Tourism Tuesdays January 29, 2019

Gov. Ivy reappoints Sentell to lead tourism

Tourism Department hosts collegiate tour planners

Busy time for Alabama Tourism Department

Alabama Tourism promotes state at International Media Marketplace and The New York Times Travel Show

Á la Carte Alabama has taste of the state’s best food and drinks

Muscle Shoals: the small town that’s given the world some of its biggest hits

Big Boi, Blackberry Smoke to headline inaugural Druid City Music Festival

Frontier Airlines will link Mobile to Chicago and Denver

Why you should drive the family to Alabama for the weekend

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


Gov. Ivy reappoints Sentell to lead tourism
Gov. Kay Ivey has reappointed Lee Sentell to serve for a fifth term in the Cabinet-level position as director of the Alabama Tourism Department. The Ashland native and Auburn graduate is the longest serving head of the agency which began as an office within the Alabama Highway Department.

Prior to serving in the administrations of Bob Riley and Robert Bentley, Sentell was with the Decatur Tourism Bureau, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Tourism Department hosts collegiate tour planners
The Alabama Tourism Department hosted more than 300 college alumni travel representatives on opening night of the annual meeting of the Education Travel Consortium at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel. The guests represent Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, University of Southern California and most major colleges, in addition to institutions such as National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution. They are in the area for four days to experience the civil rights movement and consider bringing their affinity groups to Alabama. The tours visited Gees Bend, Selma, Tuskegee and Birmingham.

ATD group sales manager Rosemary Judkins invited tourism partners from around the state to host individual tables at the opening dinner. The state tourism department provided a “family reunion” banquet of more than 20 vegetables, salads and desserts designed by Southern chef Scott Peacock. The chef is a frequent guest on Martha Stewart’s television program. One veteran meeting planner called the dinner “the most memorable meal I have ever experienced at a group function.” Peggy Kennedy, the daughter of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace, was the keynote speaker.

The group’s meeting in 2020 will be in Beijing, China.

Busy time for Alabama Tourism Department
The Alabama Tourism Department has already had a busy 2019 promoting the state as a tourist destination.

Janin Nachtweh of ATD’s German office was at Austria’s largest and most important travel show, Wiener Ferienmesse. With some 150,000 visitors the Deep South USA booth was very successful. Then in a few weeks, Nachtweh will hold a webinar for some 100 travel agents to promote the Deep South region and Alabama in particular.

Alabama Tourism staff members, as well as many members from Alabama destinations are attending the American Bus Association Show in Louisville, KY this week. Other members of the department are at the Education Travel Consortium’s annual conference which is being held in Montgomery this year.

This follows the New York Times Travel Show and media event this past weekend. Alabama Tourism had two special speaking engagements plus a booth on the travel floor. New York is both America’s largest destination and the headquarters for many of the media outlets that publish stories on travel destinations.

Other shows include the Snowbirds Extravaganza in Lakeland, FL, the Cincinnati Sports & Boat Show and the Louisville RV, Boat and sports show.

The Alabama Tourism Department attends both trade and consumer shows to promote the state as an attractive tourist destination. Many of the shows are held during the winter when attendees are most likely to be dreaming of escaping to warmer destinations.

Alabama Tourism promotes state at International Media Marketplace and The New York Times Travel Show
Brian Jones met with media from around the world at the International Media Marketplace in New York City on Thursday. It was at the media marketplace last year that Jones had a meeting with National Geographic Traveler editor George Stone about the newly launched U.S. Civil Rights Trail. Stone sent Brooklyn-based writer Glynn Pogue to the state last spring to do a feature story on major civil rights sites.

The 12-page article “Southern Routes” by Pogue with photography by Birmingham native Art Meripol appears in the February/March issue of National Geographic Traveler on newsstands this week. The article details Pogue’s trip through Alabama as she embarks on a personal voyage to experience the sites, the culture and the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the state.

Vickie Ashford with the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Meg Lewis with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and Sheryl Smedley with the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce worked with Jones to plan the trip for Pogue.

Kay Maghan with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism also attended the International Media Marketplace promoting Alabama’s gulf coast beaches and attractions including the new Gulf State Park Lodge to journalists and travel writers.

