Monday, July 26, 2010

Cousin's Reunion: Pell City, Alabama

This past weekend I attended my annual Cousins Reunion. Last year, we went to Andrews, North Carolina. This year, we went to beautiful downtown Pell City, Alabama. It is the home of our cousins -- the Hicks, and a very nice town. Above, see the courthouse.

Pell City is in Saint Clair county -- with two county seats. Pell City is one and Ashville, Alabama is the other. In the county's early history, since travel was not easy and the county was divided in half by a mountain, they concluded that having two county seats would better serve the local residents. The transportation issues have long since been cleared up, but the county officials have decided to keep both county seats. I thought that was so interesting and unique -- but a little confusing. The officials split their time between the two county seats.

I don't think I have ever seen an inland town more favorably located. It is less than an hour from the shops and attractions of Birmingham and on Martin Logan lake. It is just two hours from Atlanta. It has it all -- mountains, lakes, pretty vistas and above all, nice friendly people. I thought it also had some good eating places, plus plenty of familiar local stores and antique and thrift stores.

We drove about two hours on Friday morning and were there in plenty of time for lunch. We went to a very nice restaurant named LUNCH and our lunch was wonderful. Plenty of green salads and whole wheat -- just like I like it.

We went to a beautiful antique store that holds a monthly auction downtown and then went for a walk in the downtown area. I was fascinated by the granite blocks, framed by bricks, marking the location of old stores. You can see one of the blocks above. The stores have made major changes over the years, but it was fun to see what had been there originally.

I thought the most interesting reuse of a store building was the one above. What used to be a 5 and 10 Cent Store is now a ...

jewelry store. See the photo above. Isn't that perfect! Talk about moving up!

Above, Judy and Eric Hicks, our "host cousins" on the streets of Pell City.

That night we went to a famous restaurant called, "The Ark," a popular "hole in the wall" restaurant, just east of Pell City. Our hosts told us that in the days of prohibition, the restaurant floated out back on the lake because alcohol could be served on water, but not on land. Later, when alcohol could legally be served, the building was moved to dry land, where people come in droves to eat catfish, seafood and all the trimmings.

It's a real "hole in the wall," but they serve a good food. I guess there hasn't been much use in restoration or updating. People were waiting their turn outside and there wasn't an empty space at the table. It is a very popular restaurant.

Above is a photo of the river or lake that runs behind the restaurant. The parking lot was so full that people were parking along the road.

The next morning we went to a couple of antique stores and I really enjoyed this very nice thrift store, above, where the proceeds went to charity.

That afternoon, we traveled a few miles south to Morgan Creek Winery in Harpersville to continue our  cousins reunion winery tour (last year at Calaboose in Andrews, NC, the year before in Asheville, NC). Above, you can see there was a wedding in progress. It was around 100 degrees outside and rain was threatening.

Above, the tour. The lady, facing our group, was very friendly, knowledgeable, funny and helpful.

I thought the very large barrels were quite amazing. This was a small, and growing winery. The owner retired and turned his hobby into a business. It was especially nice because it was very cool inside.

Later, we went to the Hicks home -- at the highest point in Pell City for a great visit and cookout. I really do think I have the best cousins around. I must admit, I also love old southern towns.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I also love old southern towns and your 'review' makes me want to visit there. It sounds like a beautiful area and you have such nice photos. Thanks for sharing, Joanie