Friday, June 25, 2010

Best Post if the Week: Week Fifty Five

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, tell us why you linked that post, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Precious Gulf Coast: Allison's Opinion of the Oil, or Lack Of.

By Allison

Dear Fellow Bloggers,
In an attempt NOT to totally throw our media under the bus I am going to share with you what is really going on on the Gulf Coast. The media has completely made more of a mess of the situation than is actually there.
We actually vacation in the Florida side of Perdido Key. We are maybe 1/2 of a mile from the Flora-Bama.
However we spend a lot of time in the Alabama side each trip. Between the restaurants, visiting friends, the outlets and Waterville we stay busy the whole time.

Honestly, there is oil in the Gulf.
I saw tar balls too but they were cleaned QUICKLY.
However not once did I have black tar on my feet.

The oil comes and goes on a daily basis. There are clean-up crews there first thing to get it off of the beach and to get it away from the shore. The clean-up crew is local and they are getting paid to clean up our beautiful white beaches.
I ate dinner at Cobalt which is located right on Perdido Pass/Bay. I never smelt anything the whole time I was eating there. The next day there was an article written by someone staying right on the Bay and he said that every time he opened the door the smell filled the room. Hmmmm, funny I never smelt a thing. I did smell the exhaust from the barges and boats working to build the new steal wall.

We still played on the beach and we walked along the water's edge. We did stay in the pool a lot - mainly because it was hot!

Our last day there was an article in the PNJ that our water was clear - yea. So we got in the Gulf and enjoyed ourselves.

I can't guarantee that your beach trip will be like mine.
I can't guarantee there will be no oil.
In fact I went thinking it would be a lot worse - but I still went.
I can guarantee that you will make memories that you will keep with you for a lifetime, even if you can't get in the water.
Don't give up on our Gulf Coast because of a little oil.
I am asking begging you to keep your reservations.

For the first time in my life I walked right up to Tacky Jacks and sat down to eat breakfast. That is not normal - especially in June and on a Saturday. These places that we have depended on for so many years for our entertainment NEED US NOW.

This post was originally published at The Youngbloods on June 21, 2010.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June Blog Meet CANCELLED, July Date Announced.

Our June Meet-up is CANCELLED.

Due to it being a holiday week and scheduling the meet-up on a Monday, the turnout looked like it would be pretty low, so I decided that we should wait until July to meet.

The July Meet Date is Friday, July 16th at 11:30. We'll still meet at Taziki's at Chace Lake to have a Hoover Meet-up. We'll go back to the 280/Eastern side of town for August.

I'll do a follow-up post closer to the meet-up date, but go ahead and put it on your calendar, and RSVP if you can make it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Amy's Extraordinary Alabama: Alabama Museums

By Amy

The Anniston Museum of Natural History and The Berman Museum of World History make for a great educational trip if you live in the eastern part of the state near the Calhoun County area or if you are visiting the area. Not to mention a great cool activity for the kids on a hot summer day.

The museums are located just off AL Hwy 21 in Anniston. Located right next to each other the admission is very affordable with a pass to both museums costing only $18 for one child and one adult.


In the Museum of Natural History you can explore the various exhibit halls. From the wildlife of North America in one hall to the savannahs of Africa in another to the mummies of Ancient Egypt and more there is enough to keep an inquisitive child like mine busy.

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I wouldn't recommend the museums for younger children. I think children 1st grade and up would do fine in the museum, but there are parts that might frighten younger children. The stuffed animals could spook a child and the live snakes (the only live animals in the museum) in the glass cased walls had me almost hyperventilating. (I have a phobia of snakes, but we'll save that for another day.)

The Berman Museum of World History located just next door to The Museum of Natural History filled my son's love of history and wars to the brim. You can journey through the collections of the American West, The Art of Asia to the weaponery of World Wars I and II among others. The museum is made up of the collections of Farley and Germaine Bermann. The Bermann's bequethed the collections to Farley's hometown of Anniston in 1992 and the museum opened in 1996.

While the majority of each of these museums are just look and read, but don't touch they do have a few interactive areas for the children who visit.

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This photo below is of a grooming set of Napolean. Squirt and I kept wondering why on earth he would need THAT many brushes.


So if you're in the area and have children who aren't too young stop by and visit the two museums of the Anniston area.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why I’m Not Boycotting BP.

It’s not that I don’t WANT to boycott BP, or that I don’t feel like they would be quite deserving to not get my business. It’s not that at all.

It’s not even about all of the small business owners that are sure to get hurt more than BP by all of the boycotters. I do feel quite badly for them, but they’re not the reason I’ve chosen not to boycott, either.

