Alabama – the Yellowhammer State
Alabama is located in the southern part of the United States and holds quite a unique position in American history. The first man-helmed rocket to the moon was built here, and it has the distinction of being the only state in the Union to have all of the natural resources required to make steel and iron. Not only does Alabama have both agricultural and industrial bases, its rivers are the source of hydroelectric power, and they help control floods. Its nickname, the Yellowhammer State, comes from the gray and yellow woodpecker that inhabits the state.
With a population exceeding 200,000, Birmingham is the most densely populated city in the state. It is considered the endpoint for shopping, having several major malls and shopping centers. Its rivers, forests and mountains set the scene for many outdoor activities.
Oak Mountain State Park boasts over 9,900 acres and can accommodate all kinds of outdoor endeavors. Camping is a favorite pastime for both locals and visitors alike. The campground is set among grandiose pine trees and encircled by rolling hills on the border of Beaver Lake. The fact that it is open year round attests to its temperate weather. Cabins are available for the more timid. Over 50 miles of trails are found in backcountry sites for those who wish to backpack into more reclusive areas. Visitors can enjoy all types of diversions, such as fishing, boating, hiking, and horseback riding.
Perhaps one of the most iconic cultural and educational centers, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, is a state-of-the-art multi-media experience that contains exhibits covering World War I, racial segregation, and racial progress today. Its ignominy over the bomb that killed four African-American children during church service at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and images of fire hoses and police dogs have been difficult to live down.
Kids will enjoy the Alabama Splash Adventure, located just west of the city. A five-story water ride is called “Upsurge,” and the 50-foot drop into a pool after spinning you around in an enclosed tube is called “Splashdown.” Both are designed to give riders maximum thrills and squeals. Other rides in the park include the adrenaline- thrusting “Vault” and Salamander Bay for smaller children, where they can slide down waterfalls. The park is great fun for the entire family.
To wind down after the exhilaration of the Splash Adventure, try a little rural escape in Railroad Park, where the family can enjoy strolling or jogging, picnicking, or simply throwing around a Frisbee. It has a tranquil lake, fragrant flowers, concerts and cultural events for a relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of the usual vacation madness. Enjoy the feeling of nature right in the middle of the city.
Those who prefer more of a suburban setting can enjoy Vestavia Hills, only a 20 minute commute to Birmingham, or Pelham, where lovers of the outdoors are only 30 minutes from all that Birmingham has to offer.
The many different offerings of Dish Network help visitors and locals alike unwind after the hubbub of the city. More than 200 national HD channels and local channels to help keep up with local news and community events are available for your viewing pleasure.
Montgomery is the capital of Alabama and is next in population size to Birmingham. It has numerous fascinations to keep visitors busy for the duration of their vacation.
For fans of country music, the Hank Williams Museum is the place to go. Although it is relatively small, it has a nice collection of memorabilia, and the gift shop has a vintage selection of vintage records for visitors to purchase.
The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum is a treat for the whole family. Kids will enjoy interacting with the giraffes and sting-ray. For a different perspective, try the sky lift for a wonderful view of the animals. A nice picnic area and playground are available for quiet moments.
The Civil Rights Memorial is inscribed with the names of the brave people who died in the fight for civil rights. See many exhibits and displays to help understand the struggle that occurred. Afterwards, tour the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor for six years. A mural features Dr. King’s journey from Montgomery to Memphis during the Civil Rights Movement. A visit to the Rosa Parks Library and Museum can round out the Civil Rights tour.
The city was dying a slow death in the early 2000s, and it had to face the reality that no one wanted to live there. That was when the city government and entrepreneurs began a campaign to revitalize it and bring people downtown to the core of the city. Tourism began to take hold, and out of it was born the city as it is today. Its rich history attracts attention, including older civil rights sites that do not have the latest technology with which to engage the public.
The city is only 150 miles from Atlanta, Georgia and 85 miles to Birmingham. Residents have choices that will provide access to whatever services they desire that is unavailable in Montgomery.
The summer weather in Montgomery averages 92 degrees during July and August. Those sweltering summer days often make it unbearable to enjoy outdoor activities. At times like these, having access to the award winning HD DVR technology and all-day sports coverage offered by Dish Network provide hours of choice viewing.
Huntsville has the charm and hospitality inherent in many southern cities. Its attraction extends to the architecture, which includes the largest assortment of antebellum homes in the state. Witness both rural, suburban, and city life to acquire a real taste of what the city is all about.
No visit is complete without seeing the U. S. Space and Rocket Center. The exhibits depict the massive plans and energy required to develop the rockets that put men on the moon. This jewel in the midst of Huntsville has the only full-stack space Shuttle with two rocket boosters. The nickname, “Rocket City,” is a direct correlation between the city’s space program and the historical link to space travel. View Explorer I, the first U. S. satellite, original trainers for the first two space programs, and models of the International Space Station.
