort Mims living history weekends every year since its founding in the mid-’80s. The University of South Alabama Archaeology Department holds an annual spring “dig” at the site. Dr. Gregory Waselkov’s book, “A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-14”, adds details of the tragic event. A ‘dig’ is planned during the 200th anniversary weekend.

The “Fort Mims 200th Commemorative Weekend” has been named a Top Ten event for 2013 by the Alabama Tourism Department. Admission and parking are free; food and beverages will be available. The site is located 12 miles north of Stockton, on Baldwin County Road 80 (off Alabama Highway 59).

To learn more about the event and Fort Mims’ history, visit:
To read Campbell’s in-depth story about the fort’s discovery and re-development, visit:

Jamie Foxx to host BBVA Compass Concert for Human Rights; Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson to perform
by Mia Watkins,, Aug. 13

Singer, actor and comedian Jamie Fox will host the BBVA Compass Concert for Human Rights at the BJCC on Sat., Sept. 14. The concert will feature performances from Jill Scott and Charlie Wilson.

The BBVA Compass Concert for Human Rights is one of many events supporting Birmingham’s “50 Years Forward” campaign, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of events of the civil rights movement that occurred in the city in 1963. Civil rights leaders are also scheduled to appear at the show.

“Dr. King has always been a hero of mine,” Foxx said in a release. “His achievements for the civil rights movement inspire me on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to coming to Birmingham to host such an important event as CR50.”

The event will follow a week of remembrance of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which occurred on Sept. 15, 1963 and killed four girls.

“To have this event and artists of this caliber in the city of Birmingham to help commemorate and pay tribute to the individuals who risked their lives for freedom leaves me speechless,” said Mayor William Bell.

The event should also summon continuing work towards equality for everyone, according to Alan Register, Birmingham’s BBVA Compass president. “Our hope is the concert inspires people to get out there and continue to move the need forward and make a difference,” he said.

For more information on the BBVA Concert for Human Right and 50 Years Forward events, visit Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster on Aug. 16. A limited number of tickets, specially priced at $50, will be available through Aug. 23.

To see the article, go to:

Brian Jones promoted to public relations director
Brian Jones, a veteran staff member of the Alabama Tourism Department, was today named public relations director for the award-winning tourism promotion agency.

He was the lead staff member when the agency won the first two of its four Mercury awards from the National Association of State Tourism Directors. Brian created the first Year of Alabama Food campaign in 2005 and the Year of Alabama Arts program in 2007. For the past 10 years, he has been the department’s regional manager who serves attractions, events and destination marketing organization in North Alabama.

“Brian is a valuable and creative resource who understands the state’s many tourism assets,” said director Lee Sentell. Effective Sept. 1, Jones fills the vacancy created by the departure of Edith Parten.

He has also been editor of the weekly online newsletter now edited by Peggy Collins.

Regions Field named Ballpark of the Year
by Brent Godwin, Birmingham Business Journal, Aug. 20

Birmingham’s Regions Field was named the 2013 Ballpark of the Year by
The $64 million baseball park, home of the Birmingham Barons minor league team, opened on April 10.

“The 2013 season and the opening of Regions Field has been an incredible moment for the Barons organization and the Birmingham community,” said team owners the Logan family, in a statement. “To receive this national recognition is quite an honor. There are so many people and organizations that have contributed to the development, design and construction of this ballpark and this award along with the local support and reaction definitively proves that Regions Field is a one-of-a-kind ballpark that offers something for everybody.”

Ballpark of the Year is awarded annually to a new baseball stadium that boats superior design, fan amenities and attractive site selection, according to a press release.
“We are so proud of the success of Regions Field,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell, in a prepared statement. “To see the diverse crowds, the excitement and the good old fashioned fun at the stadium has really generated a sense of community. We look forward to many years of success for this field.”

Regions Field was named the Birmingham Business Journal’s Real Estate Deal of the Year for 2012.

Read the BBJ’s behind the scenes look at the ballpark, “A home run of a deal; the inside story of Regions Field.”

ESPN’s new Camellia Bowl takes root in Alabama
by Ty West, Birmingham Business Journal, Aug. 19

The state of Alabama will soon be home to a third college football bowl game. ESPN Regional Television, which also operates the game currently known as the BBVA Compass Bowl, has created a new game to be played in Montgomery’s 25,000-seat Cramton Bowl.

The new game, known as the Camellia Bowl, will feature teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference. The bowl, named after the state flower of Alabama, will launch in December 2014.

Johnny Williams, who served 10 years as athletic director at Troy University and for three years as senior associate athletic director at the University of Alabama, will be the game’s executive director. Williams is CEO of Creative Marketing Management, which will manage the event and day-to-day operations of the bowl game.