Alabama Tourism Department staff members Cynthia Flowers and Trisa Collier along with Lindsey Adams from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center joined Jones to work in the booth at The New York TimesTravel Show portion of the event over the weekend. The travel show is held in the main exhibition hall of the Javits Center in New York City and is one of the largest travel shows in the world attracting 560 exhibitors and more than 30,000 attendees

The most popular requests at the travel show were for information regarding civil rights sites, Space Camp, the dining scene in Birmingham and outdoor activities. “More people wanted brochures like the U.S. Civil Rights Trail or Space Camp which focused on a particular interest rather than general publications like the vacation guide,” said Flowers. This is the second year for the state to attend the travel show.

Á la Carte Alabama has taste of the state’s best food and drinks
From the article by Karim Shamsi-Basha on

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on

Á la Carte Alabama, the online and social media venture that brings a fresh take to food and drink across the state, has launched a new podcast telling the stories of the state’s culinary scene.

Few things are bringing more positive attention to Alabama these days than the booming food and drink sector. From white barbecue sauce in the north, to fine dining and meat-and-three’s in the middle, to seafood on the gulf, Alabama food is winning raves in national magazines and newspapers and prestigious awards from all over.

The Á la Carte Alabama podcast talks to the top names in food and drink in Alabama, introduces some of the new faces drawing attention, takes the listener to places exploring unique approaches and looks at the things adding to the special nature of the food and beverage industry in our state.

“More and more, food is becoming part of our cultural identity and sparking all kinds of positive attention to Alabama,” says Willie Chriesman, executive producer and co-host of the Á la Carte Alabama podcast. “We want to explore this topic by telling the stories of the people, places and trends that make the food and drink scene here so unique and so compelling.”

Among some of the people and places the podcast highlights are James Beard Award winners Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill, Chez Fonfon and Bottega, and Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club and Ovenbird; as well as Clif Holt of Little Savannah; Hunter Lewis, editor of Birmingham-based Food & Wine magazine; Food Network Star finalist and author Martie Duncan; Yo’ Mama’s; Dreamland; tips on baking from Greensboro’s Pie Lab; and much more.

In the first two episodes, Á la Carte Alabama talks to culinary legends Stitt and Hastings about how they think about food and what is unique about their approach. The podcast offers advice on how to avoid packing on those extra pounds during the holidays, and popular TV weatherman James Spann talks about the food he always avoids when visiting school cafeterias. You will learn the story of The Green Book, a travel guide for African-Americans during the segregation era, and whether cocktails should be shaken or stirred, from an expert on craft cocktails.

The Á la Carte Alabama podcast is co-hosted by Teresa Zuniga Odom, who blogs as Southern Senora at, and produced by Jessica Chriesman, podcaster, social media content creator and award-winning filmmaker. Music is by noted Alabama jazz guitarist Eric Essix.

The podcast is available on the Á la Carte Alabama website at, and at the iTunes store and Google Play Music.

For the complete article please see

Muscle Shoals: the small town that’s given the world some of its biggest hits
From the article on

Acclaimed Northern-Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance begins his musical journey around America where, arguably, it all began… in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. A small town that just happened to lie behind a roll call of musical greats.

Putting Muscle Shoals on the map
Nestled in the corner of Alabama, bordering Mississippi and Tennessee, Muscle Shoals was originally known for being the location of the Wilson Dam across the Tennessee River… that is until the music industry catapulted this sleepy Alabama town of just over 13,000 inhabitants into the limelight. Now it is an unmissable stop on any musical tour of the U.S.

It was Rick Hall, a music industry legend, that put Muscle Shoals on the map by opening the FAME studios in the 1960s. Some of the country’s biggest artists eventually recorded there, including Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Cher and the Rolling Stones.

A big part of the studio’s success was thanks to its session musicians known as The Swampers. Hall described the sound coming out of Muscle Shoals as “funky, hard, gutty, down to earth.” Eventually, in 1969, The Swampers left FAME to set up their own studio just a few miles down the road, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, bringing a second musical hotspot to the small town.

Not to be missed: a roundup of our favourite destinations in and around Muscle Shoals, Alabama
While it will surely be the music that first brings you to Muscle Shoals there are other reasons to stick around. “Musically, Muscle Shoals was everything I hoped it would be,” says Foy Vance of his visit, “but there was so much more to the place than I was expecting”. Here are our top picks for things to do in and around the city.

Fame Recording Studios describes itself as “the heartbeat of Muscle Shoals Sound”. Established in 1959 in Florence, Alabama, it moved to Muscle Shoals in 1961, where it has remained ever since, weathering the breakaway of its famous session band, “The Swampers” and continuing to produce records that have blazed a musical trail. Visitors can tour the legendary studios every day of the week, without making a reservation. For Foy it was a magical experience: “I got to go in and see some of the first pressings in the tape room. It was awe-inspiring.”

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, the “Abbey Road of Alabama”, is actually in neighbouring Sheffield, Alabama at 3614 Jackson Highway. The studio and museum was formed by FAME’s The Swampers as they broke away from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. They quickly outgrew their original facility, and moved to Alabama Avenue in, Sheffield, in 1978. 3614 Jackson Highway was opened as a museum and fully functioning studio in the early 2000s.

Rattlesnake Saloon is a unique watering hole with an impressive location, nestled under overhanging rocks. Go there for its exceptional location, great music and a bite to eat. Foy was taken there by his guide, Susann Hamlin, and sampled Wild Bill Coty’s Wings with a sauce so hot he had to sign a disclaimer for it beforehand. “The cameras were on,” says Foy, “and I was trying to talk Susann into trying the sauce. At the very moment that she took a bite, the sauce hit me and I realised just how hot it was. I don’t know how she held it together: I couldn’t bring myself to look at her.”

If you fancy getting out of the city for a day there is plenty of beautiful countryside and nature within a short drive of Muscle Shoals. The area has a wealth of top locations for bird watching, fishing and hiking. One such location is Dismals Canyon where visitors can see pristine wilderness and waterfalls and even take a guided night walk to see tiny bioluminescent glow worms. You can also stay the night, either camping or by booking one of the cosy onsite cabins.

For the complete article please see

Big Boi, Blackberry Smoke to headline inaugural Druid City Music Festival
From the article by Ben Flanagan on

The Druid City Music Festival unveiled the rest of its lineup for the inaugural event scheduled to take place Aug. 23-24 in Tuscaloosa.

Grammy-winning artist Big Boi will close out the festival Saturday night on the main stage in downtown’s Government Plaza, along with newly announced artists TAUK, Break Science, Turkuaz and Blackberry Smoke.

The bands will appear alongside the previously announced GrAystone, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, CBDB and Southern Avenue throughout the weekend.

Pre-sale tickets are on sale now at and at a discounted rate for a limited time. The festival’s general on sale begins Feb. 1. General admission tickets currently cost $70. Ticket prices will increase to $78 on Feb.1. VIP tickets cost $185.

Organized by Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports, the festival hopes to propelling the city “into an exclusive list of must visit music festival destinations in the Southeast.”

The festival is for all ages.

“We could not be more excited about releasing our full lineup for the inaugural Druid City Music Festival!” TTS CEO Don Staley said in a press release. “From a Grammy award-winning Super Bowl halftime entertainer to Southern-Roots rock mainstays Blackberry Smoke to local hometown heroes, we are thrilled to assemble such a diverse and dynamic group of musicians appealing to music fans of any genre. Each one of these artists have appeared on popular music festivals across the nation and now they are here with us in Tuscaloosa.”

Additional event information will be released later this year regarding festival layout, sponsorship opportunities and other attendee information.

The festival will consist of two days of live music and entertainment, featuring various genres of popular music across 14 different venues in and around downtown Tuscaloosa.

“This festival will not only cater to the several thousands of college students who call Tuscaloosa home but also the thousands of concert fans located throughout the Southeast,” the initial event press release said.

The idea is that Tuscaloosa is “advantageously situated” within a 4-hour drive from several “music-centric metropolitan areas” which will allow for the city to become an easily accessible destination weekend for those who travel for the 2-day event.

“This event is a fantastic way to showcase Tuscaloosa’s vibrant music scene as well as the continued downtown revitalization to its local residents, incoming students, local West Alabama music enthusiasts, and live music fans from around the region,” Staley said.

The hope is for the festival to serve as a welcome back event for college students. It’s also been designated as an official Tuscaloosa 200 Bicentennial event.

This continues a huge music year in Tuscaloosa, which will celebrate its bicentennial with a free concert featuring artists Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, The Commodores, Moon Taxi and The Blind Boys of Alabama at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on Saturday, March 30.

