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A GUEST DIRECTORY Huntsville/Madison 2011-2012



best some of the

rocket city moments happen over



Downtown Huntsville | 256.539.3930 800 Monroe Street (at the Embassy Suites) | scan tag to make a reservation

editor’slet ter

Welcome to Huntsville and Madison! This is our second annual edition of EXCURSIONS—A Guest Directory for Huntsville/Madison and we’re very pleased that it is now bigger and more informative than ever before. EXCURSIONS is truly a collaboration of many talented, civic-minded individuals and organizations and I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to our advertisers, Mayor Finley of Madison and his staff, Mayor Battle of Huntsville and his staff, Judy Ryals and Jennifer Moore and their staff at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mr. Olly Orton of the Downtown Forty-Seven, Mr. Doug Smith of AM Booth’s Lumberyard, the talented writers and photographers from the Huntsville area and, especially, my team of talented and dedicated folks in Birmingham who work side-by-side with me to create the best products possible for our clients and our readers. The publication of this issue corresponds with the series of tornadoes that swept through Alabama on April 27, 2011, leaving many without homes and places to work and worship. Moreover, hundreds of Alabamians lost their lives on this tragic day. I would like to dedicate this edition of EXCURSIONS to all of those affected by the tornado outbreak and beseech you to keep those affected, not only in Alabama, but also across the Southeast, in your thoughts and prayers as they rebuild their lives. For you techies out there, we’ve made EXCURSIONS more tech-friendly than ever before. Please download the Tag Reader from Microsoft and go through this book and scan all of the tags from our advertisers. Some are offering you great deals that you’ll only see by scanning the Tag. Also, for you Ipad and tablet PC users, we invite you to take EXCURSIONS around town with you on your iPad or tablet by downloading the book from our website excursions. The iPad/tablet PC version of the book still allows you to scan Tags with your smart phone, and if yours is 3G/4G enabled, you may immediately link to advertisers’ websites for more information just by tapping on the ads. Recent technology advancement with smart phones and tablet PCs are truly exciting and offer our readers a whole new way to experience our publication and put it to use when iPad/Tablet PC out and about around Huntsville and Madison. It would be especially Attention iPad and Tablet PC awesome if you’d show our advertisers that you are using our mobile users! Please leave this copy versions of EXCURSIONS! of EXCURSIONS in your guest Thank you for picking up EXCURSIONS to learn about the Huntsroom for the next hotel guest ville/Madison area. I hope that you will pay particular attention to those to enjoy, but take our mobile who’ve advertised in this edition and mention EXCURSIONS when edition of EXCURSIONS with you visit them. It is the advertisers who make this useful tool possible you on your iPad or Tablet and available to you. We also want to thank our hotel partners for placPC by downloading it from ing EXCURSIONS in their guest rooms for you to find. our website www.cityvision.


Safe travels and many returns,

Something new that we’ve incorporated into this edition is the use of Microsoft Tag technology. When you see these funny little symbols as you peruse the book, pull out your smart phone, download the Microsoft Tag Reader application by going http:// or search for Tag Reader in the App Store or Droid Market, respectively for iPhones and Droid phones. By scanning each tag with your smart phone’s camera, a variety of information or specials offers will be revealed to you! Some tags help you make reservations, some help you find places and some offer fantastic digital coupons that may be redeemed by showing it on your smart phone. Once scanned, Tag Reader will store the tags in the application’s history so you may access that information as often as you like. Go through and scan every tag to see what is revealed!

Brent Boyd editor-in - chief

p r e s i d e n t, c i t y v i s i o n , i n c .


tv. Click on the EXCURSIONS Huntsville/Madison cover art to view our online version and to download the book. When you are out enjoying the Huntsville/Madison area with you mobile device, please show it to our advertisers so they will know that EXCURSIONS led you to their doors!

Microsoft Tags

President ’slet ter

Welcome to Huntsville/ Madison County Alabama!

Huntsville Museum of Art, the EarlyWorks Museum Complex and so many more attractions offer visitors memorable experiences. You’ll find a wealth of outdoor venues like the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Hampton Cove, Ditto Landing and Marina or Monte Sano State Park where you can get a little exercise or just relax and enjoy the scenery. Let us assist you in planning your free time. Visit our website at www.huntsville. org, call us at 256-533-5723 or better yet, stop in the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor Center®. It’s located at 500 Church Street in downtown Huntsville and we’re open seven days a week for your convenience. Once again, welcome to our community. We’re happy you’re here!

Judy S. Ryals p r e s i d e n t /c e o

h u n t sville /m adison cou n t y conven tion & visitor s bu r e au


On behalf of the Board and staff of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, it is my distinct honor and a pleasure to welcome you to our com-

munity. Whatever brings you to the heart of the Tennessee Valley, I encourage you to enjoy the rich diversity of attractions, dining options and the wide variety of activities available during your stay. Outstanding shopping and dining sure to please any palate are easily accessible from all major lodging providers. Bridge Street Town Centre, Parkway Place Mall and Madison Square Mall each offer shoppers some of the very finest national and regional retailers in one location. Visit the unique retail offerings in Five Points, Downtown Huntsville and Madison, at area attractions and in the Huntsville/ Madison County Visitor Center®. You’re sure to find the perfect gift or keepsake for that “someone special!” With over 500 restaurants from which to choose, you can easily match menus to your mood. Southern specialties include barbecue, okra, grits and sweet tea or visit one of the white tablecloth dining venues featuring some of the best known chefs in the region. Get out and experience some of the top attractions in the state, all within minutes of your room! The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Burritt on the Mountain, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Sci-Quest and the


Mayors’let ters

Welcome to Huntsville! As Mayor, and on behalf of the citizens of Huntsville, I would like to say “welcome.” Huntsville is a unique place because our rich southern heritage is interwoven with cutting-edge space and technology programs. While we are extremely proud of our past, our city continues to grow and successfully meet new challenges. While you are in our city I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the many sights and attractions Huntsville offers, among them are the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Huntsville Museum of Art, Early Works, the Botanical Garden and several others. I would also like to invite you to visit Parkway Place Mall and the Bridgestreet Town Centre to explore some of our best shopping and dining options. Huntsville is proud to have such wonderful options in parks and recreation, like the Monte Sano State Park, which offers a beautiful connection to our area’s natural surroundings. I hope you enjoy your stay and will come visit us again. Enjoy yourselves while you are here and know that you are always welcome in Huntsville! Sincerely,

Tommy Battle

m ay o r — c i t y o f h u n t s v i l l e

Welcome to the Madison Station Historic District—the gem of Madison. In 1856, tracks were laid by the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company; families moved into the region for its fertile farm land; merchants were attracted and a business district founded. Even 155 years ago, people knew a good thing when they saw it. Today more than 42,938 citizens, including my wife Julie and I, and our three boys, call Madison home. As Mayor, my top priority is to maintain the high quality of life that all Madison residents currently enjoy, including award-winning schools, technologically advanced corporations and small town atmosphere. We invite you to visit Madison and see how progress and preservation work together to create a truly unique place. • Walk back in time through Main Street’s boutiques and shops • Shop and browse the beautiful antiques at Madison Station Antiques - Alabama’s first historic renovation to receive the nationally recognized LEED Silver Certification for green building standards • Eat an elegant lunch, sip iced tea and relax on the tree shaded deck at Main Street Café, located in the City’s first jail • Watch varied, talented artists create eclectic works of art at 16 Main, or bring your children and grandchildren to see the selection of exotic pets at Animal Trax—where art meets animal • Sit on the porch at Bandito Burrito and see what happens when the train goes by • Enjoy concerts from the gazebo on the green, every Thursday evening in the spring and summer • Join us for the Madison Street Festival held the first weekend in October • Meander down sidewalks and admire the architectural beauty of some of Madison’s first homes Madison truly is a unique place and I hope you will visit soon to discover that for yourself. Madison is located only a few miles west of Huntsville, off I-565. Take Exit 8, the Wall-Triana exit, and drive north to the railroad tracks. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Paul Finley

m ay o r — c i t y o f m a d i s o n




Contents 10 Huntsville History

From Big Spring to Big Dreams

14 Huntsville Celebrities

Throughout its long history, Huntsville has produced and educated artists, performers, inventors, athletes and colorful characters. These celebrities helped make Huntsville the city it is today. Here’s a quick glimpse at a few of the city’s most celebrated stars

41 Lights…Camera…Luxury

Monaco Pictures takes moviegoing to a whole new level, offering a total entertainment experience for guests.

42 Out on the Town

From rockin’ live music to enriching plays and theater, there are good times be had in the Rocket City.

46 The Sweet & Low

Huntsville’s Pride and Joy of the Blues

60 From Silicon Valley to the Tennessee Valley One Native Huntsvillian’s Journey from Techie to Foodie

64 Come Hungry

From upscale bistros to down home hangouts, the Huntsville/ Madison area is teeming with culinary opportunities.

74 Advertiser Index

16 Your Downtown Huntsville To-Do List

50 Retail Therapy

76 A Full Calendar of Fun

26 Downtown Madison

52 Natural Wonders

82 The Smartest Little City in the U.S.

31 U.S. Space & Rocket Center inspires the next generation of explorers

56 Hit the Links

Huntsville’s thriving downtown area is brimming with sights, sounds and tastes for you to experience. Take a walk and take it all in.

32 Come Play

From parks to museums to nature preserves, Huntsville is full of reasons to explore the world outside your hotel room.

From the most popular national stores to local boutiques, Huntsville has just what you need to get your shopping fix. The Huntsville area offers a wealth of outdoor escapes. From professional-quality to miniature golf, you’re sure to find your perfect green in one of the area’s many public course offerings.

No matter what the season, there’s always something exciting going on in the Huntsville/Madison area.

Huntsville racks up awards for fast growth, performance and familyfriendliness.

88 Come Grow With Us in Madison

Through growth and change, the City of Madison retains its small-town feel and charm, while leading the state in advancements.


EXCURSIONS – A Guest Directory is published annually and is a registered trademark of CityVision, Inc., 3600 Sixth Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35222. (205) 595-0809. Copyright 2011-12 by CityVision, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written permission of CityVision, Inc.

The Huntsville Historic Depot photographed by Jeff Schreier. The photograph on this page is also by Jeff Schreier. See Jeff’s ad on page 36. photography by Jeff Schreier



Originally from Birmingham, Taylor now lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife, cameras, lights and cat. Taylor has enjoyed making photographs of everyone from Ted Nugent to Snoop Dogg.

Josh Miller Writer

In addition to working with the team that developed the Huntsville edition of Excursions—A Guest Directory, Birmingham writer Josh Miller got the chance to interview the Dixie Derby Girls, Huntsville’s roller derby team. Josh describes his first women’s roller derby bout as one of the most intense, adrenaline-fueled two hours of his life. “It was more exciting than skydiving,” Josh says. When he’s not writing for Excursions, Josh spends his creative energy brainstorming fun culinary projects for www.kitchenmischief. com, a bi-weekly food blog he co-authors. 8 EXCURSIONS

Rachel Davis Copy Editor

Rachel Davis is a 2005 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She currently freelance writes and edits from her home near Birmingham.

Heather Adams writer

Heather is freelance writer living in Birmingham, Ala. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Birmingham Southern College and currently works in politics.

Craig Shamwell Photographer

Originally from Washington D.C, Craig Shamwell is now based in Huntsville Ala. His eyes have been behind a lens in film and television as well as capturing many images of the “Greater Huntsville” area for over fifteen years. Although Craig says his specialty is architecture and landscape photography, his work in culinary, portrait and event photography has been praised and recognized by many. Craig believes that every image should tell a story or evoke emotion and thought. That belief is evident in his work. Craig has captured images for the Huntsville Chamber, Monaco Pictures, The Convention and Visitors Bureau, SES, Creative Partners Marketing firm, Dolce of Huntsville, Bridge Street Towne Center, The Westin- Huntsville, Earlyworks Museum and a host of other restaurants, businesses and individuals.

Ian McAlister Photographer

Each day offers us a new opportunity to observe something amazing. Seen through the eyes of photographer and digital artist Ian McCalister, the world is always full of wonder. He remembers his childhood admiration of the variation of forms and colors found in nature, and nearly always has a camera in hand in order to capture a moment of creative clarity. Beauty is a gift to be shared and enjoyed—and Ian can often been found discovering new natural treasures on nearby Monte Sano mountain, or enjoying time with his family at Lowe Mill’s Good Day festival. Ian regularly works with Huntsville’s Dixie Derby Girls roller derby league, and is also active in promoting local, organic, sustainable vegetable farming in his community. He has been a photographer for 10 years and also works in the video production and computer graphics fields. To see more of Ian’s work, please visit


Taylor Christian Jones

Michael Clemmer Photographer The work of golf landscape photographer, Michael Clemmer, who lives in Birmingham, also appears in many national golf magazines. His website,, is consistently rated by Google as one of the top five websites in the world for “golf course photographers.”

Jenny Adams


Jenny Adams is a freelance writer, living part of the year in Birmingham and part in the East Village in New York. She specializes in writing about cocktails, nightlife, food and travel, and you can find her work in Food & Wine, Budget Travel, Men’s Journal, and Coastal Living. She also pens a monthly column on great places to grab a drink around the globe for the Miami Herald. Her side hobbies include traveling, eating, drinking and generally making merriment. You can contact her at

Taylor Lander Account Executive

Taylor Lander recently joined the CityVision staff as an Account Executive, working with advertisers across the state. Taylor worked in the non-profit field for the previous ten years, and is looking forward to her new adventure at CityVision! A Montgomery native, Taylor has been a Birmingham resident since 2000.

Tim Kilgore Lead Designer


Kimberly Ballard Writer

Kimberly Ballard writes for a number of business, lifestyle and trade publications in Alabama and Florida, turning out more than a hundred editorial features every year. She is a former corporate marketing executive with a steep background in scriptwriting for video and broadcast, and a creative copywriter for the advertising and marketing industry. It has only been in the last three years that she has taken writing as a fulltime business. “As a writer, I learn a little about a lot of things, but before I wrote about it, I knew nothing at all. Writing legitimizes my right to stick my nose into everyone’s business—literally.” Visit her portfolio and website at

Tim is a very busy guy. When he’s not using his talents to art direct the Huntsville and Birmingham editions of Excursions—A Guest Directory, he’s hard at work elsewhere. Although designing for popular publications like Southern Living magazine takes up most of his time these days, in the past he found time to design for exclusive publications like Private Air and Cottage Living magazines. With a keen eye for design and a passion for typesetting, Tim is an invaluable member of the CityVision team.

Wes Thomas Photographer

Wes Thomas spent several years in the magazine publishing industry, during which he worked with numerous professional photographers. These artists made a profound impact on Wes, inspiring him to begin shooting, as well. Although he no longer works in the publishing industry, Wes still shoots on occasion for various publications and also sells his fine art images to clients all over the country. Wes specializes in landscape, cityscape and night photography. To see more of his work, visit: www. EXCURSIONS 9


From Big Spring to Big Dreams


by kimberly ball ard Pho tographs courtesy of The Huntsville-Madison Count y Library archives



ucked in the rolling foothills of North Alabama, the city of Huntsville is a hidden oasis of culture, innovation and progress. Known best as the cradle of the American space program, this “Rocket City” has blasted off, amazing visitors and residents alike with its surprising pedigree of events and attractions. But like most places, Huntsville’s origins are much more humble. The story begins more than 200 years ago. Absent were the towering projectiles of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, missing was the sprawling luxury retail jungle of Bridge Street, back then, Huntsville was all fields, trees and foothills. That is, until Tennessee frontiersman John Hunt scaled Monte Sano Ridge and changed everything. The rumor of a freshwater spring lured Hunt from his home to explore the North Alabama wilderness. Amid the Chickasaw Indians who hunted along the banks, Hunt built a two-bedroom log cabin for his family on a bluff overlooking the spring he discovered. The word spread, and by 1808, around three hundred settlers lived near “Big Spring,” where locals transported their cotton crops down the Indian Creek Canal to the Tennessee River.

Alabama’s first capital, albeit only temporarily, when state lawmakers gathered in a local cabinetmaking shop to draft the state’s first constitution. By 1823, Huntsville had developed a public water system, thanks in part to its famous spring. Today, a vast majority of Huntsville’s legal business still takes place on the east bank of the Big Spring. Movers and shakers still discuss law and politics in the pubs and sports venues surrounding Huntsville’s historic Courthouse Square.

Huntsville Faces War and the Great Depression

Captivated by dreams of space travel since his youth, von Braun brought powerful passion and vision to the American space program.


Huntsville Springs to Life

As cotton production picked up, the settlement grew. In 1807, Wyatt Bishop established the town’s first school. The next year, Stephen Neal stepped up as the first sheriff and married the town’s first couple, James McGuire and Elizabeth Ghormley. Soon after, John Bunch’s Old Tavern opened as the city’s first watering hole, and by 1810, the town’s first murder trial had taken place and Eli Newman had been hanged at the edge of town. With Hunt’s Big Spring booming, the city’s founder headed back to Tennessee to sell his family’s land to pay his settlement registration fees. While he was gone, three profit-minded pioneers bought up his spring-front property and the surrounding area. One of these men, LeRoy Pope, renamed the town Twickenham after the English hometown of his famous ancestor, the poet Alexander Pope. But in 1811, Hunt’s land around Big Spring was reinstated and Huntsville was given its

permanent name. LeRoy Pope may have lost the name game, but Twickenham lives on as the name of the largest antebellum district in Alabama, famous for its Federal, Italianate and Neo-Classical architecture. With land disputes resolved, Huntsville was free to grow in peace. By 1812, a city newspaper, the Madison Gazette, had been established. Near the end of that decade, the growing city was named

The inf lux of cotton farmers to the area soon drew the railroad industry’s attention to Huntsville. By midcentury, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad had been constructed through Huntsville, becoming the first railway to link the Atlantic seacoast with the lower Mississippi River. Partly because of its strategic location (and perhaps its charm), Huntsville never saw battle during the Civil War. Union forces, led by Brigadier General Ormsby M. Mitchel, moved in quickly in 1862 to cut the Confederate supply lines. Mitchel decided to stay a while, using the Huntsville railroad depot to incarcerate Confederate soldiers prior to transporting them to rebel prisons. Federal officers occupied Oaklawn Plantation on Meridian Street, while renegade Confederate soldiers hid out in the Mayhew home, located on Eustis Avenue. Having avoided the destruction suffered by many southern cities in the war, the thankful townspeople found their lives getting back to normal fairly quickly. But tough times were still ahead. Following the depression and throughout the 1930s, Huntsville faced its first true economic downturn since its founding. Struggling against waning industry, Huntsville survived only on cotton production and its f leeting fame as the watercress capital of the world. But things were to turn around in 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared “a state of unlimited emergency” and the Chemical Warfare Service began searching for an artillery manufacturing facility. The State of Alabama ceded 160 acres of cotton fields to the War Department EXCURSIONS 11

to build Huntsville Arsenal, which went on to employ nearly 20,000 people. By 1943, the redesignated Redstone Arsenal had expanded to 475 acres.

The rumor of a freshwater spring lured John Hunt to explore the north Alabama wilderness. By 1808, three hundred settlers lived around “Big Spring.”

From Warfare to Wonder

However, it seemed that this success would be short-lived. In 1949, WWII was over, and the U.S. Army hung a “for sale” sign on Redstone Arsenal’s doors. What were they to do with this secluded outpost? At the last possible moment—on July 1, 1949—a new prospect appeared on the horizon. That prospect centered around a German scientist, Wernher von Braun, who had grown in the shadows of Nazism but had maintained a fascination for space travel and rocketry. Von Braun became part of the infamous “Operation Paperclip,” a mission in which the Third Reich’s most brilliant scientists were drafted by the United States. After the war, von Braun found himself and his colleagues transplanted to the isolated cotton fields of North Alabama, where, over the next four years, they would invent rocket science. In September 1954, von Braun presented his first thesis proposing the use of the Redstone military missile, which he would be instrumental in developing, as the prototype for a vehicular rocket that could 12 EXCURSIONS

launch satellites into space. Over the next few years, numerous military missiles were successfully built, tested and launched using von Braun’s thesis. On January 31, 1958, Huntsville earned the nickname “The Rocket City” after the Explorer I became the first U.S. satellite to orbit the earth. The front page of The Huntsville Times read: “Jupiter C Puts Up Moon: Eisenhower Officially Announces Huntsville Satellite Circles Globe,” and the world turned its eyes to Huntsville. Soon after that momentous event, standing on the steps of Huntsville’s new Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), President Eisenhower proclaimed the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). With von Braun as MSFC’s first director, rocketry moved from the defense sector into civilian space exploration. Not only did MSFC receive 1,900 acres of undeveloped land and buildings, but several thousand U.S. Army

engineers, scientists and administrators were assigned a slate of challenging space exploration projects. Success came quickly for the growing center, and, barely a year later, the Mercury-Redstone rocket boosted America’s first astronaut, Alan Shepard, into suborbital f light. And, in 1969, the largest of the Saturn family of rockets built and tested at MSFC propelled American astronauts to their most-anticipated destination—the moon. A visiting magazine writer, who witnessed the testing of those massive Saturn V rockets, penned these evocative words: “One leaves the observation bunker with a weakness in the knees that is just short of collapse...It was total flame, total sound total power!” That sentiment was echoed by many local residents, who said they could hear and feel launches up to 100 miles away. With the close of the Apollo program, Huntsville saw an exodus of big business throughout the 1970s. Ultimately, it would be the U.S. Army, and not the space program, that would prevail. Such military innovations as the TOW missiles and the biomedical research from Hudson-Alpha Institute set Huntsville on a more diverse path to technological excellence.




