there are plenty of places i’ve traveled to over the years that i’d enthusiastically return to in a heartbeat if presented the opportunity – places like lima, berlin, chicago, rome, san diego (or san francisco, or anywhere in california), prague, and of course… london. ALWAYS always always london.
On the oooother hand, there have been a few places that didn’t quite give me that “I can’t WAIT to get come back here someday!” feeling. Places that I’ve wandered around for a few hours, seen the sights, ate the food, and as I left, ultimately did not deem worthy of a return trip. One of those places was Cheyenne, Wyoming. Another place was Montgomery, Alabama.
But just because I don’t feel any pull to return to Alabama’s capital city doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my stay. Because I really really really really did. A lot.
Crossing the Mississippi River from Mississippi into Alabama.
(Obligatory listening: click here.)
Kelly and I rolled up to Montgomery, Alabama on a Friday afternoon in February and found it to be sunny, quiet and a warm 60-something degrees. We were on my Secret Road Trip Home from Texas to Philly – I’ve relocated back home for a few months! – and our route was Dallas > Louisiana > Mississippi > Alabama > Georgia > then straight north through the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia & Maryland.
After a night of crawfish & beer in shady ass Monroe, Louisiana, we rolled through Tim McGraw’s hometown of Delhi, LA in the morning, scooted across the state of Mississippi in what felt like a flash, and settled into a day in the Heart of Dixie. Our first stop: Capitol Oyster Bar on the banks of the muddy Alabama River.
I’d never been to Alabama before – HECK, I hadn’t been to most of the states on this 4-day road trip at all, so being in Alabama was SUPER exciting to me – way more exciting than it would probably be to most people with normal brains inside their skulls. We were in A L A B A M A. This was the S O U T H. This is where so many INSANE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT HAPPENINGS OCCURRED. We actually drove on the highway from Selma to Montgomery, where in 1965, thousands of people marched the 50+ miles to fight for the African American right to vote. We just drove right over that same land! We drove right past the Capitol Building in Montgomery, where footprints are painted on the road to commemorate the march and all those who were injured and died in the fight.
Alabama! Imagine the MUSIC that’s been made and the BOOKS that have been written and the SOULS that had graced that land and the HEARTACHE that so many people had felt in Alabama and all across the Deep South for so many years. It was a lot to take in, but we alleviated the overwhelming emotions associated with being in a powerful new place with some real southern food – aka lots of fried stuff and sweet iced tea.
A side view of the Alabama State Capitol.
Alabama Department of Archives & History
The First White House of the Confederacy … cute, but kinda weak
After a day driving, driving, driving, we ended day 1 of our very brief tour of Montgomery by dropping by the home of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jackson Street. It was closed for tours by the time we got there, but it was nice that we got to stand on the porch and send some “thanks, you rock” vibes to MLK while we were in Alabama.
The next morning, we indulged in some more Southern comfort food at none other than a Waffle House (I got grits!!! The South!!) and were on to the REAL reason I planned a stop in Montgomery…
Have you ever been to Montgomery? Any reason I should ever go back?