I grew up just north of Huntsville, in Hazel Green, and have impressed many people with my ability to get from the Tennessee state line to Huntsville city limits on 4-wheeler trails (yes, that exists). So, take it from me… if you are looking to get lost in some rolling hills on beautiful backroads this summer, I recommend heading North to Tennessee to explore the little town of Fayetteville (pronounced “Fay-it-vul”).
First stop, you will need to pull in and fuel up at Hamley Bake Shoppe in Meridianville. Such a cute establishment with great coffee specials and an ever-changing menu of baked goods. Do yourself a favor and grab a slice of the strawberry pretzel salad for later.
Now prepare yourself for a stroll around the most charming small town square chock-full of antiques, gift shops, boutiques, and eateries. The historic buildings, full of character, will have you feeling like you took a step back in time. The store owners excitedly strike up conversations the second you step in the door. It is a very welcoming place to be, indeed.
Here are a few of my “must stop” shops:
- Pet Paradise is an old-school pet store, which is hard to come by nowadays. Topaz, the 28-year-old macaw, will greet you upon entering. Walking around and taking in all the reptiles and little furry creatures definitely brings out your inner child.
- Kudzu’s Antiques has all the vintage and unique items you never knew you needed.
- Carter’s Drug Store is the local drug store, but they have such a wide array of gifts. It is like a hometown drug store meets Hallmark. I snagged a new, cute Swig mug on my last trip!
- Check out the current showings at the Lincoln Theater. It was built in 1951 and is charmingly nostalgic.
There are a few cute murals sprinkled throughout downtown. My favorite is the “Greetings from Fayetteville” painting on the side of the Whiskey Rose Boutique – it encompasses the things Lincoln County, Tennessee has to offer. It also makes for the perfect Instagram backdrop.
As for lunch, no trip is complete without a stop at Cahoots. This building-turned-restaurant has existed since the 1860s and has been used as a city jail and a firehouse. In fact, you can still dine in one of the old limestone rock jail cells. Their menu has a little bit of everything – Mexican, sandwiches, and prime rib. It is also reasonably priced.
For a quicker option, Fayetteville is famous for its slaw burgers. Seriously, they even throw an annual “Slawburger Festival”. It is a burger patty with sweet mustard slaw added and the whole thing is put in a heated press. Don’t knock it until you try it – it is rather tasty. I recommend Ken’s or Honey’s for your slaw burger fix.
Fayetteville is always a pleasant place to visit; however, every year I make it a point to attend their Host of Christmas Past festival. It is generally during the month of November, and the whole town rallies together to bring all the holiday cheer. The high school hosts a craft show throughout the gym and cafeteria, additional vendors line the streets, all the shops have sales, and they have a huge kiddie corner with inflatables and Santa Clause. It is a wonderful way to jump into the Christmas spirit.
And if you are not in a hurry on the way home, you should take Highway 110, which runs parallel to Highway 231-431. The hilly countryside is truly breathtaking. Also, “the magic mile” deems itself the luckiest mile in Tennessee – they have awarded more winners from the Tennessee Lottery than any other spot in all of Tennessee. Just make sure to bring cash!
Hope you enjoy your trip!
Brooke landed in the Rocket City in 1993 due to her father’s job, which is also a wildly common story around here. She grew up in Hazel Green (go Trojans) playing soccer and spending her free time exploring the trails and backroads throughout northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. Just could not leave the beautiful Huntsville area, she attended The University of Alabama Huntsville and continues to work there with the Alabama Space Grant Consortium, helping students pursue their dreams in STEM fields. You can find her at a new restaurant, trying one of everything, or romping around the Land Trust with her husband and two goofy boxers – follow Brooke’s adventures on her Instagram, @bbentzyo.