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Choosing to Care

31 Jul 2015

Jack Carney and James Micheal Grissom met because James Micheal's mom was dying. James Micheal, who was 36 at the time, has a traumatic brain injury from childhood and his mom had recently been diagnosed with cancer. She wanted to do what she could to make sure her son was cared for, so she reached out to Jack who is an estate attorney.

 

So this is a story about estate planning for special needs.

But it's mainly a story about choosing to love.

 

Jack did the work of the estate planning. Planning for family members with special needs is both difficult emotionally and logistically. There are resources that have been developed in recent years, like the Alabama Family Trust which is a way for family to put money aside for the care of their family member without the costs of managing a trust. And attorneys like Jack do much of the heavy lifting in figuring out the paperwork. A listing of resources for estate planning for special needs is below.

 

James Micheal didn't have any blood family that could care for him. So Jack made a startling decision. He became James Micheal's guardian when his mom passed away.

 

After a long search, Jack found support for James Micheal. A lovely group home that is supported and cared for by the Bluff Park United Methodist Church. Not only is the home located across the street from the church, but the church community also supports the group home with events and visits. James Micheal had his own room there where he could display his pictures and treasures (many from Chuck E. Cheese).

 

The Exceptional Foundation was a wonderful addition to the schedule. James Micheal went almost daily. They even had major events like a Prom. By all accounts, he rocked the dance floor and his tux at the prom.

 

Jack and his family, his daughters Kate and Grace plus a plethora of friends and extended family, became James Micheal's family. They are close to the same age (both in their 30's when they met), so it was most like a brother relationship. He was included in Christmas and Thanksgiving. They had a special 40th birthday for James Micheal at Chuck E. Cheese. They seemed to go to all the hot spots – like Bingo Night at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, local art shows and mini golf.

 

When Jack took his girls to Disney World, James Micheal went too and had a ball. James Micheal became a special friend for Jack's youngest daughter and was always willing to play with her even when the other grownups didn't have the time or energy. He brought a light and sense of humor to everything he did.

 

They all went to church as a family.

 

What did Jack get out of being a part of James Micheal's life? From all accounts, love, laughter and whether he admits it or not, the joy and knowledge that he was a blessing in James Micheal's life. His girls learned that people with special needs bring their own light and perspective to life. And also showed them how rich your life can be when you reach out and take a chance to include someone who needs someone in their life.

 

James Micheal died unexpectedly this week. His 41st birthday was yesterday. They had a birthday party at the Exceptional Foundation. The memorial service on Wednesday was completely full of family and friends from his many activities. It was full in the way that we all hope it will be full at our memorial. It was full because James Micheal's life was full – in large part due to the social life that Jack and groups like the Exceptional Foundation, had helped support.

 

After the memorial service, there were hamburgers from Mugshots and hundreds of pictures of James Micheal…. At Disney World, playing with Kate, wearing a silly hat at the Dick's Last Resort, hanging out with Jack and Method Man, dancing at Prom and smiling. Always smiling.

 

 

Resources:

Carney Dye Law, LLC – www.carneydye.com

The Academy of Special Needs Planners - www.specialneedsanswers.com

Alabama Family Trust – www.alabamafamilytrust.com

Exceptional Foundation – www.exceptionalfoundation.org

Promise Home - http://bluffparkumc.org/missions/promisehome/

Alabama Head Injury Foundation -www.ahif.org

By Tori Linville

 

The smell of pencils and excitement will soon fill the air for students and summer break will end. This doesn’t have to mean the end of fun altogether, as some would have you believe. Back to school shindigs to celebrate the coming of a new school year are the perfect re-introduction to academia that will have your guests ready to go. We’ve scoured blog after blog for some of the best back to school party ideas so you don’t have to. The simple, must-have ideas are below, with more resources and how-tos for your unforgettable celebration!

 

·      Create a cute tablescape that ties into your theme

 

Glue a some felt leaves onto a red plate to make an apple plate. Throw in a cute table runner to add. See how Spaceships and Laserbeams rocked these ideas.

 

Feature a centerpiece with composition books as a platform, pencils as the flowers.

 

·      Add some back-to-school inspired edibles

 

Some created their own custom cookies that look like chalkboards, pencils and more. Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish are perfect snacks or even some alphabet cupcakes could do the trick. Checkout these ideas in action at Pizzazzerie.

 

·      Handout some crafty invites

 

Stun all your guests with your craftiness before the party even starts. Using file folders like this blog did will stand out as thoughtful and will list everything they need to know. If you’re not feeling like going the extra mile, that’s okay too. They have free, printable invitations anyway that will work in a snap.

 

Checkout these diy invites that are also free and printable. While they are pretty specific, you can use them your own way for your own invites. Additional supplies such as stickers, note cards and more are also available.

 

For a back to school party with a bookworm theme, check out the party courtesy of Giggles Galore. Or for another full-fledged party scheme to follow, visit this blog for ideas too.

 

Article sponsored by Tuscaloosa Tire and Service Center.

Find them on the web at: http://tuscaloosatireandservice.com

It's in a 2 square block area on Birmingham. The idea is that you can walk around downtown Birmingham and find your latest, unknown musical love.

 

Secret Stages starts in 2 days.

 

The acts come from Birmingham and Atlanta and Nashville and Baltimore. Bands that you haven't heard of. Songwriters that are just hitting their stride. It's an opportunity to find something fresh.

 

All venues are located between 1st and 2nd Ave north, and between 22nd and 24th streets north. Some of the venues are bars, some are restaurants.

 

There is a mix of All Ages shows and those restricted to 18+ or 21+. No need to get up early, the gates don't open until noon. So sleep in, have some brunch and wander down. It's relaxed. Plus, once you park, it's designed to be easy to walk around to the venue, such as Rogue Tavern and Pale Eddie's.

 

Secret Stages hosts 60 bands over 7 venues during the 2 day festival. Regular tickets are just $35 for the weekend and VIP tickets are $75. They can be purchased online or picked up at Vulcan Vape.

 

Landlady plays on Friday night at the Vape stage. They were recently outed as a band worth supporting by Wilco. Maybe they are on the edge of breaking out. Or take some time to support local Birmingham artists like Shaw or the Dead Ballooons or the Burning Peppermints. There are also a number of “secret sets” which add to the mystery.

 

For more information, check out www.secretstages.net

By Tori Linville

 

While it’s just a car drive away to visit the movie theater and watch the latest blockbuster, there are some serious downsides that have more people staying at home. Sites like Netflix have more and more people dodging the crazy concession prices and forgoing the buckets of popcorn for a more relaxed experience. If you’re one of these people, we’ve got some suggestions for you. Check out these movies that don’t disappoint and don’t come with the couple making out two rows under you (thankfully).

