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People, Places and Things

Gwen DeRu
By Gwen DeRu


Spring has arrived and getting outside is definitely on the list. There is no better time to ‘plan’ to take walks in the backyard than at the present time. BUT, with so much going on right now in the world, the summertime or later will be the time to explore the Alabama great outdoors,

Here are some places to visit in the future, hopefully this summer, in the Great State of Alabama.

OVER LOOK TRAIL VIA QUARRY TRAIN – Located in Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, the Overlook Trail via Quarry Train is full of beautiful wildflowers and lots of greenery.  It is a 2.8-mile out and back trail and accessible year-round.

FALLING ROCK FALLS HIKE – Located in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge; the Falling Rock Falls Hike is a 1.8-mile out and back trail that features a beautiful waterfall, walking and horseback riding.This is a scenic trail and accessible year-round.

PULPIT ROCK TRAIL – Located in Cheaha State Park, the Pulpit Rock Trail is 0.6-mile out and back. It is a short trail and features lots of beautiful wildflowers. This easy trail is accessible year-round. It has some of the most breathtaking views in the state.

PINE BEACH TRAIL – Located in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shore, the Pine Beach Trail is a must – it is on the beach. This is a trail that has a variety of wildlife and lots of beautiful scenery. It is a 3.5-mile out and back trail.

CANEY CREEK FALLS TRAIL – Located in William B. Bankhead National Forest near Double Springs, Caney Creek Falls Trail is 1.7-mile out and back. The Caney Creek Falls is one of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls accessible year-round.

STONE CUTS TRAIL – Located in Monte Sano State Park, Stone Cuts Trail features massive boulders and lots of wild flowers.  It is a 2.4-mile loop trail that is accessible year-round.

ALUM HOLLOW TRAIL – Located in Green Mountain Nature Preserve, the Alum Hollow Train is a 2.2-mile out and back trail accessible year-round. It has a beautiful waterfall.

Other locations to visit this summer are:
GULF COAST BEACHES on Gulf Shores/Orange Beach has attractions that include The Wharf, Gulf State Park fishing Pier and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
OAK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK in Pelham has 9,940 acres and is Alabama’s largest state park with activities that include mountain biking, hiking, fishing swimming and camping.
BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME in Theodore is one of the top outdoor attractions in the state. It features a 65-acre garden and Walter and Bessie Bellingrath’s estate. The azaleas are most beautiful when in bloom.
DAUPHIN ISLAND is located in Mobile County as a popular location destination. It’s most popular attraction are Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Fort Gaines. There are nature trails and waterways to enjoy.
RIVER REST BED AND BREAKFAST in Talladega is located on Lake Logan Martin. It features a bed and breakfast with five guest rooms, private baths, and a sandy beach on Lake Martin near Birmingham.
SIPSEY WILDERNESS is located in Bankhead National Forest and is nicknamed the “Land of 1,000 Waterfalls.” It is the state’s most visited wilderness and top hiking spots.
THE RIVERWALK is located in Tuscaloosa, runs along the Black Warrior River and is four miles long. Walking and biking are the activities that attract the visitors.
LAKE GUNTERSVILLE is 69,000 acres and Alabama’s largest lake with fishing, boating and jet skiing. Other activities include camping, hunting and eagle watching.
PEACH PARK is located in Clanton and famous for the homemade ice cream and freshly baked pies. You can also get all of the peaches that you want. When traveling along 1-65, you must stop for some.
CAHABA RIVER is located in Jefferson County and is Alabama’s most free-flowing river. It is called the most scenic river in the United States, perfect for canoeing.
DISMALS CANYON located in Phil Campbell is considered one of Alabama’s true hidden gems with a 1.5 mile-trail. The canyon has an unique attraction called dismalites that are tiny insects that come out at night and glow. The canyon also has a great hiking trail, with a variety of plant life, a flowing stream, waterfalls, natural bridges as well as many large boulders.

(A little different from the others, but still in Alabama. You will love it.)
THE ONE OF A KIND PLACE TO VISIT IN THE WORLD – THE UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE CENTER – The Unclaimed Baggage Center is located in Scottsboro. It is a place that all lost luggage ends up. If your luggage happens to get lost during a flight, it will probably end up here. If not claimed at the airlines after 90 days, it goes to the center to be recycled, donated or placed on the shelves to be sold. It has become one of Alabama’s top tourist and shopping destinations.

A SPACE FOR ME – The book, A Space for Me is written and illustrated by Cathryn Falwell. It is a book for children about sibling relationships. Alex’s big sister has her own room, but Alex has to share a room with their little brother, Lucas, who makes noise, plays with Alex’s toys and takes over both sides of their room. One day when Lucas breaks Alex’s favorite dragon, spills all of the crayons and throws puzzle pieces up in the air, Alex has had enough. All Alex wants is a quiet space for himself. In the backyard he creates the perfect spot to read, play, think and dream. But when Lucas misses him, what will Alex do?  Is there a way to have his quiet space and be with his brother too? YES! Alex helps his brother build his own special space, too. Some days Alex spends time in his space by himself. Some days Lucas stays in his space by himself.  And some days the brothers play in their room – a space for both of them together. This is a must read for children. They will learn what it is like to have siblings, from sharing everything to learning about personal space. They can learn how to navigate, how to compromise and work through obstacles with siblings. This is a great family story.

MAYBE…MAYBE NOT…THINGS TO DO LATER… in April, or May! (Call to confirm if open)
ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL: CONTEMPORARY GALLERY – All Things Bright and Beautiful opened recently and brings together works primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection that look at themes of power and agency. This exhibition takes its name from a painting by Amy Sherald, whose portraits depict black sitters with pride, dignity, and joy, representation historically only afforded to white people. Some artists in the exhibition look towards power in other creative endeavors, like music. Others contemplate the hidden potential of everyday objects by transforming them into works of art. Several artists engage the representation of space and architecture–including museum spaces–to discover the dynamics of power. Considered together, these works illustrate the importance of being seen, choosing how to be depicted, and telling one’s own history.
IT’S LIKE THAT: Selections from the Collection of Rebecca and Jack Drake, through April 24 at the Paul R. Jones Museum in Tuscaloosa. The reception is Friday, April 4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
IN YORK, ALABAMA… by way of Birmingham….
TONY BINGHAM’S EXHIBITION OPENS IN YORK – Tony Bingham’s exhibition MEMORIAL MEDITATIONS will open at Altman Riddick Gallery, 630 Avenue A Street in York, Alabama 36925. The exhibition will close on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Well, that’s it. Tell you more ‘next’ time. People, Places and Things by Gwen DeRu is a weekly column. Send comments to my emails: thelewisgroup@birminghamtimes.com and gw enderu@yahoo.com.