I had no idea what to expect, no preconceived visions when I accepted my press trip to Huntsville, Alabama. You know what I knew? I knew I wanted a new adventure, an new tale to tell you all and that is just what I got! The Huntsville, Alabama trip provided me an adventure, and lends itself well to a discussion of ‘destination-worthy’ choices.
Trips with lots to do often are fast from the moment I set foot in the airport to the moment I leave and this trip certainly was all that! With a challenging itinerary in hand and 8 travel writer buddies we began our adventure in Huntsville, Alabama.
Foods, destinations and prime real estate are those places you most want to check out when you head to any destination and we did all of that on this trip! Let’s lavishly live travel out loud and check out the Top Destinations in Huntsville, Alabama just in case you are planning your next vacation.
Huntsville International Airport
I was part of the TBEX preview team that visited Huntsville, Alabama. A group of 8 travel writers plus myself were treated to an incredible tour for both the eyes and bellies learning about Huntsville, Alabama, a.k.a. ” The Rocket City.” TBEX is the world’s largest gather of travel bloggers, writers, and social media savvy travel industry professionals. In May 2017 TBEX will be in Huntsville, Alabama from May 4-6 where I will also be attending!
I have to tell you this airport is clean and super easy to navigate. Anything you need to know the staff will help you, try getting that in Atlanta (ha ha). Honestly, it was really easy to find my way from the gates to baggage claim and in between shop! I also want to tell you that you don’t have to be there hours before your flight. While the airport is set up for so many customers I was through TSA with baggage checked in about 30 minutes flat!
Twickenham Historic District Walking Tour
What a quaint, picturesque town and it’s walk-able. There is so much to see from historical buildings to beautiful old-fashioned Southern homes with large front porches and swings. I had to hold myself back from taking a swing in several of them as they walkways to the front door were so inviting.
The architecture of the homes and the care taken is impeccable and totally photo-worthy (perhaps why I was always the last in our group to arrive at our destinations!) ( If you love photos, architecture and history, leave yourself a full morning so you can take it all)
Weeden House Museum
The Weeden House Museum was the home of painter and poet Maria Howard Weeden and some of her art is displayed on the walls. Interestingly enough a place that I will discuss later (Burritt Mountain Museum) offered a crossover with much of her artwork displayed there.
I loved touring inside here, imaging life back in the day. Everything from artwork to wall color pallet were perfection. The back stairwell truly was a challenge as it was angled and when I arrived upstairs the rooms that were without halls were amazing. Large ceilings, spacious living areas, wooden floors all captured my attention and my cameras.
Harrison Brothers Hardware
Are you ready to shop and take in history? First things first, Harrison Brothers Hardware is the oldest functioning hardware in Alabama. While it does not sell hardware anymore the Historic Huntsville Foundation has kept it in tact and now it provides gifts that are ‘Huntsville’ from hand-stitched napkins to marbles, to photos, it’s all there.
Right outside the door is another item worthy of mention (and it will come up again when I refer to A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard ) a Lucky Duck is located right outside the hardware on the planter. The Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt in a nutshell: Free and Fabulous way to see the city and challenge yourself.
There are 14 lucky ducks hidden around ‘downtown Huntsville’ and for those that love to look for them, it’s a lot of fun. Find all 4 stop by the visitor center and get a prize. Want to see some of the fun Lucky Ducks? You can in a display case at A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, in fact these have been raced in the water and now showcased there!
Huntsville Depot Museum
Travel back in time and visit Huntsville Depot Museum which is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here’s you will find old time cars, carriages, a gas station and trains that can be looked at up close.
Inside the museum you will get to history and how it was made from a phone booth, to an original ticketing booth. There is a great display miniature train and so much more as you travel up the steps you travel back into time.
Time spent here is for the history buffs, those who loves trains and anyone who wants to feel like they are stepping back into the day. I believe a few hours here is what you will need.
Huntsville Botanical Garden
Huntsville Botanical Garden is a story all on its own, and it is located near the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on a sprawling 112 acres. My heart was stolen by the beauty of the Damson Aquatic Garden and rather than discussing it just look at that photo!
This face just experienced a hammock swing! Apparently some of the ‘staff’ the loves these:) We got the inside story!!
From hammocks you can swing on to a miniature outdoor train, it is gorgeous no matter where your eye turns and trust me my eyes were turning.
Three Caves – Land Trust of North Alabama
While you can not go into the Three Caves you can certainly enjoy the fresh, cool weather that is about 65 ° Fahrenheit. Trust me it is truly welcoming after a full day of 85° Fahrenheit and above. Of course I had to be the rebel and I went to take a look in.
What is unique about Three Caves is that in fact it is not a cave at all, rather a former limestone mine. Movies have been filmed here, rescues have been done here and today, we were treated to the Huntsville Fire & Rescue training here, actually rappelling to prepare for anything that might come there way!