My emotions tell me that I should absolutely take away my business from BP because BP is evil. BP has ruined our coastline for years to come. And, by all of their wording blunders actions, BP doesn’t really seem to care too much.

But the more I think about it, the more illogical a boycott becomes.

The thing is, we need BP. We need them to stay in business so that they can finish cleaning up what they messed up. And so that they can reimburse all of the untold numbers of people from which they’ve taken away their ability to continue their jobs.

BP is going to have to spend a LOT of money – more than I can imagine – to clean up their mess. And if we boycott on top of that, and, by chance, are successful in “punishing” BP to the point of running them out of business, who then is left to clean up their mess?

The government would probably step in, which means we would all ultimately foot the bill.

But I doubt the government would be able to compensate all of the people with lost income due to the oil spill – no, we need BP around for that. We need the enormous corporate giant capable of making such a mess to continue in business so that they can fully fix what they’ve done.

And hopefully, our government will make sure that they do just that – and not leave us until every last tar ball is cleaned from our beaches and every last sheen is taken off of our oceans.

I certainly don’t have any false optimism that BP can truly right all that they have wronged – it would be impossible to replace the lives of animals lost, the damage to the sensitive ecosystems of our marshlands, and the health of all of those helping in the cleanup process, but we need them to be around to do the best that they can.

I will admit, though, I haven’t been able to bring myself emotionally to go to a BP station since the true depth of the oil crisis sunk in, but I intend to. Because I don’t want them to disappear. At least not until they finish cleaning up our precious world.

I DID find one way to get out some emotional frustration, though: I made a T-Shirt.IMG_9614

There’s just something so healing about a good T-Shirt…

I'd love to hear your opinions on this matter, also. Here is another article on that argues that boycotts of BP stations would have very little impact on BP itself, but large impacts on the communities in which the service stations are in.

Best Post if the Week: Feature Another Blogger Week!

This week, link in the best post you've read recently by ANOTHER Alabama Blogger. In your link title, include your name or blog and their name or blog, and let us know in the comments why you chose their post!

So, link up, tell us why you linked that post, and let's start reading!

Be sure to link in a specific post, not just the general URL of the blog.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June Meet-Up!

It's that time again - let's have lunch! It's always a lot of fun, and all bloggers are welcome to come!!!

Our next blogger meet-up will be on Monday, June 28th at 11:30 at Taziki's in Hoover right off of Highway 31 - the Chace Lake location.

The address is:
4745 Chace Circle
, AL 35244

Please RSVP by commenting on this post if you can make it so that we can save you a seat!! But if you can come at the last minute, feel free to.

And feel free to be late - we usually hang out for a while!

The hashtag is #AlaBlogMeet !

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"You Have No Events Scheduled Today"

I wanted to republish this post as a part of our ongoing series on supporting our beach towns during our crisis. Beach N River is another great way to alternatively enjoy the coast during this time, but they also have some other great suggestions of where to enjoy the coast. And finally, I wanted to provide a feel for what is going on in the lives of those who count on the beach for their livelihood.

By Beach N River

For the past week these are the words I read when opening my email, "you have no events scheduled today."
This is not a comforting statement to an owner of a kayak rental business catering to tourists.

The phone has not rung in the past week (except for one caller who I referred to a river tubing business on account they had two small children I couldn't accommodate).

In fact, everything I said that might happen in my last blog post seems to be happening.

Can you guess why I posted the above photo? I posted it to show the lack of traffic traveling South on Hwy 59 toward Gulf Shores, AL. This photo represents the first time hubby and I were able to drive South toward Gulf Shores beaches during peak summer tourist season and have the highway virtually to ourselves.

This is not a good thing folks.

We, like most "locals" travel back roads to do our business so as not to get bottle necked in tourist traffic. We may have complained. Alright we did complain ... at times ... and for that ... I repent.

In fact, right about now hubby and I wish we could take back every inconvenience we endured during summer "tourist" season because we (I'm sure other local business owners would agree) would rather have "too much" business than have NONE.

We are ever so grateful to the loving and kind visitors who have kept their plans to vacation on Alabama's Gulf Shores despite the scary images shown nightly on TV.

For every home/condo/hotel rented, for every meal eaten, for every dollar spent in our gift stores and yes, for every fishing/kayaking/tubing/sailing adventure taken --- maybe one less teacher will lose a job, one less business will shut down, one less home will be put up for sale.

I've been closely reading and participating in the threads on the Alabama Gulf Coast Facebook Wall. For the most part guests are sympathetic. Many "friends" ask in what ways they can help and several offer condolences.

But there are a few who smell the blood in the streets.

