Yes, a three day weekend is nearly upon us. It is Memorial Day weekend to be exact. This is one of the most traveled weekends of the year. People are coming out of the winter blue and ready for summer to begin and they are on the prowl for getaways. The beaches are nice and everything but why not try someplace different for a change? Besides, you know all the good spots on the beach are going to be taken by now anyway.
Allow me to tempt you into trying something different for a weekend getaway in the 256 area code instead. Here are three local Memorial Day weekend getaways I think you’ll enjoy.
If it was just going to be The Gent and myself then the first place I’d want to go to for a getaway weekend is the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa. We could spend all weekend away from our routine but never have to leave the grounds of the Marriott either. It would be a great romantic weekend.
We could lounge all morning long, sipping our coffee on a private balcony until we felt like going down to either the indoor pool or outdoor pool. Let’s not forget the spa at the Marriott where they offer a wide variety of spa services. A romantic dinner atop the tallest attraction in Alabama, the 360 Grille with breathtaking views would also be on our agenda.
Of course, if you did want to venture out for the weekend, you could always stop by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Visitor Center which is located at the base of the Tower to see what other sites and attractions could be enjoyed such as The Frank Lloyd Write Rosenbaum House or play a round of golf at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail – The Shoals.
There is plenty to do to fill in the hours of your Memorial Day weekend in Florence. I would have to definitely visit the Ivy Green-Helen Keller Birthplace as well. Lest we not forget about dining, there are plenty of eateries to try out that you cannot find in Huntsville. I don’t know about you, but when I am out of town I like to try new things.
Memorial Day Weekend Getaways #2: Lake Guntersville
Lake Guntersville is definitely an outdoorsy kind of weekend. But the first thing is to figure out where to stay, and this is obviously a personal preference decision, but you have all sorts of options- from camping sites, to hotels and cabins, to resorts. Once you figure out if you want a Lake Resort or a rustic campground then it is time to get out there and explore!
High Falls Park is within 30 minutes of Guntersville State Park. Pack up a picnic and take the family to this real-life and natural artwork where you can enjoy scenic views from pedestrian bridge spanning the gorge. The highlight of this outdoor trip will be 35-feet waterfall that extends 300 feet across Town Creek. A large pavilion with tables welcomes you and your family for a peaceful picnic. The children can enjoy the rustic playground.
After a day exploring High Falls Park, go into historic downtown Guntersville for some leisure strolling, shop in the unique specialty shops, and have dinner at one of the eateries in town. Might I suggest Rock House – Eatery & Catering Company located at 1201 Gunter Avenue. Owners Brandon and Joey Duncan will welcome you to their Southern gourmet restaurant. Their claim to success is that everything they serve is “homemade and fresh with an emphasis on sustainable sources.”
Memorial Day Weekend Getaways #3: Montgomery
Yes, now I am going to throw a curve ball at you. Montgomery might be out of our 256 area code, but it is our state capital after all and it is worth a visit. This is Road Trip No. 8: A Place Where History Runs Deep according to Sweet Home Alabama, our very own Alabama Tourism Department.
To stay – it will be a tough decision to pick from a Hotel Spa/Convention Center or something a little quainter such as St. James Hotel located in Selma on the Alabama River which features 42 Victorian-style decorated rooms.
Since this is our state capital, there are plenty of things to go do and a lot of attractions to visit. Take in the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts with their permanent exhibit of 19th and 20th-century American art. The Rosa Parks Library & Museum is always a great visit as well as reliving history in Old Alabama Town that stretches along six blocks of historic Montgomery.
I would enjoy a good meal from Martin’s where they’ve been preparing home-style fare since 1930. If you are looking for an experience a little more upscale, then give Garrett’s a try. The menu is seasonal, but some favorites do grace the menu on a regular basis such as the seared, pepper-crusted Ahi tuna. If you want a little taste of New Orleans right here in Alabama, then remember to venture into the Alley Entertainment District on Commerce Street.
Each of the places I listed has a variety of sites to see and things to do as well as distinct eateries. It will take more than one weekend to take each location in, but Memorial Day weekend is a great time to go out and give a test run and then figure out what you’d like to go back to in the future to explore more.
Thanks for reading and happy travels! Be safe and be kind to fellow travelers.
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