The Three Caves is owned by the Land Trust of North Alabama and they actually have done something rather unique: since the caves can not be entered but there is a nice cool element to the area, electricity was run and a stage (where I was standing) is now there and concerts occur. The concerts sell out fast, so either know someone or jump on the ticketing sales so you can experience the ambiance, (totally cool) Pun Intended!
Campus No. 805
I feel like I am writing a “Black List” Title with this name, but this is insanely cool, where to take the family, a date, meet up with friends or just go there and find people to hang with. Meet a premiere brewery and entertainment destination with everything from food to pool tables, honestly insanity!
Plenty of parking and a strange feel to it, when you are walking through. Want to know why? This was actually Stone Middle School, that’s right a real school that educated our youth of today that is until 2009. It is located right in Madison county.
So basically, the rooms are restored into venues like arcades in one, a bar in another, restaurants in the main area, a brewery right in the gym.. insane right?
My favorite find there was the Earth and Stone Wood-Fired Pizza but I will talk about that in another article. If you are hungry go there and get the pizza, it’s total yum!
Campus No, 805 is one of those places you go to so that you can say you have been there. You go to tell others about it, to enjoy it, take in a different kind of atmosphere it is something that will keep you talking later, trust me, it is different.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
Bet you thought I was in Florida with the photos of the rockets right? Wrong! In fact Huntsville, Alabama is nicknamed “The Rocket City” because it has so much association with United States Space missions.
My favorite part of this whole exploration was meeting Alex McCool. I am hardly a science person, nor am I much into rockets, and space but I could listen to Alex McCool explain his job, the things he has done and how his staff shaped Space, Rockets and our world.
I’m behind excited- don’t have enough words – this is Alex McCool (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_McCool) I have met so many people through my job and by far he’s the single most spectacular- he’s put men on the moon in rockets he’s engineered — he’s so #downtoearth(pun intended) and smart and fun and knowledgeable- and best of all he wants to share his treasure and his gift of education and he does it so easily when he talks he’s just so much fun to be around. I wish he would’ve been my science teacher at school He’s 92 years old – worked on propulsion and worked as program Manager for the space shuttle. He’s responsible for APOLLO and SPACE SHUTTLE – Huntsville-Madison County Convention & Visitors BureauU.S. Space & Rocket Center #ihearthsv #tbex #travelwriter
There are a lot of fun things to do here from Space Camp (a program that is run to rides and climbing walls. My suggestion: closed toe shoes, do not fix your hair (helmets required on some adventures there), and basic clothing, don’t get fancy.
Stop at the gift shop, it has marvelous trinkets (even Astronaut Ice Cream) and great tees ( they wash and wear great, just saying…)
Burritt on the Mountain
An outdoor museum located atop Round Top Mountain, will have you snapping photos from the mountain top all the way through the Burritt Museum.
My personal favorite was the mansion of Dr. William Burritt, resting on over 165 acres of prime real estate, that kept him sheltered from people. While a tad strange inside, simply magnificent architecture and trinkets from his marriage kept me moving through wanting to know more about this man and his life (which even those historians working there and volunteers still are uncovering as he had no family so the tale is hard to learn) The bedrooms are converted into gallery spaces that display art and parts of his life.
What I can tell you is that this ‘odd’ man was on the cusp of defining lactose intolerance as he raised goats and provided the milk to the town below for those who could not digest milk. In addition, he had created a speaker system in his home (possibly one of the first as we were told) that was hooked up room to room, quite interesting. His beloved car, quite well preserved is something we also got to see.
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment
Enterainment, iced tea, cookies, music, art and so much more are housed inside this incredible old warehouse turned arts and entertainment center. The inside from floors to walls have been left alone and it is remarkable from a Bourbon factory to Popsicle and artwork it is all inside. That’s where we came upon this brilliantly crafted tea that has me smiling from ear to ear!
A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard
Clearly we moved through this tour at a rapid pace, but I am so glad that I got to at least visit A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, something beyond concept grasping for me to explain. The destination is a 100 year old remodeled entertainment complex. 5 bars, 1 restaurant, 4 stages and a spirit of celebration are here. See the collection of Ducks above:)
The life breathed into this is apparent when you speak with the owner Doug Smith who decided to call Hunstville Home in the 1980’s. What made him call Huntsville home? He was shopping for groceries forgot his checkbook and the clerk told him, “take the groceries, and come back and pay” from that moment on Doug was taken!
The patio lights add a vibe of fun and excitement, while welcoming fire pits beckon you to stay just a bit longer or ‘have just one more’. Tempting as she is, a seductress for those who love entertainment, A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard is the extreme zone for music, friends, drinks and entertainment. Multiple stages offering multiple music genres making it a destination for everyone.
Top Destinations in Huntsville Alabama
Clearly there are so many fun options for both families, couples etc and the fun is endless. It is incredible how much history is built into one city but it’s there for the taking. Wonderfully clean lodging facilities abound and so many food choices, you might just want to head there for food! Lavishly live live out loud and indulge in the top destinations in Huntsville, Alabama.