This is my idea of camping. A big house with extra sleeping porches, full kitchen, three and a half baths and my two favorite things; electricity and plumbing. But hey . . . it was in the woods.
The house overlooked this beautiful view of Weiss Lake, just north of Gadsden.
And nearby, there was this incredibly dangerous cliff I scaled all by myself. Absolutely exhilarating! I know there’s an iphone in my hand, but I promise I was using it as a camera.
My parents drove up and joined us for a few days, and we roasted hotdogs and marshmallows and made Smores by the fire. We smelled very smokey and campy.
I wasn’t familiar with this North East part of Alabama. Cedar Bluff is very close to the Georgia state line. A few days, we drove into nearby Fort Payne and Mentone.
These photos are from the Big Mill Artisans and Antiques in Fort Payne which houses a large antique mall and delicious restaurant. The building used to be one of over . . . 180, that’s ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY sock factories in Fort Payne, the sock capital of the world, who at one time, employed over 7,000 workers. Who knew?
There are a few factories left in Fort Payne that make custom socks, but NAFTA allowed overseas sock manufacturers to flood the market with their cheap-o socks. Too bad, because American socks rock!
And in case you are wondering, I desperately wanted to go to the The Alabama Fan Club Museum, but alas, it was closed when we were there. Alabama has just released a new album, so there’s quite the buzz around Fort Payne for their musical heroes.
We stopped on the way up in Birmingham to pick up my eldest son who was on his fall break from Samford. He’s a wonderful photographer, and he and his little brother took many of these photos, but I snapped this one of him in action (with my iphone!).
My youngest son took this photo of our dog Doug giving me a wet nose in my ear. He was telling me to get him off the boat! I know I haven’t mentioned Doug before, and it’s usually Lois Lane the Beagle you see, and there’s a good reason for that I’ll explain another time. The short version is, Doug has been in hiding for a few years from the dog catcher. It wasn’t his fault, I swear.
I told my husband to keep his cold nose out of my ear.
Little River Canyon National Preserve is absolutely amazing. I can’t believe more people don’t know about it. Sitting atop Lookout Mountain, the trees were just beginning to change color and the air was cool and crisp. The crowds were small and there were breathtaking views at every twist and turn of the scenic drive. The beautiful welcome center has exhibits and activities for children. It also has a nice gift shop and snacks for hungry explorers.
This is my youngest, perched on the edge of DeSoto Falls, which sits just below the A.A. Miller Dam, built in 1925 as North Alabama’s first Hydro-Electric dam. (pardon my French). I didn’t get a good photo of it, but there was a house built high on the bluff that directly faced the center of the falls. I would have loved to have stood in their living room and seen the view from their big picture window.
We have brown pelicans at home in Fairhope on Mobile Bay, but Weiss Lake is home to beautiful white pelicans that we rarely get to see, except every now and then when a few of them spend the winter here. Several hundred of these giant dinosaur cousins would congregate in the Lake every evening, then in small orderly groups, fly away.
My brother from Atlanta also got to come over and join us for a big hike to the top of this canyon. Towards the end of the trip, we received the sad news about our Aunt passing away. I was so glad I had just been to visit her on the west side of the state in Florence. When the family packed up to leave Cedar Bluff, they dropped me off in Birmingham and my son took me to the mall to find suitable funeral attire, since all I had were my blue jeans (but please note, I already had on my pearls), then I rode with my parents up to Hartselle for the funeral.
Such a bittersweet week.
I was so tired and sad by the time I got home I just wanted to sleep.
I dreamed about a wonderful week with my family, of a short few weeks before when I had a fun visit with my Aunt, and about all the beautiful things I had seen in Cedar Bluff, Alabama.
If you are looking for a breathtaking, natural place to get away from it all, I highly recommend looking into the areas around Little River Canyon National Preserve.
[…] away on vacation a few weeks ago in Cedar Bluff, Alabama, I made a large batch of my family’s favorite cold weather stew, chicken and dumplings. […]
What a beautiful way to spend time away! That antique store has my name written all over it!
Have a lovely fall weekend.
In the top floor of the Old Mill, there were more antiques, kind of spread out all over the big room. It was like poking through your Grandmother’s attic!
Amazing picture of the white pelicans. (amazing to be there and see it in person!) That picture is certainly magazine worthy.
Thanks Patsy. That photo was actually taken by my husband.
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear the news of the loss of your aunt. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.
As for the vacation, it looks like it was a glorious one. The views and time of year were perfect it sounds like. I’m so glad you got to enjoy it with your family.
Thanks Hope. I was hoping the leaves would be a little more fall-like, but it was still gorgeous. The peak is yet to come.
What a wonderful vacation, building great memories for your boys ( & you and hubby).
. . . and my parents and my sweet brother and my fugitive dog.
Beautiful photographs of a lovely part of Alabama. We drive through there going to see our son who lives in Canton, Ga. I am glad you had a restful time before going to your aunt’s funeral. And I am glad you did get in a last visit with her…special memories.
Glad you already know about this area. It’s such a peaceful area.
Leslie, Alabama is really a lovely state…I really do hope I get to visit someday.
It’s really one of the most diverse states with white beaches to the south and mountains in the north. The last part I need to explore is the mid-south-west part. Not much there, but someone told me today it was very pretty farmland.
I so agree, if you’re gonna camp, that’s definitely the way to go! What a beautiful place, looks like you had a great time with your family! So sorry about your Aunt, but wonderful that you were able to spend time with her.
Thanks Rebecca. It was a great time, and I was glad we we were all together when we heard sad news. Family makes it easier to get through the bad days.
That’s a cool house! I have up there many times over my life, beginning with childhood. When we moved back to Alabama, Ray and I went up and spent a night at a nearby BnB, and we did explore that Alabama museum. Brendan worked on a movie filmed in Mentone, and we stayed at another BnB there that time. Sorry your vacation was interrupted with such a sad event, but it’s nice that you have the memories and photos of your family vacation in such a beautiful area. These photos reminded us that we need to go again. You look gorgeous even while roughing it (in pearls, of course!).
Thanks Ellen. It’s a gorgeous area and I’m so surprised many people (including me until a few weeks ago) don’t know about it. Sounds like a movie in Mentone was interesting! Everything was closed the day we were there, but they were getting ready for a big arts festival.
Looks like a really nice location to unplug and unwind. I haven’t had a going away vacation in over 2 years. Love the photo of you and Doug. 🙂
You and I are both dog lovers! It’s hard to find time to get away, so when we finally did, it was great.