These "friends" insist everything be discounted to free with the disclaimer "after all we are choosing to support you and your community by our presence." Some have gone so far as to suggest a for profit amusement park offer their facility to guests for free ("their losses will be re-reimbursed by BP --- all they have to do is file a claim," they argue).

While I'm the first person to admit I am a bargain hunter (and free is quite a driving bargain) my mind kicks into empathy whenever I hear of an area devastated by a disaster. My sympathetic heart (which has endured now three major floods, hurricanes, a devastating ice storm, a fire and business losses due to an ailing economy) engages in ways seeking to support communities I'm fond of by breaking my "vacation" bank.

Although Hurricane Katrina damaged some local areas, our beloved Gulf Shores was mostly spared a direct hit. We knew our neighbors in Biloxi, MS were devastated. We also observed their nominal National media coverage compared to that of New Orleans, LA.

Hubby and I made trips to eat at open (read: struggling) Biloxi restaurants and play in the casinos. The town was a mess. Roads were closed and there were several detours. Debris was still in yards. Buildings were barely standing. Century old live oaks were missing from the well known boulevard. The lighthouse leaned. In essence --- the landscape was not a pretty sight.

Discounts nor aesthetics factored into our decision to try to support their economy. We simply wanted to use our (hard earned) dollars to support an ailing neighbor.

Trust me, I understand those who say this oil spill mess is a different scenario. I agree the presence of oil on our beaches is disgusting, probably toxic and can have a negative effect on a person's health if inhaled/touched. To those who are concerned of long-term effects and have health issues I say: stay away from the beaches ... or at least stay indoors in an air-controlled environment overlooking the beaches.

However, there is so much more Coastal Alabama has to offer tourists in terms of sightseeing, history and culture that in my mind if the beaches were permanently closed I would still brag and encourage visitors to vacation here.

When is the last time you were able to see live guides tell Civil War stories in an old fort?
Can you say you've been to the oldest city in the United States? (No, it's not St. Augustine, Fl it is our neighbor to the East, Pensacola)

If you love to garden, landscaping and love flowers, are you aware Bellingrath Gardens is considered the "Castle of the South" and boasts spectacular landscaping with hundreds of variety of flowers?

Do you have loved ones in the Armed Forces? How proud would you feel to see the inside of a real "heroic" battleship?

There are so many reasons to explore the Alabama Gulf Coast --- all within an hour drive from Gulf Shores, AL. If you think of it, many of us choose our vacation spot based on only a couple of reasons.

For example, hubby and I once chose to explore a State Park because of the WPA architecture. We traveled all the way through Florida's "Forgotten Coast" to see why it was "forgotten."

Get this: we traveled to Bayou La Batre because we enjoy the movie Forest Gump and wondered what about the shrimping village inspired the author .

We then traveled to Fairhope to explore the streets the author may have walked.

Here's my point: unless your heart is dead set on going to a beach to lay out in the hot sun taking occasional dips in a) either a cold ocean and/or b) sharing your space with throngs of others who have the same plans, why not search your heart and think about what you most enjoy about your stay along Alabama's Gulf Coast?

My guess is it will have something to do with Gulf Shores fun restaurants, shopping excursions, natural scenery and "Southern" hospitality.

Ya'll come down! WE MISS YOU!

p.s. Can I pencil you in?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Best Post if the Week: Week Fifty Four

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, tell us why you linked that post, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alternative Beach Activities: Magnolia Springs.

Leigh wrote this post a while back for us, and I wanted to re-share it as a part of our series on not abandoning our beach towns, and what you can do at the beach while the beaches may be oily. Magnolia Springs is an amazing hidden secret of our coastal region, and is an excellent place to visit!

If you have any where or anything that you would like to contribute or suggest for this series, please comment or email me at

by Leigh

If you have ever read my blog, you can probably figure out that I am a beach girl at heart. I love nothing more than to have my toes in the sand, the wind in my sails, my rod in the water or be emerged in the turquoise blue waters. But I also love an adventure! There are so many opportunities for exploration in the south of Alabama. Many of those opportunities involve little to no cost. There is nothing about that logic that Big Daddy, my resident tightwad, can argue.

This week I am going to show you some fun locations to visit while you vacation in the south. What? Not heading this way? Maybe this post will inspire you to venture out beyond the traditional vacation draws and look beyond the cash pulls into what a particular territory offers.

I am going to begin with the small town of Magnolia Springs. Both Magnolia Springs and Fairhope (located not far away), are small towns are places that I *might* consider giving up my beachside condo to live in.

Lets begin with Magnolia Springs. Magnolia Springs is located at the headwaters of the Magnolia River, which was originally called River de Lin, or River del Salto by local residents. A most qaint little town, Magnolia Springs is a picturesque place and one of the few remaining places to receive mail by boat. How charming is that?

The Magnolia River continues to be an important resource for this area's residents. As of 2007, activists were seeking to have it named as an Outstanding Alabama Water, which is the state's highest environmental protection status.

Several structures in the town are on the National Register of Historic Places, including Moore's Grocery and St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Moore's has been open since 1922, and offers specialty meats, cheeses, meats, wines and coffee beans.
Located just left of the grocery, you will find the ever popular eatery, Jesse's Restaurant, serving up some gourmet cuisine prepared by Chef Sally Lowery, to many happy customers. The restaurant is located in the old post office (1949). It is named after Jesse King, who helped run Moore's Grocery for over 60 years without missing a single day of work. A hard task if you lived in a place as exceptional as Magnolia Springs, it just oozes southern hospitality. One cannot help but imagine sitting on a front porch sipping a glass of ice cold lemonade taking in the day by listening to the song of the birds in the trees and the wind in the leaves. The thought of doing anything beyond that is almost incomprehensible.
I photographed these pair of pretty little guineas outside of Jesse's. They are dressed in their black and white polka dot best, all gussied up for a day of living in Magnolia Springs.
Turn left just ahead of Jesse's and Moore's onto Oak Street and you will find yourself enveloped in historic oak trees, hundreds of years old. The stories I imagine they could tell.....if only they could.
Beneath the canopy of oak-lined streets, you will find charming cottage style homes that just beckon a second look.

You will also find charm in Magnolia Springs Bed & Breakfast. Magnolia Springs Bed & Breakfast has been featured in numerous magazines and publications all around the country, including features in Southern Living twice (Nov. '98 and March '01). It is Alabama's only Bed & Breakfast to be featured on Bob Vila's "Restore America" program.
One like me, cannot help but rubberneck as I drive down the magical little streets eyeing loveable little cottages that I would love to prop my feet up in. And my friends, rubbernecking comes at no charge! You can lost in Magnolia Springs, and you will not want to leave. Its a magical place!
Need more excitement than rubbernecking? I have some other free options in store coming up in future post. Stop back by!

More on the history of Magnolia Springs can be found by clicking here.

*This post originally ran on March 23, 2009 on Tales from Bloggeritaville,

*Leigh is a full time mother, a part time photographer and writer. Her photography and written work is featured in several professional business and local publications. She owns her own photography business, Photographic Memories. Leigh resides in the Alabama with her three children and husband "Big Daddy". You can read more of Leigh's daily adventures by visiting any of her three blogs: Tales from Bloggeritaville , Plates and Places , as well as Photographic Memories

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Amy's Extraordinary Alabama: Magic Moments

By Amy

Logonav Have you heard of Magic Moments? I was first introduced to Magic Moments several years ago when a civic organization I was a part of helped serve meals to the families attending the Magic Moments Family Camp.

Magic Moments is an extraordinary organization here in Alabama that grants wishes to Alabama children with life threatening or life altering illnesses that limit one or more major life activities.

Life changing illness and injuries can take the magic out of childhood. The Magic Moments organization gives a child "back their childhood-if only for a moment - and create smiles and memories that last a lifetime."

They also offer an annual Family Camp for the families allowing these families to connect with other families also effected by terminal or life altering illnesses and injuries.

Magic Moments is a non-profit organization and is not a United Way organization and relies solely on the support from civic groups, foundations, individuals and fund raising events.

To learn more about Magic Moments and their events or how to donate you can visit their website. To learn how you can volunteer your time please visit here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oil on Our Beaches, But Don't Abandon Them!

This post is modified from the original posting at my other blog, Grasping for Objectivity.

Alabama was not blessed with much coastline (I personally feel that is due to Florida being a bit greedy on coastline-choosing day), but the beaches we did get are gorgeous. Different than any other coastline I’ve ever been to, the Gulf of Mexico beaches have the most luxurious of white sand to sink your toes into, the perfect amount of waves for families to play in, and our little beach towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have just the right amount of civilization to make it fun without being over commercialized.

However, all of that is in the process of changing. The BP oil crisis has made it to our beaches, and won’t be leaving for quite some time.

We headed down here on Friday to spend some time with family and to enjoy our favorite getaway town. We knew that we were within days of the projected oil landfall, but we didn’t realize that we would be down here for the historical Day One.

We ate dinner Friday night at Sea N Suds, admiring somewhat melancholically the pristine beaches and gorgeous water. The twitter reports had already started coming in that there were small amounts of oil being found down the beach, so we knew this would be a last moment.

On Saturday, we headed to the beach to see for ourselves.

It was a gorgeous day – perfect for swimming in the ocean. The air was warm, the water was warm, the waves were perfect.

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But it was too late.

The sand was lined with globules of nasty, thick oil:

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It stuck to our feet and refused to come off – which makes me shiver to think what it is doing to the countless animals that come in contact with it.

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And toxic tar balls were floating in the water, resulting in the waters being deemed unsafe to swim in due to hazardous chemicals.

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All I could think about was that this was just day two. It was going to get SO much worse. AND they haven’t even stopped the leak yet!!

I know I’m not the most educated person on this issue – one of the least, I’m sure. But I can’t get past this point: If you’re technologically able to drill through the ocean and earth and harness oil, then you should be technologically able and responsible enough to fix things in a reasonable timeframe when they go wrong. And if you’re not, then quit putting our world in peril with your mistakes.

Of course, I had just seen the BP commercial the night before, apologizing profusely and promising that everything would be made right, and that thousands of people and hundreds of boats were working on the cleanup all over the coastline. I even heard one BP exec say when interviewed on the news, “We have twice the number of people that are needed working on cleanup.”

But there were no signs of BP here this weekend, unless you count their nasty mess. No signs of anyone doing anything except beachgoers staring in shock and dread of what was to come for our precious beaches.

From some expert’s reports, our ecosystem may not be restored to its natural state for the rest of her childhood:IMG_9490 (2)

And I cannot tell you how much that breaks my heart.

And there are so, so many more people and animals that are and will be much more tragically impacted than us.

I don’t see how BP can ever “make right” how vastly they’ve taken away from all of us.

However, though we may not have been able to prevent the ecological damage that BP did to our shores, we can help prevent the economical fallout to our precious beach towns!

I am committed to continuing to visit and take my vacation dollars to our coast, because if we don’t, when things DO go back to normal ecologically, what we knew as our towns will no longer exist.

There are so many great attractions in our beach towns besides our obviously affected beaches, and I intend to feature as many of these as I can this summer. Hopefully this will help people adjust their vacations without relocating them.

If you would like to make suggestions as to what should be featured, or better yet, if you would like to write one of these feature posts, please comment on this post or email me at

Also, if you know of reputable organizations to which we can support that will help the restoration of our Ecosystem, please share!

Our beach towns need us! And I am committed to doing whatever I can to help them survive. I encourage you to join me in this cause!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Best Post if the Week: Week Fifty Three

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, tell us why you linked that post, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Silvertron Cafe

By Rachel

My husband Chris and I tried a new (for us) restaurant the other day. I’d heard of it, but never even knew exactly where it was. But, thanks to one of my favorite local tools, Birmingham Menu’s Discount Gift Certificates, we gave it a try at a discounted rate.

And we were both THRILLED with our experience.

Silvertron Cafe is in the Clairmont neighborhood of Southside. It’s surrounded by charming boutiques and antique shops, and is very reminiscent of another time:


The high ceilings and old Birmingham pictures on the wall immediately made us feel as if we had gone back in time – the atmosphere is amazing.


But they also had some very fun and modern artwork thrown in. The combination led to a very eclectic and pleasing feel.

We were both even more thrilled when we saw an old Birmingham picture there that explained the name: This very building used to be Silver-Tron Televisions and Picture Tubes:


We adored the fact that they kept the historical name.

But the food – the food was AMAZING.

Their menu was quite enormous – it took us a while to narrow down our choices.

After having an appetizer of delicious and obviously homemade chips and salsa, guacamole and sour cream (which we didn’t photograph due to how quickly we ate it), I ordered the Chicken Salad Plate:


For $8.50, I received a huge oval plate of Chicken salad, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and almonds. It was quite a feast! Although it was delicious, I barely made a dent in it.

And Chris got the Wings Appetizer:


Both were delicious, but we were most amazed by his wings. They were a dozen of the biggest, most juicy wings we had ever seen (we debated as to whether they weren’t really chicken legs from small chickens), doused in wonderful sauce (he chose the Buffalo/Bar-Be-Que mixture), all for only $7.50 !!

The value and the gigantic scale of this platter absolutely floored us. In fact, they may have won our Wings business from some of the other more well-known Wings makers in Birmingham.

Silvertron Cafe will definitely be somewhere that we visit again, with or without a coupon. I’m already itching to go back and sample more of their massive menu!

I was not paid or compensated in any way to write this review. I was simply blown away by this restaurant and had to share!

If you haven't linked up and introduced yourself yet, be sure to go here to do so!