Industry brought progress, resulting in the opening of the first Huntsville Airport in the 1930s.


The Moon, Mars and Beyond

Today, more than 7,000 government and civilian contractors work at Marshall Space Flight Center. But most visitors are more interested in the Space & Rocket Center’s Rocket Park, with its massive and impressive Saturn V missile. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center contains the most comprehensive flight hardware museum in the world. It also features the Spacedome IMAX Theater and its renowned Space Camp, where, every year, thousands of students come from around the world to experience space education at its finest. But, dominating it all, hovering 10 feet above the floor, the 476-footlong, 90-foot-wide, 63-foot-high Saturn V rocket floats like a leviathan above the new Davidson Center facility. Redstone Arsenal is one of the Department of Defense’s most strategic technological assets, employing over 30,000 people and managing over $25 billion in annual federal spending—over half of the army’s total annual weapons procurement budget. Recently, the U.S. Army Contracting Command announced it will move its headquarters from Fort Belvoir, Va., to Huntsville, bringing many more jobs to the area in the near future.

Leading Alabama into the Future

Thanks in part to the aerospace and defense industries, Huntsville has one of the most diverse cultures, per capita, in the country. Today, a mixture of nearly 300 international, high-technology and aerospace/defense agencies, plus 50 Fortune 500 companies, reside in the Cummings Research Park, the country’s second largest research and development park.

The harsh realities of World War II brought a new industry to Huntsville—the industry of war. Huntsville Arsenal (later Redstone Arsenal) opened to meet the needs of the American military, employing many female workers.

The area has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the ten smartest cities in the world, BusinessWeek’s second-best recovering job market and one of Fortune Small Business’s top midsize cities to launch and grow a business. Two hundred years after its discovery, John Hunt’s Big Spring is still at the center of downtown life. Buffered on all sides by a beautiful public park, the lagoon is surrounded by fine hotels and such distinguished civic buildings as the public library and the Von Braun Center. Lined with park benches and accented by its distinct Red Bridge (a gift from Japan), Big Spring Park today is landscaped with cherry blossom trees, a gazebo and eternal f lame, around which the city gathers for festivals, like the Panoply Arts Festival and many local concerts. It’s fair to say that modern-day Huntsville, with its towering rockets, luxury shopping facilities, manicured parks and decadent dining options, would hardly be recognizable to its grizzled frontiersman founder. But, if you ask its residents and many visitors, they’d say that’s just fine. Supported by a culture of innovation, the Rocket City is poised to lead the state, and the rest of the South, into the next century. ❖ EXCURSIONS 13

Huntsville Celebrities BY KIMBERLY BALL ARD

Throughout its long history, Huntsville has produced and educated artists, performers, inventors, athletes and colorful characters. These celebrities helped make Huntsville the city it is today. Here’s a quick glimpse at a few of the city’s most celebrated stars. actress

Tallulah Bankhead, the most famous—or perhaps the most infamous—stage and movie actress of her day was born here in 1902. Christened at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity on Eustis Avenue, Tallulah lived in an apartment in the Schiffman Building, still standing at 231 East Side Square. Remembered as an extrovert, even as a child, the “Alabama Foghorn” began her career onstage in local Huntsville theaters. Her outspoken personality resulted in the often-outrageous exploits that continued throughout her professional life.

Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales

internet entrePreneur Jimbo Wales, cofounder of Wikipedia, the Internet’s most

▲ JiMMy “JiMbo” wales

14 eXcursions

popular, free, open-content encyclopedia, was born and reared here under modest means. His father was a grocery store manager and his mother and grandmother were teachers who ran a small private institution in the days before home schooling was an option. After grade school, he attended Randolph, a preparatory school in Huntsville, where he graduated at age 16. Wales was always a devoted reader and was, admittedly, influenced by the Montessori theory of using encyclopedias as the primary source for study. He launched Wikipedia as a means for democratizing knowledge, meaning its content is not exclusive to an organization or individual license, but may be modified by anyone with information to share on a topic. Although several people contributed to Wikipedia’s launch, Wales is the project’s

▲ John stallworth

Photos: wikiPedia, John stallworth Foundation

Tallulah Bankhead

▲ dr. Jan davis

▲ reverend dr. JosePh e. lowery

main promoter and representative. Time magazine named him in its list of the world’s most influential people in 2006.

John Stallworth

Photos: the Huntsville/Madison county library archives, the lowery institute; Paul McDonald by Lyndon Jackson

Football Player

John Stallworth became an All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference receiver for Alabama A&M, before becoming a fourth-round draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974, where he played 165 games in 14 seasons. The former Hall of Fame wide receiver won six AFC championships and played in four Super Bowls, catching the game-winning passes in two of them. Stallworth went on to become a devoted local philanthropist, founding Huntsvillebased Madison Research in 1987. He currently chairs many boards of directors, including the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Huntsville Botanical Garden Foundation and his own John Stallworth Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 to provide scholarships to students attending Alabama A&M University.

Dr. Jan Davis

Shuttle Astronaut Dr. Jan Davis was born in Cocoa Beach, Fla., but has always called Huntsville home.

▲ Wernher von Braun

Inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, Davis graduated from Huntsville High school in 1971 and received both a master’s degree and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In 1987, she received the Marshall Space Flight Center’s director’s commendation, qualifying her as an astronaut and mission specialist on space shuttle flight crews. She went on to be a threetime space shuttle veteran, logging 673 hours in space. She also has a long list of distinguished awards, including the 2005 NASA Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (twice!) and the 2002 Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive, making her one of Huntsville’s aerospace and engineering stars.

Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery Civil Rights Activist

Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama on July 30, 2009, Reverend Joseph Lowery was born in Huntsville. He spent most of his youth here and attended Alabama A&M College before becoming a minister.

▲ Paul McDonald

Lowery was a leader in the American civil rights movement and became the third president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and his immediate successor, Reverend Dr. Ralph David Abernathy. He participated in many of the major civil rights movement activities of the 1960s and was honored at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Lowery has received several honorary doctorates from colleges and universities.

Wernher von Braun Rocket Scientist

Shortly after surrendering a team of 500 German rocket scientists, numerous plans and V-2 test vehicles to the Americans during WWII, Wernher von Braun and his countrymen landed at Redstone Arsenal, here in Huntsville, where they built the U.S. Army’s Jupiter ballistic missile. Having found grand success building military weaponry, he set about using rocket science to develop a manned space flight program. In 1960, after Eisenhower had established the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA), von Braun received a mandate to build the family of powerful rockets that

▲ Lily Flagg

would make him the architect of the Saturn V, the superbooster that sent Americans to the moon. Von Braun became a leading spokesperson for the space program and was instrumental to Huntsville’s success as the Rocket City.

Paul McDonald American Idol Contestant

Paul McDonald, a Huntsville native, placed 8th on the 10th Season of American Idol. He graduated from Huntsville High School and Auburn University. Paul currently lives in Nashville, Tenn., and is the lead singer for the band The Grand Magnolias, formerly named Hightide Blues. From 2007-2010, the band played between 150 and 200 shows a year across the country and has won over 15 Top 10 awards from

Lily Flagg

World Record Holder In June 1892, Samuel B. Moore’s prized Jersey milk cow, Lily Flagg, broke the world record for butter production in a single year by producing 1,047 pounds, 6¾ ounces— beating the previous record by 19 pounds. The prominent Huntsville plantation owner honored Lily with a party the likes of which the town had never seen. He threw a sophisticated soiree, for which he painted his mansion bright yellow and built a 50foot dancing platform, which he then strung with one of the first electric lighting systems in southeast Huntsville. Visitors to this five-block area of town will see Lily Flagg memorialized in business names, streets and even apartment complexes. Lily Flagg Milk Stout is a dark, rich beer that is produced in Huntsville and is named in honor of the famous cow. ❖ EXCURSIONS 15

Your Downtown To-Do List Huntsville’s thriving downtown area is brimming with sights, sounds and tastes for you to experience. Take a walk and take it all in…

Downtown has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a romantic picnic, an art exhibit, unique cuisine or historic homes, there is sure to be something to delight and entertain you.


Stroll Big Spring Park Without a doubt, Big Spring Park is the epicenter of life and culture in Huntsville. Big Spring lured settlers here over 200 years ago, and the city has celebrated it ever since, growing up around this greenspace and preserving it for its citizens. Throughout the year, the park plays host to numerous events, including the Panoply Arts Festival and many concerts. But you don’t have to wait for a major event to enjoy the park. Children will love the famously friendly ducks, geese and giant goldfish that call the lake home. Or, use the park as a starting point for your exploration of Huntsville. It’s bordered on all sides by some of the city’s most-visited landmarks, such as the Huntsville Museum of Art and the Von Braun Center. As you explore, be sure to take stock of the international gifts to the city, such as the lighthouse from Norway and the famous red bridge and cherry trees from Japan. Visitors can enjoy strolling the walking trail, stopping for a peaceful picnic or even surfing the web courtesy of free WiFi. turn the page ➛ EXCURSIONS 17


Go Back in Time

No matter your age, you’re bound to be wowed by the EarlyWorks museums in downtown Huntsville. Kids and adults alike will be impressed by the re-created world of the past at Alabama Constitution Village (shown below), where actors live the lives of early Huntsville settlers. At the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum, the clever, hands-on exhibits make the past come alive for kids. Favorites include the Talking Tree, Kidstruction Zone and the General Store. And who doesn’t love trains? Stop by the Huntsville Depot and Museum for a ride through railroad history. Can’t decide which one you want to visit? Why not hit all three and enjoy a discount? Call 256-564-8100 for more information. See the map on pages 24-25 for locations.

Need information about what to do during your stay in the Rocket City? Stop by the Visitor Center, located in the lobby of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau in downtown Huntsville. Pick up Passport coupons to be used to visit the area’s many attractions at a discounted price. Sports fan? Pick up an All-Star Sports Pass which allows you to buy one ticket and get one FREE to the Dixie Derby Girls roller derby, Huntsville Havoc hockey, Huntsville Stars baseball, Rocket City Titans football, Tennessee Valley Tigers women’s football and Rocket City United Soccer. The Visitor Center is also the perfect place to pick up a Rocket City souvenir. For more information about the Visitor Cen▲ above: Don’t miss the variety of ter and to see online listings of spacesuits and space memorabilia where to stay, shop, dine and at the Space & Rocket Center play, call 800-SPACE-4-U or right: Alabama Constitution visit Village allows you to step back in time to the days of the early settlers of Huntsville.

Enjoy the night life

Whether you’re looking to grab a drink and chill to some tunes or shake your moneymaker, you can find just the right spot in downtown Huntsville. Live bands are a mainstay at many bars and clubs, including Humphrey’s Bar & Grill (pictured), the Furniture Factory and the Voodoo Lounge, where you can also grab a bite to eat. Or, you can rock out at such local favorites as Sammy T’s Music Hall and Crossroads. Don’t miss Amendment XXI, a downtown favorite, for a hand-crafted cocktail and an appetizer. See our downtown map for locations.

Photo: Photos: jeffrey greenberg; Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

Stop by the Visitor Center


Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau; craig shamwell

Take a Walk with the Huntsville Haunts

Tour Historic Homes

Due to its occupation by Union troops during the Civil War, and the hard work of the Historic Huntsville Foundation, the city of Huntsville boasts more homes on the National Register of Historic Places than any other in Alabama. Located downtown, the Twickenham district is one of the South’s best-kept secrets, featuring more than 60 antebellum homes, businesses, and churches. In addition to these Southern beauties, the city also boasts some outstanding examples of early 20th century architecture. The Huntsville Pilgrimage Association sponsors a historic homes tour each spring, but several residences are open to the public year-round, including the Humphrey-Rodgers House and the Weeden House, now a museum. Visit for more information.

Looking for a thrilling activity? Join local ghost hunters on the Huntsville Ghost Walk through downtown Huntsville. Tour the Old Town Historic District, Twickenham Historic District and downtown Huntsville Saturday nights starting in June and hear about the local haunts. Tours begin at Harrison Brothers Hardware Store and last two hours. If you are visiting in the fall, trolley tours are offered in the months of August, September and October. Don’t miss out on this thrill of a time! For more information visit For a more historic venture, take a stroll any day through Maple Hill Cemetery. Located in historic downtown Huntsville, Maple Hill Cemetery is a walk through history in itself. Built in 1818, Maple Hill is the final resting place for Alabama governors, U.S. Senators and various other statesmen from the Hunstville area. Maple Hill is beautiful all year round, known for its dogwoods blooming in the spring and colorful maple leaves in the fall. For more information visit turn the page ➛


Take a Coffee Break

Discover SPACES Sculpture Trail

Be sure to take a walk and discover the downtown installments of the SPACES Biennial Sculpture Trail. A collaboration of The Arts Council, Inc., Alabama A&M University, Huntsville Museum of Art, Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment Center and UAHuntsville, SPACES features 28 sculptures by 15 artists from 10 states. Sculptures can be found downtown at the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Downtown Square and the Von Braun Center. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind sculpture trail and explore SPACES through walking, GPS and cell phone guided tours! For more information visit or contact The Arts Council at 256.519-2787.


Even though the downtown area is compact and walkable, you might want to stop for a coffee break. Fortunately, you’ve got several delicious options while you rest your feet. Drop by the Kaffeeklatsch and sample some of the coffee shown above. When you open the door of this local caffeine haven, you almost get a buzz from the rich scent of coffee in the air. They actually roast their own beans, right there in the shop. Featuring a wall of flavors and a lounge that opens up at night and features live music, it’s definitely a spot to visit. If you’re looking for an extended coffee break, visit Shea’s Express. This local spot is a great place to grab a muffin, or to stay longer for breakfast, lunch and even brunch on the weekend. See the map on pages 24-25 for locations.

Photo: (top) brent boyd; (bottom) Craig Shamwell



Cheer For The Home Team

Looming over Big Spring Park, the Von Braun Center, with its spaceship-like dome, is home to several local sports teams, including Huntsville Havoc hockey (season runs October—March) and the Alabama Hammers arena football (season runs March— August). If you’re lucky, you might even catch the women’s roller derby team, the Dixie Derby Girls. The Von Braun Center also draws stellar musical artists such as Cher and Alan Jackson, as well as arts and trade expos. Go to for the latest event calendar.

What better way to reward yourself for all that walking than by tossing back a cold beer? The Beer Addict at Mason’s Pub is the place to go in downtown Huntsville to enjoy your favorite craft and import beer. On the third floor of Alabama’s historic Mason’s building, it is downtown’s only specialty beer and sports bar, with over 200 beer selections and a great menu to choose from. Just to add to the fun, The Beer Addict at Mason’s Pub boasts Huntsville’s only rooftop patio bar, a unique lounge area, pool tables, darts, beer, pong tables and enough HDTVs to catch all the games!

Find A Souvenir

If you’re looking for a memento from your trip to the Rocket City, you simply must roam the aisles of Harrison Brothers Hardware. Operated by the Historic Huntsville Foundation, this 1800s-style general store is a blast from the past. Featuring distinctive Huntsville products like homemade food mixes and soaps and nostalgic novelties such as marbles by the scoop, it’s nothing short of a treasure hunt. And, since the history buffs are in charge, they can tell you all the special sites you need to see while you’re in town. This place is definitely a don’t-miss! Visit for more information. ▲

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau;;

Harrison Brothers Hardware is an 1800s-style general store that sells marbles by the scoop


Downtown has something for you, whether it’s a sports event, concert or just a cold beer.

Get Cultured

Grab A Cold One and Catch the Game

Perched on Big Spring Park, the Huntsville Museum of Art showcases a wealth of American art, with more than 2,300 objects in its permanent collection, including works by Andy Warhol. The collection also showcases southern and international artists, as well as local artisans. The recently revamped museum store and a new trendy Italian restaurant, Pane e Vino, which overlooks the park, are just two more reasons to wheel in to this world-class facility. turn the page ➛


Enjoy the Local Arts

Festivals for All Seasons

Are you in town and looking for a fun event with local flair? Huntsville boasts a number of annual events (see Calendar of Events on pages 76-81). If you are visiting Hunstville in the spring, don’t miss the Panoply Arts Festival, held in Big Spring Park the last weekend of April. Panoply celebrates music, dance, theater and visual arts, featuring local artists, musicians and actors. For more information visit Are you a music lover? Big Spring Jam is the area’s premier music festival, held in the fall in downtown Huntsville. Big Spring Jam brings a variety of genres of music from folk to country to rock and roll. Bands perform at a variety of outdoor venues as well as indoors at the Von Braun Center. Family activities and street vendors of all kinds make this a must do. For more information, visit

Check Out Park Place and A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard

Located just blocks north of the square, Park Place and A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard is Huntsville’s newest, coolest shopping destination and event venue. Browse the J. Leko Furniture Maker, Allison Jansen Photography and Switch House Gifts for something to take home, shape your hairstyle at Vain Salon, grab a bike and cruise uptown and downtown Huntsville from Bicycles Etc. and finish off the day with a cocktail on the patio of the Lone Goose Saloon. Be sure to step into A.M. Booth’s hundred year old Lumberyard, offering the most original party space in the heart of “Uptown” Huntsville. The large outdoor courtyard, surrounded by lounging nooks, covered bars and banquet areas, includes a raised covered stage that can easily host a band, DJ, or banquet. For more information visit or

Photo: Von Braun Center;; tim wilkerson

Looking for a cultural night out on the town? Head to the newly renovated Von Braun Center for a variety of performances by local, regional and national groups. Enjoy all that Huntsville performing arts has to offer by visiting the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, the newly renovated, luxurious venue at the Von Braun Center (VBC). Treat yourself to an evening with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and enjoy classical and modern performances led by new maestro Gregory Vajda. For information, visit The Huntsville Community Ballet also calls the VBC home. Visit for a schedule of performances by some of the country’s most talented dancers and most famous ballets. The VBC hosts Broadway Theater League shows, brought straight from NYC to the Rocket City. For a list of dates and shows, visit Looking for local theater talent? The Von Braun Center Playhouse plays host to the Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater ( and Theatre Huntsville (www.


Photos: ruth’s chris; cotton Row; Ian McCalister

Ruth’s Chris

Get A Bite To Eat

Cotton Row Restaurant

One thing’s for sure—you won’t go hungry while you’re visiting downtown Huntsville. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely dinner, there are plenty of options to please your palate. For some of the finest cuisine in the city, stop by Chophouse, Commerce Kitchen or Cotton Row and taste the cuisine of world-renowned Chef James Boyce. Chef Boyce’s restaurants focus on serving up local ingredients at the peak of seasonal perfection with a sophisticated flair. Meat lover? Be sure to stop in Ruth’s Chris Steak House at the Embassy Suites for the city’s best steak. If you’re in the mood for something more casual, try Papou’s Greek Cuisine for some authentic, old country favorites or Sam & Greg’s Pizzeria for pizza, stromboli and other Italian specialties. See the map on pages 24-25 for details.

Meet James Boyce, Huntsville’s culinary star, who settled in Hunstville after 20 years of working in several of the best restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas and California. The talent and brains behind local downtown favorites such as Cotton Row Restaurant, Pane y Vino Pizzeria, Commerce Kitchen and James Steakhouse, Chef Boyce brings big city cooking with a Southern flair to the Rocket City. Don’t miss a treat for your palate and try Chef Boyce’s creations while exploring downtown Huntsville.