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (PG-13)

 

Why start with a movie you’ve probably already seen? Because, it’s a classic. And you cannot go wrong with Ferris Bueller played by a young Matthew Broderick. Maybe this time you’ll be able to figure out just what Ferris does to get away with all his stunts. Maybe not.

 

Django Unchained (R)

 

This 2012 blockbuster was one that people just wouldn’t stop talking about. Freed from slavery, Django (Jamie Foxx) travels cross country in search of his wife. Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get an Oscar from this movie either, but he does play an evil plantation owner. Graphic but gripping stuff.

 

Jumanji (PG)

 

The title should be enough to grab a popcorn bowl, but we’ll elaborate. Two children discover a magic board game, Jumanji. They meet a crazy guy who has been trapped in the game for years. He’s played by Robin Williams. Now go, watch (again, probably)!

 

In A World… (R)

 

Carol Soloman (Lake Bell) is a vocal coach, but her dad’s already made a name for himself in the industry, and she’s just getting started. Overshadowed and unappreciated, Carol’s big gig finally comes and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. As an indie rom-com, this movie ain’t half bad.

 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (PG)

 

This cute animated movie features a super smart dog, Mr. Peabody, and Sherman his human companion. The two time travel and find adventure along the way. Inspired by Rocky and Bullwinkle, there’s enough cuteness and happenings going on here for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Article sponsored by Plus One Tactical.

Find them on the web at: http://www.plusonetactical.com

By Tori Linville         

 

You’re in the market to find some perfect home furnishings that reflect you and your household. But the newly built stuff just doesn’t cut it these days. Anyone who’s ever paid the tiniest attention to HGTV knows that the secret lies in the furniture with history. Antiques! We’ve got some places for you to shop in the area that will hopefully have you meeting the perfect piece soon.

 

BIRMINGHAM

 

Hanna Antiques Mall

 

Voted as the best antique mall in Birmingham, Hanna Antiques Mall seems to have everything and anything you could think of. From antique furniture to a large selection of rugs to a huge selection of miscellaneous items, there’s always something great to buy (or at least think about buying). On top of that, an anniversary sale is going on now and ends July 31. See what’s going on at Hanna’s here.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

What’s On 2nd

 

Friendly staff and eclectic finds are what’s on 2nd, according to customer reviews. Neat finds include tons of childhood toys from decades past, magazines, furniture and more. Deals and discounts are all over the place. Known to carry everything weird and cool, What’s On 2nd is a pop culture capitol right in Birmingham.

 

·      Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Homewood Antiques

 

Homewood is another great find in Birmingham that has tons of merchandise to browse through. Antiques, jewelry, boutique clothing, custom nursery bedding, hand-made items and more can all be found behind Homewood’s doors. For more info, check out their website.

 

·      Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

           

 

DESTIN

 

De’France Antiques

 

All kinds of items and pieces are found at De’Frances such as salvaged and repurposed pieces, jewelry, collectibles and more. Check out what’s going on and even go on a tour of De’France here.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Flutterby Antiques

 

Pottery, glassware, handmade jewelry and candles and more are all for sale at Flutterby. Friendly staff and gift wrap services make this antique shop one more place to visit in Destin. See more here.

 

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Antiques on Holiday

 

Antiques on Holiday features reasonable prices with a wide array of items to choose from. The establishment posts regularly on their Facebook page to let customers know about sales and new items.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 

 

TUSCALOOSA

 

Adam’s Antiques/The Potager

 

Owned by the same people, these antique staple stores have a wide variety of furniture from tapestries to paintings to armoires. From England to France, the owners travel all different places in for one of a kind items. To get a pretty good idea of what the store offers, visit their website.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Sundays.

 

Capitol Park Antiques, Interiors and Gardens

 

Capitol Park allows for all kinds of items whether it’s antiques, home décor and even garden items. They have a large selection of furniture from wardrobes, rugs and even bedding. For more information on the store’s selection, check out their website.

 

·      Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Skyland Antique Mall

 

While it’s more like a flea market, there’s a reason the antique mall made the list. Here you’ll find Alabama football memorabilia to knock your socks off, along with tons of antique furniture and a coin collection to boot. The mall has helpful staff and even conducts moving and estate sales. See what else the mall provides here.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Article sponsored by: Bama Exterminating.

Find them on the web at http://bamaexterminating.com

 

One of the blessings of living in Alabama is the easy availability of the Best Peaches in the World. Chilton County Peaches are the sweetest, most complex and most perfect of one of the summer's fleeting flavors.

They are easily found all over Birmingham this time of year at grocery stores, stands and farmer's markets. Enjoy them now because this is one of the few flavors that just doesn't happen the rest of the year.

I personally love uncooked peach without much adornment. A giant bowl of cut peaches with a sprinkle of sugar is perfection.

But sometimes I like to get a bit fancier with my peaches. This recipe highlights the beauty of the a fresh peach without a whole lot of effort plus it can work as both dessert or breakfast. Tender, sweet crust topped with a cream cheese filling and sprinkled with toasted almonds and fresh peaches.

It takes 15 minutes.

If you can slice a peach and open a package of cookie dough, you can do this recipe. Also a good one for the doing with the kids.

Nothing like sitting on the back porch in the morning, with a cup of coffee and a slice of bright and sweet peaches and almonds to start the week off right.

 

Fresh Peach Crostada

1 package store bough Sugar Cookie Dough or one recipe shortbread cookies, unbaked

¼ cup all purpose Flour (if using store bought cookie dough) 

8 oz Cream Cheese

½ cup Confectioner's Sugar

1 egg

1 TB Vanilla Extract

½ cup Sliced Almonds

4-5 large Chilton County Peaches, sliced and sprinkled with 1 TB sugar (Pro tip: squirt with a little lemon juice if you are not serving immediately to prevent browning)

Parchment Paper (optional, but really makes clean up easy and no sticking at all)

 

Preheat your oven to 350. Either grease a cookie sheet or pizza pan OR line it with parchment paper.


If using store bought dough, sprinkle the all purpose flour over the cookie dough and mix it in. This will make the store bought dough hold together better.

Spread the cookie dough over the greased pan or parchment using your hands. If they get a bit sticky, dip your fingers in water so that you can spread the dough without it sticking.

Sprinkle half the sliced almonds over the outer edge of the dough.

Bake for 7 minutes.