Big Boi is a 7-time Grammy-winning, RIAA diamond-certified musician who celebrated his third full-length solo album, “Boomiverse,” which includes his latest single “In The South” featuring Gucci Mane and Pimp C as well as singles “Mic Jack” featuring Adam Levine and “Kill Jill” featuring Killer Mike & Jeezy.

Since emerging from Atlanta in the early 2000s, Blackberry Smoke — vocalist/lead guitarist Charlie Starr, guitarist/vocalist Paul Jackson, bassist/vocalist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner and keyboardist Brandon Still — has become known for a singular sound indebted to classic rock, blues country and folk.

Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, the Brooklyn-based Turkuaz has developed an impressive reputation for larger-than-life performances and show-stopping singalongs.

Break Science, made up of Adam Deitch (Lettuce, John Scofield, Wyclef Jean) and Borahm Lee (Kanye West, Pretty Lights, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry,) have become a staple act on the electronic soul scene. Together now for a decuade, the group has evolved fusing hip-hop beats into their signature take on electronic music.

TAUK’s new album “Shapeshifter II: Outbreak” offers an unsettling and exhilarating look at artificial intelligence and its potential to upend the world. They all-instrumental blend of progressive rock, hip-hop and jazz that should bring a hypnotic and thought-provoking vibe to the inaugural festival.

Friday night venues include Alcover International Tavern, Bama Theatre, Black Warrior Brewing Company, The Booth, The Bridge, Copper Top, The District Room, Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, Druid City Brewing Company, Green Bar, Harrison Galleries, Hotel Indigo, Innisfree Irish Pub, Loosa Brews, Rhythm & Brews, Roxy’s Tuscaloosa River Market, U-Perk, Wheelhouse Pub and Wilhagan’s.

For the complete article please see

Frontier Airlines will link Mobile to Chicago and Denver
From the article by Lawrence Speaker on

Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights connecting Mobile to Chicago and Denver in May, using the Downtown Mobile Airport.

The flights will begin May 1 from a brand-new passenger terminal. An initial offer puts one-way fares as low as $39, for passengers who make reservations now.

The announcement featured a conspicuously strong turnout of political figures in the audience, including state legislators and Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson. Mobile Airport Authority President Chris Curry, MAA board chairman Eliot Maisel and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson used their presence to highlight the importance of Frontier’s commitment.

This wasn’t just about bringing in a new carrier and opening up new destinations, they said.

“This is a beginning of a transformational event for the city of Mobile and the region,” said Maisel. “Baldwin County as well.” He went on to say that “It’s gonna happen, and it’s happening now. We’re going to be flying out of Brookley Field in May.”

Stimpson said the start of passenger service out of Brookley was something that had been desired for years. And he told Wilson that “I hope you’ll go across the Causeway and tell everybody in Baldwin County we are expecting them to use Frontier … we’re counting on our friends in Baldwin County to help make this successful.”

For years, some have speculated that Mobile might benefit from an airport swap in which commercial passenger service is moved from West Mobile Regional airport to Brookley. Stimpson, Maisel and Curry have thrown their weight behind the effort, especially since a feasibility study commissioned by the MAA found that the benefits outweighed the drawbacks. They say that the Brookley airfield’s advantages — it’s near downtown, has easy interstate access and is closer to potential patrons in Baldwin County — would make it more competitive with airports in Pensacola and Biloxi.

The full transition will take years and require the construction of a full-service terminal; the MAA is early in the process of developing a master plan. Meanwhile, intermediate steps have been under way. In spring 2018, Via Airlines announced that it was beginning service from Mobile and wanted to operate from Brookley.

Since then, the MAA has been developing a small terminal at Brookley for use by low-cost carriers such as Via. It’s due to be open for business by the end of April, Curry said Tuesday, and Frontier flights are to begin May 1.

Jonathan Freed, director of corporate communications for Frontier, said the airline was excited about the prospect of coming to not just a new market but also to a new terminal in an airfield with no track record for commercial passenger service.

“We’re excited about it because of where it’s located,” he said. “We’re proud to be here as the launch airline. Location was a big part of it.”

Via recently announced that it was adding service to Birmingham, including direct Mobile-Birmingham flights, in April. In that announcement, the company said that it expects to relocate its Mobile service to Brookley in late April or early May. Curry said Tuesday he didn’t yet have a schedule for exactly when that would happen.

Freed touted Frontier as “a fun airline” that allows customers to adjust their fare based on what amenities they want. He also said that Frontier will have a special connection to Mobile because of its preference for Airbus A320-family jets.

“We’ve ordered 200 new Airbus 320-family aircraft,” he said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “They’re rolling off the assembly line about 150 yards from where we’re standing. So when these aircraft start flying here, they’ll be coming back home where they were born.”

According to information provided by Freed, Mobile flights can now be booked at Mobile-Denver flights will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with arrivals from Denver at 6:20 p.m. and departures from Mobile at 7:10 p.m. Mobile-Chicago flights will be offered Wednesdays and Saturdays, with arrivals from Chicago at 12:55 p.m. and departures from Mobile at 1:45 p.m.

The initial offer of a $39 one-way fare to Chicago and $59 to Denver is valid only for fares purchased before midnight (Eastern) on Wednesday, Jan. 23. The offer applies only to Wednesday and Saturday flights through June 13.

“This is what we’ve been wishing and hoping for, really for more than a decade,” said Stimpson. “For it to come to fruition is just a tremendous deal for everybody involved.”

Tuesday’s announcement was made in one of the brick warehouse-type buildings that date back to Brookley’s roots as a military air base. Curry told those in attendance to brace for change. “Over the next few years this complex and aeroplex will undergo major improvements that should significantly enhance the quality of life for residents of our community,” he said.

Maisel praised Airbus for its help in making the arrangement possible: Airbus was leasing the building that the airport authority wanted to use for a terminal, but agreed to give it back so that it could be converted.

“It’s on the grounds, the construction is under way, it’ll be a nice terminal,” Maisel said. “It will accommodate our needs. It will be clean, it will be efficient, there will be plenty of parking, it will be accessible and it’ll be at Brookley Field.

“Now it’s up to us,” Maisel said. He said it’s up to the community to support the effort. “I want these planes full,” he said. “I need your help.”

Full planes will mean more flights and more direct connections, he said. “It’s a lifestyle transformation,” he said. “It will allow us to benefit from living in the great city of Mobile.”

As for the facility where the announcement ceremony was held, Maisel added: “This building is historic. It’s also empty. Okay, watch what happens here at this complex. All this stuff, all these buildings, they’re going to come down. They’re going to be replaced with modern, efficient, leasable, light-industrial space. We now are in a planning phase, authorized by the FAA, for the total renovation of Brookley Field. So, more jobs, more available commercial and industrial space for our corporate citizens, and a better lifestyle for the city.”

Frontier is expanding rapidly and added service to Huntsville and Birmingham in the last year, Freed said. “It’s gone well,” he said, though Mobile had been chosen on its own merits rather than just because Frontier’s Alabama experience had been good.

Curry said that another factor for Frontier was anticipated demand for flights to Mobile and the Gulf Coast. “We’re a good destination for Denver,” he said. There’s a strong market for leisure travel because of “the beaches, all the things Denver doesn’t have,” he said.

“This is a vibrant community,” Freed said. He added that the allure of warm weather and sandy shores already had been a strong selling point for Frontier. “Florida is extremely successful for us,” he said.

For the complete article please see

Why you should drive the family to Alabama for the weekend
From the article by Andrea Cruikshank on (The Enquirer)

Huntsville, Alabama, is not at the top of many weekend family travel lists, but maybe it should be.

It’s one of my favorite places within driving distance. And kind of my second home.

Here’s how I found out about it.

I was having a hard two years, which climaxed one day in a sudden personal crisis. I found myself uprooted, moving in with my mother, separated from my community – and dizzyingly lost.

Many friends put their arms around me, fed me supper (and wine), let me crash on their couches and cry at their kitchen tables.

One lived in Alabama. She didn’t hesitate after I told her about my situation. “Do you need to get away from there? I have a spare bedroom. You come down here whenever you want.”

We have been friends since before I had memories. We attended countless sleepovers with tons of other girls, braved summer camp together and spent a lot of time driving in my parents’ Astro Van with Backstreet Boys (that’s right) cranked as loud as we could stand it, singing at the top of our lungs. After she moved to Huntsville in 2002, we lost touch, except for the occasional hello on Facebook.