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rLONE GOOSE SALOON 108 Cleveland Ave NW, 256-715-0705 tMASON’S PUB 115 E. Clinton Avenue W 256-704-5575 yMICKEY’S UPSTAIRS 109 Northside Square 256-533-0148

Grayson St NE

Maysville Rd NE

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Stores, Salons, Spas

sSAM & GREG’S PIZZERIA 119 Northside Square 256-533-9030

1ATTITUDES DAY SPA 617 Meridian Street N., 617-B 256-534-7001

dSAMMY T’S MUSIC HALL 97 Washington Street SE 256-539-9974

2BICYCLES ETC. 611 Meridian Street N 256-519-9233 3ENVY 617 Meridian Street N, 617-A 256-539-6790

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4GARDEN COVE 628 Meridian Street N 256-534-2683

hTHE VOODOO LOUNGE 110 Southside Square 256-539-0335

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124 Southside Square 256-536-3631

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515 Fountain Row SW 256-534-1962


6LAWREN’S GIFTS 809 Madison Street SE 256-534-4428

1CONSTITUTION HALL VILLAGE Fraser Ave SE 109 Gates Avenue SE 256-564-8124


2DOWNTOWN DOG PARK / Sierra B 200 Cleveland Avenue NW

315 Jefferson Street N

9SHINE SALON 301 Holmes Avenue NE Olive 256-539-0686 Dr

3DOWNTOWN YMCA 101 Church Street SW 256-319-9622 law Rd SE Tun



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800 Monroe Street SW 256-539-7373




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5HUNTSVILLE MUSEUM OF ART Woodmont Ave SEStreet SW 300 Church

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7LEWTER’S HARDWARE 222 Washington Street NE 256-539-5777

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gSTANLIEO’S SUB VILLA 602 Governors Drive SW 256-536-6585 Locust Ave SE

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Low ell D r SE list made possible by generous donations from these sponsors! your downtown to-do


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800 Monroe Street SW 256-539-3930

fSHEA’S EXPRESS 415 Church Street NW 256-532-5282

qKAFFEEKLATSCH 103 Jefferson Street N 256-539-1636

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5CROSSROADS 115 Clinton Avenue W, Suite 15 256-533-3393

9HUMPHREY’S BAR & GRILL 103 Washington Street NE 256-704-5555

pPAN E VINO 300 Church St. SW 256-533-1180


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4COTTON ROW 100 Southside Square 256-773-9024

500 Pratt Avenue NW 256-489-3354 Ad am sS tS E

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2AMENDMENT XXI 123 Northside Square 256-715-0131

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1801 FRANKLIN 801 Franklin Street SE 256-519-8019

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uOLDE TOWNE COFFEE SHOPPE 511 Pratt Avenue NE 256-539-5399

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Shop, Dine, Explore – Downtown Huntsville




Historic Downtown Madison Take a stroll through Historic Downtown Madison: a historic town with modern aspirations and some of the most unique businesses in the area.


he occassional train powering through the center of Historic Downtown Madison only adds to the unique charm of this small town on the move. Strolling from store to store, one will recognize the carefully restored facades of buildings predating Civil War times. But don’t be fooled by appearances, Historic Downtown Madison boasts a historic jailhouse turned café (the Coca-Cola cake is particularly tasteworthy), specialty stores with modern furnishings, a collection of artists showcasing their latest works and a pet store that is surely unlike any other you’ve ever visited (be sure to tell Charlie we say “hello.”)

Photo: (opposite page) craig Shamwell; Brent Boyd

Main Street Café

Enjoy a truly unique lunch experience at Main Street Café, located in the charmingly renovated former City Hall and jail. Dine in one of the quaint private dining rooms or sit on the patio and listen to the whistle of the passing train. Enjoy a variety of unique lunch specialties, delicious chicken salad and Main Street’s famous strawberry pretzel salad and Coca-Cola cake. 256-461-8096. Open Mon-Sat 11 am-2 pm.

Noble Passage

Noble Passage Interiors is a full-service Interior Design shop located in Historic Downtown Madison at 202-204 Main Street. We provide design consultation on paint and fabric selections, window treatments, small- space planning to complete home design. We have a wonderful variety of eclectic furniture, antiques, fabrics, jewelry, lamps, art, accessories and gifts. Come by the shop and take home a treasure of your own. Ask about our bridal registry. “Like” us on Facebook at Noble Passage. 256-325-1919. Open Mon-Fri 10 am-5 pm, Sat 10 am-3 pm.

Bandito Burrito Located in the heart of downtown Madison, Bandito Burrito is a casual Mexican eatery where you can bring the whole family or relax with friends on the back porch. Train Special — $1 off draft beers and house margaritas — every time the train comes by! Follow us on Facebook at Bandito Burrito-Madison. 256-461-8999. Open Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm. EXCURSIONS 27


Madison Station Antiques

Visit Madison Station Antiques in the heart of Main Street. Painstakingly restored, using reclaimed, original materials, 110 Main Street is Alabama’s first historic renovation to receive LEED Silver Certification for green building standards. Visit us and browse all the treasures found inside the treasure chest that is Madison Station Antiques. Join us the second weekend of each month for Picker’s Alley beginning at 9:30 a.m. 256-772-4444. Open Mon-Sat 10 am-5 pm.

Animal Trax

Animal Trax is not your typical pet shop. We specialize in reptiles, amphibians and arachnids. We also have small animals, caging and accessories along with an assortment of unique gift items from clocks to t-shirts. Come visit us and meet Charlie and the Gang. Visit us at Animal Trax on Facebook. 256-772-4055. Open TuesSat 10 am-7 pm.


16 Main

16 Main Gallery is a community of working artists, sharing one of Madison’s beautiful historic homes. Visit individual artists in their studios, browse the extensive gallery and shop for gifts and your next unique art creation! Classes, workshops and lots of artful activities offered throughout the year. If you love art or are just curious, come on in and watch the artists at work! 256-325-0161. Open Tues-Fri 10 am-3 pm.


Jacklyn’s Keepsakes

Visit Jacklyn’s Keepsakes for great gifts, candles and jewelry. Jacklyn’s is Madison’s only stop for an extensive doll collection. Find your next keepsake at Jacklyn’s! 256-325-5444.

Balch Realty/Matthew Balch Attorney at Law

J’s Salon

Downtown Madison’s local salon, call J’s on Main Street for a new style or trim during your stay! Call J’s on Main Street today to schedule an appointment. 256-772-2992.

The Balch Family is here for a wide range of real estate and legal services. Visit Mr. and Mrs. Balch and their son Matthew on Main Street! Contact Opie Balch Realty at 256-325-2591 or Matthew Balch, Attorney at Law at 256-325-2592 or visit the firm’s website at

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4 Madison Square Antiques 110 Main Street 256-772-4444 Hughes Rd

5 Animal Traxx 100 Church Street 256-772-4055 6 16 Main 16 Main Stereet 256-325-0161





2 Main Street Café 101 Main Street 256-461-8096 3 Noble Passage 204 Main Street 256- 325-1919

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Photos: (opposite page and this page) BRENT BOYD;


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7 Balch Realty 106 Main St 256-325-2591 8 J’s Salon 206 Main Street 256-772-2992 9 Jacklyn’s Keepsakes 108 Main St 256-325-5444


Visit Huntsville’s Favorite Tourist Attraction In 2010, we had visitors from all 50 states and 58 international locations!

Camp programs available for all ages! • • • 1-800-63-SPACE

L ocalfavorite ★

U.S. Space & Rocket Center® inspires the next generation of explorers Located just off of Interstate 565. Operating hours are 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week. For more information, visit or call 1.800.63.SPACE.


Photos: U.S. Space & Rocket Center

o trip to Huntsville is complete without a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, which hosted over 540,000 visitors in 2010. Opened in 1970 to showcase Huntsville’s leadership role in reaching the lunar surface, the vast museum features approximately 1,500 space artifacts from America’s manned spaceflight program, including the original Saturn V rocket. Since 1988, the museum has been home to the Pathfinder orbiter, the world’s only fully stacked Space Transportation System (STS) that includes two solid rocket boosters, genuine space shuttle main engine nozzles and a genuine external tank that will be the only one in existence when the shuttle program ends in 2011. The museum, which is the Official Visitor Information Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, features an outdoor Rocket Park—a collection of rockets developed by early space pioneers who paved the way for modern spaceflight. There is the Saturn V Hall which houses historic artifacts including the Saturn V rocket and Apollo 16 Command Module Casper that carried three astronauts to the moon in April 1972. The U.S. Space and Rocket is also home to Space Camp® and Aviation Challenge®. Here, these immersive educational programs place students in a real–-world context allowing them to view mathematics and science as something more than just an academic exercise. These subjects become tools to develop future careers as scientists, engineers, teachers and astronauts. Space Camp trainees engage in simulated astronaut training to learn leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and decisionmaking. Trainees experience living and working in space using simulators like the

Apollo 16 “Casper”

Shuttle “Pathfinder”

1/6th gravity chair, participate in hands-on activities such as building and launching rockets or designing robots in the lab, and conduct science experiments on the International Space Station. Space Camp trainees put all this knowledge to the test as they take command of their own simulated space shuttle missions…are you ready for lift off? Aviation Challenge is a realistic military combat experience where young people learn teamwork, leadership and life skills. Using ®

A-10 Blackbird

hands-on learning activities and instruction from military and civilian pilots, trainees gain an understanding of the basics of aerodynamics, flight physiology and wilderness survival. Aviation trainees spend an exciting and educational week in the great outdoors and in high-performance jet simulators training like military fighter pilots... are you up to the challenge? ❖

Stay an hour or stay a week—there is something here for everyone! EXCURSIONS 31

Come Play From parks to museums to nature preserves, Huntsville is full of reasons to explore the world outside your hotel room.

Many beautiful flowers take centerstage at the Huntsville Botanical Garden

Mainat trac tions

A different way of life at Alabama Constitution Village

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau Photo:

Alabama Constitution Village

Constitution Village is a unique and unforgettable journey into Alabama’s past. Come see villagers busy with their daily tasks, seemingly unaware that nearly two centuries have come and gone. Hear the whir of the spinning wheel, smell the enticing aroma of freshly baked bread being prepared over an open fire and turn the great wheel lathe in the cabinetmaker’s shop. Hours: (March – Oct) Tues – Sat, 10 am – 4 pm; Closed Jan and Feb. Admission charged.

Iconic Big Spring International Park

Bridge Street Town Centre

Bridge Street Town Centre is the premiere retail and entertainment center in North Alabama. Featuring over 70 upscale shops and restaurants, including favorites like J. Crew, The Apple Store and Anthropologie. The center also includes the 14-screen Monaco Pictures Theater, a 10-acre lake with gondola boats and water craft rentals, a beautiful carousel, fountains and lots of open green spaces. Free admission. {Lo-

{109 Gates Avenue; 256-564-8100;}

cated at the corner of Old Madison Pike and Research Park Boulevard; 256-327-8400;}

Big Spring International Park

Burritt on the Mountain

Located in downtown Huntsville, this iconic park serves as the center of the city. Named after an underground spring that John Hunt, Huntsville’s founder, built a cabin next to in 1805, it’s now surrounded by museums, hotels and more. The park plays host to major area events, like the Panoply Arts Festival and local concerts, and showcases gifts bestowed upon the city by other countries, including the “Red Bridge” and 60 cherry trees from Japan. Free admission. {Located adjacent to downtown Huntsville}

Also known as the “Jewel on the Mountain,” this living museum is seated atop Round-Top Mountain and features entertainment for all ages. At the 19th-century farm, children can pet barnyard animals, while adults can wander the 14-rooms of the unique X-shaped 1930s mansion. Visitors can explore the winding nature trails, visit authentic exhibits and even attend concerts and plays. Summer hours: (April – Oct) Tues – Sat, 9 am – 5 pm; Sun, 12 pm – 5 pm; Winter hours (Nov – March) Tues – Sat, 10 am – 4 pm; Sun, 12 pm – 4

pm. Admission charged. {3101 Burritt Drive in Huntsville; 256-536-2882; see their ad on page 37 for more information.}

Ditto Landing

For overnight, over the weekend or weeklong vacation, Ditto Landing is a camper’s paradise. Nestled in the shaded comfort of densely wooded lots, the campground is cool, peaceful and just a moment’s walk from an abundance of fun-filled activities. It serves as the gateway to Wheeler reservoir, which has more than 60,000 acres of adventurous playground. There are ample facilities for boats of all sizes. Hours: Mon – Fri, 8 am – 10 pm; Sat – Sun, 6 am – 10 pm. {293 Ditto Landing Road in Huntsville;


Dublin Memorial Park

Located in Madison, this park features 66 acres of recreational activities. The Dublin Memorial Park Facility includes an outdoor swimming pool with baby and diving pools. Indoor facilities include a doublecourt gymnasium equipped for basketball and volleyball, an upstairs walking track, and a 25-yard heated indoor swimming pool. Other outdoor activity areas include EXCURSIONS 33

Mainat trac tions Historic Huntsville Depot offers a fun, educational glimpse into history


EarlyWorks Children’s Museum

EarlyWorks was designed for children—go ahead...touch, climb, pull, explore! Hear stories from the Talking Tree, play a tune on the giant-sized instruments at the Alabama bandstand and try your hand at building in the Kidstruction Zone. Explore a 46-foot Keelboat, trade your wares at the general store and try on clothing from the 1800s in the federal house. Preschoolers will enjoy exploring Biscuit’s Backyard, a touch-and-learn area which includes a garden, grocery store and even karaoke. Hours: Tues – Sat, 9 am – 4 pm. Admission charged. {404 Madison Street in Huntsville;


Five Points Historic District

Huntsville’s newest Historic Preservation District showcases the evolution of middleclass housing in 20th century Huntsville. The dwellings include a collection of modest one- and two-story vernacular Victorian homes, a variety of bungalows, modest 34 eXcURsIons

Cape Cods and more. {Roughly located

between Humes and Wells Avenues and Grayson Street and Andrew Jackson Way}

Harmony Park Safari

Don’t miss this exciting drive-thru safari experience. Buy two buckets of food and enjoy feeding the animals on this federallylicensed nature preserve. Some of the exotic and endangered animals include zebras, antelope, buffalo, camels, ostriches, pythons and even crocodiles! Hours: Mar – Nov, 10 am – sunset. Admission charged. {431 Clouds Cove Road in Huntsville; 877-726-4625}

Children are sure to enjoy the talking tree at EarlyWorks

Harrison Brothers Hardware

Better than a museum, Harrison Brothers is a living 19th century landmark sitting serenely in the midst of downtown Huntsville. When you’re searching for that perfect souvenir to take home, Harrison Brothers is the place to visit. This shopper’s delight is filled with old-fashioned treasures, like a stack of antique biscuit jars brimming with old-fashioned candies, cotton throws, colorful tins, marbles by the scoop, cast iron cookware and oak rocking chairs. Hours: Mon – Fri 9 am – 5 pm; Sat 10 am – 4 pm. Free admission. {124 South Side Square in Huntsville; 256-536-3631;}

Historic Huntsville Depot

Hear the rattle of the tracks and the engineer’s whistle as you experience life on the rails in 1860. Discover Civil War graffiti and listen as Andy, the robotic ticket agent, tells of Alabama’s railway history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot was an active passenger station until 1968. The original depot building now stands as a symbol of Huntsville’s transportation history and city growth. Hours: March – Dec, Tues – Sat 10 am – 4 pm; mid-May – Aug, Mon – Sat 9 am – 4 pm. Admission charged. {320 Church Street

in Huntsville; 256-564-8100}

Photo: Photos: hUntsvIlle/MadIson coUnty conventIon and vIsItoRs bUReaU

a walking trail, five soccer fields, a community-built playground and seven tennis courts. Hours: Mon – Fri, 6 am – 9 pm; Sat, 8 am – 8 pm; Sun, 10 am – 6 pm. Free admission. {8324 Old Madison Pike in Madison;

A Garden for all Seasons.

open Year-round  dog daYs of Winter spring festival of floWers summer ButterflY house fall scarecroW trail holidaY galaxY of lights

4747 BoB Wallace avenue • 256.830.4447 •

Mainat trac tions

Huntsville Botanical Garden

In this dynamic young garden you’ll find inviting woodland paths, stunning floral collections and exhibits to delight visitors of all ages. Paths meander through the shady woodlands of the Dogwood Trail and the lush fern glade, while native wildflowers quietly populate the Nature Trail. The day lily and herb gardens rival or surpass those of older, more mature botanical gardens. The demonstration vegetable garden showcases varieties of produce and inspires home gardeners. With new exhibits every season, there’s always something blooming at the gardens! Hours: (May—Sept) Mon – Sat, 9 am – 6 pm; Thurs, 9 am – 8 pm; Sun, noon – 6 pm. (Oct – April) Mon – Sat, 9 am – 5 pm; Sun, noon – 5 pm. {4747 Bob Wallace Avenue in Huntsville; 256-830-4447;}

Huntsville Museum of Art

Nestled next to Huntsville’s famous Big Spring Park, the nationally accredited Museum of Art fills its seven galleries with a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, including prestigious traveling exhibits and the work of nationally and regionally acclaimed artists. Shop the museum store

foot street section, banks, quarterpipes, boxes, pads, stairs with rails and hubbas. Helmets are the only pad requirement. No bikes, scooters or other wheeled vehicles are allowed—only skateboards and rollerblades are permitted. Park opens at dawn and closes at dusk. Free admission. {The

skatepark is located at 200 Cleveland Street, which runs between Church Street and Meridian Street just north of downtown Huntsville and right off of I-565}

Harrison Brothers Hardware

for unique jewelry, pottery and glasswork by local artists, and enjoy Italian fare at the new café, Pane e Vino. Hours: Sun, 1 pm – 5 pm; Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat, 10 am – 5 pm; Thurs, 10 am – 8 pm; closed Mon. Admission charged. {300 Church Street S. in

Madison County Lake

Located 11 miles east of Huntsville, Madison County Lake is a popular local destination for fishing. Facilities include concession stand, boat ramps and equipment rental. The 105-acre lake is filled with large-mouth bass, channel catfish and rainbow trout. Fishing license required. Hours: Normally open sunrise to sunset as follows: Feb 1 – Nov 23, open 6 days a week, closed on Wed; Nov 27 – Jan 31, open Fri, Sat and Sun. {2501 County Lake Road in Gurley; 256-

Huntsville; 256-535-4350;}


Lydia Gold Skatepark

Monte Sano State Park

Opened in March of 2001 and expanded in 2007, the park consists of a 7,500 square

Slip into your walking shoes and get ready to explore the beautiful North Alabama

More Than Just Great Art

Use your smartphone to go directly to our website! 300 Church St. SW | Huntsville, AL 35801 (256) 535-4350 |

36 eXcURsIons

Photo: Photos: hUntsvIlle/MadIson coUnty conventIon and vIsItoRs bUReaU

Explore. Play. Discover. Eat.