Mix the cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, egg and vanilla together well. Spread over the cooked cookie leaving about one inch uncovered around the edge. Sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds over the cookie and filling. Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Mound the fresh, sugared peaches in the middle of the baked cookie and filling. Slice and serve

Note: This recipe is easily converted to gluten free by using a certified gluten free sugar cookie dough and gluten free all purpose flour mix following the same instructions. Most grocery stores, including Walmart and Publix, carry premade gluten free sugar cookie dough in the refrigerated cookie section.

By Amy Poore

 

If you’re looking for a cool treat to bring to a weekend gathering this summer, you can’t go wrong with anything chocolate and creamy. This chocolate mousse pie is absolutely delectable and will please everyone at the next backyard party.

 

Enjoy your summer and bon appétit!

 

Chocolate Mousse Pie

  • 1 ready-made graham cracker crust
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Hershey bars (1.5 oz.), chopped
  • 3 Special Dark Hersey bars (1.5 oz.), chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounce container of Cool Whip

Melt cream and chocolate in microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 45-60 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted. If additional melting time is needed, melt for 10 more seconds.

In a stand mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth.

Next, in the mixer, add chocolate mixture to cream mixture, reserving around 1/4 cup of chocolate mixture for garnish.

On a slow speed, add Cool Whip to mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared crust, smooth top and drizzle with remaining chocolate sauce.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com 

Photo: Amy Poore

 

Article sponsored by: Bear Creek Manor

Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BearCreekManor

 

By Tori Linville

 

School is almost in session for another year. Teachers will be sending home assignments to complete and requests for classroom supplies. Children will be stuffed with knowledge and lunches. To survive the back to school daze, we’ve got some great ideas to try that will supply smiles all around. Good grades not guaranteed.

 

Teacher Survival Kit

 

A great way to get on a teacher’s good side is an unforgettable survival kit. The start to the new school year requires tons of supplies that teachers need for the day to day of operating a classroom. Grab a small dollar store basket and line it with some tissue paper. Then, load it up with some of these goods:

 

·      Germ-X or any type of hand sanitizer

·      Post-It Notes

·      Pens

·      Pencils

·      Printer Paper

·      Notebook Paper (wide ruled)

·      A box of tissues

·      Paper Clips

·      Binder Clips

·      Dry-Erase Markers

·      Dry-Erase Board Cleaner

·      Candy

·      Stickers for grading

 

Back to School Candy Pencil

 

Send your kiddos back to school with these treats to hand out to classmates. They’ll be sure to be a class favorite and allows for a quick break from all the learning!

 

What you’ll need:

            Rolo candy

            Hershey Kisses

            Yellow scrapbook paper

            Pink scrapbook paper

            Metallic of foil scrapbook paper

            Paper cutter (optional)

            Markers, black

            Glue Stick

            Scissors

            Ruler

            1 piece of lined paper (to guide)

            Large skewer or scoring tool

           

What you’ll make:

1.     Cut Paper

Yellow paper: cut 3.5 in. by 4.5 in.

Pink paper: cut .5 in. by 3. 5 in.

Metallic paper: cut 3.4 in. by 3.5 in.

 

Cut a circle from another piece of pink paper by tracing around the rolo candy and cut out.

 

2.     Using the lined paper as a guide, score the long side of the yellow paper every two lines.

 

3.     Write a fun, nice message in the middle of the paper. Fold the paper on each of     the scored lines.

 

4.     Attach the pink and metallic paper to the end of the yellow with glue.

 

5.     Carefully remove the white paper from the Kiss and color the tip with a black marker.

 

6.     Using glue, wrap the Rolo candy with the paper and secure, then add the Kiss.

 

7.     Attach the circle of pink paper to the end of the candy with glue.

 

Check out this website for more fun school-themed craft ideas.

 

School Countdown/Art Display

 

Using a simple picture frame and some twine, you can generate excitement about the upcoming school year by displaying a countdown and then displaying any artwork the children come home with during the year.

 

Just take a large picture frame and wrap it with twine. Start by tying a secure knot with the twine at the top right of the frame, then wrap around the frame.

 

Hang a fun, festive countdown by securing sheets that display the days with a clothespin. After school has started, use clothespins to hang artwork and enjoy!

 

Article sponsored by Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Find them on the web: http://www.hschurch.com

 

By Tori Linville

 

Headphones are in and the world is blocked temporarily. In your head, you’re dancing all-out to your favorite artist. No one can stop you. Really, you’re probably doing dishes. Or yard work. So why not actually live your dream for one night? Narrowing down the best live music options in your area is always a toughie. So much music, so little time! Now there’s no need to worry because we’ve got you covered right here.

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Great music is known to find its way to Tuscaloosa and this August is no different. While there isn’t much floating around now, keep your ear to the ground and more acts will line up soon.

 

August 1: Walter Parks and Amy McCarley at The Bama Theatre – 7:30 p.m.

 

August 2: Phish at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre – 7 p.m.

 

August 20: Alabama Shakes with Drive-By Truckers – 8 p.m.

 

Birmingham

 

Birmingham’s centers and arenas always attract big names. Country, alternative and pop have all made a name for themselves in the Birmingham area.

 

August 8: Outdoor Concert Party feat. Corey Smith at Tin Roof – 6:30 p.m.

 

August 9: Christina Perri at Iron City – 8 p.m.

 

August 10: My Morning Jacket at the Legacy Arena in the BJCC – 7 p.m.

 

August 14: Tim McGraw, Billy Currington and Chase Bryant at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre – 7 p.m.

 

Mobile

 

With a music scene that’s been growing rapidly over the years, Mobile isn’t short of a variety of acts to hear around the city. New and upcoming acts are spread all around and artists from rap to rock to EDM find different venues to showcase their talent.

 

August 5: Raekwon/Ghostface Killah at Vinyl Music Hall – 8 p.m.

 

August 13: SoMo at Vinyl Music Hall – 7 p.m.

 

August 29: The Molly Ringwalds at the Soul Kitchen Music Hall – 11 p.m.

 

Article sponsored by Warrior Ranch.

Find them on the web: http://www.warriorranchtrainingcenter.com

By Allison Adams

 

Congratulations! You have made it to summer! School is out and hopefully things are slowing down a bit in your routine. 

After such a cold winter and a rainy spring, I’m eager to see if I even mind the scorching heat of southern summer this year. If so, I may just bear it and think of places such as Iceland, where June weather ranges between 47 and 53 degrees. Their official “summer” began on April 23.

Summer is a season, but for our kids, it is an extended holiday. All of our responsibilities we juggled with ease during the school year must now be combined with shuttling to and fro for pool dates, summer camps and other activities. Hopefully, we can also coordinate a bit of wandering for our young explorers.