When I took her up on the offer to get away, what awaited me when we arrived at her cozy little home was a view of a cotton field backdropped by a mountain. We did 15 years of catching up while exploring Huntsville, hiking along the trails of Northern Alabama, cooking meals together and staying up way too late talking endlessly about absolutely everything and laughing at old photos.

And while I discovered a new corner of the world to explore, what really awaited me there was a bit of healing and a reinforced notion that (cliche though it may sound, it’s true) neither time nor distance separates true friends.

Reasons to visit Huntsville
Even if you don’t have a BFF there, Huntsville is still very appealing for a little family getaway.

Weekend trip
It’s a doable extended weekend trip from Cincinnati, with driving time each way clocking in around six hours. Consider that many locals traverse to the Great Smoky Mountains, and that’s a five-hour drive.

Warmer temps
It’s great in the winter. Temps are usually around 10 degrees warmer than Cincinnati, and views from many of the hiking points are more exposed due to lack of foliage.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center houses a massive Saturn V rocket, one of three in the world and a National Historic Landmark. It’s thrilling to see something up close that was involved in the lunar landings. This being one of the cities out of which NASA operates, a visit here is especially fitting. The center has attractions both indoors and outdoors, and seemingly countless rockets anchored to the ground around the property. It’s a fascinating, educational and very hands-on place to spend several hours with or without kids.

Lawler’s Barbecue 
Lawler’s Barbecue is known for their Super Stuffie Baked Tators and their white barbecue sauce. My Alabama friend dubs Lawler’s sauce “the most wonderful” (and I trust her – we both love food). I have yet to eat there because we enjoy cooking meals together, but this is on the list for next time. She also recommends Gibson’s Barbecue and Dreamland Bar-B-Que.

Cotton scenery
The cotton crops in the fall. This is one of my favorite slices of scenery here. A vast, puffy, white cotton field resting under a blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds is just gorgeous.

Monte Sano State Park
Monte Sano State Park is right in Huntsville and boasts a waterfall, 22 miles of trails and pretty mountain views.

Cathedral Caverns State Park
Cathedral Caverns State Park stays about 60 degrees in the cave year-round, making it a way to immerse the family in a bit of nature even when it does get cold this far south. “Goliath,” one of the largest stalagmites in the world, stands in the cave, measuring 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference.

Huntsville Botanical Gardens
Huntsville Botanical Gardens Though I have not visited the gardens (yet), they look enchanting. There are stunning trails, a fern glade and a darling children’s garden. The garden’s calendar is full of family-friendly events, too.

Road trips
Road trips to Little River Canyon National Preserve or Dismals Canyon, if you’re up for a little more driving, are well worth the time in the car. For a point of reference, Little River Canyon has vistas similar to Red River Gorge, and Dismals looks a lot like areas of Hocking Hills State Park with its cliffs, towering hemlock trees and great boulders strewn along the floor of the gorge, creating tunnels and rooms to explore. Dismals is made extra special by the tiny bio-luminescent glowworms that live in only a few places on earth. Guided night tours of the canyon are available to view the critters, which light up the gorge like stars.

Little River Canyon National Preserve and Dismals Canyon
Little River is an hour and a half southeast of Huntsville near the Georgia border. Dismals Canyon lies an hour and a half southwest, near the Mississippi border. Both have excellent hiking trails, and during a February visit, the hike we took in Little River Canyon was even spiked everywhere with tender green shoots and moss. We also visited the canyon’s picturesque Little River Falls.

Fishing is popular at picturesque Guntersville Lake, a 69,000-acre lake created by damming the Tennessee River. A fishing license is required but can be picked up at at the nearby Keller’s Shell Station on Route 431, along with supplies. Don’t want to mess with a license? Quiet little Hays Nature Preserve in the Hampton Cove area is free to fish and a fishing license isn’t necessary, according to my friends. Explore the trails to find a favorite spot.

Nashville, Tennessee, sits right along the route, just two hours north of Huntsville on Interstate 65, and can be thrown into the trip, as well.

For the complete article please see

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
Are you new to Partners? Be sure to join an organization, a group of Partners with similar tourism affiliations. Then create your location listing. This information will populate to the Alabama.Travel site and create your page. Don’t forget to add events.

You can login and edit information, add photos, update events, etc. at any time. It’s that easy.
Click here to get started:


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