Mainat trac tions on science center. Get carried away in the Tornado Simulator, examine the mysteries of the human body with Grossology, get into the swing of things with the giant Magnetic Pendulum and much more. Don’t miss a 3D presentation in the state-of-theart Immersive Reality Theater. Sci-Quest also offers “Parent’s Night Out” childcare opportunities for with advanced registration, visit the website for details. Hours: Mon – Fri, 9 am – 5 pm; Sat, 10 am – 6 pm; Sun, 1 pm – 5 pm. Admission charged. {102-

outdoors! Spread across more than 2,100 acres, historic Monte Sano State Park sits 1,900 feet above sea level and boasts some of the most beautiful views of the Huntsville area. Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” this park features cabins and camping facilities, as well as 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of biking trails. Hours: 7 am – sundown. Admission charged. {5101 Nolen

Road SE in Huntsville; 256-534-3757; www.}

North Alabama Railroad Museum

Located just east of Huntsville in the historic Chase community, this museum is a boon for train lovers. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, take a guided tour of more than 30 train cars, including locomotives, dining cars and sleeper cars. On Saturdays from March – December, you can even take an hour-long train ride and enjoy the local scenery. Admission charged. {694 Chase Road in Huntsville; 256-851-6276; www.}

Old Town Historic District

Photos: hUntsvIlle/MadIson coUnty conventIon and vIsItoRs bUReaU Photo:

The Old Town Historic District features homes in a variety of styles including Feder-

Old Town Historic District

al, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, American Craftsman and even Prairie School with homes dating from the late 1820s through the early 1900s. {Roughly bounded by Dement and Lincoln Streets and Randolph and Walker Avenues}

Sci-Quest Hands-on Science Center

More than 100 exciting interactive exhibits await the young and young at heart at SciQuest, North Alabama’s premiere hands-

B Wynn Drive in Huntsville; 256-837-0606;}

Southern Adventures

This family-oriented water and amusement park offers entertainment for all ages. Attractions include two adventure golf courses, water park, go-kart track, carnival rides, climbing wall and more. They also have facilities for birthday parties or corporate events, call for availablity. Adventure park hours: Fri 3 pm – 8 pm; Sat 10 am – 8 pm; Sun 1 pm – 6 pm. Water park hours: Sat 10 am – 7 pm; Sun 1 pm – 6 pm. Admission charged. {2150 Leeman Ferry Road in Huntsville; 256-880-6599;}

Experience the South’s largest hands-on history museum, the birthplace of Alabama and one of the nation’s oldest railroad Depots. The EarlyWorks Museum Complex provides visitors with a fascinating look at the rich heritage of the South. Open: Tue. - Sat. 9am - 4pm 256-564-8100

eXcURsIons 37

Mainat trac tions Sci-Quest is fun and educational for children of all ages

The Veterans Memorial Museum

Located in the historic James H. Wilson Building on the campus of Alabama A&M University just outside Huntsville, the center is a repository of African-American history and culture, providing a dialogue between the present and past. Archival collections and featured exhibits span three floors of beautiful gallery areas. Hours: Mon – Fri, 9 am – 4 pm. Admission charged. {Located on the campus of Alabama

A&M University in Normal; 256-372-5846}

Twickenham Historic District

days a week. Admission charged. {One

Tranquility Base in Huntsville; 1-800-63-SPACE;}

Veterans Memorial Museum

Take a walk through American military history at this museum filled with exhibits, memorabilia and more. The collection includes more than 30 military vehicles, including tanks, helicopters, motorcycles and boats. Dedicated to promoting and disseminating the accomplishments of American military men and women, the museum is popular among veterans and

Alabama’s largest antebellum district features Federal, Italianate and Classical architecture, including the Weeden House Museum, Alabama’s oldest house open to public. {109 Gates Avenue at Constitution

Von Braun Center

The Von Braun Center is a multi-purpose entertainment venue that hosts major concerts, Broadway performances, ballets, symphonies and a full range of sporting events. The 10,000-seat Arena, 2,153-seat Concert Hall and 502-seat Playhouse Theatre can also be used as meeting areas for conferences or seminars. The Von Braun Center Arena is host to Huntsville Havoc SPHL Hockey, UAH Chargers Hockey, and Tennessee Valley Vipers Arena 2 Football. {700 Monroe Street in Huntsville;

Weeden House Museum

U.S. Space and Rocket Center


Airport Road in Huntsville; 256-883-3737;}


Village in Huntsville}

The world’s largest space attraction features dozens of interactive exhibits surrounding Apollo, Mercury and Space Shuttle spacecraft. The U. S. Space and Rocket Center is the only place in the world where you can stand under a “full stack”—the Space Shuttle, external tank and two rocket boosters. Experience three times the force of gravity as you spin in the G-Force Accelerator, feel the powerful G forces of launch aboard the Space Shot and maneuver through space aboard the Mission to Mars. You can also stop for a show in the Spacedome Omnimax theater. Hours: 9 am – 5 pm, seven

their families. Hours: Wed – Sat, 10 am – 5 pm. Admission charged—cash only. {2060A

Enjoy a hike or take a bike ride at Monte Sano State Park

Alabama’s oldest open-to-the-public building is best known as the birthplace of 19th century poet and artist Maria Howard Weeden, whose poetry and paintings captured the essence of nineteenth-century Southern culture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Weeden House is the only home in the Twickenham Historic District open as a museum and is a superb example of Federal architecture, with elaborate interior and exterior detailing, including a leaded-glass fanlight highlighting the front door. Hours: Mon – Fri, 10 am – 3 pm. Admission charged. {300

Gates Avenue SE in Huntsville; 256-536-7718;}

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau; (Bottom)

State Black Archives Research Center and Museum

Mainat trac tions

Burritt on the Mountain

A living history museum and so much more, Burritt on the Mountain—Huntsville’s first museum—features nature, history, art, music, festivals, fantastic kids’ camps, adult education programs and animals, all in a fun-filled, beautiful environment. Visit the Historic Park and discover how early settlers of the region lived life on the farm. Come see Alabama’s oldest documented log structure—the Eddins House—built circa 1810. Hands-on activities and our furry, frisky Barnyard Buddies keep things lively, and nature trails meander around our 167-acre site, serving up wildflowers, wet-weather waterfalls and the most spectacular view in the area. The beautiful Burritt Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts an eclectic variety of designs and decor, showing how Dr. William Henry Burritt combined nature and architecture to build the region’s first “green” house in 1935, something that still stands as one of Huntsville’s most precious jewels. The relationship between man and

nature through times past offers insight to ensure a healthy connection between mankind and nature for future generations. Burritt on the Mountain recognizes the scope of our southern culture through the lives of the men, women and children of the Tennessee Valley who have come before us, and the lands, waters and natural inhabitants who nurtured them. Burritt encourages visitors to take stock of the way we live—of what our pastimes, habits, aspirations and concepts of progress say about our connection to the past and, therefore, our future. ❖

Perched high above Huntsville, Burritt on the Mountain offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding area. While children enjoy the many fun activities, adults can explore the unique X-shaped mansion.

come discover the magic No matter what time of year you explore Burritt on the Mountain, there is something beautiful and new to see. And no matter how young ~ or old ~ you are, there’s something delightful for you on the Mountain! If you’ve never visited, you’re in for a treat. Come on up and let the Magic begin!

Photos: bURRItt on the MoUntaIn

l Dr. Burritt’s Mansion ~ the

region’s first “green” house ~ is listed on the National Register of Historic Places l A living history park that features 19th century cabins and a barnyard l Burritt boasts 7 hiking trails that wind around the museum’s 167 acres

3101 Burritt Drive l Huntsville, Alabama l 35801 l 256.536.2882 l From U.S. 431, turn north onto Monte Sano Boulevard. Go .7 mile, and turn left onto Burritt Drive.

OPEN: April~October: Tuesday~Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. & Sunday: noon-5 p.m.


November~March: Tuesday~Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. & Sunday: noon-4 p.m.

eXcURsIons 39

L ocalfavorite ★

Lights…Camera…Luxury Monaco Pictures takes moviegoing to a whole new level, offering a total entertainment experience for guests. by Josh Miller

Photos: Monaco Pictures


magine sitting back in a luxurious leather recliner, sipping a refreshing martini and watching the hottest new movie. No, you’re not in some posh Hollywood executive’s private screening room; you’re at Monaco Pictures in Huntsville, Ala. You call the shots at this premier entertainment venue. Feeling glamorous? Then get decked out and have drinks and sushi at the Scene Restaurant & Lounge, located just off the expansive lobby. With its sophisticated atmosphere, glowing red bar and delicious menu, it’s definitely a destination all on its own. Head Chef Anthony Gutierrez moved from California to helm the restaurant, and is thrilled to be a part of the Monaco experience. “I love the total entertainment concept of Monaco Pictures,” says Chef Gutierrez. “Enjoying a movie in a very comfortable, stylish environment with shareable global cuisine, great wines and cocktails appeals to me as a culinarian and a movie guest. I love the buzz and energy in entertaining guests. That same excitement exists here at Monaco Pictures, and I am able to entertain guests with great food and first-run feature films.” Speaking of films, Monaco is undoubtedly the finest theatre in the state. Accessible to all audiences, their 14 black box auditoriums are designed to deliver the ultimate visual and sensory impact for film.

All auditoriums offer reserved stadium seating and unobstructed sight lines, making every seat the best in the house. But that’s not all…if you really want to take your dinner and a movie night to a whole new level, take a walk (or ride) upstairs. Waiting above is the exclusive Privé VIP Lounge, an 18-and-up mezzanine that appears like it was plucked out of a posh Vegas hotel and placed carefully in Huntsville for you to enjoy. In addition to appetizer dining and a full-service bar, Privé features an awe-inspiring wine carousel. Purchase a wine card and sample as many wines as you like, by the ounce or by the glass. This state-of-the-art carousel keeps wine fresh, so you can enjoy some outstanding wines by the glass that would normally require a bottle purchase. And as for your movie-watching experience, it simply doesn’t get any better. When you elevate to the Privé VIP experience, you have access to private balconies with reserved-seating featuring leather high-back recliners with adjustable armrests. But here’s the best part: there’s no rush to finish your drink before the show. As a VIP Guest in Privé, you can enjoy your martini with your movie. How fabulous is that? ❖ To reserve your seat or find out more information, call 256-327-8340 or visit EXCURSIONS 41

Out on the Town From rockin’ live music to enriching plays and theater, there are good times be had in the Rocket City.

Catch classical ballet at several venues around town

Ars Nova School of the Arts

choir); a Chamber Chorale as well as multiple programs for students of all ages, from pre-school through high school students.

This local conservatory for music and performing arts also produces musical theatre, opera and operetta for the local stage, ranging from Verdi’s Macbeth to The Mikado, My Fair Lady and Hansel and Gretel.

{3312 Long Avenue Southwest in Huntsville; 256-533-6606}

Huntsville Symphony Orchestra

{7908 Charlotte Drive Southwest in Huntsville; 256-883-1105}

The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra is the oldest continuously operating professional orchestra in the state of Alabama. The symphony, started in part by members of the German rocket team, offers classical, pops, chamber and young people’s concerts. The Symphony School currently has more than 100 students.

Photos: (this page and opposite) Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau; (Top of this page) Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Photo:

Broadway Theatre League This organization brings Broadway’s best productions to Huntsville. Rent, Chicago, Sweeney Todd, Spamalot, Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang, and extras, such as, Happy Days and The Rat Pack, have been performed in the Von Braun Center. {700 Monroe Street Southwest in Huntsville; 256-518-6155}

{700 Monroe Street in Huntsville; 256-539-4818}

Enjoy the musical maestros of the symphony

Huntsville Youth Orchestra

Community Ballet Association

The HYO is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to “foster, promote and provide the support necessary for students from North Alabama to experience musical education in an orchestral setting.” The organization has six separate ensembles: The Huntsville Youth Symphony, Sinfonia, Philharmonia, Concert Orchestra, Intermezzo Orchestra and Novice Strings.

The Community Ballet Association operates the Huntsville Ballet Company and Community Ballet School. In addition to the annual Nutcracker and Spring Repertory performances, the CBA works with touring companies to bring the best in dance to Huntsville. {800 Regal Drive in Huntsville; 256-539-0961}

Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theatre An all-volunteer organization, Fantasy Playhouse performs for the children of North Alabama both on stage and off. Fantasy Academy, the organization’s dance, music and art school, teaches children and adults each year. Fantasy Playhouse regularly produces three plays a year with an additional annual play, A Christmas Carol, produced early each December. {3312 Long Avenue Southwest, Huntsville; 256-539-6829}

Attend a popular show

Flying Monkey Arts Center Located in the historic Lowe Mill, the center hosts a variety of events such as the traditional Cigar Box Guitar festival, the Sex Workers’ Art Show and many presentations of the Film Co-op, in addition to other events. {2211 Seminole Drive Southwest in Huntsville; 256-489-7000}

Plays showcase local talent

Huntsville Community Chorus Association The state’s second-oldest performing arts organization produces both choral concerts and musical theater productions, ranging from The Pirates of Penzance to Guys and Dolls and Jesus Christ Superstar. In addition, HCCA features its Madrigal Singers; “Glitz!” (a show

{6806 Whitesburg Drive South in Huntsville; 256-880-0622}

Independent Musical Productions Founded in 1993, this local group presents at least one annual main production such as Ragtime, Civil War, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Into The Woods and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In addition, musicals for children and outreach programs complete the season. {256-337-9071}


nightlifeentertainment {1214 Meridian Street in Huntsville; 256-536-3434}

Merrimack Hall

Theatre Huntsville

After nearly $3 million in renovations to their historic building, this facility now includes a 302-seat performance hall, a 3,000 square foot dance studio, and rehearsal and instructional spaces for musicians. Past productions and performers include Menopause The Musical, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters, Dionne Warwick, Lisa Loeb, Wade Robson, Claire Lynch and the Second City Comedy Troupe.

This non-profit, all-volunteer arts organization presents six plays each season in the Von Braun Center Playhouse. It also produces the annual "Shakespeare on the Mountain” at an outdoor venue, such as Burritt on the Mountain. Presentations range from The Foreigner and Noises Off to The Laramie Project and Angels in America and even to the occasional musical (Little Shop of Horrors, Nunsense). Call for a schedule of events.

{3326 Triana Blvd. in Huntsville; 256-534-6455}

Renaissance Theatre

seating for about 85. Performances range from original works to old standards, The Renaissance Theatre and have included the regional features two stages, the Main premiere of The Maltese Falcon Stage (upstairs) and the Alpha 2008), Doubt, Stage (downstairs), each with HSO Excursions ad_Layout 1 5/12/11(April 3:55 PM Page 1 A Parable,

A fresh, new season 256.539.4818

Huntsville Symphony Orchestra



Urinetown, The Rocky Horror Show, The Lion in Winter and Holy Ghosts, which took “Best Show” at the Southeastern Theatre Conference's Community Theatre Festival.

{700 Monroe Street in Huntsville; 256-536-0807}.

For more information on local fine and performing arts, contact the Huntsville Arts Council at 256-519-2787.

Photo: Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center

Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center

Happy Hour and Beyond... These are some of our top picks for entertainment and libations in the Huntsville/Madison area Allen’s Grille and Grog

Hopper’s Bar & Grill

AMendment XXi

Humphrey’s Bar & Grill

9076 Madison Boulevard Madison, AL 35758 256-772-8514 123 North Side Square Huntsville, AL 35801 256-715-0131

109 Washington Street NE Huntsville, AL 35801 256-704-5555

bandito southside

Lone Goose Saloon

#P1 11220 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35816 256-489-3232

108 Cleveland Avenue NW Huntsville, AL 35801 256-715-0705

Bench Warmer Food & Spirits

Mason’s Pub

2998 University Drive NW Huntsville, AL 35816 256-539-6268

Bishop’s Southside Bar & GrilL

11505 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35803 256-883-2111 Bison’s Bar & Grill

8020 Madison Boulevard Madison, AL 35758 256-772-4477 Black Water Hattie’s

10000 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35803 256-489-3333 Club Rush

7143-C Highway 72 W Madison, AL 35758 256-772-2080 Ruggby’s

4820 University Drive NW Huntsville, AL 35816 256-895-0795 Sammy T’s Music Hall

116 Washington Street Huntsville, AL 35801 256-539-9974 Scene Lounge


Sports Page Lounge & Deli

Dee’s Diner & Billiards

The Nook

End Zone

University Drive/ Research Park 1909 University Drive Huntsville, AL 35816 256-536-2234 Finnegan’s Pub

3310 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35801 256-881-9732 Furniture Factory Bar & Grill

619 Meridian Street N Huntsville, AL 35801 256-539-8001

(In the Holiday Inn—Research Park) 5903 University Drive 256.830.0600

Pauli’s Bar & Grill

109 Northside Square Huntsville, AL 35801 256-533-0148

University Drive/ Research Park 2007-C N Memorial Parkway Huntsville, AL 35810 256-851-0603

Hopper’s Bar and Grill

115 Clinton Avenue W Huntsville, AL 35801 256-704-5575

370 The Bridge Street at Monaco Pictures Huntsville, AL 35806 256-327-8347

115 Clinton Avenue Huntsville, AL 35801 256-533-3393


5903 University Drive, Holiday Inn Huntsville, AL 35806 256-830-0600

9009-M Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35802 256-880-9471 3305 Bob Wallace Avenue Huntsville, AL 35805 256-489-0911

Don’t let boredom win! Hopper’s Bar and Grill is here to help you wage the battle. Sundays and Tuesdays we strike with Karaoke for the truly talented and the over-confident. Wednesdays, local bands join the fight by helping you enjoy a frosty beverage with a laid back tune. And, finally, we land the winning blows with a one two punch of dancing to DJ spun dance hits on Thursdays and our house band Peter and the Wolf Friday and Saturday. Hopper’s Bar and Grill, where you can grab a delicious bite to eat from our American Favorites menu and then work it off on the dance floor. Boredom doesn’t stand a chance.

The Voodoo Lounge

110 Southside Square Huntsville, AL 35801 256-539-0335 The zone

340 The Bridge Street Huntsville, AL 35806 256-327-8880 Third Base Grill

7904 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35802 256-882-9500 West End Grill

6610 Old Madison Pike NW #108 Huntsville, AL 35806 256-722-8040 v

A Few Items From Our Menu Wings with a Zing from Golden Barbecue to Zesty Asian Style Southern Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies Build your Own Tortilla Pizzas Hopper’s White Pizza (Provolone, Monterey Jack and Parmesan Cheeses, Fresh Garlic, Oregano and Olive Oil) Beer Battered Vidalia Onion Rings Hopper’s Bacon and Cheddar Burger



The Sweet & Low Huntsville’s Pride and Joy of the Blues

B y J e n n y A dams P hotograph y b y ta y l or christia n J o n e s


f you had the good fortune to sit down for a meal with Huntsville local, Dave Gallaher, you’d probably find yourself in front of a plate of traditional soul food at Mama Annie’s on North Meridian Street or, possibly, Mexican fare at Bandito Southside on South Memorial Parkway. He’s also particularly fond of Papou’s on the Courthouse Square or the Po Boy Factory for some ‘Nawlin’s-inspired cuisine on North Andrew Jackson Way. He takes advantage of the town’s best-loved morsels. You would probably have plenty to discuss over lunch as well, considering “Microwave Dave” Gallaher is one of the deep South’s most noted blues musicians. With a style he describes as “blues and blues by-products,” Gallaher has slid his fingers down the frets for decades, earning fans like acclaimed author Stephen King, who, in his Entertainment Weekly column, once said watching Gallaher’s electric slide guitar would “change your way of life.” There is no doubt that Gallaher has talent, but he also has a deep-rooted love of fair Huntsville.

Microwave Dave and the Nukes, pictured here at A. M. Booth’s Lumberyard, released their seventh album, Last Time I Saw You, in mid-2011.

Born in Chicago, Gallaher and his family moved to Texas in his early years. He lived in both Houston and Dallas, but he credits his earliest musical teachings to the First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo, Tx., where he sang in the choir. His passion for music was strong even as a young child, and Gallaher worked his way from instrument to instrument, not overlooking the ukulele or the accordion, the trumpet or the drums. “I always tried to fill whatever vacancy existed in an ensemble,” he offers humbly. The family then moved to Atlanta, Ga., where he was tuned in and turned on by the city’s R&B and soul sounds, picking up bass and forming a series of bands that culmi-

nated in the Majestics in 1965. That group would end up playing backup for more than one famous name, including young and talented Aretha Franklin. Over the years, Gallaher played in multiple outfits, from the Rotations—a Soul band comprised of his Air Force buddies in Vietnam—to Cameron, a group that played more than 300 dates a year and recorded three separate albums. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston to study guitar, and his unique mix of blues, soul, gospel and rock began to carry him all over the nation, playing with all sorts of characters—including studying blues guitar with the legendary Johnny Shines. After that, he EXCURSIONS 47

Microwave Dave and the Nukes, from left, Dave Gallaher, James Irvin and Rick Godfrey, pictured at Lone Goose Saloon

“I’ve lived all over the South, but for a town this size, there are so many people highly educated in their fields here. The place has a significant number of artists, from visual to dance, theater and music.” —Microwave Dave 48 EXCURSIONS

joined the Thrasher Brothers, a Grammywinning gospel group. “I spent 12 years working and recording in Florida,” recalls Gallaher with a gruff laugh. “I recorded three albums there, and then took off and wound up working with Nashville country acts for a while.” During all of this traveling around, Gallaher found himself consistently thinking about the times he spent in Huntsville. “I finally decided to move there in 1982,” he admits. “I’ve lived all over the South, but for a town this size, there are so many people highly educated in their fields here. The place has a significant number of artists, from visual to dance, theater and music.” Influenced by greats before him, like the eclectic Frank Zappa and Chicago bluesman Earl Hooker, Gallaher’s sound is not one easy to pin down, but more a harmonious meld of all the places and types of music he’s played and loved. In 1989, his most lasting act was formed under the appellation, Microwave Dave and the Nukes. The band has become a family and Huntsville is the place they call “home.” “There’s a musical vein that runs between Muscle Shoals and Huntsville, carrying over to Sand Mountain where the gospel musicians live,” Gallaher offers when pressed about the state’s music scene. “I take people from out of town out to places here like Humphrey’s, The Crossroads and the Kaffeeklatsch and nearly every time I will hear them say ‘damn, these guys are from here?,’ after listening to the local talent.” People likely say the same thing about Gallaher and his band. They recorded a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Road Runner” in 1995 that went on to be a huge success in Europe, and in 2001, the Alabama Blues Society presented the band with a Blues Achievement Award. After two decades, Microwave Dave and the Nukes released their seventh album in July of 2011 called Last Time I Saw You. “I don’t operate with a business plan,” offers Gallaher. “My life is improvised like my music. I get up every day and get going. One thing’s for certain. If you go out in Huntsville looking for music or a great evening in general, go out with an open mind. Don’t head to one film, to see one band or eat in one place. There are so many great things here to satisfy you in terms of art, culture, chefs and music. Make plans to fit in a bit of each.” ❖ To see an online video of Microwave Dave and the Nukes, scan this tag. (See page 4 for details and software)


Bridge Street Town Centre has fun options for all ages

Retail Therapy From the most popular national stores to local boutiques, huntsville has just what you need to get your shopping fix.

Bridge Street Town Centre

Madison Square Mall

Parkway Place Mall

Bridge Street Town Centre is a premier mixed-use lifestyle center featuring more than 70 upscale shops and restaurants, the 210-room Westin Huntsville Hotel 14-screen Monaco Pictures and a six-story office tower. The property also features a customer service centre, 10-acre lake, carousel, fountains and lots of green open spaces. Hours: Mon–Thurs, 10 am – 9 pm;

Enjoy the convenience of shopping indoors at this traditional shopping mall. More than 13 million shoppers a year visit Madison Square Mall. Madison Square offers fashion, fun and food for everyone with four department stores, over 120 stores and eateries and 12 theater screens. Madison Square has the names you won’t find anywhere else in town. Hours: Mon – Sat, 10 am

Measuring in at 650,000 square feet, Parkway Place is anchored by Dillard’s and Belk. This indoor retail mall offers shoppers of the Tennessee Valley more than 70 stores, including favorites like Ann Taylor and Abercrombie & Fitch. The mall has over 2,800 free parking spaces (including the parking deck) and seats 400 people in the food court. The attached movie theater features 18 screens. Hours: Mon – Sat, 10

Fri–Sat, 10am – 10pm; Sun, noon – 7 pm. Located at the corner of Old Madison Pike and Research Park Boulevard in the heart of Cummings Research Park. 256-327-8400

– 9 pm; Sun, noon – 6 pm. Located on University Drive at the intersection of Research Park Boulevard and Highway 72. 256-830-5407

stores include: DSW • Monaco Pictures Barnes & Noble • Anthropologie Ann Taylor Loft • J. Crew Banana Republic • Apple White House/Black Market Mountain Hight Outfitters Vintage Wine & Cigars

stores include: Belk • JC Penney • Dillard’s American Eagle • Sears Thomas Kinkade • Belk Victoria’s Secret The Children’s Place Bath & Body Works Bama Fever/Team Fever

am – 9 pm; Sun, noon – 6 pm. Located at the intersection of U.S. 231 (Memorial Parkway) and Drake Avenue. 256-533-0700

stores include: Belk • Dillard’s Abercrombie & Fitch Ann Taylor • Forever 21 Express • Pottery Barn Williams-Sonoma Brookstone Build-A-Bear

Antiques & Boutiques

Spend a Saturday treasure hunting at these Huntsville favorites. Alpha Estate & Auction Sales

Cotton Patch Collectibles

Hidden House

Madison Station antiques

Antiques, Etc. Appraisals

Darwin Antiques

509 Pratt Avenue NE Huntsville, AL 35801 256-533-7647

614 Madison Street SE Huntsville, AL 35801 256-539-9803

Hillbilly Treasures


Alexander’s Jewelry

Firehouse Antiques

2314 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35801 256-536-3221

10095 Memorial Parkway SW Huntsville, AL 35803 256-880-9111

JD’s Old Stuff & Antiques

Packard’s Antique Center

Ashton Place Antiques

Fursden Valerie Inc.

Lennart’s, Inc.

Railroad Station Antique Mall

Limestone Flea Market, Inc.

Reflections of the Past

Lincoln Center Antiques

West Station Antiques

Madison Square Antiques

White Lily Antiques

1214 Meridian Street Huntsville, AL 35801 256-536-3117

900 Bob Wallace Avenue SW Suite 111 Huntsville, AL 35801 256-539-3341 Birch Hill Antiques

5000 Whitesburg Drive Huntsville AL 35802 256-881-1225 Photo: Photo: craig shamwell

Blue Bird Antique Mall

9195 Hwy 431 Owens Crossroads, AL 35763 256-725-4000 Bulldog Antiques

2313 Whitesburg Drive S Huntsville, AL 35801 256-534-9893

15664 Highway 231 431 N Hazel Green, AL 35750 256-829-0612

5000 Whitesburg Drive Huntsville, AL 35802 256-882-9119 Golden Griffin

104 Longwood Drive SE Huntsville, AL 35801 256-535-0882 Hartlex Antiques & Interiors

181 Hughes Road Suite 18 Madison, AL 35758 256-464-3940

Heritage Interiors and Antiques

1618 Hughes Road Madison, AL 35758 256-895-9791

3011 Bob Wallace Avenue Huntsville, AL 35805 256-489-9460 509 Pratt Avenue Huntsville, AL 35801 256-533-7647

3615 Hwy 72 East @ mile marker 107 Brownsboro, AL 35741 256-859-4046 806 Wellman Avenue NE Huntsville, AL 35801 256-536-6789 US Highway 72 Madison, AL 35757 256-233-5183

1214 Meridian Street N Huntsville, AL 35801 256-536-3117

1017 Old Monrovia Road NW Huntsville, AL 35806 256-430-0909

110 Main Street Madison, AL 35758 256-772-4444

505 Pratt Avenue NE Huntsville, AL 35801 256-658-4972 11110 S. Memorial Pkwy SW Huntsville, AL 35803 256-881-1678 315 Jefferson Street N Huntsville, AL 35801 256-533-6550

11433 Highway 231 431 Meridianville, AL 35759 256-829-0740

3037 Old Highway 431 Owens Crossroads, AL 35763 256-725-2665 8402 Whitesburg Drive Huntsville, AL 35802 256-881-7707 ❖


Natural Wonders

The Huntsville area offers a wealth of outdoor escapes.

Monte Sano State Park

Major Outdoor Attractions North Alabama Birding Trail

Comprised of 50 sites throughout north Alabama, The North Alabama Birding Trail is not a “trail” in the traditional sense, but a series of mostly roadside stops throughout north Alabama selected for their birdwatching characteristics. While all of the sites can be accessed from a vehicle, many of the sites also have traditional walking trails associated with them; and a few sites contain extensive areas that are best explored by boat or canoe. Contact the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau for more information at 256-551-2230.

Monte Sano State Park

Photos: (this page and opposite) Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

Monte Sano, Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” rises more than 1,600 feet above sea level. The mountain has attracted visitors since the mid 1820’s. Currently over 14 miles of hiking/biking trails service our state park and its patrons. The North Plateau Loop and South Plateau Loop trails offer stunning vistas of the Tennessee Valley, with mild trail elevation changes. For our more serious hikers and bikers we invite you to try our Mountain Mist and McKay Hollow trails. Call 256-534-3757 for more information.

Wade Mountain Preserve

Approximately 11 miles of trails on a combination of Land Trust and private land and TVA easements. The trails are moderately technical single-track that ring the west and south sides of Wade Mountain. When followed in the correct order, the trails can provide nearly two hours of enjoyment, riding on undulating or descending singletrack (after one long climb). The trail can be ridden in two segments, one 8-mile figure-8 loop with the option of the more difficult 3-mile Land Trust Devil’s Racetrack trail at the beginning or end of the ride. The Devil’s

Racetrack is a unique geological formation that surrounds the crest of Wade Mountain. It is connected to trails that encircle the south and west portions of Wade Mountain. Located on Spragins Hollow Road. For more information call 256-534-LAND.

temperature is 60 degrees F (16 C) in the 14-acre underground wonderland, designated as a Registered National Natural Landmark in 1972. Call 256-728-8193 for more information.

Cathedral Caverns

Showcasing leisurely walks and challenging hikes, wildflower trails and natural springs, The Land Trust preserves beautiful places to experience the great Alabama outdoors. Maps are sold weekdays at 907 Franklin Street, and are available online at www. Call 256-534-5263 for more information.

Located Deep beneath Gunter’s Mountain in northeast Marshall County is a hidden treasure that offers breathtaking sights and chilly temperatures. Cathedral Caverns boasts one of the world’s largest stalagmites, frozen waterfalls, flowstone walls, and stalagmite forests. The constant year-round

The Land Trust of Huntsville

The Land Trust of Huntsville From verdant woodlands and chilly caverns to rolling mountains—the Huntsville area is home to a wealth of natural wonders. The mission of The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama is to preserve these lands for public use to enhance recreation, education, conservation, and prosperity in the North Alabama region. Areas maintained by the The Land Trust include Blevins Gap Preserve, Historic Three Caves (pictured left), Monte Sano Preserve, Rainbow Mountain, South Monte Sano Mountain, Wade Mountain Preserve, and the Wildflower Trail. With miles of hiking trails, caves, and woodlands, these areas showcase the natural beauty of North Alabama. Land Trust trails are open one hour before sunrise and close one hour after sunset. For more information, visit or call 256-534-5263 for more information.



Monte Sane, meaning, “Mountain of Health,� offers rental cabins, camping areas, hiking trails, picnic and play areas and bike paths, all with spectacular views. Just east of Huntsville, the park is easily accessible from the city.


Photo: jeff Schreier

Monte Sano State Park


Ditto Landing

Cathedral Caverns

Three Caves Tour

Historic Three Caves

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

Canoeing & Boating Chickasaw Canoeing

Featuring two courses on the Flint River; the upper course is great for small children, while the lower course is a bit more adventurous. Call 256-682-1561 for more information.

Ditto Landing

Servicing Wheeler reservoir, which has more than 60,000 acres of adventurous playground. There are ample facilities for boats of all sizes. Call 256-882-1057 for more information.

North Alabama Canoe & Kayak

Large variety of canoe and kayak rentals, a variety of river tours for groups of any size, shuttle service to all local waterways, guide

service to all local waterways and daily information on water conditions. Call 256529-0357 for more information.

Flint River Canoe Rentals

The Flint River is a scenic class 1, ideal for float trips. Reservations are recommended during prime season (April through October). Call 256-858-2280 for more information.

Madison County Lake

Madison County Lake is 15 miles northeast of Huntsville. The lake is a 105-acre, public fishing lake offering concessions, picnic facilities, grills, rentals and a bait shop. Fishing license and daily permit required. Madison County Lake is located at 2501 Country Lake Road in Gurley. For more information call 256-776-4905. ❖

Local Walking Trails aldridge creek greenway

1100 Mountain Gap Road

atwood linear park greenway

7500 Atwood Drive

big cove creek greenway

100 Old Highway 431

green mountain nature trail

5000 Nature Trail Road hays nature preserve

7153 Hwy 431 South

indian creek greenway

Slaughter Road

little cove road greenway

100 Old Highway 431

wade mountain preserve

Spragins Hollow Road


Hampton Cove Golf Course, Highland No. 5

Hit the Links

One of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors in and around the Huntsville area is to grab your clubs and experience one of the many golf courses this area offers. Hampton Cove Golf Course, one of nine stops on the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail that spans the length of our state, offers peaceful and awe-inspiring vistas of the valley region in which it is constructed while also presenting golfers with a challenging coarse that may be enjoyed by golfers regardless of skill level. For more incredible views, venture out to the Colonial Golf Course in nearby Meridianville to enjoy a beautiful coarse that is a described as very forgiving. Also in Meridianville, is the Fox Run Golf Course. Fox Run Golf Course is perfect for beginning skill level golfers because of its wide fairways and flat terrain. For our military visitors, The Links at Redstone Arsenal is your best bet. With 27 holes, beautiful landscaping and a short order restaurant at your disposal, The Links at Redstone Arsenal commands your attention. Huntsville Municipal Golf Course and Sunset Landing Golf Course are both perfect options for those who wish to remain close to the city center. Don’t have time for a full round? Then, check out the practice putting green and driving range at

the Huntsville Municipal Golf Course to sharpen your skills. Need to get your swing in tune for that upcoming company golf tournament? If so, Richland Golf Center specializes in private instruction. They also have a nine hole course and an 18-hole miniature course, all managed by a certified PGA professional. Whether you’ve got a half a day or a weekend to spend enjoying a round of golf, Huntsville has something just for you. turn the page ➛

A shining jewel of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Hampton Cove Golf Course spans 650 acres and features three 18-hole courses.

Photos: (This Page and opposite) Michael Clemmer - Golf Landscapes

From professional-quality to miniature golf, you’re sure to find your perfect green in one of the area’s many public course offerings.


G olfCourses

The Links at Redstone Arsenal military

4140 Goss Road, Redstone Arsenal, AL 35898 Phone: 256-883-7977 This beautifully landscaped facility offers 27 challenging and scenic holes, a modern club house and pro shop and a short-order restaurant for your convenience. Also provided is an excellent driving range for putting, chipping and sand play.

public 450 Old Highway 431 South, Owens Cross Road, AL 35763; Phone: 256-551-1818 The Hampton Cove course is the northernmost of the nine stops on Alabama’s famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The 54 holes cover 650 acres in a river valley setting surrounded by mountains. A 35,000-square-foot clubhouse contains a spacious golf shop and dining room. A veranda overlooks the courses. The 18-hole Highland Course and 18-hole River Course have bentgrass greens and feature 26 ponds. The 18-hole Short Course is on a par 3 layout. From U.S. 231, travel U.S. 431


South for eight miles to Hampton Cove. Call 256-551-1818 for tee times.

Colonial Golf Course public 400 Colonial Drive, Meridianville, AL 35759; Phone: 256-828-0431 This course is situated on gently-rolling Alabama hill country and is known for its perpetually well-maintained grounds. Although the fairways are quite narrow, a lack of significant rough and out-of-bounds allows the course to play very forgiving. The greens are amply-sized and feature varying degrees of undulation, and the open layout makes for a very enjoy-

able round of golf. Colonial Golf Course is located eight miles north of Huntsville on U.S. 231 at Meridianville.

Fox Run Golf Course public 870 McCollum Road, Meridianville, AL 35763; Phone: 256-828-7564 This course was built on predominantly flat terrain. The fairways are fairly wide and a few are tree lined. Water hazards come into play on a couple holes, and there are a few sand bunkers that come into play throughout the course. The greens are fairly large, sloped and generally fast.

Photo: The Links at Redstone Arsenal

Hampton Cove Golf Course

G olfCourses

Richland Golf Center also offers an 18-hole miniature golf course

Take advantage of our 30-acre driving range, beautiful 9-hole golf course, immaculate practice greens, 18-hole miniature golf course, and pro shop—all open to the public. Golf is a game to be enjoyed for a lifetime, and nothing makes golf more enjoyable than playing your best. Let Richland Golf Center help you get more enjoyment out of golf.

Huntsville Municipal Golf Course public

Richland Golf Center

Photo: brent boyd

public 10028 Memorial Parkway NW, Huntsville, AL 35810;; Phone: 256-858-6622 Whether your goal is to learn the game, lower your handicap, or win a club championship, Richland Golf Center in Huntsville, Ala., is the right place for you. We provide instructional programs that combine time-proven techniques with some of today’s innovative training technology. PGA Member and General Manager Charlie Richardson has brought together an excellent team of professionals and instructors to help you reach your goals.

2151 Airport Road, Huntsville, AL 35801; Phone: 256-880-1151 This 18-hole public facility covers 6,500 yards. The course has Bermuda tees, fairways with bentgrass greens, grass and sand bunkers, mounds and water hazards. A practice putting green, a driving range and a sandwich shop is available. Just off South Parkway (U.S. 231) at Airport Road.

Stoney Mountain Golf Course public 5200 Georgia Mountain Road, Guntersville, AL 35976-7229; Phone 256-582-2598 The 18-hole Stoney Mountain course at the Stoney Mountain Golf Course facility in Guntersville, Alabama features 5,931 yards of

golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 67.6 and it has a slope rating of 118 on Bermuda grass. Stoney Mountain golf course opened in 1977.

Sunset Landing Golf Club public Huntsville International Airport, 346 James Record Road, Huntsville, AL 35801; Phone: 256-464-5050 This par-72 course offers 6,803 yards of wide open, natural grass fairways and wellmaintained bentgrass greens. The design of this course is somewhat flat and easy to walk. There’s a lake that comes into play on one hole, and the wind can be a factor. The No. 5 hole is par 4 and the No. 8 hole is par 3.

Twin Lakes Golf Course public 211 Golfview Drive NE, Arab, AL 35016-5412; Phone: 800-213-3938 The 18-hole Twin Lakes course at the Twin Lakes Golf Course facility in Arab, Ala., features 6,612 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 70.9 and it has a slope rating of 130.  Designed by Harry Weaver, the Twin Lakes golf course opened in 1963. ❖




Silicon Valleyto the Tennessee Valley One Native Huntsvillian’s Journey from Techie to Foodie BY JENNY ADAMS P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y TAY L O R C H R I S T I A N J O N E S

The problem with making cheese is, at times, it’s basically a glorified cleaning job,” laughs Tasia Malakasis. “You begin every day with sanitizing everything, making sure your work area is totally clean. It’s a moist environment, and bacteria grows quickly. Then, you may spend four hours making cheese and an additional four cleaning up.” That’s a hassle Malakasis is willing to deal with for the enjoyment of producing her varieties of creamy Belle Chevre, a goat cheese that’s landed on the menus of acclaimed restaurants across the country, subsequently influencing the lips and pens of editors across America. TURN THE PAGE ➛


Always In Alabama

Belle Chevre has always been an Alabama goat cheese, produced for the last 25 years in the sleepy little town of Elkmont, approximately 15 miles from Huntsville. However, it wasn’t always a part of Malakasis’ life. “I was originally employed in the high tech software industry, around rich media advertising,” she says. “I always kept a home in Alabama, but I have worked in New York, Silicon Valley and Philadelphia. I loved what I did in that field—even with the crazy travel schedule—but my true passion was always food. I enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, at one point, and it was during that time that I discovered Belle Chevre.” Standing in a Dean & Deluca gourmet food shop in Manhattan, Malakasis flipped over a diminutive package of goat cheese to read “Elkmont, AL” on the back label. “Initially, I just thought, ‘Way to go, Alabama.’ Our state is a wonderful place, but nationally we don’t have much of a presence. Anytime I see something great from Alabama outside of the state, it’s a nice feeling. I started looking into Belle Chevre and found out it had won awards and was in the World Encyclopedia of Cheese.” Malakasis began calling the owner, Liz Parnell, out of a growing curiosity. As her interest increased, her eventual path became clear. One day—three-year-old son in tow—she quit her corporate job and moved back to Huntsville fulltime. She asked Parnell for a sixmonth internship with Belle Chevre.

Moving Forward

In 2007, Malakasis worked out an acquisition deal and became the new owner of Belle Chevre. While you might have images of her farming goats, she only operates a creamery not a farmstead, insisting, “I’m not a farmer, I’m a foodie.” “In the end, I guess I didn’t want an Alabama girl to have to go to New York City to find cheese made 15 miles from her hometown,” she says happily. “I wanted to do every part of it, from using what I had learned in my previous job, to make the branding appealing and approachable to a larger crowd to actually making cheese. In that same vein, I wanted to create a lot of personality for the brand. My entire philosophy is that food is about celebration. When you have an occasion to celebrate, there’s always food. We’ve been playing with the base recipe, and 12 new products have launched since I took over.” Busy as ever, Malakasis will publish a cookbook this year, filled with regular recipes and a whole host of those calling for goat cheese. Her whimsy has produced delectables like Southern Belle— a variety rolled in pecans, mint and sugar to play on the mint julep, and Greek Kiss—a decadent Mediterranean morsel wrapped in grape leaves. There’s even a goat-cheese ice cream recipe available on her website. Belle Chevre is on the menus of Huntsville restaurants like Cotton Row and 801 Franklin, and Malakasis has earned the respect of fellow cheesemakers far and wide. I was on a panel of cheesemakers recently,” she offers. “Someone on the panel said, ‘In America, cheeses made are directly in correlation with the artisan’s personality, as opposed to Europe, where you might make Parmesan if you are from that region or feta if you are from Greece.’ It struck me as true, and a bit funny. Chevre is a young cheese, and it’s a little immature, given to versatility and fun. When I look at myself, that’s kind of my personality. If I had to wait two years to taste the cheese I make, it wouldn’t be in keeping with who I was.” ❖

Where to find Belle Chevre Cheeses around Huntsville Retailers Publix, Kroger, Harrison Bro’s, Star Market, Kroger (Murray’s Cheese Shop), EarthFare

Restaurants Cotton Row, Pane Vino, The Ledges, Meza Luna, Grill 29 and The Eaves

“My entire philosophy is that food is about celebration. When you have an occasion to celebrate, there’s always food.” –Tasia Malakasis 62 EXCURSIONS

Tasia demonstrates how she creates a Greek Kiss—a Belle Chevre disc wrapped with brine-soaked grape leaves—in her creamery

To watch a video of Tasia Malakasis at work, scan this tagwith your phone. For details on using Microsoft Tags, visit page 4.


Come Hungry from upscale bistros to down home hangouts, the huntsville/madison area is teeming with culinary opportunities.

Ruth's Chris offers more than steak

A surprising number of globetrotting chefs have taken note of Huntsville’s metropolitan vibe. From Grille 29 and Chophouse to the Scene restaurant & Lounge and Phuket, top chefs are dishing out some fantastic food. These award-winning chefs have drawn from their culinary expertise in California, Thailand, New york City and across the globe to offer Huntsville diners menus that are fresh, flavor-forward and always evolving. But dressing up for dinner isn’t your only option. Huntsville is home to many restaurants where it’s cool to be casual. From famous local pizzerias like Big ed’s and Sam & Greg’s to great hangouts like Humphrey’s Bar & Grill and Gibson’s Barbecue, there are plenty of places to relax and still have a fantastic meal. Most dining options at Bridge Street Town Center are casual, as well.

If you’re in the mood for some international cuisine, you’re in luck. Phuket leads the pack on Asian cuisine, followed by a host of Japanese, Chinese and Indian restaurants. If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, the Huntsville/Madison area has you covered. dolcé offers inspired Italian favorites, and you can grab some awesome Greek food at Papou’s downtown. At first glance you might not expect to get great German food in the rocket City, but think again. When German rocket scientists relocated to Huntsville in the 1950s to help build the U.S. space program, they brought their culinary customs with them. Stop by Ol’ Heidelburg or Café Berlin for some real authentic German cuisine, like schnitzel, specialty sandwiches and more sausages and sauerkraut than you can shake a stick at. If you’re looking for a familiar res-

taurant, Huntsville is home to all your chain favorites, as well. From P.F. Chang’s, Bonefish and The Melting Pot to Landry’s, Macaroni Grill, Cracker Barrel and more, you’re sure to find a comforting favorite while you’re in town (See our sidebar on page 57 for a brief list of restaurants. Check your hotel’s front desk for the closest location). If you’re looking for restaurants that are tried and true, stick to our list. But while you’re in town, don’t be afraid to take some culinary risks. Huntsville and Madison are full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. And while you’re visiting some of Huntsville’s finest restaurants, try stepping out of your comfort zone and sampling a dish you’ve never had before. With such high-caliber chefs on the scene, you’re sure to leave the rocket City with a new appreciation for fine cuisine.

Grille 29, voted "Best Restaurant" three years running in the Taste of Huntsville contest, is not to be missed.

Photo: (oPPoSItE PagE) CRaIg ShamwELL; (thIS PagE) RUth'S ChRIS

Whether you’re wandering through downtown, window shopping at Bridge Street or simply exploring the city, you’re never far away from an unforgettable dining experience. No matter if you’re in the mood for casual and fun or glitzy and glamorous, the Rocket City has a treat for your tastebuds.


Another Broken Egg Café

Dreamland Bar-B-Que

2722 Carl T. Jones Dr., Suite D, Huntsville, AL 35802 256.883.2915

3855 University Drive, Huntsville, AL 35816 256.539.7427

If you’re looking for a quick early breakfast, or for a leisurely brunch or lunch, Another Broken Egg Cafe is the place to be. Hours of operAtion:

Monday - Sunday 7:00am - 2:00pm

A Few Items From Our Menu Appetizer: Biscuit Beignets- southern style beignets lightly tossed in powdered sugar served with honey marmalade dipping sauce. Breakfast: Eggs Benedict—an English muffin, our finest ham and two medium poached eggs, covered with creamy Hollandaise and chopped chives. Brunch: Southern Crab Stack—a seasoned grit cake with our jumbo lump crab cake, smothered with a shrimp and andouille sausage sauté. Lunch: King of Clubs—Turkey breast, sliced avocado, crisp bacon, tomato, ham, cheese and alfalfa sprouts on sourdough.


Dreamland Bar-B-Que has been an Alabama tradition since 1958. We prepare our legendary ribs, pork, sausage and chicken over an open hickory fired pit. Save room for our true Southern favorite, banana pudding. We offer a relaxed, casual, family atmosphere. Come visit us for lunch or dinner and see why they say….. “Ain’t Nothing Like ‘Em Nowhere!” Locations throughout the Southeast. Visit our website for details and to get shipping information: We ship anywhere in the U.S. 1.800.752.0544 Hours of opErAtioN: Monday - Thursday 10:00am - 10:00pm Friday & Saturday 10:00am - 11:00pm Sunday 11:00am - 9:00pm

A Few Items From Our Menu fresh from the pit: Hickory Smoked Ribs, Chicken, Pulled Pork, Smoked Sausage Appetizers: Bar-B-Que Nachos, Dream Wings sides: Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Mac & Cheese Desserts: Banana Pudding, Pecan Pie, Peach Cobbler Select Beers Available


We serve exceptionally fresh and nutritional food with over 130 menu items to choose from for your breakfast, brunch and lunch experience. When you’re looking for upscale tastes at affordable prices, then we’re the one for you! Our recipes are truly unique, and our prices show we care about value. Locals and tourists alike have commented on the casual elegance and charming French country atmosphere we offer.

Landry’s Seafood Since 1947 5101 Governors House Drive SW, Huntsville, AL 35805 256.864.0000

Landry’s is a hit from the moment you walk through an inviting movie house-style entrance. One look at the menu, and it’s clear Landry’s isn’t just the catch of the day. It’s a classic. The exceptional, fresh seafood gets star billing, any way customers want it—gulf snapper, flounder, redfish, rainbow trout, salmon, tuna and mahi-mahi—all with or without specialty toppings incorporating jumbo lump crab, shrimp, scallops and crawfish. And there’s more: Bountiful seafood platters. Gulf shrimp, oysters and shellfish prepared myriad ways. Seafood-spiked gumbos, salads and pastas, plus beef and fowl to appeal to every palate. Landry’s Famous Salad Bowl, which comes with every entrée, is tossed at the table. And it’s served on ice-cold salad plates, a Gulf Coast tradition. Hours of operation: Sunday - Thursday 11am - 10pm Friday - Saturday 11am - 10:30pm Happy Hour: Monday - Friday 3:00pm - 7:00pm

A Few Items From Our Menu Shrimp and Crab Fondue Cedar Plank Salmon Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes Broiled Seafood Platter


Steak and Lobster Landry’s Signature Bananas Foster

Mellow Mushroom 470 Providence Main St., Suite 102, Huntsville, AL 35806 256.864.2727

In 1974, three local college students decided to open a different kind of restaurant- one that reflected their own eccentric philosophies, progressive values, and relentless pursuit of quality. They purchased an old, beat-up building on Spring Street, near Georgia Tech, knowing that college kids, more than most, depended on the two major food groups known as pizza and beer. Today, there are over 100 restaurants spread across 16 states that share the DNA of that little hole in the wall on Spring Street. Each one locally-owned and operated, and every bit as unique, and just a touch eccentric, as the original. HourS of oPerAtion:

Monday-Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm, bar is open till 11:00pm Friday & Saturday 11:00am-11:00pm, bar is open till 12:00am Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm, bar is open till 10:00pm

A Few Items From Our Menu Appetizers: Hummus, Stuffed Portobello, Bruschetta Pies: The House special, The Mighty Meaty, The Caesar pizza Small = 10” Medium = 14” Large = 16” Hoagies & Salads: We have a wide variety of Grilled hoagies, Deli hoagies, and Vegetarian hoagies and the salads are just as awesome. Deserts: cookies, brownies, key lime pie, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream


475 Providence Main St., Huntsville, AL 35806 256.489.1612

The premiere Thai restaurant in Huntsville Serving the best Thai cuisine in town, Phuket has made a name for itself with its tremendous menu that ranges from sushi, curry entrees, rice dishes and noodle bowls to pad Thai, satays, steaks, seafood and more. Stop by today and indulge in an affordable and irresistible lunch or dinner at Phuket and taste the difference for yourself! HourS oF opErAtion: Monday - Friday 11:00am - 2:00pm Sunday - Thursday 5:00pm - 9:00pm Friday - Saturday 5:00pm - 10:00pm

A Few Items From Our Menu Appetizer: Phuket Lettuce Wrap, Fiery Grilled Beef Salad Sushi: Snow Crab Roll, Rainbow Roll Entree: Andaman Seafood Madness, Grilled Rib Eye, Scallops in Chili Paste Gluten-Free Menu: Satay Chicken, Thai Bbq Chicken, Jungle Chicken Curry Vegetarian Menu: Tofu Lettuce Wraps, Spicy Tofu Lemon Grass Salad, Drunken Noodle Tofu


Rosie’s Mexican Cantina 6196 University Drive NW, Huntsville, AL 256.922.1001 7540 Memorial Parkway SW, Huntsville, AL 256.382.3232

Named the “Best Mexican Restaurant in Huntsville”, Rosie’s Cantina is a fun and festive atmosphere for casual family dining. Serving honest, handmade Tex Mex favorites as well as innovative house specialties in an atmosphere filled with unique works of art, antiques from Old Mexico and upbeat music. Enjoy lunch or dinner indoors and out year round or relax fountain side beneath beautiful Mexican architecture. A full service bar features Rosie’s famous Margarita Menu, an extensive collection of Mexican beers, tequilas, select wines and martinis. Our Mambo Taxi is legendary. Locally owned and operated since 1995, Rosie’s is a Huntsville tradition. Join us and experience “Flavors Fantasticos!” Lunch Specials daily until 4:00pm Dinner Specials Friday and Saturday Hours of operation:

Monday - Thursday 11:00am - 9:30pm Friday - Saturday 11:00am - 10:30pm

A Few Items From Our Menu appetizers Barbeque Chicken Nachos Shrimp Quesadillas Deluxe Queso filled with spicy beef

specials of the House Famoso Shrimp Burrito Mexican Lasagna Texas Style Enchiladas Sizzling Fajitas

Desserts Rosie’s Fried Ice Cream Tres Leches Classic Mexican Flan

Drinks Famous Mambo Taxi Signature Margaritas “Skinny” Martinis



Scene Restaurant & Lounge 370 The Bridge Street, NW, Huntsville, AL 35806 256.327.8340

Brickhouse Sports Cafe 7 Town Center Drive, Huntsville, AL 35749 256.585.1599

Welcome to Scene Restaurant & Lounge—the ultimate Dinner and a Movie destination! Come early for Happy Hour—our radiant bar is the perfect hotspot. Stay late and sit under the stars on our beautiful outdoor patio. Experience our finest menu offerings from Executive Chef Anthony Gutierrez with selections ranging from authentic sushi to the best cheeseburger on the planet and a host of signature cocktails, wines, desserts, coffees and more. Whether you stay and play or dine and dash to your movie, one thing is for sure—Scene is the ultimate invitation to come early and stay late. hourS of oPeration:

Photo: (this page Left) wes thomas

Monday - Thursday 4:00pm - close Friday - Sunday 11:00am - close

A Few Items From Our Menu

The Brickhouse Sports Cafe is located in the Providence Village of Madison. It’s fully themed interior features rustic brick with 25 High Definition TVs for your sports enjoyment. The Brickhouse features a full service bar with a 15-tap beer system and 20 domestic and import bottles that is sure to have your favorite brew. With a full service menu you can enjoy our southwesternstyle cuisine mixed with traditional favorites including wings and sandwiches. Want to just relax? Take a seat and enjoy the game outside on our patio right next to Providence’s center fountain. The Brickhouse has something for everyone. Hours of operation:

Sunday - Thursday 11:00am - 10:00pm Friday & Saturday 11:00am - 12:00am

A Few Items From Our Menu Monte Cristo Chicken Rolls Southwest Chicken Salad

Shareables: Steak Kabobs, Blue Lump Crab Cakes

Brickhouse Fajitas

Sushi: Sexy Ban Sushi Roll, Ocean’s 7 Sushi Roll

Rueben Sandwich

Big Plates: Monaco Burger

Cajun Tilapia

Pizza: Pepperoni Mushroom Pizza

Brickhouse Burger

Dessert: Bananas Foster

Chocolate or Cheesecake Chimichanga


Taste the Flavors of Huntsville

From formal to casual, you're sure to find something that hits the spot Fun & Casual

Big Ed’s Pizzeria

Humphrey’s Bar & Grill

Huntsville’s original pizzeria, established in 1961. 903 North Memorial Parkway, 256-489-3374

Casual food and live music make this a fun spot to unwind. 109 Washington Street NE, 256-704-5575

Another Broken Egg Cafe

The place to go for breakfast, brunch or lunch! 2722-D Carl Jones Boulevard 256-883-2915

Bison’s Bar & Grill

8020 Madison Boulevard, Madison, 256-772-4477 The Brickhouse Sports Café

7 Town Center Drive NW #103, Providence 256-585-1599

Bandito Burrito

208 Main Street, Madison, 256-461-8999 3017 Governor’s Drive, Huntsville, 256-534-0866

Gibson’s Barbecue

This hickory-smoked barbecue joint has been a Huntsville mainstay since 1956. • 3319 Memorial Parkway S, 256-881-4851 • 8412 Whitesburg Drive, 256-882-0841 Main Street Café

Dreamland Bar-B-Que

3855 University Drive NW, 256-539-7427 Beauregard’s

Four locations: • 511 Jordan Lane NW, 256-837-2433 • 1420 Paramount Drive, 256-489-5380 • 1009 North Memorial Parkway, 256-512-0074 • 975 Airport Road SW, 256-880-2131

The Eaves

Stop by downtown Madison for a slice of their super-secret-recipe Coca Cola Cake. 101 Main Street, Madison 256-461-8096

501 Church Street SW, 256-489-1752 Mellow Mushroom Furniture Factory Bar & Grill

619 Meridian Street N 256-539-8001

470 Providence Main Street, Suite 102, Providence 256-864-2727

Chef Chris McDonald Grille 29 After opening 15 restaurants during his 30-year culinary career, it’s a safe bet to take the advice of Grille 29’s Executive Chef Chris McDonald. “If I were eating at Grille 29, I’d order the Ahi Tuna Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing,” says Chef McDonald, who has helped the restaurant win the title of “Best Restaurant” for the three years running in the Taste of Huntsville contest. Grille 29 boasts a snappy global menu that reflects Chef McDonald’s vast experience with global cuisine. In addition to his Asian-inspired menu favorite, you can find everything at Grille 29, from Lobster Quesadillas to Applewood Bacon-wrapped steaks. Educated in New York at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef McDonald has some advice for diners. “I order drinks and appetizers before dinner, and I always save room for dessert, Chef McDonald says. “I may not eat everything, but I always want to see it and taste it.”

If you’re in the mood for absolutely authentic Thai dishes, Phuket will not disappoint. Head Chef Tukky Phornroekngam is a masterful Thai Cuisine Chef, certified by no less than the government of Thailand. How’s that for authentic? Far from her homeland, Chef Tukky has made a name for herself in the states, having been voted one of the Best Chefs in the Tennessee Valley in 2009. She says it’s her familiarity and artistry with exotic ingredients that make her such a successful chef. “I love to use kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai basil leaves and any herbs that are essential to Thai cuisine,” Chef Tukky says. Though it’s hard to nail down a favorite, Tukky says it’s a toss-up between what she would order for dinner at Phuket. “Our grilled ribeyes are delicious, and any of the curry dishes are great,” says Chef Tukky, who has one more piece of advice for diners. “I love having a Lychee Martini or a Thai Tea Martini with my meal,” she says. “You’ll be surprised how well they compliment the Thai dishes.”


Photos: (top) brent boyd; (bottom) craig shamwell

Chef Tukky Phornroekngam Phuket

Dining out Moe’s Original BBQ

Rosie’s Mexican Cantina

Check out their chicken wings. 2030 Cecil Ashburn Drive, Suite 109, 256-881-1227

This Huntsville favorite was recently recognized by Southern Living magazine. • 6196 University Drive, 256-922-1001 • 7540-A Memorial Parkway S, 256-382-3232

Ol Heidelberg Restaurant

Fine Dining The Chophouse

Visit for steaks and seafood, plus an impressive array of sauces and compound butters to accompany. 109 Washington Street, 256-704-5555

The tastiest German fare this side of Berlin: the best source for traditional favorites including specialty sausages, sauerkraut, and various and sundry schnitzel. 6125 University Drive NW #E14, 256-922-0556

Scene Restaurant & Lounge

Pane e Vino

The Stem & Stein

Connors Steak & Seafood

Located in the Huntsville Museum of Art, this casual Italian restaurant features great pizzas and antipasti. 300 Church Street SW 256-533-1180

More than 500 wines, 30+ wines by the glass, and over 200 specialty beers. 10871 County Line Road, Suite B, 256-325-3779

345 The Bridge Street NW, 256-327-8425

Located within Monaco Pictures, this swanky spot features everything from decadent burgers to amazing sushi. 370 The Bridge Street, 256-327-8347

Commerce Kitchen

300 Franklin Street, 256-382-6622

Cotton Row Restaurant

1420 Paramount Drive, Suite 1, 256-489-8883

Superb atmosphere and stunning food make this one a showstopper. 100 Southside Square, 256-382-9500

Tony’s Little Italy

Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante

•4800 Whitesburg Drive S., 256-881-2127

This Bridge Street gem takes your Italian favorites to the next level. 365 The Bridge Street NW, 256-327-8385

Terranova’s Italian Restaurant


Stop in and enjoy all your authentic Greek favorites at this downtown spot. 110 Southside Square 256-534-5553

• 7 Town Center Drive, Providence, 256-721-7705

Sergio Artiga Rosie’s Mexican cantina Sergio Artiga’s love for food began in his mother’s kitchen in El Salvador. There he learned the simplicity of letting “food be food.” Freshness and proper preparation allow the flavor of the simplest ingredients to be the star of each dish. Because of his love for simple, fresh ingredients, Chef Sergio considers Rosie’s combination fajitas one of his favorites. “Rosie’s fajitas are made from the finest ingredients, incredibly fresh,” Chef Sergio says. “We cut our own meats every morning, produce arrives daily and our tortillas are handmade and prepared to order. The flavors are extraordinary!” Never choosing to eat alone, Artiga enjoys dining with friends and family. “Meal time is the time for a cocktail, relaxing with great company and anticipating wonderful food,” says Chef Sergio. “Buen provencho!” Rosie’s Mexican Cantina serves honest handmade Tex Mex cuisine, prepared from scratch each day. Guests can experience traditional favorites such as chili rellenos, handmade tamales and Texas-style enchiladas along with house specialties unique to Rosie’s.

Photo: (top) Iam Mccalister; (bottom) ruth's crhis

Jesse Peplow ExEcutivE chEf, Ruth’s chRis stEak housE With more than 30 years of culinary experience and a degree in Hotel Technology, Ruth’s Chris Steak House executive chef Jesse Peplow has dedicated himself as a member of the American Culinary Federation since completing his apprenticeship in 1987. Growing up, Peplow worked in his cousin’s restaurant where his motivation for cooking was first ignited. As the leader of the “heart of the house,” the kitchen, Peplow is most proud when he is passing along his knowledge to a new generation of culinarians and watching them succeed. For Peplow, the ideal dinner at Ruth’s Chris includes the ahi tuna with its spirited mustard-ginger sauce followed by the 14-ingredient Ruth’s chopped salad and a bone-in cowboy ribeye finished with a blue cheese crust. Topping it all off, he indulges in the simple and elegant chocolate sin cake. Though Ruth’s Chris is famous for its sizzling steaks, Peplow’s creativity shines through his chef’s specials. Currently, he enjoys experimenting with cilantro, intrigued by the herb’s versatility in a variety of cuisines.