The announcement about the game confirms rumors of a planned bowl game in the works for Montgomery.

To see this article, go to:

Reese’s signs four-year deal to title sponsor Senior Bowl
by Michael Smith, Sports Business Daily, Aug. 21

Reese’s will be the new title sponsor of the Senior Bowl in a move that deepens the Hershey brand’s commitment to college sports. Reese’s also is an NCAA corporate partner and has several school relationships. The Reese’s Senior Bowl, which is played annually in Mobile, Ala., and was first held in ‘50, went without a title sponsor the past two years. Previously, Under Armour sponsored the game as part of a five-year deal through ‘11. Reese’s deal kicks off with January’s game and runs four years at a cost in the mid-six figures annually. Hershey Dir of Promotion & Planning Drew Iddings led the negotiations on the brand side, while the Senior Bowl’s sales agency was Atlanta-based Melt. “We are confident that this partnership will continue to solidify the Reese’s brand’s leadership in collegiate athletics as well as honor student athletes who achieve success,” Iddings said. Game Exec Dir Phil Savage said he hopes the deal with Reese’s will “elevate our position in the sports business marketplace now and in the future.” Reese’s will have some branding on the uniforms, in addition to the broadcast on NFL Network. Other activation elements could include point-of-purchase in retail, fan voting and NFL draft parties. The candy company’s agencies, Optimum Sports and GMR Marketing, also contributed to the deal. Under Armour remains the game’s apparel sponsor.

To see the article, go to:

Lucy Buffett’s newest cafe promises an upscale, New South menu
by David Holloway,, Aug. 19

Lucy Buffett unveiled her newest dining experiment Aug. 19, and it’s safe to say that Lucy B. Goode is nothing like she’s ever tried before.

The new eatery features an exciting, upscale menu that offers some new variations on some old Deep South favorites. While not reinventing the notion of coastal cuisine, it certainly goes a long way toward making it more contemporary and in line with a nationwide trend to fresh and creative fare.

The menu is a stunning nod to the old and the new. It features regional favorites such as West Indies Salad and LuLu’s famous gumbo, but it also includes some new offerings unseen in the parts. They will offer such eclectic offerings as pickled shrimp ceviche, all-natural buttermilk fried chicken biscuit sliders and something they are calling the “Lucy B. Goode Crab Cake with Citrus Beurre Blanc. I call this my Upscale New South restaurant,” Lucy said during a recent interview.

Make no mistake, the new restaurant may sit within spitting distance of the front door of Buffett’s wildly popular LuLu’s at Homeport Restaurant, but this is a totally new dining experience. And that’s by design. (The gumbo is the only thing that made the short trip to the new digs.)

She brought in Chef Randall Baldwin from Birmingham and charged him with coming up with a menu that would reflect Buffett’s desire to offer a more polished menu. Baldwin, who trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and prepped with Chef Frank Stitt of Birmingham, was up to the task.

The menu he constructed is weighted toward local and sustainable seafood. The centerpiece may be a chargrilled black grouper with summer yellow squash and a healthier variation of traditional shrimp Creole they call Large Pretty Shrimp Gently Simmered with Stewed Okra, Crushed Tomato, Sweet Onion and Bay Leaf.

But Buffett also mandated that not only must the food look good, it must also taste good. “We wanted to use the flavors of the entire Gulf of Mexico and I think we have done just that,” she said.

One of her aims, she said, was to make the dining experience a comfortable, unhurried experience where friends can gather after work or for a late lunch.

Chef Baldwin was also charged with keeping the menu changing, sometimes almost daily. “What looks good in the market that day, that’s what we’ll be serving,” he said.
For information call the restaurant at 251-948-4101 or visit their website at
To read the entire article, go to:

Sweet Home Saving campaign to boost August tourism
Industry partners can enter their deals for Alabama residents to enjoy during the month of August at restaurants, accommodations, ticketed attractions and gated events as part of a campaign to take advantage of later school year starts. This is an in-state campaign to boost tourism throughout Alabama during August. Enter your deal today to take part in this exciting, free campaign. Visit\portal to take advantage of this free tourism promotion campaign.

Participating is easy.
Visit\portal to register your business or organization in the campaign.
1. Enter your special deal. You can select from suggested deals or enter any deal you like. You can update or change your deals as needed. Website visitors will be informed that deals are subject to change, and to “book or reserve now OR call to confirm deals before you travel.”
2. The website and deals will be promoted through a full-scale marketing and advertising campaign this summer. You can benefit from the free promotion of your business and your deals through the Sweet Home Saving™ campaign.
Visit\portal and promote your exciting deals for Alabama residents in Aug.
For questions or more information, write or call (251) 967-7572.

Reefmaker’s new ship, Kinta S, arrives in good shape
Aug. 18

David Walter of Reefmaker and Walter Marine in Orange Beach has now delivered the Kinta S to the Gulf Coast with long-range plans to eventually sink the vessel as an artificial reef and another Alabama scuba diving attraction.

On Memorial Day weekend Walter’s company sank the 271-foot LuLu about 18 miles offshore from Orange Beach. The Gulf Coast Reef and Restoration Foundation raised $500,000 for that project with the name sponsor, Mac McAleer, donating $250,000.
he newly-arrived ship was built in Japan in 1976. Its primary uses were for trading here along the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. East Coast to the Caribbean, South and Central America.

The Kinta S is 155 feet long, according to a profile on Stiegler Shipping’s website.
When the LuLu arrived it was ready for sinking once the $500,000 was raised. The Kinta S will require more work.

“It’s a not all stripped down like the LuLu was,” Vince Lucido, president of the foundation said. “They have to clean it up. It’s got asbestos and stuff like that on it from insulation, but that kind of stuff can get cleaned up.
“It’s just a little bit smaller than the LuLu, about 100 feet smaller. It’s fully intact though.”

Guy Hunt Museum offers new tourism ideas
by Lauren Estes, The Cullman Times, Aug. 15

Holly Pond hosts the only museum in the State of Alabama dedicated to a former governor, which many deem a marketable tourism location for Alabamians.

Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell, along with local officials, made the trip to the outskirts of Cullman County on Thursday to visit what they called a remarkable new asset for the area. Sentell said as a small-towner himself, the effort that the Town of Holly Pond put forth to fund and build the establishment is admirable.

“If it had been in Birmingham, we would expect a nice museum, because they could afford something like that, but a town this size that supplied these kinds of resources, it’s remarkable,” Sentell said. “I’m from a small town – I had 41 people in my graduating class. I understand when people say ‘everyone looks after one another’ and ‘knows who each other is. That’s the beauty of a small town. But to fund this project and complete it on your own without any assistance, that’s amazing.”

Sentell shared information about a campaign done in 2010 called “Small Towns and Downtowns” that allowed communities to get involved with implementing historic markers without costing a bundle, recalling an event that took place in Lawrence County.
“We placed 215 historic markers around the state. Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile didn’t really participate, but the smaller the community, the more excited they were to get involved with it,” Sentell said. “The best illustration I can come up with, about how small communities could work together, is when I was asked to come to Lawrence County for the first Poultry Festival.”

He went on to say he met with the publisher of the weekly magazine a few hours before the event started, who told him, “this is the greatest day in the history of this county, it’s going to be a success.”

“I asked him how did he know, he didn’t even know how many people would come,” Sentell said. “He told me, it didn’t matter how many people come, they had 700 people working on committees for it. He said, ‘We have four football teams and we play each other, half the people lose, half the people win. For the rest of the school year, they hate the other. This is the first time we have ever done anything where everyone is on the same team.’ What you have done here in Holly Pond is have everyone working for a common cause, that’s why you have the only museum in Alabama devoted to Montgomery. It’s remarkable what you have done.”

State Rep. Randall Shedd thanked Sentell for making the trip to Holly Pond and his support.

“We wanted Mr. Sentell to come and visit because it’s one thing to know about something, but to actually see it is different,” Shedd said. “So as the museum is talked about and the library is talked about, he would have a visual memory of it. They did a great job with the museum. I commend the town, Civitan Club and the historical organization here in Holly Pond for the work that we can all be proud of. It was already good, but now it’s great.”

Holly Pond Mayor Herman Nail said he, too, was appreciative for the hard work of the town on the project, but also excited for what it offers Alabama.

“It’s a tremendous asset for Holly Pond and for Cullman County, but it’s an even better asset for the whole State of Alabama,” Nail said. “This is what it is all about, working together.”

For the entire article, go to:

Alabama drive-in theater seeks votes in Honda’s “Project Drive-in”

Henagar Drive-In Theater located in northeastern Alabama is on a mission to survive. At the end of 2013, 35mm movie reels will no longer be available to theaters and only digital files will be distributed. There are currently 368 drive-ins in operation in the United States, and many of them have yet to convert to digital projection, including the Henagar Drive-In. Honda recently launched Project Drive-In and the Henagar Drive-In is hoping to be one of five drive-ins to receive a free digital projector.

