Gulf Shores, Orange Beach tourism soars during summer
• An Alabama Road Trip prompts accolades from visitor
• Exhibit highlighting Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic stay in Bessemer jail cell to open in January
• Decatur named to Food and Wine’s list of 20 Best Barbecue Cities
• Record revenue summer for Point Mallard
• Opening of Belle Chevre goat cheese creamery held Oct. 12 in conjunction with Southern Reinvention Fest
• Harper Lee, agent settle copyright dispute over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
• Alabama’s best Rooms With a View: we have a winner
• Quite a shindig
• Backwoods Life sports crew videos in Alabama woods
• Planning meeting for Moton Field commemoration ceremony
• Well-known Swampers of Muscle Shoals to appear on David Letterman
• Tuscaloosa launches new website
• Registration for Travel South Domestic Showcase is open
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Gulf Shores, Orange Beach tourism soars during summer
For the months of June, July and August alone, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach each brought in more than $8 million in lodging and sales tax revenue for a total of $16.5 million as of Aug. 28. Those combined figures are nearly 6 percent higher than 2012 and 14 percent higher than 2011.

An Alabama Road Trip prompts accolades from visitor

The Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) has received an email from a Baltimore woman concerning her trip to Alabama. The trip was inspired by the department’s Alabama Road Trip promotion.
Desiree Peterkin e-mailed Grey Brennan of the ATD to tell him how much she enjoyed road trip number six. “I followed the walking tour to a tee on Mon., Aug. 12. I met so many people and even took your advice via the site and stopped in all of the locations that I could and chatted with people,” wrote Peterkin.
Reflecting on her trip, she added, “I will certainly cherish that trip for the rest of my life. History books don’t do Birmingham justice. It’s rich in culture, history, & truth!”
Brennan had written road trip number six, which features a walking tour of downtown Birmingham.
To view Road Trip number six or any of the forty that have been posted so far, go to This fall, an Alabama Road Trip book will be published with 52 road trips.

Exhibit highlighting Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic stay in Bessemer jail cell to open in January
by Kelsey Stein,, Sept. 4

While Martin Luther King Jr.’s arrest and imprisonment in Birmingham has become the stuff of civil rights legend, his brief stay in a Bessemer jail cell is a relatively unknown piece of history, Jefferson County officials say.

At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown, Bessemer Mayor Kenneth E. Gulley and Sheriff Mike Hale unveiled plans for an exhibit at the county jail to highlight King’s connection to Bessemer.
“We have an obligation to share his experience in Bessemer and add to a history we thought we knew everything about,” Brown said.

After King’s release from the Birmingham Jail in 1963, he fought charges that he and several others protested without the proper permits. He appealed several courts’ rulings until in 1967 a Supreme Court judge upheld his conviction and ordered him to serve the remaining three days of his four-day sentence.

The fanfare surrounding his arrival in Birmingham prompted officials to reroute him to Bessemer to escape the overwhelming attention from the media and the public. His brother A.D. King, Wyatt T. Walker and Ralph Abernathy also were sent to Bessemer to serve their time.

The exhibit will include a recreation of the cell in which King was imprisoned in Bessemer, along with displays of the jail cell door, docket sheets bearing King’s signature and mugshots of the four men.

Some of the items, including the cell door and pieces of King’s correspondence, have been displayed at the Bessemer Hall of History.

“People can come as close as possible to experiencing the night Dr. King spent in jail.” Sandra Brown said. “It gives me chills and tears to think about it.”

The exhibit is set to open on King’s birthday, Jan. 15, 2014, and will be at the Old Bessemer Courthouse at 1801 3rd Avenue in Bessemer through the end of February. It will be free to the public, but reservations are required through
The exhibit is not just about jail doors and docket books, but the role King’s words and actions played in history, Hale said. “He walked out of that cell and continued his march for freedom and equality for all people,” he said.

Decatur named to Food and Wine’s list of 20 Best Barbecue Cities
by Kelly Kazek,, Sept. 5

North Alabamians know about the award-winning barbecue to be found in the region, but the rest of the country continues to catch on placed Decatur on its recent Top 20 list of Best Barbecue Cities for its restaurants Big Bob Gibson and Whitt’s.
Whitt’s Barbecue also has locations in Athens.