A recent broadcast of a couple investigated for allowing their children, ages 10 and six, to roam the streets made national news. The story opened my eyes to terms such as “helicopter parents” (a.k.a. busy bodies) and “free-range parents” (the ones at home wondering why they haven’t seen the kids in a while). 

I was surrounded by both of these as a child growing up in Livingston. My best friend’s grandmother had ways of knowing when we’d ventured too far. My mom would send us out the door saying, “Go play, check in for lunch and don’t be later than dark.” It was the way we rolled in a small town. Tuscaloosa neighborhoods are no different.

Many of us remember timeless, "last a decade-like" afternoons roaming the sidewalks, walking or on bikes, lunches at the Dairy Queen where we snacked on a swirly cone, traversing creeks, culverts, pastures, and flag football games we just happened upon. There were no cell phones. Okay, maybe there was a pay phone - but who could keep a quarter in their hand while riding a bike?! We were adventurers! We didn’t carry purses! The end of the day was signaled by the subtle neon blinking of lightening bugs, as we’d say goodbye to our friends and peddle quickly home to see what was for dinner.

Being on the lake, it is hard to focus on work, I admit. The boat dock is usually dripping with kids, dogs and life jackets. This past month, my oldest graduated from college at Alabama. He’s headed to set the world on fire with his music. I just hope he remembers to take some time to savor the little things, to remember the mud pies, the ice cream truck and his little red plastic jeep. 

While he is on the road chasing his dream, I’ll be reminding myself to snuggle with his little sister (who just turned 10) and really immerse myself in her summer, while staying out of her way so she can explore, learn about the world and be completely carefree and creative the way we used to. 

Before too long, the days of summer will lead us into fall.

Icelandic summers include a full 20 hours of daylight each day in June. Here in the south, we’re given fewer hours of daylight – but many more hours of sunlight (Iceland’s summer includes, more often than not, lots of cloud cover).

So embrace the Southern Summertime! We can dream of summers elsewhere, but then we would miss out on all this sunshine, humidity (and sweat), and especially the adventures that are going on in our own back yards.

Blessings for a memorable summer. 

Allison Adams

 

Photo: Allison Adams

 

Article sponsored by Med Center.

Find them on the web: https://www.medcenterurgentcare.com

Water Parks

21 Jul 2015

By Tori Linville

 

If you don’t have the vacation time saved up for a trip to some far-off destination, water parks are quick weekend mini-vacations that offer something for the whole family to enjoy. Whether it’s the lazy river or a stomach-turning slide, water parks are known for having a little something for everyone. We’ve listed a couple of Alabama’s top rated water parks for you to visit and decide for yourself.

 

Alabama Splash Adventure

 

Free unlimited soft drinks for the 2015 season is just one reason to visit Alabama Splash Adventure. This water park sits in between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham in Bessemer and offers a variety of services and freebies for visitors. The more than 15 attractions include a 5-story water ride drop and a 50 foot plunge into a splash pool. Season passes are on sale for $69.95 plus taxes.

 

·      Free parking, sunscreen, inner tubes, WiFi and life jackets

·      Snacks from Fin’s Surfside Grill, Mama Lizetti’s and Chubbies offer American and Italian foods

·      General admission for adults from 18 to 54 is $29.95

·      Seniors are $24.95

·      Children are $19.95, two years and younger are free

 

Visit alabamasplash.com to find out hours and directions for your visit.

 

Spring Valley Beach

 

Spring Valley Beach just opened and the ratings are just right for your next water park experience. In between Huntsville and Birmingham, Spring Valley Beach boasts a collection of mind-blowing slides sure to make any drop worthwhile. The Kid Zone is perfect for family fun and the Spring Valley Beach pool is the largest in the southeast. General admission rounds out at around $25 and season tickets are on sale.

 

·      Concessions offer burgers, hot dogs, etc.

·      Visitors are allowed to bring their own food, non-alcoholic drinks, picnic baskets, grills, etc.

·      Clothing must be family friendly

·      Pavilions are available for rent starting at $25

·      General admission parking is free, but parking by the pool area is $10

 

See springvalleybeach.com for more information on hours and ticket pricing.

 

Point Mallard Park

 

Point Mallard Park offers more than just a water park in Decatur. The year round park has a golf course, ice complex and more for visitors to enjoy. With many different attractions to enjoy within Point Mallard, it’s prime water park season in the summer. The relaxing lazy river, the speed slides and kid area are just a few of the things to visit at Point Mallard. Season passes start at $100.

 

·      Rain checks and refunds are not issued at Point Mallard

·      General admission for adults is only $20

·      Free soft drink and water refills are available for the entire season upon purchase of a $25 season cup.

·      The Hard Duck Café, Point Pizza and Icy Oasis offer food and beverages for visitors

·      No outside food or drinks are permitted

 

To plan your next party or to see water park hours, visit pointmallardpark.com.

 

Waterville USA

 

The combination amusement and water park that makes Waterville USA is hard not to be excited about. The park sits in Gulf Shores and is perfect for a day away from the beach. Water park attractions include a 60 foot drop slide named the Screamin’ Demon and other rides designed for a chillin’ or thrillin’ time. The amusement park features rollercoasters and mini golf to round out the experience at Waterville. Water park season passes start at $150.

 

·      Free parking, tubes and life jackets

·      No cash refunds are given for inclement weather and rain checks are not issued for season pass holders

·      Nascar Go-Carts, House of Bounce and Trampoline Thing can all be found at the amusement park.

·      No outside food or drink (even water) allowed

 

Check out watervilleusa.com for contact information and pricing.

 

 Article sponsored by the Pants Store.

Find them on the web: http://www.pantsstore.com

By Tori Linville

 

So the new of summer has just about worn off and the local fro-yo store has been visited so many times, they know your name. Sound familiar? Don’t panic! We have some game changers for you. All of these easy-to-make summer treats can be made in the comfort of your judgment-free home. Sure enough, these will become your summertime staples in no time.

 

Homemade Slurpee

 

Though this recipe takes some time, it’s only in the beginning and then you have your slurpee in minutes. The best part is that it can be made with different sodas, but the freezing times might change.

 

            What you’ll need:   

                        500 mL of your favorite soda

 

            What you’ll make:

                        Shake the bottle heavily for five to 10 seconds to increase pressure. Then, put it in the freezer for about three and a half to four hours. Here’s where you get experimental. This recipe says for three hours and 50 minutes is the ideal slurpee time – as in to where it’s almost frozen, but not really.

                       

                        Remove the bottle from the freezer and in one continuous movement, unscrew the cap and quickly tighten it back up. Turn the bottle upside down and return it upright. Ice crystals should immediately start forming.  Pour into a glass and enjoy.

           

For more explanation into the recipe, find it here.