Theaters that do not have a digital projector by the end of 2013 will no longer be able to show movies, thus forcing them to close unless they can spend approximately $75,000 per screen to make the upgrade. Honda wants to preserve this iconic part of American car culture and is helping drive-ins like the Henagar Drive-In by donating five digital projectors to be given away by Project Drive-In.

Drive-in movie fans and supporters can vote on which theaters to save. Project Drive-In will donate digital projectors to the top five vote getters. Fans can vote for Henagar Drive-In Theater once a day between now and September 9, 2013, at Votes can also be cast, one per day, by texting Vote46 to 444999.

Honda is also asking consumers to pledge to go see at lease one movie at a local drive-in and then donate to the Project Drive-In fund to help those theaters survive economic hard times. To learn more about Project Drive-In, visit

For more information on the Henagar Drive-In Theater, call DeKalb Tourism at 888.805.4740.

Pan for gemstones, arrowheads and fossils at Cheaha State Park
Cheaha State Park has a new attraction, the Pinhoti Mineral and Gem Mining Company. Park visitors can now purchase bags of gemstone-rich soil and pan for geologic treasures in a specially designed water trough located behind the Indian Relic Museum at the park’s main entrance.

The bags of soil are available from the park’s store for $6 to $20 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bags contain a wide variety of gemstones, shark teeth, arrowheads, fossils and other geologic curiosities. Each bag comes with a brochure to help miners identify their treasure.

The mine is self-service. Once park visitors purchase a bag of soil they can pan for their treasure anytime from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Cheaha store also offers fool’s gold (pyrite), gemstones and other collectable items to remember your visit to Alabama’s highest elevation.

The gem mine is also available as part of a package tour which includes a tour of the Walter Farr Indian Artifacts Museum, a puppet show and meals. The tour is made available for public and homeschool field trips. For more information, contact the Cheaha events coordinator at

Nestled in the Appalachian foothills, Cheaha State Park is located in northern Clay and southwestern Cleburne counties. Cheaha is Alabama’s oldest continuously operating state park and includes the state’s highest elevation, Cheaha Mountain (more than 2,400 feet above sea level). Park facilities include a lodge, restaurant, camp store, campsites, fishing and swimming lake, hiking and mountain biking trails, an Indian relic museum and the Pinhoti Mineral and Gem Mining Company. For more information, visit

Twenty-two “can’t miss” U.S. beaches
by Katia Hetter, CNN, Aug. 13

As the long lazy days of summer draw to a close, beaches along the coasts of the United States are still calling to shoreline explorers.

Each coastal state has its popular beaches, where locals and tourists alike will try to squeeze in a little bit more lounging before it’s time to go back to school or work.
And then there are a few spectacular or unusual beaches that stand out because of their unique geography, historical significance or simply their overwhelming beauty. It’s nearly impossible to choose, especially in those states where you have a seemingly endless number of spectacular beaches.

Editor’s note: There are 20 beach images included with this article – the first two are of Gulf State Park. To view them all, go to:

Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
Registration is currently underway for the International Showcase held in Nashville, Dec. 3-6, 2013. This will be the second international show presented by Travel South. Last year the response from both overseas tour companies and Alabama suppliers was great.

Nashville will be an exciting city for the International tour operators, so I think the level and number of companies attending will be even better. In anticipation, this year the showcase will have two full days of appointments instead of just a day and a half. This will allow you to have even more appointments. More than 75 international tour operators from more than a dozen countries around the globe are expected to attend.
Thanks to the large number of Alabama suppliers that signed up last year, Alabama projected a solid image of an area of the south where tourist should and do come to spend their money and have a good time.

Sign up now. The early bird special pricing that starts as low as $995 for a single seat at a three-seat appointment table ends Aug. 31. For the best appointment results, come with two others from your area and have a unified tourism message. Starting Sept. 1, the price of appointment taking admission will be higher.

To sign up, look at all pricing and regulations, go to:,
and to download the International Showcase brochure, go to:!userfiles/showcase/International%20Showcase/IntlShowcase2013_Brochure.pdf

Travel South is expecting that booth space will sell out, so the Alabama Tourism Department suggests destinations, attractions and accommodations register as soon as possible to make sure you can attend.

For more information, contact Liz Bittner at Travel South or
Grey Brennan, Alabama Tourism Department, 334-242-4459,

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Aug. 16-25 Alabama Restaurant Week
Sept. 19 Alabama Mountain Lakes Annual Meeting
Dec. 3-6 International Showcase, Nashville
Feb. 23-26, 2014 Domestic Showcase, Charleston, WV

ATD is currently registering and planning for the following 2014 Consumer Shows:
Cincinnati Boat and Travel Show – Jan. 17-19 & Jan. 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, 2014

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

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: