Tourism Tuesdays September 8, 2015

  • Carnival and city of Mobile finalizing agreement to bring a cruise ship back to Alabama
  • In 2015, The Best Music is from Alabama–from Muscle Shoals and Birmingham to Mobile
  • Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum unveils plans for major expansion
  • London based publication highlights Alabama’s coast
  • Yahoo Travel says this is the best BBQ in Alabama
  • Brenda’s Bar-B-Que Pit winning flavor is family
  • Bimini Bob’s on Food Network’s Beachside Eats USA
  • 3 Alabama restaurants make Southern Living’s 30 best in the South for 2015
  • G Mommas Cookies are in a contest to win at 30 minute Super Bowl ad
  • List of Top 100 Events in North America features three from Alabama
  • GulfQuest launches new website
  • Sidewalk Film Festival named on list of coolest film festivals in the world
  • Alabama’s Gulf Coast named one of best 2015 road trips
  • Barons set Regions Field attendance record for third season in a row
  • Montgomery nominated by USA Today’s 10 Best as Best Destination for History Buffs
  • Alabama artists and craftspeople
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


Carnival and city of Mobile finalizing agreement to bring a cruise ship back to Alabama
By John Sharp,, Sept. 3

Carnival Cruise Line and the city of Mobile are negotiating an agreement that will bring a vessel back to the Port City, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said Thursday.

The Miami-based company is expected to visit Mobile sometime this month to announce specifics about their plans. A contact will have to be approved by the Mobile City Council, also expected to take place this month.

“It’s imperative when we welcome a cruise ship back to Mobile, we welcome back the passengers with enthusiasm and an enhanced experience,” Stimpson said during a news conference at the Mobile Regional Airport.

Stimpson declined to discuss details about the contract. He also declined offering any specifics about the type of vessel coming to the Alabama Cruise Terminal.

He said that Carnival officials, when they visit the city, will discuss specifics. “It’s very important for them to say what they have to say so (the new agreement) rolls out like they intend it for them too.”

Stimpson added, “I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the contract.”

Carnival Cruise Line, in a statement, said: Carnival Cruise Line can confirm that we met with the mayor of Mobile yesterday in Miami. We are in the final stages of contract negotiations with the City of Mobile for future cruises from the port. We expect this process to be concluded by the end of the month.

Earlier Thursday, a source told that Carnival is more likely to operate seasonal excursions — those that take place during a four-to-six month time frame, and not year-round — from Mobile.

Stimpson declined to say whether that was the company’s intentions.

Also, Stimpson declined to say whether the City Council will have to approve any economic incentives to bring a cruise ship back to Mobile.

The announcement is the first public development for luring a new cruise ship back to Mobile since Carnival left in October 2011, leaving the city with an empty terminal costing taxpayers $1.8 million annually in debt. Since then, there has been little way to generate revenue to repay the bond on the facility.

The only two cruise ships to dock at the cruise terminal were the Carnival Triumph and Conquest. Both had to come to Mobile because of emergency situations.

To read this article online, go to:

In 2015, The Best Music is from Alabama–from Muscle Shoals and Birmingham to Mobile
By Lynn Oldshue,, Sept. 6

From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, the country’s best music is coming from the state of Alabama. The music has always been here, but today it is different. Alabama bands are topping the Billboard charts in multiple genres and selling out shows across the country.  Alabama is in the songs they sing, the tattoos on their arms, and the stickers on their guitars. It is on the shirts and hats they wear and the ones they sell. They are changing the image of Alabama to the rest of the world, and to itself. There is new pride in saying: “We saw them play here first.”

The pride in music seems new, but from W.C. Handy, Hank Williams, the Louvin Brothers, and Tammy Wynette to Emmylou Harris, Wilson Pickett, and Nat King Cole, Alabama has a deep musical heritage filled with soul. Trouble on Saturday night and church on Sunday morning. Real-life music straight from the heart and the gut when music was a ticket out of poverty or the only way to pass the time.

Today, Alabama soul music lives on in the new generations of musicians who grew up here and they are mixing soul with a variety of influences and making it popular again. The Alabama Shakes, discovered from a post in a music blog, stirred up a Southern soul revival that raised awareness of music in Alabama and lifted up other bands such as St. Paul and the Broken Bones, John and Jacob, Moon Taxi, Banditos, The Pollies, and Belle Adair.

“Alabama music is resonating with larger audiences,” says Scott Register, the voice of Birmingham music and the host of “Reg’s Coffee House” on Birmingham Mountain Radio.  “There is an energy and synergy in the music community and people are working together instead of against each other. They are making soulful music that people can relate to. It is music inspired by Muscle Shoals and for whatever the reason, this is the time again for that music, and the best artists who are making it are from Alabama.”

Success is coming from all directions. In the spring and summer of 2015, Alabama bands topped the Billboard charts. Jason Isbell’s Something More than Free was number one on the rock, country, and folk album charts. Yelawolf ‘s Love Story topped Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums (Yelawolf is from Gadsden). The Alabama Shakes Sound & Color was number one on the Billboard 200.

At the same time, St. Paul and the Broken Bones played the major festivals and opened two shows for The Rolling Stones. Anderson East took off with his new album, Delilah, played on “Late Night with Seth Myers,” and opened for Brandi Carlile.

“I do A&R that scouts music talent, and five years ago if I told someone I had an Alabama artist, they wouldn’t be interested,” Register says. “Now I mention an artist is from Alabama and they want to know all about them.  The perfect storm that has been generating for years is finally starting to hit.”

A major wave of that storm hit the whole state in 2013, the year the Alabama Shakes were nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance and played the next week on Saturday Night Live. Jason Isbell released Southeastern, one of the best albums of that year. His songwriting and story of sobriety made him a favorite of every major media outlet, including The New York Times and NPR’s Fresh Air. The Civil Wars released their final album, The Civil Wars.

The year 2013 was the start of the popular Americana bands The Mulligan Brothers and Willie Sugarcapps and the release of their self-titled debut albums. It was also the year that Birmingham Mountain Radio went on the air and Single Lock Records was started by Ben Tanner, keyboard player for the Alabama Shakes, John Paul White of The Civil Wars, and Will Trapp.

Tanner grew up in Florence, Alabama, and returned home after college for recording experience at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals. He planned to move to New York City or Nashville, but started Single Lock Records and settled down in Florence. He recorded Half the City, the debut album for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, in January 2013, before the band had a manager or a booking agent and lead singer Paul Janeway was still a bank teller and accounting student. The album has sold more than 100,000 copies (Soundscan).

The documentary Muscle Shoals was released in 2013, and showed the world the stories and musicians behind the classic songs that Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Percy Sledge, Traffic, The Rolling Stones, and Wilson Pickett recorded in Muscle Shoals in the ’60s and ’70s. The film revitalized recording and production in Muscle Shoals and still attracts tourists to the area.

From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, Alabama music is all genres: soul, jazz, hip-hop, Southern rock, blues, and country. Musicians say the common thread is music from the heart with a heavy bass and drum.

“It doesn’t matter if it is it is straight ahead jazz, rock, or soul, there is always a heavy groove tucked somewhere like a backbeat,” says Mac Kramer, drummer for the band Willie and the Giant. Kramer grew up in Birmingham. “The rhythm is big and that has been a big influence. Alabama has its own way of doing the fat backbeat stuff. It is a southern groove that no one does the same way.”

Muscle Shoals. Birmingham. Mobile. Each region has its own sound and music scene with waves of past success.

In the Northwest corner of Alabama, the legacy of Muscle Shoals lives on with respect and reverence for songs and songwriting as players and producers give care to the song to make it the best it can be.

“The seeds that were planted 10 or 15 years ago started coming to fruition over the last few years,” says Tanner. “People started playing in bands and taking music seriously. The Old Town Tavern in Sheffield was a dive bar but it was a place you could play original music and a lot of bands started up here because of that place. I got a lot of those bands to record for cheap at FAME because I was trying to learn. We were feeding off each other and working in side projects together. We also have players from the older generation such as David Hood who are encouraging and supportive and are showing us how to do it. We have the best players in the world right here.”

In Birmingham, music is more alternative and experimental with hop-hop and soul.

In the ’90s, Birmingham’s Verbena, Remy Zero and Little Red Rocket signed with major record labels and Remy Zero’s “Save Me” was the theme song for the television show “Smallville.” City Stages was one of the best music festivals in the South, and Birmingham singers dominated the early years of American Idol. Birmingham music had flashes of attention and success and the Dexateens and the late Topper Price deserve more national recognition, but today the Magic City is the hottest spot in the state for producing a diversity of bands that are breaking out of Alabama.

On the coast, there is singer-songwriter and original music culture that began more than 30 years ago at the Flora-Bama and the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. The coast was the home of Jimmy Buffett and the band Wet Willie, and music is still shaped by the bay and the beach. Lyrics and melodies matter at listening venues such as The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm, The Listening Room, and soon The Steeple in a renovated church in downtown Mobile. Callaghan’s is the favorite place to play for every rising band touring through the South.

“There is a great support for music on the coast. Our music is diverse, but you can still feel the heat, the humidity, and the Gulf of Mexico in all of it,” says Ross Newell, lead singer of The Mulligan Brothers from Mobile. “You can play here seven nights a week and there is a great group of listeners who go to the shows and that means you will be booked for another night. They listen close enough to have an opinion and let you know what they love, even if they are too polite to tell you what they hate.  Instant feedback is important to know how the song is perceived because as the writer, I hear the song differently.

“We are lucky to have music scenes across Alabama that are a close enough drive for regular shows,” Newell says. “Building fan bases across Alabama is a big step before you start touring the country. Everywhere in Alabama feels like home.”

Once banned and prohibited in many counties in Alabama, alcohol is another reason for the growth in music. Clubs opened as counties went from dry to wet and gave musicians a place to play. “These venues started generating bands and made it possible for musicians to stay here and learn their trade,” says Dick Cooper, curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He co-produced the Drive-By Truckers iconic breakthrough album, Southern Rock Opera, and introduced Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell when they were both crashing on couches at his house. Today young musicians get experience, encouragement, and exposure playing at Cooper’s house parties.

No one springs out of the womb knowing how to be a musician or a recording engineer,” says Cooper. “Once we had clubs, bands had a place to play a few nights a week and made enough money to buy the amps or guitars they needed. You have to have a place to learn and the business to support it. Play in a club, build an audience, and build a career.

Clubs build music careers, but music venues, along with restaurants and breweries, are also revitalizing downtowns in Florence, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile. “The restaurant scene is booming and that has helped reinvigorate the music scene,” says Register. “The alcohol content laws changed and breweries are booming too. Music, food, and beer are drawing people downtown and creating a lifestyle that is starting to keep talented young people in the state. It’s not a coincidence these are happening at the same time.”

Locally-owned venues, recording studios, record stores, record labels, and radio stations such as 92ZEW in Mobile are building an infrastructure for developing music and giving musicians a chance make it in Alabama.

Before the Alabama bands play arenas and festivals, or climb the charts and win awards, they belong to us, the local fans. We see them working day jobs and trying out their songs in local dive bars at night. Working up to bigger clubs, an extra pedal, a new guitar, a self-produced EP, or new clothes that fit the image of their music. We are the first to fill their tip jars and buy their t-shirts and their CDs.

Our bands tell our stories and sing about the places we know. Their songs become our songs. The songs we sing and the ones we share. The songs that make us feel alive. As we watch Alabama bands come together, we know we are supporting something special and that makes us special too.

We saw them play here first.

To read this entire article online, go to:

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum unveils plans for major expansion
By Dawn Kent Azok,, Sept. 2

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum has launched a major expansion, a project that will help the facility maintain its role as the global benchmark for motorcycle collections.

The 144,000-square-foot museum, which opened in 2003 at Barber Motorsports Park, will grow by an additional 85,000 square feet. All five stories will be expanded, and a glass atrium is a key feature of the new space.

Last year, Guinness World Records named the museum as the world’s largest collection of vintage and contemporary motorcycles, with 1,398 unique exhibits.

“People visit Birmingham from all over the world to see this museum and its collection, and we want to continue to wow them with what they see,” said George Barber, a Birmingham businessman and longtime motorcycle collector who built the museum and 830-acre racing venue.

Barber said some of the plans for the new space are still in the works. In addition to displaying more motorcycles, he hopes to have some type of traveling exhibits that would mix well with them.

Jeff Ray, the museum’s executive director, said it won’t be any trouble to fill the expansion.

“We have many motorcycles in storage, and we are constantly adding to the collection,” he said.

Officials did not disclose the capital investment for the project. No public incentives are involved.
Birmingham-based Williams Blackstock is the architect for the expansion. The general contractor is BL Harbert International, also based in Birmingham.

The museum will remain open during construction, and the work is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016.

Barber said it’s always been his goal for the museum, as well as the entire park, to be tourism magnets for the area.

“Since the first of the year, people from 61 different countries have come to Birmingham to see the museum,” he said. “I wanted to bring people to Birmingham that normally would never come.”

And some of those people might be industry decision-makers who could bring a new plant or a new store to the Birmingham region, Barber said.

Annually, the park and the museum attract more than 250,000 visitors. The park features a 2.38-mile road racing track, which draws auto and motorcycle races, conventions and festivals throughout the year.

It’s also home to programs and events including the Porsche Sport Driving School, Mercedes-Benz Brand Immersion Experience, Barber Vintage Festival, Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and Triumph Superbike Challenge.

The museum expansion is the latest in a series of improvements at the park over a two-year period.

The Barber Proving Grounds,
 a track area and wet/dry skidpad that can accommodate additional events while the main track is in use, opened last fall. And this past spring, a 440-foot-long pedestrian bridge that connects the museum to the track infield was completed.

Also underway is a classroom building overlooking the Proving Grounds and new garages for Mercedes-Benz and other customers.

Barber said the museum expansion will allow visitors to see more of the racetrack from the building.

“We’re all really excited about it,” he said. “It’s going to be a great addition for us.”

To read this article online, go to:

London based publication highlights Alabama’s coast

The London based Mature Times has published their feature on Alabama’s coast.
Mature Times writer Rowena Cooper visited Mobile and Gulf Shores/Orange Beach in March of this year.  Her story features both areas as she tracks the path of “snowbirds.”

The article opens with a lively description of fun in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach and then moves on to Mobile Bay wildlife and the USS Alabama Battleship Park in Mobile.

To read an online edition of her story go to

Mature Times, published for more than 20 years, is UK’s only national newspaper aimed at the 50+ demographic.  The newspaper has a printed circulation of 200,000 and readership of 500,000.  Mature Times also has a popular website of the same name and an e-newsletter published once every two weeks.

Cooper’s visit was coordinated by Della Tully, Alabama’s In-Market Representative in the UK, and the CVBs of Mobile and Gulf Shores/Orange Beach through the Alabama Tourism Department.

For more on Alabama’s International effort contact:

Yahoo Travel says this is the best BBQ in Alabama
By Amber Roberson,, Sept. 3

According to Yahoo Travel, Archibald’s BBQ in Tuscaloosa serves up Alabama’s best barbecue.

“Archibald’s BBQ in Tuscaloosa is old school ‘que where the flavors come only from the hickory smoke. There’s no rub or seasoning, just quality pork smoked low and slow,” the travel website described.

Archibald’s is no stranger to accolades. They’ve been serving ‘que since 1962 and were recently inducted in to the Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame.  The first-ever class of inductees were announced as part of the Alabama Tourism Department’s Year of Alabama Barbecue celebration.

To read this article online, go to:

Brenda’s Bar-B-Que Pit winning flavor is family
By Matt Okarmus, Montgomery Advertiser, Sept. 8

When Brenda’s Bar-B-Que Pit was inducted into the Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame in June, it had to meet a difficult requirement: at least 50 years of operation.

The hall, developed by the Alabama Department of Tourism, inducted 29 inaugural members. Only one restaurant was inducted from the River Region.

Located on Mobile Highway Road for nearly 75 years, Brenda’s Bar-B-Que Pit is the fourth-oldest barbecue joint in the state. Since opening in 1942, the west side staple has witnessed Montgomery’s changing history, at times seeing it first hand.

Jereline Bethune and her husband, James, originally opened the location as a nightclub called The Siesta Club. They then decided to switch to barbecue and the couple named it Brenda’s after their daughter.

But James Bethune died not too long after the restaurant opened, leaving Jereline Bethune, the sole owner, to run it. As her granddaughter, Donetta Bethune, points out, particularly in the 1940s, that wasn’t an easy task.

“There was a lot of struggle,” Donetta Bethune said. “Not only because she was a woman, but you can’t leave out the fact that she was an African-American woman.”

Through the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Jereline Bethune helped the restaurant overcome a variety of obstacles.

“There was a lot of discrimination, especially with inspections,” Donetta Bethune said. “She would do everything that was asked and then she would come in and be asked to do something else.”

Donetta Bethune said her grandmother’s spirit and determination kept the shack alive and those qualities have kept it going long after she died because Jereline Bethune taught both those qualities and aspects of the business to her sons Larry and Milton, who eventually became owners.

After Milton Bethune died earlier this year, Larry Bethune is the sole owner. Donetta, his daughter, is just one of the many employees at Brenda’s who are part of the family.

“Before she (Jereline Bethune) passed on, she saw the vision of always having something that the family could have,” Donetta Bethune said. “A legacy, something that could go way past her time. If anyone in the family needed a place to work or they were struggling, they always could come here. And that’s what this place has been to us.”

The two oldest barbecue joints in the Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame have passed the century mark (Irondale’s Golden Rule Bar-B-Q opened in 1891 and Dothan’s Dobb’s Famous Bar-B-Que opened in 1910). Brenda’s, which is fourth on the list, would reach the 100-year milestone in 2042.

Donetta Bethune does a combination of a laugh and smile when she ponders being open for 100 years. But she sees it as a possibility.

“One thing that keeps a business going, you have to have a lot of passion for what you do,” she said. “This place just means so much to us. Everything they’ve built, everything they’ve had they’ve poured into this business.

“To me, it would feel like if we came down here and didn’t open, everything they worked so hard for would go out the window. I don’t know if I can bear the thought of that. So I don’t see why we wouldn’t be here for 100 years.”

To read this entire article, go to:

Bimini Bob’s on Food Network’s Beachside Eats USA

Tune into Food Network for the Beachside Eats USA “Dockside Dining” episode featuring Bimini Bob’s on Wed., Sep. 9 at 9:30 p.m.

Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone sets sail to discover the ultimate dockside dining along the Gulf Coast of Alabama where he joins our very own Chef Steve Zucker at Bimini Bob’s.

3 Alabama restaurants make Southern Living’s 30 best in the South for 2015
By Bob Carlton,, Sept. 2

Three Alabama restaurants have made Southern Living magazine’s list of the South’s 30 Best Restaurants, which was released today.

The restaurants are not ranked in any order, but the Alabama restaurants on the list are:

Chez Fonfon, Birmingham.
Fisher’s Upstairs, Orange Beach.
Odette, Florence.

To come up with the list, Southern Living consulted some of the South’s top chefs — including Sean Brock, Donald Link, and Billy Allin –to find out where they are eating this year.

To see the full list and to read what Southern Living had to say about each of the 30 restaurants, go here.

To read the article online, go to:

G Mommas Cookies are in a contest to win at 30 minute Super Bowl ad
By Robert Armstrong IV, Small Business Big Game

A small town (Selma) cookie company on a mission to transform its hometown. We’ve grown from 35 local stores to over 2000 nationwide. Our cookies are made in small batches using real butter and real ingredients. The recipe and inspiration behind the cookies is my grandmother, Anice “Gammy Momma” Armstrong. A true woman of the Deep South, G Momma knew that family, lots of love, and real ‘butta’ could do as much for your soul as it could your stomach. Gammy (‘Gah Mee’) Momma would bake these little cookies for all our family ‘get-togethers’, and we would crawl all over each other to get a few.

To read this article online, go to:

List of Top 100 Events in North America features three from Alabama

The Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores and Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile have been named to the list of Top 100 Events in North America for 2016 by the American Bus Association (ABA).

“The attractiveness of these events as don’t miss entertainment is only part of why their selection is such a distinction,” said Peter J. Pantuso, ABA’s president and CEO. “The real news here is that these events have been recognized as a potential magnet for tourism dollars. This honor gives them an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners.”

According to studies completed by researchers at Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach can group can leave up to $25,000 in a local destination’s economy.  Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs and local taxes.

“Tour groups spend more and stay longer,” Pantuso said.  “That’s why these events are truly a local economic asset.  There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to a great event and convince them to extend their stay.”

The three Alabama events were chosen by the ABA’s 2016 Top 100 Events Selection Committee from hundreds of event nominations submitted from across North America.  The Top 100 Events list is available online at

GulfQuest launches new website

The world’s only maritime museum dedicated to the historical, cultural and economic significance of the Gulf of Mexico now has a brand-new website, one that gives visitors across the globe a look inside the new museum’s unique building and interactive exhibit galleries.

With an opening date set for Sept. 26, getting a new and modern website up and running prior to the opening was a big priority for GulfQuest Executive Director Tony Zodrow and Marketing/PR Director Diana Brewer. An attractive, easy to navigate website will play a significant role in marketing the new, high-tech museum in a world of technology and social media.

“We wanted our website to reflect the interactive nature of the museum, and we do that with lots of pictures of people enjoying the exhibits,” Brewer said. “And of course, we want the website to entice people to visit the museum. With 90 exhibits, displays, theaters and simulators in a 90,000 sq. ft. building shaped like a large ship headed to sea, and with a full-size container ship replicated inside the building, it’s impossible to show everything. But the new website carries our message of exploring all aspects of the Gulf of Mexico and having a great time doing it.”

Because GulfQuest will become a major educational attraction for Mobile and the entire Gulf Coast region, the website will be a useful tool for educators who are planning field trips and for group tour planners. It will also be useful to those interested in renting GulfQuest facilities for private events. The site includes brief descriptions of those facilities, but with the recent hiring of Missy Hartley, Special Events/Group Sales Director, prices and other relevant information will be added soon.

“The rest of the site is as current as the weather posted on the homepage,” Brewer said. “Using our own weather station located above The Bridge level, at GulfQuest’s tallest point, we are able to show current weather conditions on the homepage, and we’re talking about adding even more weather information there. We are a maritime museum, after all!”

Other highlights on the new site include information that will help guests plan their visit, photos and descriptions of some of the exhibits, job postings, information about volunteer opportunities, and a list of donors to the GulfQuest capital campaign. The site will also have current news and announcements on the homepage, and a robust media section with downloadable high-resolution photos and images.

The website,, was designed by Dogwood Production Studios in Mobile.

Sidewalk Film Festival named on list of coolest film festivals in the world
By Ryan Phillips, Birmingham Business Journal, Sept. 3

The Sidewalk Film Festival in August saw the best turnout in the festival’s 17-year history, but the accolades didn’t stop there.

Movie Maker ranked the downtown film festival on its list of “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2015.”
Movie Maker’s editors wrote: “Welcome to Cool Town, USA … it’s a dynamic city emerging as one of the capitals of the new South—with tons of new places and creative spaces popping up.”

The event drew more than 13,000 people to the Magic City this year, with an estimated 35 percent coming from outside of Birmingham.