See the slideshow list here.
The site says, in part, about Decatur: “Decatur is the place to taste white BBQ sauce, a thin mayo-and-vinegar condiment that’s swiped on chicken, both as a marinade and a table sauce … takeout-only Whitt’s is a good alternative if the crowds at Big Bob’s are too much.”
To see this article, go to:

Record revenue summer for Point Mallard
by Budd McLaughlin,, Sept. 5

Even though the area had a record rainfall this summer, thousands of people didn’t let the bad weather dampen their enthusiasm for Point Mallard.

Officials with the water park said the park had its highest gross revenue and second-highest attendance as more than 173,300 visitors passed through its gates – 30,000 more visitors than last year.

Officials attribute the increases to new attractions, including the Lazy River, at the 43-year-old park.
To see the report, go to:

Opening of Belle Chevre goat cheese creamery held Oct. 12 in conjunction with Southern Reinvention Fest
by Kelly Kazek,, Sept. 3

What do you think of when you hear the word “southern?”
Tasia Malakasis hopes to help reinvent the southern way of life to merge tradition with “avant-garde ways of thinking.” That’s why an event called Southern Reinvention will be held in conjunction with the opening of a new creamery for Malakasis’ goat cheese business, Belle Chevre.

Malakasis opened a storefront for Belle Chevre in downtown Elkmont in April and has set the opening celebration for a new creamery behind the shop for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 12.
“We are thrilled to announce the grand opening of our new creamery,” Malakasis said. “To celebrate, we are hosting a Southern Reinvention weekend. This one-of-a-kind soiree will gather Southern artisans at the forefront of the movement to reinvent the South’s future, focusing on tradition and handicraft.”

Tickets for the event are $5 at the door. The festival features talks by Southern Living magazine designers Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin, chats and classes by historians, soapmakers and cotton farmers, as well as cheesemaking with Malakasis. Food will be provided by Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ and at 3p.m. there will be music by Donica Knight.
Learn more about the event at

After nearly 25 years, Belle Chevre outgrew its former home. The new creamery is located in an old 8,000-square-foot cotton warehouse behind the Belle Chevre Cheese Shop & Tasting Room in downtown Elkmont in Limestone County.

The warehouse was used to weigh and store bales of cotton before they were loaded on a train that ran on rails adjacent to the building. The tracks are no longer used for trains but provide walking and riding trails as the Richard Martin Trails, a Rails-to-Trails initiative.

“This opening is a story of revitalization,” Malakasis said. “It’s no small achievement that a tiny Southern town once devoted to cotton is now home to one of the nation’s most well-known artisan, healthy food brands.”
To see this article, go to:

Harper Lee, agent settle copyright dispute over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Novelist said she’d been ‘duped’ out of ‘Mockingbird’ rights
Associated Press

Nelle Harper Lee and Hastings-on-Hudson literary agent Samuel Pinkus have reached an “agreement in principle” to settle a copyright lawsuit the famed author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” brought against him in May, a lawyer for Pinkus said Friday.
“The parties reached a mutually satisfactory resolution and everybody would like at this point to put it behind them,” said attorney Vincent Carissimi of the Pepper Hamilton firm.

Carissimi said the settlement was reached in the past week, and papers dismissing the case would be filed in federal court next week. He declined to provide any details of the settlement.

Also Friday, Pinkus’ wife, Leigh Ann Winick, and journalist and author Gerald Posner, whose Miami residence is listed as the address of one of Pinkus’ literary companies, were dropped from the lawsuit, Carissimi said.

Lee’s lawyer, Gloria Phares, along with Pinkus, Winick and Posner could not be reached for comment Friday.

Lee, who won the Pulitzer prize in 1961 for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” alleged in her lawsuit that Pinkus “duped” her into signing over the copyright to the novel in 2007.
Lee, 87, who lives in Monroeville, said in the lawsuit she did not recall any discussion with Pinkus about transferring the copyright over to his company Veritas Media, or signing any document to that effect. Her lawsuit alleged the copyright assignment to him was “a gross example of self-dealing” and was intended to “secure to himself an irrevocable interest in the income stream” from sales of her book.

The federal lawsuit sought forfeiture of all commissions Pinkus and his companies received after the copyright assignment in 2007 plus damages and demanded that Pinkus and his companies assign whatever copyright rights they own to Lee.

In 2011, Pinkus transferred the copyright from Veritas Media to another company he created, Philologus Procurator Inc. That company assigned the copyright back to Lee in an April 13, 2012, letter, according to Lee’s lawsuit.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” sells about 750,000 copies each year in the United States and Canada. That doesn’t include sales of the book in Great Britain and the dozens of languages the novel has been translated into.

Lee’s lawsuit stated that she has become increasingly deaf in the last 15 years, her eyesight is failing, and she has lived in an assisted-living facility since suffering a stroke in 2007.

On Thursday, Winick and Posner were dropped from a separate lawsuit that New York City literary agency McIntosh & Otis filed in state Supreme Court. McIntosh & Otis, which filed the case in June, wants a percentage of commissions Pinkus earned from clients he took with him when he left the company in 2004.

Winick’s father, Eugene Winick, is CEO of McIntosh & Otis, and her sister, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, is president.

Alabama’s best Rooms With a View: we have a winner
by Tamara Ikenberg,, Sept. 10

The results of the final poll asking readers to vote for their favorite stop in our Alabama’s Best Rooms With a View series are in.
The winning property is the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, a luxury hotel designed in the style of a Scottish castle and located among acres of woodland.

Thank you for voting and joining this view-tastic voyage.
To read the entire article, go to:

Quite a shindig
“Hits and misses,” Times, Sept. 3

Thumbs up to Billy Reid and his staff for giving so much positive exposure to the Shoals, and providing plenty of quality entertainment in the process. The annual Billy Reid Shindig, put on by the internationally known fashion designer from Florence, made national news. In apparent amusement, Rolling Stone magazine described the local attendees as “totally unfazed by a performance hordes of music fans around the world would kill to see.” Indeed, the depth of talent in the Shoals is easy to take for granted.

Backwoods Life sports crew videos in Alabama woods

The Backwoods Life hunting crew posted a full episode on Alabama Deer Hunting. The 25-minute video includes bow and arrow and rifle hunting of white tail deer in southern Alabama. The program includes a first timer taking down her first deer.

Backwoods Life is aired on the Sportsman Channel. One of the shows hosts ended the program by saying, “It never fails, there is plenty of deer in Alabama.” Video can be seen on YouTube at
and at

Alabama has tremendous natural diversity with more than 1.3 million acres of public hunting land and some of the most liberal seasons and bag limits in the nation.

Planning meeting for Moton Field commemoration ceremony
The National Park Service (NPS) is proud to announce Nov. 9, as “A Day of Commemoration” – Dedication of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. The NPS would like to plan an event to present the national historic site to the Tuskegee Airmen and their families while providing an open house to the visiting public. However, in order to achieve this effort, the NPS is asking for support from its stakeholders, community members, and friends.

On Fri., Sept. 13, there will be a planning meeting at Moton Field in the Skyway Club from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for those who would like to be a part of the planning committee for this upcoming event. The Park Superintendent, Sandy Taylor, is hosting the Nov. 9 event, and the Park’s planning team includes Deanna Mitchell, Site Manager; Patricia Butts, Management Analyst; and Timothy Sinclair, Chief of Interpretation. This event, which is a commemoration ceremony, will be a one-day celebration and will be simple in structure. Even so, solid planning must take place and the NPS welcomes input and assistance.

If you are able to attend the meeting, RSVP by e-mail no later than Thur., Sept. 12, so there is an accurate count of the attendees. If you would like to attend by way of telephone, please RSVP by e-mail no later than Thur., Sept. 12, and arrangements will be made to provide a teleconference number. If you are not able to attend either way but would like to serve on the committee, please contact Deanna Mitchell, e-mail below, and you will be provided with meeting notes and kept informed of upcoming meetings.

On Sept. 13, this initiative will be explained in further detail. If you have any questions, need directions, or think of a person or organization that may be interested in being part of this effort, please do not hesitate to contact: Deanna Mitchell, Site Manager, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. E-mail, or call 334-724-0922.

Well-known Swampers of Muscle Shoals to appear on David Letterman
The Swampers, of Muscle Shoals fame, will appear Oct. 4, on the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.

Tuscaloosa has new website
Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission has launched a new website. Check out

Registration for Travel South Domestic Showcase is open
Travel South Domestic Showcase is scheduled for Feb. 23-26, 2014 in Charleston, WV. Travel South Showcase is the only regional Marketplace focused solely on the cultural, musical, artistic and culinary heritage of the south.
For registration information:

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

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: