Alabama Travel 2018

Happy New Year!

I hope that the final days of 2017 filled you with family memories, yummy foods, and hope for all the possibilities that 2018 might offer.

And if you're like me, experiencing that goodness while also feeling pretty banged up from the past two years, I wish all those things for you, only harder. Let's put on our boxing gloves, lace up our boots and work hard for decency, and fall in love just a little bit more with our little dot in the universe and its people.  

The end of a year brings lots of reflection, but the first day of a new one always puts me in planning mode. We've got some big (for us) travel plans on the horizon, but I've been really happy with some of the day trips and local events that have filled our calendar. So on New Year's Day I focused on the close-to-home exploring that has generated so many memories for our family and asked myself, "What's next?"  

In short, we're taking it county by county. Alabama's got 67, and I aim to visit them all in the next 52 weeks, seeking out some of the best ways to spend a day in each region.

I hope that framing our plans in this way pushes us to explore spots we've overlooked, to dig a little deeper in familiar territory, and to gain a more concrete understanding of our home state's diversity.

And I hope that you'll come along for the ride. If you've read this far, I would love any suggestions: What are the best things to see, do, eat, learn about in each of those 67 counties?

We're out the door to Jefferson county in just a bit. But before we head off for a new year of adventuring, here's a look back at some of our favorite moments from the last.

Oak Mountain hike on a balmy January day

Oak Mountain hike on a balmy January day

Local playground crawl

Local playground crawl

Friday ice cream dates at Ingram Farms

Friday ice cream dates at Ingram Farms

First Pizitz Food Hall visit 

First Pizitz Food Hall visit 

Hike to King's Chair

Hike to King's Chair

Beauty and the Beast  at Coyote Drive-In

Beauty and the Beast at Coyote Drive-In

Druid City Arts Festival

Druid City Arts Festival

Weekend at The Loft at the Winchester Manor

Weekend at The Loft at the Winchester Manor

Flipping all switches and pressing all buttons at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Flipping all switches and pressing all buttons at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Cathedral Caverns

Cathedral Caverns

Birmingham Zoo

Birmingham Zoo

First taste of honeysuckle for the year

First taste of honeysuckle for the year

Second breakfast with The Southern Frenchie

Second breakfast with The Southern Frenchie

 Testing out the Osprey hydration pack at Oak Mountain

 Testing out the Osprey hydration pack at Oak Mountain

Lazy day by the Black Warrior River

Lazy day by the Black Warrior River

Annual blueberry picking at Leavelle Farms

Annual blueberry picking at Leavelle Farms

Relaxing for a moment at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Relaxing for a moment at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Eating ice cream from Trowbridge's on the street in Florence

Eating ice cream from Trowbridge's on the street in Florence

View from the birding tower at Perry Lakes Park

View from the birding tower at Perry Lakes Park

Red Mountain hikes

Red Mountain hikes

Peavine Falls

Peavine Falls

Lowe Mill

Lowe Mill

McWane Center

McWane Center

Lunch date at Central Mesa

Lunch date at Central Mesa

Browsing at Ernest and Hadley

Browsing at Ernest and Hadley

Peach Park, an annual tradition

Peach Park, an annual tradition

Floating around at Lake Lurleen

Floating around at Lake Lurleen

The beautiful downtown Birmingham

The beautiful downtown Birmingham

The whimsical downtown Northport

The whimsical downtown Northport

Pepper Place

Pepper Place

Big Spoon Creamery

Big Spoon Creamery

Kentuck Art Night

Kentuck Art Night

Southern Makers at Sloss

Southern Makers at Sloss

Van de Graaff Park

Van de Graaff Park

St. George Middle Eastern Food Festival

St. George Middle Eastern Food Festival

Fiesta Birmingham

Fiesta Birmingham

Making art at Moss Rock Festival

Making art at Moss Rock Festival

Ornament blowing at Orbix Hot Glass

Ornament blowing at Orbix Hot Glass

Pre-holiday sing-along shenanigans at Capitol Park

Pre-holiday sing-along shenanigans at Capitol Park

Holiday movies at the Alabama Theatre

Holiday movies at the Alabama Theatre

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe  at the Bama Theatre

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe at the Bama Theatre