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.
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.
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.
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.