“Besides an annual who’s who of circuit favorites, notoriously inventive parties (one from this year: ‘Barbecue, beer, mini golf, mechanical pigs’ at an iron furnace-come-national landmark), and a filmmaker retreat in Red Mountain Park, Sidewalk hosts year-long film education programs for the local indie community,” Movie Maker’s editors wrote.

To read this article online, go to:

Alabama’s Gulf Coast named one of best 2015 road trips, Sept. 2

A ride along the Gulf Coast of Alabama was named a top 10 road trip for 2015 by the Travel Channel website’s “Travel’s Best” feature.

The entry for the Gulf Coast reads: Road trip along the Gulf of Mexico, and you’ll want to spend most of your time — and food budget — on Alabama’s coast. Yes, you’ll love its sugary white-sand beaches and Caribbean-like waters, but the real treasure here is the food. In Orange Beach don’t miss the build-your-own Bloody Mary menu at Brick & Spoon; the Murder Point oysters at Fisher’s Dockside; and Ginny Lane’s blackened shrimp and grits — served with sweet, crisp fried green tomatoes and a remoulade that’s to die for.

To see the full list and descriptions of the other nine, visit:

To read this article online, go to:

Barons set Regions Field attendance record for third season in a row
By Ryan Phillips, Birmingham Business Journal, Sept. 2

Regions Field in downtown Birmingham saw 444,639 fans attend games in 2015, making it the highest-attended season in the ballpark’s history.

This season was the second consecutive year the Birmingham Barons drew more than 400,000 fans to downtown Birmingham during its 70 home games, according to a release from the Barons.

The Barons currently lead the Double-A Southern League in attendance with five games to go in the regular season. If successful, It will be the third year in a row the Barons have led the league.

Regions Field continues to grow in appeal and grew its attendance numbers for the third consecutive year.

This season’s turnout is second in team history only to when NBA-star Michael Jordan crossed over to baseball and played for the Barons in 1994, bringing in a record 467,867 fans.

“Regions Field is such a special ballpark, and we thank everyone who attended a Barons game in 2015,” said Jonathan Nelson, general manager of the Barons. “Each year we aim to raise the bar in all areas of our operation, and we look forward to providing fun, exciting promotions along with great professional baseball in 2016.”

Regions Field sold out 13 times over the course of the season – the most in the ballpark’s history.

The Barons on Aug. 15 saw a record 8,577 fans come to the ballpark for Star Wars Night and Pyropalooza, which topped the previous single-game record of 8,513. That broke the record set March 28, 2014 as the Barons hosted its major league affiliate Chicago White Sox for an exhibition game.

To read this article online, go to:

Montgomery is nominated by USA Today’s 10 Best as Best Destination for History Buffs

Montgomery has been nominated in the latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest.  Their expert panel selected Montgomery as a contender for Best Destination for History Buffs, which just launched. The contest, which is being promoted by USA TODAY, gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest.

Montgomery is the only Alabama city in the running.

Voting ends Mon., Sept. 14, at 10:59 a.m. and the winners will be announced on 10Best on Fri., Sept. 18 11:00 p.m., then later on USA TODAY.

Prior competitions have been hotly contested, and USA TODAY looks forward to seeing how you rock the vote in your own community. Find them on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Remember you can vote from every platform you connect to the internet with: computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets.

Alabama artists and craftspeople

Alabama is home to a vast number of talented and creative artists and craftspeople who produce a wide variety of items including, but not limited to, woodwork, paintings, ceramics, fabrics and a lot of food.

The Alabama Tourism Department is looking for information about these artists and crafters and their products.  We are interested in the home-grown cottage industries rather than the industrial giants.

Please send information about people and their products, including contact information, to Peggy Collins, or call 334-242-4545.

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Nov. 8 – 10                              Welcome Center Retreat, Embassy Suites, Tuscaloosa


Tourism Tuesdays 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:

To subscribe to the weekly Alabama Tourism News, please contact Peggy Collins at:

Alabama Tourism Department