Dining out Grille 29

Scene Restaurant & Lounge

Repeatedly recognized as one of Huntsville’s best restaurants. 445 Providence Main Street, 256-489-9470

Breakfast & Coffee Houses Angel's Island Coffee

Also has great sandwiches and free wi-fi. 7538 Memorial Parkway SE, 256-319-3424

Nick’s Ristorante

10300 Bailey Cove Road SE #1 256-489-8280

Blue Plate Café

This Huntsville icon serves up all of your breakfast favorites on its signature blue plates. Not to be missed! 3210 Governors Drive, 256-533-8808

Pauli’s Bar & Grill

This locally-owned spot features great atmosphere and an impressive menu. 7143-C University Drive, 256-722-2080

Downtown Grounds Coffee

109 Gates Avenue, 256-535-6564 Phoenix Bistro

Enjoy the ambiance of this Craftsman cottage while you savor farm-fresh fine dining. 515 Fountain Row, 256-534-1962

Edith Ann’s Taste of Home

11243 Memorial Parkway SW, 256-489-0881 Kaffeeklatsch

This downtown icon features a variety of flavors and roasts their own beans. 103 Jefferson Street N, 256-539-1636


Great for lunch, dinner or happy hour, this Thai/fusion sushi gem features modern décor and an exotic menu. 475 Providence Main Street, 256-489-1612

Jamo’s Café Dallas Mill Deli

413 Jordan Lane NW, 256-837-7880

500 Pratt Avenue NW, 256-489-3354

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Famous for their steaks, but don't miss their Chocolate Sin Cake. 800 Monroe Street (In the Embassy Suites) 256-539-3930

Joe Muggs Coffee Lyn’s Gracious Goodness

Multiple locations

Southern cooking with a touch of something special. 2306 Whitesburg Drive S, 256-533-2607

Old Towne Coffee Shoppe

The Melting Pot

A comfortable community coffee shop with great atmosphere. 511 Pratt Avenue NE., 256-539-5399

340 Bridge Street Town Centre, 256-327-8888

Mullins Drive In

Lunch Spots

Victoria’s Café

Multiple locations.

A popular lunch spot, Victoria’s is also open for breakfast. Try sweet potato pancakes. 7540 Memorial Parkway SE #E, 256-881-0403

The Coffee Tree Books & Brew

607 Andrew Jackson Way NW, 256-539-2826 Starbucks


Allow them to cater your next meeting. • 4747 Bob Wallace Avenue (in the Huntsville Botanical Gardens), 256-830-4447 • 600 O’Shaugnessy Avenue NE, 256-512-0697

Wild Rose Café

121 Northside Square, 256-539-3658

Peruse the book selection while you sip your coffee. 7900 Bailey Cove Road SE 256-880-6121

Anthony Gutierrez Head cHef,

THe Scene Lounge aT Monaco PicTureS

With a culinary resume filled with impressive West Coast restaurants, Chef Gutierrez is a master of his craft. Since childhood, he’s been surrounded by fresh California produce, which has trained him to celebrate the experience of seasonal cuisine. “I have a few favorite ingredients to work with, but of course they vary by season,” Chef Gutierrez says. “This time of year, I love to work with fresh asparagus, succulent strawberries and yellow fin tuna.” The menu at The Scene Lounge reflects Anthony’s culinary upbringing and influences. And while he loves everything on it, he does have a few favorites. “I would share a warm Edamame, Hummus and Pita Chips and a Beef Satay dish with two or three friends,” Chef Gutierrez says. “Then I would have the Seared Tuna, Monaco Burger or Chicken Florentine—depending on my mood.”


Photo: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Head chef Anthony Gutierrez has cooked for Bill Clinton, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. And if you stop by at The Scene Lounge at Monaco Pictures, he’ll cook for you.

There's Only One Pauli's

A 13-year partnership is the key to their success. b y


pon first glance, you might mistake Pauli’s, with its simple moniker and bright awning, for an average dining experience. Venture inside and you will learn why Pauli’s is considered the top of the food chain in North Alabama. Pauli’s Bar & Grill, known as Pauli’s by its patrons, was opened in 1998 by namesake Paul (Pauli) Thornton. Born in Florence, Ala., Pauli has always held a special place in his heart for North Alabama, even though life’s journey took him on a handful of faraway adventures before he settled down back home. His role as head waiter at the Green Bottle Grill proved most pivotal in Pauli’s life. Not only did it cement his love of the restaurant business and give him the leadership skills needed to run a top notch establishment, it's also where his brilliant partnership with Chef Matthew Martin was formed. With a little ingenuity from Pauli and a little creativity from Matt and a little emotional and financial support from his mom Sheila and step-father Bob, the

dream of their own restaurant was born. After honing his skill in various restaurants across the region, Pauli took a chance and captured the hearts—and taste buds—of Huntsville with his own restaurant. When Pauli’s opened its doors in 1998, it seated only 35 customers in the dining room and 10 more at the bar. What it lacked in size, it more than made up for in enthusiasm and heart. Within six weeks, The Huntsville Times awarded the new restaurant with perfect scores for both food and service—a feat only one other restaurant in the newspaper’s history had achieved. In the ensuing years, Pauli’s entered the realms of gourmet foods, fine wines, private parties and catering and mastered each of them. Today, Pauli’s boasts 125 seats in the dining room, 24 seats at the bar, two private dining rooms and a patio. With its vast menu of gourmet delights and hearty comfort food, it is no wonder that Pauli’s wood-fire grilled steaks, fresh seafood and decadent desserts earned the crowns “Best Restaurant Overall” and “Best Chef” by Huntsville’s reader’s poll,

h e ath e r a d ams

Planet Valley. Just a few of Pauli’s most and delectable menu items are the “local’s favorite” spinach salad, king and queen sized filet mignons, potato-crusted Alaskan Halibut, grilled sea scallops, crème brulee and bread pudding tinged with whiskey. Pauli’s has also received the distinguishing Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator every year since 2000 for its commitment to great wine. Boasting over 50 different types by the glass and the sophisticated Argon system to prevent oxidation, Pauli’s has certainly earned this distinction. Pauli’s reputation is not limited to the Huntsville area by any means; in fact, this family restaurant’s name is known across the state, as indicated by its title as a Three Diamond AAA Restaurant. According to AAA, Pauli’s is the “Best Restaurant in North Alabama.” After 13 years and five solo projects between them, Pauli and Matt are still making magic. Because regardless of all the other restaurants in Huntsville, “there is only one Pauli’s.” ❖

Known for Our Food, Remembered for Our Service 7143-C Highway 72 West Huntsville, Alabama 35758 Hours of operation:


Tuesday — Thursday 4:30pm to 9pm Friday and Saturday 4:30pm to 10pm

Reservations 256-722-2080 • Online reservations and menu at Find us on Facebook at Offering 2 bars and a wonderful patio

AAA 3 Diamond award, Wine Specator Award of Excellence and Recently Voted “Best Restaurant Overall” and “Best Chef” in the 2008 Valley Planet Reader’s Poll.



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1 Another Broken Egg Cafe 2722-D Carl Jones Drive 256-883-2915

1 Alabama Constitution Village 109 Gates Avenue SE 256-564-8100

2 Dreamland Bar-B-Que 3855 University Drive/Research Park 256-539-7427

2 Burritt on the Mountain 3101 Burritt Drive SE 256-536-2882

3 Grille 29 445 Providence Main Street NW 256-489-9470

3 EarlyWorks Children’s Museum 404 Madison Street 256-564-8100

4 Landry’s Seafood House 5101 Governors House Drive SW 256-864-0000

4 Huntsville Botanical Gardens 4747 Bob Wallace Avenue SW 256-430-3572

5 Mellow Mushroom 400 Providence Main Street, Suite 102 (Providence) 256-864-2727

5 Huntsville Depot Museum 320 Church Street NW 256-564-8100

6 Pauli’s Bar & Grill 7143-C Highway 72 W 256-722-2080

Convention & Visitors Bureau

8 Rosie’s Mexican Cantina 6196 University Drive NW 256-922-1001

8 U.S. Space & Rocket Center 1 Tranquility Base 1-800-637-7223

9 Rosie’s Mexican Cantina 7540 Memorial Parkway SW 256-382-3232

9 Huntsville Museum of Art 300 Church Street SW 256-535-4350

w The Brickhouse Sports Café 7 Town Center Drive (Providence) 256-585-1599

Living 1 Huntsville Chamber of





rd eva oul

q 4 7

Old Madison Pike NW 565   

565   

1 Hopper’s Bar and Grill

(In the Holiday Inn—Research Park)

5903 University Drive 256-830-0600

3 Huntsville Symphony


Bridge Street Town Center

Entertainment & Nightlife

2 Jeff Benton Homes 809 Shoney Drive SW 256-489-0830 8625 Memorial Parkway SW 256-714-5001

255  

Redstone Arsenal

2 Huntsville Ballet Company 800 Regal Drive Drive SW 256-539-0961

3 esd marketing llc (mcmullen Cove)




225 Church Street NW 256-535-2000



500 Church Street NW 256-533-5723 7 Sci-Quest 102-D Wynn Drive NW 256-837-0606

q Scene Restaurant & Lounge 370 The Bridge Street NW 256-327-8347

y Dr

6 Huntsville/Madison County

7 Phuket 475 Providence Main Street NW 256-489-1612

0 Ruth’s Chris Steak House 800 Monroe Street (In the Embassy Suites) 256-539-3930

Univ ersit


700 Monroe Street SW 256-539-4818 4 Monaco Pictures 370 The Bridge Street NW 256-327-8340

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY: Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau The Downtown Forty-Seven • Boyce Restaurant Concepts Huntsville Committee of 100 • Von Braun Center



565  

72  


   565

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W Ave


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1 ve SE Cir

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SE Aly se u r C


SE St lin nk Fra




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Mcclung Ave SE

231  

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Von Braun Center

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Mon roe St

Davis Cir

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Fagan Creek


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California St SE

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SE St ln co Lin

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Whi te C ir S E

E eS Av s sti Eu


Maple Hill St SE

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SE St ite Wh

NE St ne ee Gr


Randolph St England St SE

Wells Ave SE

Linc oln St N E

NW St roe n Mo


431  

NE St ith Sm


NE ve lA o ho Sc eE Av on t n Cli

E tN sS lla Da

NW St ton ng shi Wa tN son S Jeffer

University of Alabama Huntsville


E eN Av e w Ho

Meridia n St N

565   


Colorado St SE

53  

65 1

England St NE


Coleman St NE

231  

Coleman St SE

72  

Map markers are approximate.


A Full Calendar of Fun No matter what the season, there’s always something exciting going on in the Huntsville/Madison area.

The Fourth of July fireworks at Bridge Street are always a showstopper


BBQ & Bluegrass Huntsville Museum of Art

Enjoy hot BBQ and cool bluegrass on the Museum’s patio. Activities include children’s crafts and an artist market. Call 256535-4350 or visit for more information.

John Stallworth Golf Tournament Hampton Cove Golf Course, Huntsville Country Club Course

Mingle with celebrity guests, enjoy great food, bid on fantastic auction items and enjoy some great golf at this annual event that raises money for scholarships at Alabama A&M University. Participants will have the chance to play golf with celebrities who will rotate among the golf teams throughout the event. Immediately afterward, enjoy all-you-can-eat Big Bob Gibson’s barbeque. Approximately 35 celebrities from sports and entertainment are expected to participate in each of these events. Call 256-5368050 or visit for more information. JULY

Pre-Independence Celebration Joe Davis Stadium

Watch the Huntsville Stars take on the Mississippi Braves, then stay for the fireworks. Fireworks follow the 6:45 p.m. game. Call 256-882-2562 or visit www.huntsvillestars. com for more information.

Photo: (opposite page) Michael Misianowycz; (This page) monaco pictures

Fireworks Extravaganza Bridge Street Town Center

Celebrate the Fourth of July with some retail therapy and fantastic fireworks. Call 256-327-8400 for more information.

Space Exploration Celebration U.S. Space and Rocket Center

The Space Exploration Celebration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., is a reunion for those who worked in the U.S. Space Program and for citizens who support space exploration. This eighth annual event will be held in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is title sponsor for the event that will be a salute to the Space Shuttle Program. Call 800-637-7223 or visit for information.

Rocket City Beach Bash EarlyWorks Museum

Go coastal in downtown Huntsville! 400 tons of sand is transformed into a beach— complete with tunnels to crawl through and treasures to explore. Inflatables, wading pools, volleyball—it’s a regular beach out there! More information and activities to be announced later this spring. Call 256-5648100 or visit or www. for more information. Follow us on Facebook—Rocket City Beach Bash. AUGUST

Parrots of the Caribbean Street Festival Downtown Madison

Parrotheads and music lovers everywhere are invited to don their grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts and island wear to enjoy dancing,

door prizes, raffle baskets, a limbo contest and a fabulous island theme. Call 256-7240632 for more information. september

Old Fashioned Trade Day Madison County Courthouse Square

Here’s the chance to turn back the calendar with a laid-back downtown street fair, flea market, crafts booths and food. For more information call 256-539-0097.

Big Spring Jam Von Braun Center, Downtown Huntsville

Downtown Huntsville’s Von Braun Center is the venue for the annual Big Spring Jam. The music festival features a stellar lineup of rock, country, hip-hop, blues, cajun and alternative acts on multiple stages. For more information call 256-533-1953 or visit EXCURSIONS 77

ANNUALEvENTS right: From historic demonstrations to summer concerts, Burritt on the Mountain is always hopping. below: Big Spring Jam at the Von Braun Center in Downtown Huntsville; bottom left: John Stallworth is a comprehensive list of what is happening in our area searchable by keyword, date and category. It’s ALL events and activities; if we missed one, you can add it!


Indian Heritage Harvest Festival

Veteran’s Day Parade

Madison Street Festival

burritt on tHe MountAin

Downtown Huntsville

Celebrate Alabama’s rich Native American heritage with Indian crafts, music, dancing, storytelling, hands on activities for kids and activities from 19th century farms. Call 256-536-2882 for more information.

The traditional time for a Veterans Day parade is the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. At 11 am, the flag at the corner of Williams and Lowe Avenues will be raised to full mast, followed by Taps and a three-volley rifle salute. Call 256-5334848 for more information.

Downtown MADison

Enjoy a parade of local community organizations, schools and civic clubs, entertainment throughout the day, children’s activities, trades and food vendors. Call 888-2285845 for more information.

ARToberfest Huntsville MuseuM of Art

A fantastic celebration of great art, craft beer and German food. Call 256-535-4350 or visit for more information.

Cemetery Stroll MAple Hill CeMetery

A free event that features actors in period costumes re-enacting the lives of more than 80 former Huntsville residents. Characters include five past Alabama governors, soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, architect George Steele, romantic poet and artist (Maria) Howard Weeden and the world-wise Tallulah Bankhead. Call 256-533-5723 for more information. 78 eXcursions

Liz Hurley Ribbon Run

The race will take place on starting at the corner of Lowe Avenue and Adams Street and ending at Huntsville Middle School. Festivities include live entertainment, food and beverages, booth displays and children’s activities. Call 256-265-9452 or visit for more information.

Wood Carving Show and Competition HistoriC Huntsville Depot

Demonstrations in woodcarving and woodworking, fine arts, caricatures, holiday gifts, tree ornaments, carving tools and supplies. For more information call 256-881-5052.



Wild Wild Weather Day

Galaxy of Lights


Huntsville botAniCAl GArDen

Weather takes center stage when WHNT Meteorologist Dan Satterfield visits SciQuest to discuss clouds, severe weather and arctic science as he presents an in-depth look at weather! For more information call 256-837-0606 or visit

Join the tradition by driving through the winter light extravaganza in the warmth of your car. See thousands of twinkling lights and fabulous new animated displays.Call 256-830-4447 or visit for more information.

Photos: craig shaMwell; huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

There’s plenty to do if you know where to click!


top left: Wander through a sparkling winter wonderland at the Botanical Garden’s Galaxy of Lights. top right: Review your Christmas list at Santa’s Village. bottom: Many marathon opportunities abound in the Huntsville area.

Santa’s Village

Photo: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

Alabama Constitution Village

Visit the Village Santa calls home! Each evening, amid an hourly snowfall, your family will delight in visiting Mrs. Claus’ kitchen and help decorate a cookie, see the “elves” in the workshop and the live reindeer at their stable. Enjoy the twinkling lights, music from local performers, make a craft and, of course, spend some time with Santa! Call 256-564-8100 or visit santasvillage for more information. Follow us on Facebook—Santa’s Village.

Spirit of Christmas Past Home Tour

Huntsville’s Twickenham District The Twickenham District will be aglow with luminaries, trees and front doors glistening with holiday decorations and carolers strolling along the way. Call 256536-7718 for more information.

Christmas Parade Downtown Huntsville

The first Saturday in December, Huntsville celebrates the beginning of Christmas with

a downtown parade that features the arrival of Santa Claus. The parade is sponsored and televised by Channel 7 WAAY-TV. Visit for information.

Rocket City Marathon

For the past 30 years the Rocket City Marathon has been a premiere marathon event in the South. The Rocket City Marathon is conducted by the Huntsville Track Club and scores double points on the Running Journal Grand Prix XXIX Championship Circuit. Call 256-650-7063 or visit www. for more information January–February 2012

Dog Days Huntsville Botanical Gardens

Bring your four-legged friend and a frisbee to the gardens in January and February to experience the fun of “Dog Days.” Stroll down the Dogwood Trail or enjoy the “no leash zone” in the back of the garden. Special events and workshops are planned for your canine friends. Call 256-830-4447 or visit for more information on these opportunities.

Have a Heart Day Sci-Quest

Ever wanted to see what a real heart looks like or view your own heartbeat? Children will enjoy a day of heart-related activities, including making their own stethoscopes, Valentine’s Day crafts and learning more fun facts about this amazing muscle and organ. For more information on this and other educational opportunities for the kids, call 256-837-0606 or visit www.

Rocket Day Sci-Quest

3, 2, 1…Blast Off! Join us as we celebrate National Engineering Week with what else—rockets! Fun and science combine in the Rocket City as engineers from The Boeing Company teach you how rockets work by helping you build and launch your own water rocket! Or, if you prefer, test your wits by making your own rocket at home and bringing it to the launch to see how it measures up against the ones who had professional help. For more information call 256-837-0606 or visit www. EXCURSIONS 79


right: Teams of two compete in the Moonbuggy Race. below: Explore your creative side at the Panoply Arts Festival.

Winter Wine Weekend Huntsville Museum of Art


Spring Festival of Flowers Huntsville Botanical Garden

Tens of thousands of blooming tulips, daffodils, dogwoods, azaleas and a breathtaking wildflower trail welcome spring in a spectacular show. We guarantee you’ve never seen bugs like the cricket, snail, dragonfly and ladybug topiaries. The experience is sure to delight the senses of sight and smell. Festival weekends will feature music and special activities for children. Call 256830-4447 or visit for more information. APRIL

The Great Moonbuggy Race U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Come watch as college and high school students strap on helmets and race their uniquely designed “moonbuggies” over a half-mile simulated lunar terrain course. Racers face many obstacles, including “craters,” rocks, 80 EXCURSIONS

“lava” ridges, inclines and “lunar” soil. Call 800-637-7223 or visit www.moonbuggy. for more information on this other-worldly racing event.

Hands-On Truck Event Sci-Quest

From ice cream trucks to fire engines, SciQuest assembles a variety of vehicles for this day of fun! Local organizations provide the vehicles to give kids a unique, close-up look and hands-on experience at Hands-on Trucks. Perfect for the young vehicle enthusiast in your life. For more information call 256-837-0606 or visit

Crescen-Dough Auction Von Braun Center

The Crescen-Dough Auction is a fun-filled evening of bidding, socializing and dining organized annually by the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild to support the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Auctions are held annually each spring. Advance reservation must be made in order to attend so call early.Please call the HSO office at 256-539-4818 or visit for more information or to reserve your place at the next auction!

Spring Farm Days Burritt on the Mountain

There’s no better way to kick off spring than by spending a Saturday at Burritt on the Mountain’s Spring Farm Days. Come see your favorite farm animals romp around in their element. Watch as our sheep are sheared throughout the day, and observe and participate in the process that takes wool from sheep to shawl. Kids can peddle miniature tractors and cheer at the all-new tractor parade, which will take place twice each day. Adults will enjoy great concerts and exploring the nooks and crannies of the mansion. Call 256-536-2882 or visit for more information.

Nano Day Sci-Quest

Let’s get small! Learn about the science of nanotechnology and its applications to everyday products such as clothing, sports equipment and appliances. Make a liquid crystal viewer, learn how gecko feet are marvels of nanotechnology, and participate in many more exciting hands-on nano activities and demonstrations. For more information call 256-837-0606 or visit www.

