Before I graduate from high school, my goal is to travel to all fifty states.
Whenever I tell people that, they respond in one of three ways.
1: “That’s cool!” they say with a nod.
2: “But not like North Dakota, right? Because there’s nothing to do there.” Me: No, I plan on going to every state, even the “boring” ones. (Dear North Dakota, I apologize for choosing you as my example. I’m sure I will find plenty of things to do in your cities.)
3: “You’ve already gone to a bunch of states.” Me: In my book, going somewhere and doing nothing but play volleyball does not count as going there. Neither does being at an airport in that state.
Over Thanksgiving break, I went to the deep South: Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In this post, I’m going to be talking about Montgomery, Alabama. Posts on Birmingham, Jackson, and New Orleans will be coming soon.
About my traveling tastes: Museums. Historical sites. Bookstores. AKA super nerdy. All of the following items have my stamp of recommendation, but some people might find the Sloss Furnaces or Vulcan Park to be super boring- “um, it’s just a statue.” It all depends on your tastes.
Random (but hopefully helpful) tips and (interesting) facts:
Tip: Don’t go to Birmingham on Saturday because a ton of stuff was closed.
Fact: Birmingham exists because it’s near all three elements that are necessary for making pig iron.
Sloss Furnaces is a historical landmark. It used to be a factory for the iron that built Birmingham. Surprisingly, this was my dad’s favorite thing we did in Birmingham because he thought it was really interesting to learn all about how iron is made. You can look around by yourself, but my family took the tour. We almost always go on the tour.
Church Street Coffee and Books
It’s as much of a coffee shop as it is a bookstore, but I LOVED Church Street. Their selection of books was amazing. There were different bookshelves for different genres: children’s books (I went through Press Here with my dad), classics, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. I saw so many books that are on my TBR and finally decided to get Just Mercy, which is currently being borrowed by someone else. From her Instagram story, I know that she cried while reading it on the plane. After seeing the Yelp reviews, I got the chocolate chip cookie, which they market as their “Legendary Break-up Cookie.” It was good. And the environment was super. If I ever open up my bookstore, I want it to feel that friendly. (Also, the guy behind the counter was cute.)
My friend was confused about the picture of the cookie:
Woodlawn Cycle Cafe
My dad got the Bagles and Lox. My mom got the Toastie, which is this sweet potato breakfast sandwich. The sweet potato biscuit was SO GOOD. If I ever went back to Birmingham, I would go there for the Toastie. It was DELICIOUS. For some reason, I don’t see what I got on the menu, but there were potatoes. Also for some reason, it says that breakfast is only served from 7-10:30, but I know we went in the afternoon. Weird.
This is the site of Vulcan statue, which was made as a symbol for Birmingham’s iron industry. We went to the little museum (where I bought the sweet tea shirt) and to the top of the tower (where I finally figured out why I don’t like heights- because I don’t trust the support not to break and I don’t trust myself not to jump off the structure.)
Things we didn’t get to because THEY WERE ALL CLOSED.( I really should’ve checked the hours beforehand.)
Birmingham Breadworks: Super homey bakery that also serves sandwiches and salads. We were about to eat there instead of at Woodlawn, but they had stopped serving food when we went.
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church: This church was bombed during the Civil Rights Movement. We weren’t able to take a tour, so we just went to look around and it was like walking on history: so cool.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: This is a museum dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement.
A guide to New York.
Where I am, it was warm today. WARM, I tell you, in DECEMBER. This time last year, it was really cold outside. What in the world. Anyways: what did you do over Thanksgiving break? And although I doubt it, have you ever been to Birmingham?