Birmingham, Alabama, downtown skyline
The fourth state on Gildshire’s tour of the United States is the Great State of Alabama! At just under 5,000,000 people, Alabama ranks 23rd in population. It is Number 30 in square mileage, totaling 52,149 square miles.
Alabama’s southern border are the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Georgia provides the eastern border. Like in so many states the long East-West stretch of Tennessee provides a border to Alabama’s north. ‘Bama’s sister, the Dixie State of Mississippi provides the western terminus of the state.
Road leading to the State Capitol of Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama
Cotton, peanuts, hay, and corn, are the top four crops grown in Alabama (though one website claims marijuana would dwarf the others if weed were to be legalized). The cotton yield was much higher until the 1915 boll weevil infestation destroyed many of the cotton fields.
Alabama’s humid sub-tropical climate differs slightly from Georgia’s due to the nearer proximity of the Gulf. While the same warm temperatures and heavy rainfall abound as in Georgia, Alabamans experience a tie with Oklahoma for the number of hurricanes blasting through the state.
The geographic center of Alabama is in Chilton County, 12 miles southwest of Clanton.
Jasmine Hill Gardens near Wetumpla, Alabama
Weird and Wonderful Facts About Alabama:
Alabama was named after the Alabama River which was, in turn, named after a Native Tribe called “Alba-Amo” which means vegetation gatherer.
Before 1836, Christmas wasn’t a national holiday anywhere in the country. Alabama declared it such.
Mail is delivered by boat in Magnolia Springs, Alabama. This city has the only all-water mail route in the United States.
Alabama is the only state to have an alcoholic beverage as its official drink. Whiskey, specifically Conecuh Springs Whiskey, gets the nod…and the stagger. Appropriately enough, the state bird of Alabama is the wild turkey.
Though New Orleans became the Mardi Gras center of the known world, the first M.D. celebration was actually held in Mobile way back in 1703. Mobile and New Orleans both have floats, but parade-goers in The Big Easy get beads tossed their way. Mardi Gras revelers in Mobile throw Moon Pies.
Helen Keller was born and raised in Alabama. The state quarter was the first such coin to include Braille letters, in Ms. Keller’s honor.
The Confederate States of America was formed in Montgomery, which was the capital of the Confederacy.
Cityscape view of downtown Mobile, Alabama
Let’s Take a Trip Through Alabama:
Fans of the recent ABC series “Astronaut Wives” will remember the hub of early space travel in the United Staes was in Huntsville, Alabama. So we’re going to begin our trip up North in Huntsville. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is worth a whole day and we won’t shorten it for the sake of expedience. Stay at Hampton Inn Huntsville. Rooms from $94.
Selma, Alabama was the center of the action during the long (and not yet entirely completed) Civil War strife. Interstate 65 south to Ala-22 will take us to Selma. The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma is a key landmark of the marches which, in part, brought an end to the Jim Crow laws which so tore apart the country. Not all car trips are about cotton candy and waterparks. Your children should see Selma, and know what happened here.
State Capitol of Alabama, in Montgomery, Alabama
Next it’s on to Montgomery to see the Rosa Parks Museum. The actual bus in which Ms. Parks and her tired feet refused to move to the back is on display. Between Selma and Montgomery the educational portion of the trip will be complete. Stay at the Country Inn and Suites-Montgomery Parkway. Rooms for $66.
Time for some sand and water! I-65 south out of Montgomery will have you smelling salt air in a little over through hours. Gulf Shores is our destination. The beautiful white sands of Gulf State Park, on particular, draws our attention when in the Deep South. One of the cleanest parks in America with adventure (zip-lining, wind sailing, etc.) nearby if you have an adventuresome spirit. Stay at the Beachside Resort Hotel. Rooms for $49!
Cityscape scene of downtown Huntsville, Alabama
A little nightlife, you say? Back up I-5 this time to Birmingham. When in Birmingham check out the Loft District. Loaded with bars, restaurants and clubs, this is the place to hear the sweet, sweet, Alabama sound. Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, Birmingham SE/Liberty Park.
Gildshire hopes you make the most of your trip Down South, Like us, you will head to the next state with the strains of “Sweet Home Alabama” ringing in your ears.
Next up: Mississippi.