The hiking and biking trails in Monte Sano State Park provide outdoor experiences that are family oriented. With over 2,100 acres of open-air paradise, families can set up camp in one of the campgrounds or relax in one of the rustic cabins and explore the park on foot or on bikes. Play golf on the 18-hole golf course as you continue to soak up all that nature has to offer. The verdant, natural beauty of the area allows you to stretch out and enjoy the fresh air.
For those who enjoy a glimpse of bygone days, the Alabama Constitution Village reenacts life as it was in 1819. Guides, wearing period clothing, conduct tours through eight reconstructed buildings. Shopping centers, antique stores, boutiques, and specialty stores abound for the shopper in the family.
Madison is a nearby gem that is worth visiting. It has many cosmopolitan features, unspoiled nature, and small-town allure. Its professional population work primarily in the high-tech and defense industries; the proximity to Huntsville and its major employers makes it a wonderful place to live.
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Mobile is located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Slightly smaller in population than Huntsville, Mobile has a wonderful assortment of interesting points. The area does not always get the glory it deserves as more popular cities are sought-after destinations. This port city has a rich history and is family-friendly.
The hop- on/hop- off sightseeing tour bus makes more than 14 stops during a 90-minute excursion; however, you can get on and off all day if you would like. It is an excellent way to see many different sites, and you can make note of the ones you would like to return for a more extensive visit.
A fun way to get around town is by pedicab. The pedalers usually hang out around the entertainment district for easy access after an event, but they may be found around downtown for a great way to see the city center. You can also call for an appointed ride if you want to assure an allotted time.
Mobile Bay provides a great experience for historians, fishermen, and for those who enjoy leisurely strolling or sitting on a park bench and people watching. Tour the Battleship USS Alabama, Submarine USS Drum, and many military aircrafts.
The De Tonti Square Historic District should not be missed. It is a micro-Garden District reminiscent of New Orleans. Some of the original gas lanterns and sidewalks remain as a reminder of bygone days. 60 blocks of mansions, cottages, and tree-topped canopies provide a real southern feel in the Oakleigh Garden District, which may remind you of Savannah, Georgia with it squares and plazas.
For a more family-friendly Mardi Gras experience, Mobile is the place to be. They lay claim to being America’s original Mardi Gras, and they host the oldest annual Carnival celebration in America. Mounted police, marching bands, masked mystics, and themed floats take to the city streets two and a half weeks before Fat Tuesday. The colorful floats and flying moon pies take center stage as the city comes to life. It is easier than in New Orleans to find a place to catch the beads, trinkets and moon pies that are thrown to the crowd.
In Summerdale, a short drive from Mobile, observe more than 400 alligators from the safety of a raised boardwalk. They feed, nest and court in over 20 acres of cypress swamp. Captain Crunch, one of the two largest alligators, is over 13 feet long and can bite almost 3,000 pounds. A guide will take you on a nature walk to see the alligators in their natural habitat. You are likely to see ospreys, bull frogs, turtles and owls very close up. If you are bold enough, you can actually hold a baby alligator and feed the adults in the gator station.
Summers in Mobile offer nice breezes off the Gulf to help abate the heat. When you are not enjoying the lull of the coastal waters, try Dish’s On Demand library, where you can choose from more than 20,000 television shows and movies. Take some down-time from a constant barrage of energy-draining activities to binge watch your favorite shows.
While Alabama has much to tout, the humidity can be miserable. It is bad enough during summer months, but the extra dampness in winter can make the weather feel absolutely frigid. The actual temperature may feel up to 40 degrees colder due to the extra moisture. In addition, the state has some very severe weather deviations that can occur any time of the year – from tornadoes to heavy thunderstorms to hurricanes.
SERVICES IN ALABAMA
Alabama provides assistance to caregivers of the elderly and dementia patients through the Alabama Cares Program. In addition, it offers aid to grandparents or other relatives who care for children under the age of 18. The support groups, trainings, and respite provisions are partially funded by the Alabama Department of Senior Services and are a much-needed sustenance for caregivers.
Alabama Power has implemented an online energy program to help its customers access their accounts online to make payments, analyze usage, and offer tips on how to save money with new and updated thermostats, settings, and upgrades to cooling systems. The purpose is to help customers use energy more efficiently.
Dish Network is a satellite service provider with a substantial customer base. It services more than 13 million customers with its highly technological support system and state- of -the- art equipment. The premium channels are offered free for three months to all new customers. That is enough time to determine if you want to continue with the premium service or remain with the standard channels.
Alabama has an abundance of offerings to new people moving to the state, to current residents, and to those who travel there for vacation. What is there not to like? The job market is growing in many different sectors; housing is affordable; it experiences all four seasons. Take the plunge. You will not be sorry. For visitors, the southern hospitality of the Yellowhammer State is sure to be impressive. From the white sandy beaches to history and culture, the state encourages guests to hit the road and become part of 760,000 annual visitors to the state.
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