The downtown Tinsel Trail just might be my favorite Huntsville holiday tradition. For more than a decade now, Big Spring Park has boasted hundreds of live Christmas trees each December, all lovingly decorated by local businesses and organizations. It has this lovely community feel, like a warm holiday hug. I love catching a glimpse of the colorful lights if I happen to be driving through downtown after dark, and I love walking through bits of the trail if I have a meeting or lunch nearby during the day, but I really love doing it right and experiencing the entire thing all at once.
Here’s the best way to do it: grab some family or friends, and start with a hot beverage from an awesome local spot. Canadian Bakin’ and The Moon Bakeshop both have seasonal drinks on their current menus, but this year, I popped on over to Honest Coffee Roasters for my Tinsel Trail drink. I went with the holiday Gingerbread Latte, made with oat milk, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove: 10/10, definitely recommend. It’s divine and tastes like Christmas without being overly sweet. As a bonus, mine came with a ginger snap cookie to enjoy as well!
Honest is open every day until 7pm, which gives lots of opportunities to grab a hot beverage to sip on before heading to the Tinsel Trail (the trail doesn’t ever officially close, however the lights are only on from dusk until midnight). Once you have your Gingerbread Latte (or hot chocolate, or other seasonal drink) in hand, head on over to the trail! The steps at Fountain Circle will take you right down to The Mayor’s Tree, which is the biggest and tallest in the entire display. Just this week, I witnessed a proposal happening by the bench just past the tree! And while you probably won’t witness a proposal when you go, you most likely will see lots of selfies being snapped. In fact, several of the trees are “interactive” and encourage picture taking and sharing on social media in exchange for opportunities to win prizes.
The trail extends to both sides of Big Spring Park, and speakers throughout play Christmas music to really add to the holiday feel. You might pass your dentist’s tree, or one decorated by your favorite restaurant or radio station, and you’ll smile being reminded of the awesome community that is Huntsville.
When you’ve covered the entire trail, head back up those steps at Fountain Circle right over to the downtown square and stop at Sam & Greg’s to rest your legs and warm up with a pizza. Like Honest Coffee Roasters, Sam and Greg’s is open seven days a week, though they close between 8pm and 10pm depending on the day. My personal favorite pizzas to order are the Garden and the Guido (both of which come with green olives). While your pizza is baking, discuss your favorite trees and bask in the amazingness of The Rocket City. Repeat whenever you need a holiday fix. See you on the Tinsel Trail!
California native Mande Klein is wife to a super scientist husband, and mama to two young boys. She is a former elementary school teacher of almost ten years and holds a masters degree in education from UC Santa Barbara. Mande blogs at Klein dot Co about everything from baking pie and crafting with kids to scuba diving with sharks. Her loves include coffee, cocktails, yoga, and books.