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau; nasa

Every year the Huntsville Museum of Art Women’s Guild showcases a featured vintner at two spectacular events. The weekend includes a formal dinner paired with amazing wines, a wine tasting and silent auction. Call 256-535-4350 or visit for more information.

annualevents left: Sometimes kids steal the show at the Panoply Arts Festival. bottom: Get up close and personal with your favorite farm animal friends at Burritt on the Mountain’s popular Spring Farm Days. below: The barbecue

competition is a huge draw at the Whistle Stop Festival.

Cotton Row Run Huntsville

Run the Cotton Row 10K or run/jog/walk the Two-Mile Memorial Run through the historic downtown area. Call 256-6507063 for more information.

Butterfly House Photo: paul oberle; Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau;

Huntsville Botanical Garden

Panoply® Arts Festival Big Spring International Park, Downtown Huntsville

The annual Panoply Arts Festival boasts stages offering regional and national performers in dance, music and theater performances. In addition there will be children’s make-and-take activities, an art marketplace, artist demonstrations and a choreography competition for you to enjoy.. There is something for everyone, regardless of age or interest. Call 256-519-ARTS (2787) or visit for more information.

WhistleStop Festival and Rocket City BBQ Cook-Off Historic Huntsville Depot


Featuring over 150 professional, backyard, and kids barbecue cooking teams vying for prizes, live music on two stages showcasing Alabama’s vast musical talent, finals of the Dreamland rib-eating challenge, the people’s choice competition, where visitors sample from over 40 of the competitive cooking teams and vote with their spare change for their preferred team and a Kids FunZone. Follow us on Facebook—WhistleStop Festival. Call 256-564-8100 for more information or visit

Huntsville Pilgrimage

Run through the Roses

Huntsville Historic Districts

City of Madison

If historic architecture is your thing—don’t miss a chance to view Alabama’s history through the architecture and ambiance of the homes, churches and landmarks in Huntsville’s downtown historic areas, located in the Twickenham, Old Town and Five Points historic districts. Admission charged. Tour begins at the Pilgrimage Association Headquarters, 206 Gates Avenue. Call 800-772-2348 for more information.

This 10K Race starts and finishes at Bob Jones High School. The race course highlights Madison’s signature plant, the Radrazz Knock Out Rose. Participants will include serious competitors, casual athletes and local residents—there’s something for everyone. Come by after the race for live music and a Kentucky Derby-style live auction. Call 256-682-5117 for more information.

May through September. This education center is home to the nation’s largest openair butterfly house. The nature center is also home to an assortment of critters including snakes, quail, hummingbirds, frogs, fish and turtles. Admission charged. Call 256-830-4447 for more information or visit

Classic Movies In The Park Huntsville Museum of Art

Select Fridays, May-August . The Museum of Art hosts free movies shown on the west side of the Museum. Movies begin at sundown. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and picnics. Call 256-5354350 or visit for more information.

Old School & Blues Festival John Hunt Park

Memorial Day Weekend. An outdoor celebration with an emphasis on new and legendary soul and blues artists. Call 256430-4072 or visit for more information. To find out more about the area’s latest events, call 800-772-2348 or consult Huntsville’s Calendar of Events at ❖ EXCURSIONS 81

Big Spring Park is the heart of Huntsville.

The Smartest Little City in the U.S. Huntsville racks up awards for fast growth, performance and family-friendliness. b y K imb e r l y B a l l ar d


t is hot off the presses. fDi Magazine just named Huntsville, Ala., one of the Top 5 Small Cities of the Future in North and South America. The TechAmerica Foundation’s Cybercities Report says Huntsville’s concentration of high-tech workers is second in the nation only to San Jose’s Silicon Valley. Huntsville’s first quarter press falls on the heels of almost monthly recognitions throughout 2010 from publications like Area Development, who ranked Huntsville one of the country’s leading Hotbeds for HighTech Growth and one of the country’s Top 10 Most Attractive Metros for Business, The Milken Institute, who called Huntsville one of the Top 3 Best Performing Cities in the Country and according to Kiplinger’s, Huntsville is one of the country’s Top 10 Cities for Raising Families. These acknowledgements put somewhat of a damper on the legends about buying a banjo before moving to Huntsville, or imagining yourself beating the dirt out of your clothes with a rock along the river’s edge. In fact, approaching Huntsville from the west, newcomers are instantly transported from urban legend to science fiction in action. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center stands like a sentinel over Cummings Research Park, the second largest research and development park in the country, fourth largest in the world and home to more than 50 Fortune 500 companies.

Entering Huntsville from the east through Hampton Cove, the busy intersection of Sutton Road and Highway 431 is indistinguishable from a busy intersection in the suburbs of Chicago or Atlanta with its super Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and popular fast food restaurants. But from a purely social and economical standpoint—that’s where the similarities end. “‘Do they have air conditioning in Alabama?’ my mother asked when I told her I was selling my house overlooking the Potomac in Alexandria, Va., to marry Jay and move to Alabama,” recalls Penny Billings, president of BancorpSouth in Huntsville, a community-oriented bank with nine locations in North Alabama. Penny explained she had visited the Huntsville area many times with Jay, whose family owned a rustic fishing cabin on Lake Guntersville. “When she came down to visit though, she quickly understood why I was so willing to make the move.” Mayor Tommy Battle well understands why people find Huntsville such an easy place to settle down and raise a family. “A move to Huntsville improves your quality of life,” Mayor Battle says. “Our cost of living is 20 percent lower than the national average, and a lot of hard work goes into keeping it that way.” Many statistics confirm Huntsville’s claim as one of the most cost-efficient cities in America. Compiled by the Council EXCURSIONS 83

for Community and Economic Research (CCER), the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association’s (ACCRA) statistics measure cost of living differences between U.S. cities. Huntsville, when compared to like communities in size and technology like Richmond, Va.; Charlotte, N.C.; San Jose, Ca.; Austin, Tx.; Orlando, Fla. and Raleigh, N.C.; is lower in housing costs, utilities, health care and the overall composite index. Mayor Battle says there are several reasons why this is so. “One of the ways we accomplish this is by keeping Huntsville operating under one administration rather 84 EXCURSIONS

than broken up into smaller, scattered municipalities. The other way is low taxes.” Other large cities in Alabama have 10 percent sales tax, while Huntsville’s sits at 8 percent. “We have intentionally kept taxes low and we continue to work every day to keep them low,” he explains. “We do that by keeping government efficient. Our magic is having city employees double up on jobs; we work to eliminate waste and we run City government on a shoestring budget.” One of the first shocks new Huntsville homebuyers get when moving from large metropolitan cities is low property taxes. Karen Plant, Realtor for Keller Williams

Holly McDonald and Company, who moved to Huntsville five years ago from Fairfax County, Va., explains, “I had a client who paid over $8,000 a year in property taxes on her $600,000 house in the Alexandria-D.C. area. You forgo exorbitant property taxes here in Huntsville.” The going property taxes on a $200,000 house in Madison County are about $1,200 per year; and furthermore, that same $200,000 house in Huntsville, will run about $600,000 in D.C. Perhaps that’s why named Huntsville one of the nation’s most affordable cities. According to their website, “Residents who live in [Huntsville, ranked No. 19 among] these 25 growing towns, see their incomes go the furthest.” Karen says people from Chicago, Los Angeles or D.C. are amazed when she takes them out looking at houses. “They get more house for their money and they get it in upgrades, lot size and amenities.” For example, one of her clients sold their four-level townhouse, built very narrow and straight up and down with very limited floor space, for $750,000 in Alexandria; then bought a sprawling home with a swimming pool in Huntsville, near Research Park for $700,000. “A $450,000 home in Madison County will easily cost $1 million in Fairfax County, Va.,” she says. “Many of the builders in Huntsville underestimated what people moving from Richmond and D.C. could buy when they first started building houses in preparation for BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure],” says Neil Victor of Sperry Van Ness.

Photos: (this page and previous page) Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau



Then there are healthcare costs…some of the lowest in the country. How does Huntsville keep health care costs low when they are skyrocketing everywhere else? According to Burr Ingram, vice president of communications and marketing at Huntsville Hospital, “We believe quality care is less expensive than care that isn’t. With no

“Huntsville stretches the limits of our cerebral capacity with more PhDs and engineers in one city than anywhere else in the country.” —Mayor Battle

real ability to impact what we are paid, we have to make cost control a major focus. “Huntsville Hospital’s costs are in the lowest twenty-fifth percentile in the nation…Being busy is a huge factor in our ability to hold down costs. Simply said, we can spread our costs over a larger patient base, and our local, not-for-profit ownership is an advantage because all of the funds generated are plowed back into the care that is provided to the community.” According to Cecilio “CJ” Kentish, owner of KTi Express Courier, who moved to Huntsville from Orlando, Fla., two years ago to start his own business, a higher quality of living comes down to the simple things in life like lifestyle and convenience. “With the exception of I-4, you cannot travel a road in the Orlando area without paying tolls,” he says. “Because I am in the courier business, I am constantly on the road. I have saved anywhere from $50 to $75 a week in highway tolls, not to mention the cost of gasoline, which is ten to twenty cents cheaper per gallon than in Florida.” “I’ll take it a step further,” says Neil Victor. ”Even though gasoline is high, you do not have the long drive times and bottle-

Photo: ian mccalister

“People began buying bigger lots, building bigger houses and adding more amenities until the family who was living by moderate means in D.C., were able to afford minimansions in Madison County.” And housing is not the only thing that is cheaper. Karen’s husband, Tom Plant, a defense analyst with Paradym Technologies transferred to Huntsville with BRAC. “Take daycare for instance,” she says, “An upscale daycare in Fairfax County cost $16,000 per child, per year. In Huntsville, I have both of my children in daycare for $20,000 a year.” Huntsville utility costs are some of the lowest in the country. As a Tennessee Valley Authority distributor, Huntsville Utilities is a municipal utility that abstains from high profitability and investor dividends. Instead, they run an efficient system with set-aside funding for basic operations, emergency plans and construction only. Huntsville holds their rates at about $0.08.2 per kilowatt hour, when the national rate in December 2010 was $0.12 per kilowatt hour, making Huntsville lower by more than three points when compared to six other technology-based cities.


below left:

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

Featuring strong public and private schools as well as numerous local degree programs, Huntsville is a city that takes education seriously. below right: Huntsville boasts a strong community spirit that makes it a great place for families.

necked highways anywhere in Madison County that you have in other cities. You don’t use as much gas as you do in most cities to get from one point to the other.” “From anywhere in the city limits, our residents are looking at a maximum seventeen-minute commute, whether you are going onto Redstone Arsenal, downtown Huntsville, South Huntsville and Jones Valley or Cummings Research Park (CRP),” Mayor Battle says. “In Orlando if you left work at 4:30, you would get home around 6:00 or 6:30,” Kentish says. “Consider an eight hour work day and tack an on extra two to three hours of commute time and you have an eleven hour day…three of which you could be spending with your family.” From a commercial standpoint, Huntsville is what Neil Victor calls a tertiary or service industry market. “Right now, Cap Rates are expanding, which means prices are coming down.” (Capitalization rates are the ratio between the net operating income produced and its capital costs or the original price paid for the asset, also known as market value.) “This tells us we are in a recovery and things are getting better.”

Victor also feels that Huntsville’s melting pot culture is an alluring aspect to doing business here. “In some small cities, you have a good-ole’-boy network in place and ideas are kept close to the vest, so to speak. The vast majority of people who live in Huntsville were transferred here from somewhere else. They built up their business here or improved their lifestyle by coming here for a job. These people are open to new opportunities, open to meeting new people and are willing to hear your ideas and hear what you have to say. It’s easy to do business in Huntsville.” Quality of life is not just an economical issue. Today, Penny Billings is involved in so many Huntsville businesses and associations, she wouldn’t think of leaving. A former member of the Board for the Better Business Bureau; a current member of the Chamber of Commerce Board; past chair of the United Way of Madison County; passionately involved in the Madison/Marshall County Chapters of the Red Cross and, since she and Jay are both cancer survivors, active supporters of the North Alabama chapter of the Cancer Society; Penny says Huntsville is a big little city. “You are just a blip on the radar in a city like New York or D.C.,” Billings says, “But in Huntsville, you can get involved in anything that interests you.” “Huntsville is an accepting city where you can get involved in your community in an important way,” says Mayor Battle, who moved to Huntsville from Birmingham in 1980. “In 1984, I ran for City Council and won. Today I am mayor of this great city. I encourage others to do the same thing.” “People ask if our growth and low cost of living is sustainable,” Mayor Battle reflects.

“It is absolutely sustainable because of Huntsville’s widespread diversity.” Entrepreneur named Huntsville the nation’s leading Small City with Big Opportunities. Could it have anything to do with Huntsville having the highest concentration of engineers and technology workers in the country? Huntsville may have gotten on the map because of the U.S. Space program, but it never stopped there—it branched out. Today Huntsville sustains a healthy defense industry in support of American troops abroad with specializations in research, development and manufacturing. Nearly 250 aerospace and defense contractors call Huntsville home. A burgeoning life sciences industry with its biomedical research and Human Genome Project made possible through the Hudson Alpha Institute of Biotechnology has taken root in the past decade and a growing electronics and computer-related industry lies in wait of the future. “Huntsville stretches the limits of our cerebral capacity with more PhDs and engineers in one city than anywhere else in the country,” says Mayor Battle. Is anybody up for a little banjo music? ❖ EXCURSIONS 87

Come Grow With Us in Madison

Through growth and change, the City of Madison retains its small-town feel and charm, while leading the state in advancements. b y r a c h e l d av i s

Photos: (oppostite Page) Brent Boyd; (this Page) Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau

Madison Station Antiques


ncorporated over 150 years ago, Madison occupies a mere 23.3 square miles just west of Huntsville, a mix of historic buildings and modern convenience. The proximity of the Huntsville airport seems a stark contrast to the quaintness of downtown and the “small town” feel is offset by the booming technology industry. “We want people to love working, playing, and living in our great city,” said Madison mayor, Paul Finley. “We want it to be a place where you want to move, raise a family and retire. We want businesses to start here and to grow and succeed. Improving every facet of our residents’ quality of life will keep Madison, Alabama, as the community of choice in the Tennessee Valley.” The mayor and city council are always looking for ways to improve the city for its current citizens while attracting new citizens. They seem to have accomplished just that—the 2010 Census results show Madison as the fastest growing city in Alabama, and the tenth largest city in the state, with a recorded population of 42,938, a 46.4 per-

cent growth over the 2000 Census data. In addition to the population growth, the quality of living in Madison has received attention. CNN Money Magazine named Madison in its top 50 Best Places to Live in June 2009. In August 2009, U.S. News & World Report called Madison the second best place in the country to grow up. To accomplish their mission of making Madison a desirable city to live and do business in, the mayor and city council have developed five overriding goals: • Efficient and well maintained roads • A school system that remains the shining star of our city • A responsive City Hall that treats our citizens with prompt and courteous service • Increased and improved recreational opportunities for children and adults • Thriving social “destinations” at which to eat, shop, work and play  The mayor and city council believe that keeping these goals at the forefront of every decision keeps the city government focused on the long-term goals, keeping them running as efficiently as possible.

Work Hard

More than 450 businesses are located in Madison, from technology companies to manufacturers to a company that creates custom vehicles for its clients, and, of course, the mom-and-pop businesses requisite for small towns to retain their charm. Many business are attracted by the lower cost of doing business and the rich employee pool (94.6 percent of Madison’s adults have at least a high school diploma and nearly 70 percent hold a Bachelor’s degree, while 17 percent hold advanced degrees). The city’s largest employer, Intergraph, a computer networking company employs almost 4,000 people. Madison is also benefitting from the business boom in nearby Huntsville. With commute times that average less than a half-hour, many employees working at Huntsville-based businesses also choose to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and make their homes in Madison. One of the largest employers is the city itself. The city of Madison employs more than 300 people to keep the city government and all its various departments running smoothly. EXCURSIONS 89

Play Hard

The city’s Park and Recreation Department operates more than 30 community parks, making sure that the community has a safe, updated area to play, meet or socialize. The department contracts with qualified individuals to offer dance, art and yoga classes, among others. Madison also works with a local nonprofit to provide and maintain several local greenways, hiking trails and bike trails, as well as promoting preservation of natural areas. The city’s Park and Recreation Department also operates and maintains the indoor and outdoor pools at Dublin Park, offering swimming lessons and water aerobics. A variety of individual and family membership packages for the Dublin park pools and tennis courts are available to residents and nonresidents.

Learning in Madison

The Madison City School System operates one high school, two middle schools and seven elementary schools which serve more than 8,400 students. The system also employs more than 600 certified staff members and boasts standardized test scores well above the national average. It is ranked one of the top three education systems in the state and the local high school, Bob Jones High School, is ranked in the top 2 percent nationally and had 15 National Merit Schol90 EXCURSIONS

left: Madison offers a variety of entertainment and recreation options,. right: The historic beauty of Madison has been maintained, even as the city has marched forward

arship semifinalist in 2010. A second public high school is being planned to keep up with Madison’s growth. The school system has received numerous awards and recognition from national publications and institutions such as U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, Sport Illustrated and The School Art and Writing Association. The area is also home to multiple private schools and allows for easy access to three community or technical colleges and five four-year colleges. The Madison Public Library is part of the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library System and offers free wireless internet, multiple computers for public use, meeting space and a variety of media options to entertain all members of the family. City Hall and Palmer Park also offer internet hotspots for locals and visitors.

Living in Madison

Madison Utilities provides water service to 250 miles of water mains and 130 miles of sewer mains, with water and sewer rates that are lower than the national average. A

service discount is also available for senior citizens. Most electrical service is provided and maintained by Huntsville Utilities (in Madison County), with rates at about $0.08.2 per kilowatt hour. The average national rate in December 2010 was $0.12 per kilowatt hour. The lower cost of living in Madison is just part of its appeal and one of the many reasons that it is the fastest growing cities in the state. The city’s commitment to keeping up with the growth, while keeping the city government as sleek as possible, also comes into play. Madison’s police department is currently expanding its location and force to ensure that it can protect and serve the rapidly growing community. The police department also offers self-defense classes to the public, in an effort to better equip the citizens to protect themselves, should the need arise. In addition to upholding local, state and federal laws, the police department maintains the animal control facilities for the city. They also issue animal licenses, required for pets in Madison. These licenses start at $10 per year, per pet (discounts are available for multi-year licenses). Madison’s Fire and Rescue Department employs approximately 70 people and responds to about 2,500 emergency calls from

Photos: Huntsville/Madison county convention and visitors bureau Photo:


madisonliving Home Owners Association to volunteering for other various projects around the city. The many boards, committees and social opportunities available in Madison allow you to be involved in as many activities as

“Seek ways to become engaged with us at City Hall and with your neighbors in making this a better community. Together, we will make a difference.” —Mayor Paul Finley

you want or as your schedule will allow. To further encourage the individual involvement in the community, the mayor has set aside four hours every month to meet with citizens one-on-one to discuss any concerns they may have (with previous appointment, see city website for details), the city council meetings are now televised and the City of Madison’s website ( offers a “Notify Me” option that allows you to sign up for e-mail, text or smartphone notification when an event changes or is scheduled. In fact, the city’s website is designed to be user-friendly and encourage community involvement, as well, so it provides links to almost all services, opportunities and events in the area. The website also features a comprehensive events calendar to ensure that residents can keep up with all the events and meetings the city offers. “We are working hard to do a better job of making you aware of opportunities where you can make a difference by getting involved with your city,” Mayor Finley said. “We want to hear from you and welcome your feedback.” ❖


three stations annually. They provide fire prevention, suppression and control services, rescue and lifesaving services, technical rescue, hazardous situation mitigation and community education. Although there are three hospitals within 12 miles of Madison, a dedicated Madison hospital is under construction and should open with a 60-bed capacity in 2012, with plans to expand to 200 beds in the future. Madison is home to many annual events, including a Christmas parade, flashlight Easter egg hunt, street festivals and a Fourth of July fireworks show. There is also a Madison City Farmers Market from about April to October that allows local farmers and residents a chance to interact and further the community spirit. The city also hosts an overnight event for Relay for Life to honor cancer survivors and raise money to support research and programs with the American Cancer Society. The locals are very invested in making sure the city remains a place they can be proud of, from serving on the Madison


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EXCURSIONS - A Guest Directory Huntsville/Madison 2011-12  

Hotel Guest Directory for Huntsville and Madison, Alabama hotels.

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