 

Homemade Slushee

 

The difference from the slurpee? Many things. Mainly texture. Which is why by the end of creating this sweet treat, you’ll be a slushee-slurpee expert. You’re welcome.

 

            What you’ll need:

                        4 cups of ice

                        1 cup of sugar

                        1 1/2 tsp. of raspberry extract (or any other flavor you’re feeling

                        4-6 drops of food coloring (any color, really)

           

            What you’ll make:

                        Mix water and sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Then add in the extract, stirring well. Add in the food coloring until you get the color you want.

Pour into a blender until roughly blended for perfect slushee texture.

We changed things around a little bit, so check out the original recipe here to get an idea of what’s really going on.

 

Fruity Flops

 

From Betty Crocker herself, these cute little treats will have you looking at your summer shoes in a whole new light. Rice Krispy bars in the shape of flip flops? Definitely.

 

            What you’ll need:

                        1 crispy marshmallow bar – homemade or store bought should be fine needs to be at least four by two inches colored candy sprinkles

                        1 roll of Fruit Roll Ups (one roll up per flop)

                        2 Fruit Gushers (one gusher per flop)

                       

            What you’ll make:

                        First, cut the marshmallow into the shape of a flip flop, then press candy sprinkles onto the sides of the flip flop shapes.        

 

                        Then unroll Fruit Roll-Up and remove the paper. Cut two strips to form a V-shape to create the flip flop straps. Place Fruit Gusher a the tip of the V.

 

See the recipe here.

 

Banana Split Bites

 

These don’t actually have ice cream in them, making them healthier but just as sweet. This recipe takes a little bit more TLC, but what results will be appreciated by your taste buds.

 

            What you’ll need:   

                        1 inch pieces of pineapple (one per bite)

                        bite-sized un-ripe pieces of banana (one per bite)

                        medium sized strawberry pieces (one per bite)

                        2.5 oz. dark chocolate

                        1 tsp. coconut oil

                        chopped nuts/coconut (if you feel like it)

 

            What you’ll make:

                        First cut the fruit and assemble so that each bite has a piece of each fruit.  Skewer with a popsicle stick and freeze. Melt chocolate with coconut oil and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. Once melted, dip the fruit in the chocolate and sprinkle with optional nuts/coconut then place on baking sheet to harden. Freeze again until ready to serve.

We simplified the recipe slightly, so look here for reference if needed.

 

Article sponsored by Lakeside Dental.

Find them on the web: http://www.lakesidedentalsmiles.com

By Tori Linville

 

It’s hard work keeping up with a human. And in the summer? A pup needs a break every once in a while. There’s only so much man’s best friend can do without opposable thumbs! What’s a person to do? Start with frozen dog treats specially made with summer in mind and never look back. May you be the god you dog thinks you are.

 

DIY Ice Lick

 

Fill a bucket with water or chicken or beef broth. Fill it with the normal dog treats your sidekick usually likes or any dog toys laying around. Freeze and present to your four legged friend. The treats and toys will create a happy reward for persistence and you’ll be able to relax with a happy pup.

 

PB and Fruit Ice Circle

 

Blend a half cup of peanut butter and water in a blender and pour into a bundt cake pan. Add one cup of chopped fruit* and two tablespoons of flax seeds. Freeze for about four to six hours.

 

*Fruits that are dog friendly include apples (no seeds), bananas, blueberries, kiwis, lemon, watermelon (without the rind), oranges, peaches (no pit), pineapples and strawberries.

 

PUPsicle

 

Blend ripe bananas, some plain yogurt, peanut butter, honey and water until you have a consistent texture. Pour into ice cube trays, and stick a dog bone in the middle for a fun (and useless) popsicle handle. Freeze overnight.

Basically, just mix a healthy dog-friendly bunch of ingredients into different shapes, freeze and watch an excited tail wag!

 

Article sponsored by Holy Spirit.

Find them on the web at: http://www.hschurch.com

 

By Tori Linville

 

It’s called Sweet Home Alabama for a reason – it’s sweet and it’s home to almost five million Americans. Alabama has a story unlike any other state in the nation, which is probably while the silver screen is always drawn back to the southern roots that run deep through the Alabama dirt. The movies below were all set in Alabama and are classics that shouldn’t be missed.

 

To Kill A Mockingbird

 

Perhaps one of Alabama’s biggest literary accomplishments comes to life in the movie named for the book “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Anyone who’s ever survived a high school English class knows the deal. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), lawyer father to Scout (Mary Badham), is to defend a man who has been falsely accused of sexual assault. Scout attempts to navigate through her childhood while confronting the world around her. The classic highlights the struggles of overcoming racism and ignorance all while set in Monroeville, Alabama.

 

Big Fish

 

Ed Bloom, Jr. has lived in the shadow of his father’s tales and legends throughout his entire life. Based on the novel “Big Fish,” Ed (Ewan McGregor) relives the stories told to him order to find a way to reconnect to his dying father. Directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish has Siamese twin dancers, a town that walks around only barefoot and, of course, one really big fish. Tumbling through a fantasy world that only gets confusing if you ask too many questions, Big Fish doesn’t rely on making sense. Which only makes sense, in the end.

 

Forrest Gump

 

Alabama natives are given a birth certificate and a copy of Forrest Gump when they enter the world. True? No, but it should be. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is a man with a low I.Q. who has life experiences that can only be classified as legend. Forrest’s story includes a miraculous spinal disease cure, making it through an all-girls’ dorm, making it through Bear Bryant’s coaching, making it through Vietnam and then making a shrimping company for kicks. Set in Greenbow, Alabama and with unforgettable characters like Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), Jenny (Robin Wright) and Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), Forrest Gump is a movie for the ages (all of them).

 

Fried Green Tomatoes

 

Evelyn (Kathy Bates) is down and out about her body, her marriage and her life. Then, she meets Ninny (Jessica Tandy). Ninny introduces Evelyn to Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) and Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) through her stories of the two women who used to run the Whistle Stop Café. Based on the novel, “Fried Green Tomatoes,” the film adaptation is just as delicious. Ninny tells Evelyn of Idgie’s adventurous ways and of Ruth’s steadfast friendship that inspires Evelyn to change for the better. This classic never disappoints and is set in Anderson, Alabama.


Sweet Home Alabama

 

Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) has changed. After leaving her hometown of Pigeon Creek, Alabama, she becomes a fashion designer from Greenville, Alabama and never looks back. Until she gets engaged. Before she can marry her groom-to-be, she has to divorce her high school sweetheart, Jake (Josh Lucas). When she comes home, Melanie discovers she’s not the only thing that’s changed. “Sweet Home Alabama” shows just how deep the Alabama roots can be, even if you have grown wings.

 

Article sponsored by Bear Creek.

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By Tori Linville

 

Leaving behind the four-legged family members is never preferred, but it’s sometimes necessary when taking vacations or road trips. We want the best for our dogs and cats alike and hope the same for yours, too. Which is why we’ve helped locate the best boarding available to the area so you don’t have to.

 

TUSCALOOSA

 

Indian Hills Animal Clinic

 

The Indian Hills Animal Clinic offers an array of services that complete the perfect package. It features a pet boarding hotel that caters to all pet needs with all the conveniences. It offers indoor runs, large cat condos, climate-controlled kennels and windows for a look outside. There are even large suites with beds, television and access to a private exercise yard. Dogs are walked three times a day Monday through Friday and twice on Saturday and Sunday. Favorite toys and other items from home are welcomed. Check out the Indian Hills website here for more information on your pet’s stay.

 

Animal Medical Center

 

Animal Medical Center is a one-stop spot for all your animal’s needs. While the clinic offers a doggy daycare complete with pool time, nap time and more, the boarding facility is available as well (for dogs only). From standard kennels to luxury suites, any pup can find something suitable for his/her needs. Climate control and high-quality meals are also offered. Look at the center’s website for more information about pricing here.

 

Bryant Drive Animal Hospital

 

Veterinary services, grooming or boarding can all be found at the Bryant Drive Animal Hospital. The animal hospital caters to every pet’s needs while boarding, including a well-rounded meal and the attention it deserves. Climate control, room to exercise and other amenities are provided as well. Check out the Bryant Drive Animal Hospital in order to suit your pet’s needs here.

 

BIRMINGHAM

 

Hope Animal Clinic

 

Hope Animal Clinic comes with several perks that are perfect for boarding. From the bedding to the individual personality of a pet, Hope Animal Clinic caters to it all. Dogs are walked at least twice daily and provided special bedding depending on size. Doggy Daycare is also available during boarding for an extra fee. Felines can enjoy a relaxing, quite stay in a connected cat condo. Extra large cats receive open cages. To find out how the clinic can best serve you, check here for rates and more information.

 

Liberty Animal Hospital

 

Liberty Animal Hospital accommodates for dogs and cats, but can also look after your rabbit, guinea pig, hamster and even your bird! Two levels of boarding are offered – regular boarding and club vet boarding. Regular boarding includes an endless supply of fresh water, specialized feedings and a walk three to four times a day. Club vet boarding includes these features along with specialized play times. Be sure to grab a boarding release form before checking in. To find out more, click here.

 

The Pampered Pet Resort

 

It’s all in the name for this boarding location, which offers dog and cat boarding along with other services. All the usual amenities are available, including climate-controlled rooms, walks at a minimum of four times a day and themed luxury suites. Toys and premeasured food from home is welcome and dogs from the same family are allowed to board together overnight. This policy is also allowed for cat boarders as well. Cat boarding does limit playtime to only members of the same family. Two room cat condos are available. To see pricing and more, visit the resort’s website here to prepare for your pet’s escape.

 

HUNTSVILLE

 

Whitesburg Animal Hospital

 

With fresh water and a complimentary bath after a seven night stay, there’s really no reason not to board with this animal hospital. Personal attention and supervised outdoor play are just two of the many features at Whitesburg Animal Hospital. Both canine and feline alike can board in either a classic suite or a themed suite. Special food from home is welcome and concerned parents can request more frequent feedings. To find out more, click here.

 

Paradise Pet Resort and Spa

 

On top of everything offered at Paradise Pet Resort and Spa, pet owners can access a webcam to see pets in real time. To receive the feed while mobile, the ODoggy App can be downloaded to keep an eye on your pet while you’re away. Dog accommodations include villa suites, clubhouse suites and cabana suites (the cabanas have access to a private outdoor patio). Cat condos include three story playrooms, a living room, dining room and private bathroom area. To check out all that’s available visit the website here.

 

Unicorn Kennel

 

Known as the oldest kennel in the area, the Unicorn Kennel offers both indoor and outdoor kennels. It is family owned and operated, with flexible hours for pick ups and drop offs. Climate-controlled with highly-praised staff and facilities, Unicorn Kennel has reasonable prices and will be sure to come home with tails a-wag. For hours of operation, click here.

 

Article Sponsored by Sealy Furniture.

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By Tori Linville

 

Barbeque season is in full swing and you haven’t had one yet? Whether it’s repurposing some old tools for decoration or some recipes that will be unforgettable, there’s an endless amount of ideas at your disposable. We’ve listed some perfect backyard barbeque ideas that will have your guests begging to know your secret to the perfect bash.

 

Wheelbarrow Cooler

 

Repurpose a rusted out wheelbarrow as a festive cooler for you barbeque needs. Throw in some ice and beer and you’re set! Add some twine around the handles if you want an extra cute-sy effect.

 

Bandana Napkins

 

Use old (or new) bandanas as napkins for your guest’s needs. Stores like Walmart sell single bandanas for pennies and packs for only a little more. Using bandanas as napkins add instant charm and only require a quick wash to restore them to their former glory.

 

Buckets and Buckets of Snacks

 

While waiting for the juicy steaks (or hotdogs and hamburgers), serve up some treats in a customized way. Grab some small dollar store buckets and have enough for all your guests to munch on some chips or veggies while the main course comes along.

 

Muffin Tin Condiments

 

Separate your condiments for perfect portions inside a muffin tin. This allows for perfect accessibility while serving as the perfect barbeque hack. Instead of searching for bottles of the right topping, simply pass the tin, allowing for guests to pick and chose their desired combos.

 

Bun Orders

 

Be sure to write the desired meat option in ketchup (or whatever else) on a hamburger bun to make remembering orders a breeze!

 

Barbeque Recipes

           

            Bacon Wrapped Cheese Hot Dogs

           

Grab some hotdogs and carve a small split in each dog, but not splitting the meat in half entirely. Slide some mozzarella cheese into the splits. Then, wrap the hot dog in a bacon strip. Hold together with toothpicks on the grill.

 

            Fiesta Stuffed Mini Peppers

 

            What you’ll need:

            12-18 sweet mini peppers, halved and seeded

            8 oz. of cream cheese, softened

            8 oz. of shredded cheese (whichever type you prefer)

            1 tbsp. of lime juice

            1 tbsp. of cilantro

            1/2 tsp. of garlic salt

 

            What you’ll make:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then wash and slice peppers. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, shredded cheese, lime, cilantro and garlic salt. Spoon filling into the pepper halves and bake for 20 minutes. Serves 24 to 36 halves.

 

          

Article sponsored by South's Finest Meats.

Find them online at: http://southsfinestmeats.com

By Tori Linville

 

Tourist attractions: love them or hate them, they’re usually places that garner lines of visitors but offer overflowing entertainment. Most of the time, they represent the places they call home. Take a look at some of the tourist attractions around Alabama and see why they’re worth the trip.

 

Birmingham

 

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

 

There’s no way to visit Birmingham without understanding its illustrious past. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute allows just that. The institute focuses on telling Birmingham’s story and “teaches that silence and indifference to the suffering of others can only perpetuate social problems and divisions,” according to the BCRI’s website. Tickets start at $12 and the institute is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 

McWane Science Center

 

Focused on expanding children’s minds through science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the science center gives families a chance to explore all things science in downtown Birmingham. The museum has more than nine permanent exhibits ranging from a weather lab to a shark and ray touch tank. General admission tickets start at $13. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

 

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

 

Showcasing the largest collection of its kind, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum boasts more than 1,200 motorcycles and racecars. The sheer magnitude of the collection draws crowds of all kinds. Whether it’s the vintage motorcycles or the Lotus car collection, the display of more than 600 vehicles is enough to keep any visitor busy. Focused on most things motorcycles, with some cars thrown in the mix, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum tours are only $10. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

 

 

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Paul W. Bryant Museum

 

The obvious answer for Alabama tourism would be Bryant-Denny Stadium. Outside of football season, the Paul W. Bryant Museum is the second best place to find an Alabama football fix. The museum offers decades of Alabama football history, a hall of honor and more. To enjoy the museum’s benefits year-round, the museum extends membership packages in all shapes and sizes. Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, the museum honors the range of Alabama sports that come from the University.

 

The Waysider

 

Labelled a landmark of Tuscaloosa, a visit to the Waysider is an early morning must for Tuscaloosa visitors and natives alike. The restaurant is known for early hours and lines out the door, but it’s worth the wait. It’s famous biscuits made from scratch draw crowds, despite the hours. The Waysider is open from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, from 5:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. The “breakfast like grandma used to make,” coined by Southern Living is a Tuscaloosa must.

 

Kentuck Art Center

 

Offering a cultural view of the Tuscaloosa area, the Kentuck Art Center offers year-round classes, exhibitions and more. Though most known for the Kentuck Arts Festival, the art center keeps community and the arts alive with its Art Nights. Though the main building is under renovations, the art center’s T.E.M.P. Gallery offers though-provoking installations regularly. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, the Kentuck Art Center supplies a cup of culture to each and every visitor.

 

Emerald Coast

 

Amusement USA

 

The name itself says it all. Located in HarborWalk Village in Destin, the amusement destination offers something fun for everyone. Hamster balls, bungee trampolines and a chance to try and walk on water can all be found at Amusement USA. Trying out an aqua sphere or mechanical surfboard are warm ups for the beach that awaits. Grabbing a cotton candy and riding the waves in Amusement USA is just one of the many things to do on the Emerald Coast.

 

Fudpucker’s

 

Did you really step foot on the Emerald Coast if you didn’t visit Fudpuckers? Voted the Best Family-Friendly Restaurant by locals in 2014, Fudpucker’s is the perfect place for children and adults alike. Offering live alligators, Fat Daddy’s Arcades and more, the restaurant is perfect for children to explore. The newest addition in Fort Walton Beach rents watercraft to customers and will even cook your catch for you. Like the saying goes, “ya ain’t been pucked till ya been fudpucked.”

 

Okaloosa County Geocache Trail

 

Though it isn’t the beach, Okaloosa County’s Geocaching Trail offers it’s own type of excitement. Geocaching – treasure hunting with the use of GPS-enabled devices to find hidden caches – is growing in Okaloosa County. The trail presents a challenge to participants by requiring a minimum of 20 geocaches within the county’s many parks. Adding to the adventure that is the Emerald Coast, those who conquer Okaloosa geocaching trail can receive a trackable coin as one of the many rewards.

 

 

Article sponsored by Nancy and Co. and Nationwide.  

Find Nancy and Co. on the web: http://www.nancyandco.com

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Historic Homes

09 Jul 2015

By Tori Linville

 

Though there are museums, war monuments and even reenactments, a certain sense of history can only be found in the way people lived during their time periods. Historical homes provide an insight into cultural influences, every day lives and more. If you’re looking for a new way to experience the past, we’ve found some historical homes that are worth a visit.

 

Birmingham

 

A.M. Brown House

 

Constructed for African-American physician Arthur McKimmon Brown in 1906, the A.M. Brown House sits on 4th Terrace North in the Smithfield neighborhood. The Craftsman style cottage was designed by Wallace A. Rayfield and still has the physician’s original furnishings. Owned by the Birmingham Art Club and the A.M. Brown Memorial Community Center, the house is open by appointment. For more information, call 323-3010.

 

Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens

 

Built by one of the ten founders of Birmingham, Judge William S. Mudd, the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens now serves as a historical landmark for people to experience. The house was originally called “The Grove.” It is the only remaining antebellum mansion remaining in Birmingham and was used as a headquarters for Civil War General James Wilson. It was in The Grove that Wilson planned to destroy the Confederacy’s iron furnaces along with the military school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Located on Cotton Avenue, the home is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 780-5656 for more information.

 

Samuel Ullman-Morris Newfield House

 

Samuel Ullman was a German immigrant known as a civic leader in early Birmingham. He argued for education rights for women, labor reform and more. Ullman wrote the famous poem “Youth” that has remained popular, especially in Japan. Birmingham and Japanese citizens raised money to restore the home to honor Ullman. The house sits on 15th Avenue and is open by appointment. Call 934-5634 for more.

 

Visit bhistorical.org to find out about other historical homes in the Birmingham area.

 

Tuscaloosa


Gorgas House

 

Located in the center of The University of Alabama’s campus, the Gorgas House is still a gathering place centuries after its heyday. First serving as a dining hall for university students in 1828, the house became a home to Josiah Gorgas after the Civil War. Gorgas was the seventh president of the university and was married to Alabama governor John Gayle’s daughter, Amelia. For tours and rental information, call 348-5906.

 

Murphy-Collins House

 

Serving now as the home of the Murphy African American Museum on Bryant Drive, the Murphy-Collins House was built by Tuscaloosa’s first licensed black mortician, Will J. Murphy in the early 1920s.  During construction, the house used scraps like window sills from the old state capitol building that burned in 1923, just blocks away. The museum “focuses on the lifestyle of affluent blacks during the early 1900s,” according to the house’s webpage. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. For tours by appointment, call 758-2861.

 

Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion

 

Sitting on Greensboro Avenue, the mansion was under construction from 1859 to 1862. It was to serve as a house for Senator Robert Jemison Jr. and was incomplete at the beginning of the Civil War. The home had technological advances such as gas for lighting. It was the first house in Tuscaloosa to have a fully plumbed bathroom.  The mansion was used as the city library for a time and is now owned by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society and the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa. The Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is open for weddings, parties and more. Admission is free to the public. For more information, call 758-2906 or visit jemisonmansion.com.

 

To find out more about Tuscaloosa’s heritage and its historical homes, visit historictuscaloosa.org.

 

Mobile

 

The Conde-Charlotte Museum House

 

Built by Johnathan Kirkbride and his wife in 1850, the Conde-Charlotte Museum House is located on Theatre Street. The house features five flags above its door to represent the five powers that controlled Mobile in its past. Period furniture is in the home’s rooms and Fort Conde is right next door. In the house’s backyard garden, remnants from the old city jail can still be seen. The museum house is owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Alabama. It is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

 

Oakleigh Historic Mansion

 

Located on Oakleigh Place, Oakleigh Historic Mansion is the official period house of Mobile. It was originally built as a “gentleman’s escape” and features Greek Revival Villa style. The mansion has one of Mobile’s last detached kitchens and servants quarters. The Cook’s House renovations at the back of the mansion’s property were scheduled to be complete as of August 2013.

 

The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion

 

The mansion was built for Judge John Bragg in 1855. The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion is just outside of downtown Mobile and features the typical Greek Revival architecture that came with antebellum homes.  The home was vacant for 15 years before becoming a museum and still holds furniture pieces that are original to the home. It is the only historical home in Mobile equipped with an elevator. The mansion is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

 

To find out more information on Mobile historical homes, visit alabama.travel.

 

Article sponsored by Morning Pointe.

Find them on the web:  http://www.morningpointe.com

Doggy Beaches

27 Jun 2015

By Tori Linville

 

So you’ve got a festive drink in your hand (hopefully complete with umbrella) and toes are firmly in the cool sand. The only thing in front of you is the waves lapping at your feet and an undisturbed horizon that your eyes can’t get enough of. You go to pet your trusty sidekick, but he’s not there. Why? Because the beach you’re at doesn’t allow pets. How do you find the perfect beach for both you and your best friend? Check out the one’s we’ve found just for you.

 

Fort Morgan Beach

 

Though dogs are only permitted if on a leash, it’s better than sitting at home and missing out. If you do bring a pet, it’s recommended that you stay between the Engineer’s Wharf and the fishing pier. The best place to park is probably best at fort parking or at the pier, because lots can get crowded. Luckily, the beach itself doesn’t have too many complaints of overcrowding. The beach is parallel with the main road, but there is a fine if you take a dog outside permitted areas.

 

Dauphin Island

 

Pups on a leash are allowed at the public beach around the year at Dauphin Island. The best bet is most likely the beach near the old fishing pier. This area stretches for a few miles and is ideal for owners to bring their pets to play. Dogs aren’t allowed at West End Beach Park at the extreme west end, though.

 

Cape San Blas

 

Perhaps some of the most inviting beaches can be found at Cape San Blas. Pups of all kinds are free to roam and play as they please while on a leash. Avoid marked turtle nests and be sure to utilize the doggie waste disposal stations to keep the dog-friendly aura alive!

  

 

Article sponsored by Mona Ochoa-Horshok.

Find her on the web:  https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Mona+Ochoa-Horshok,+M.S.,+LPC_Tuscaloosa_Alabama_234547

By Tori Linville

 

Summer is heating up, making more room for romance and relaxation. If you’re looking for a great place to make date night memorable, look no further. We’ve listed the top places from your area that won’t dissapoint.

  

Birmingham

 

Amore Ristorante Italiano

 

This Birmingham five-star famed establishment is a no-brainer. With ‘love’ in the name, it’s easy to make date night memorable. Offering dinner with a romantic low-lit dining room, Amore has a selection of pastas and seafood to choose from to satisfy a rumbling stomach. The restaurant boasts more than 30 wines, with a distinct selection of reds and whites. Known as a Valentine’s Day must, Amore does all the work for you.

 

Bistro 218

 

Winner of the Diner’s Choice 2015 Award, Bistro holds it’s own in the cityscape of Birmingham. Mixing French with American, the restaurant “features the elegant minimalist interior design of traditional French bistros…creating a comfortable romantic atmosphere,” according to the restaurant’s website. Bistro 218’s menu offers both French and American influences, with a large selection of seafood. With five-star reviews, Bistro 218 offers a little romance for everyone.

 

Huntsville

 

Cotton Row Restaurant

 

“A vision for comfort, elegance and modern American cuisine is how the story of Cotton Row Restaurant began,” the restaurant’s website said. This vision includes a guaranteed romantic seat, no matter where you actually sit. Though the menu is always changing, there’s a guarantee of meat and seafood for most visits. Food becomes an art form at Cotton Row, where presentation is never dissatisfying. Sitting in the Courthouse Square in Huntsville, Cotton Row will leave your mouth tasting like anything but cotton.

 

Grille 29

 

Located in Village of Providence in Huntsville, Grille 29 does its best to make mouths water. With low lighting and fine dining a given, a date night is always easy at Grille 29. The mood continues on to the menu, with linguini, scallops and more choices that easily speak romance. Known to serve “surf ‘n’ turf,” Grille 29 does so with simple and elegant touches. With varying food choices and an average four-star review from more than 100 customers, there’s no reason no to make Grille 29 a romantic favorite.

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Evangeline’s

 

Located in the Galleria of Tuscaloosa Shopping Center off of McFarland Boulevard, Evangeline’s offers American cuisine in its romantic dining room. The restaurant offers farm-to-table cuisine, wine that caters to any diner’s fancy and has prices that won’t hurt a wallet.  Evangeline’s also boasts a generous happy hour, free wi-fi and is gluten-free aware. Garnering four stars on Google reviews, Urbanspoon, Yelp and TripAdvisor, this dining experience is not one to miss.

 

DePalma’s Italian Café

 

Also a four-star favorite, DePalma’s sits in downtown Tuscaloosa, across from the children’s museum. Its menu features Italian flavors that are hard to forget. Most notably is the establishment’s white chocolate bread pudding. Empty wine bottles line the romantically-lit dining room, allowing for a chance to sign your name if you’d like. Minutes away from a handful of downtown attractions, DePalma’s is a must-go for setting the mood.

 

 

 

Article sponsored by ERC Roofing and Construction.

Find them on the web:  http://alabamaroofingexpert.com

 

Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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