Saturday, June 25, 2011

Harpersville Drive-In Harpersville, Alabama - June 25, 2011

After visiting the Liberty Day vendors the boys decided they would rather see a movie than watch the fireworks, so we drove north-east to the small community of Harpersville, Alabama. The Harpersville Drive-In is located on Highway 280 in the area of the old Evans' Flea Market.

We arrived at 7:00 pm and waited in line behind about 20 other cars. They opened the gate around 7:15 to let everyone in. 

 The Drive-In has a great set-up with spaces for 150 cars in front of both screens for a total of 300 vehicles.
We got a great spot on the second row in the middle of the 60'X26' corrugated tin screen.
 We did have to wait about an hour for the movie to start, but we had fun people watching, listening to our iPods, talking, taking pictures, and eating our snacks.
Everyone pulled out their cameras when this peace wagon pulled in!
 It's getting darker...almost time for the movie!
Snacks...check....battery-operated radio...check...
...Cars 2...what a great ending to a great day! 
Watching a movie under the stars is almost magical! 
We might have to make a few return visits before summer comes to an end.

Liberty Day - Columbiana, Alabama - June 25, 2011

Today, the boys made an appearance at Liberty Day in Columbiana, Alabama. Liberty Day began as a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. A group of patriotic Columbiana citizens organized the first Liberty Day on Main Street in the summer of 1986 featuring patriotic music, local dance groups, and fireworks. Liberty Day has been held ever since on the last Saturday in June.
 Main Street was blocked from traffic so vendors could line up and sell their treasures.

Columbiana's beautiful courthouse, lamp posts, and crepe myrtles provide the perfect backdrop for the Liberty Day festivities.

Kona Ice is, of course, the best way to beat the heat!

Red and Purple for #1.....


...and blue, always, for #2!

Redneck Eggroll, anyone?
Filled with pulled pork and a side of barbeque sauce for dipping......yum!
 Before leaving, the boys wanted balloon animals. This guy was very talented, and he was a popular stopping place for all the little ones.
 #1 got a turtle.
#2 got an Auburn helmet....we think.

Even though it was hot and humid, Liberty Day was a huge hit with these two boys!! We wanted some funnel cake, but, at close to 100 degrees we decided to head for home and make our own. Look for that recipe on a future "Two Teachers in the Kitchen" post!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

DeSoto Falls - Mentone, Alabama - June 18, 2011

After lunch we headed north toward DeSoto State Park and DeSoto Falls. The clouds were growing darker and the winds were beginning to pick up. By the time we reached the heart of the park the rain was falling pretty hard and the winds were very strong. We decided to drive on through the park and make a quick stop at DeSoto Falls.We sat in the car for a few minutes in hopes that the rain would stop, but it only died down long enough for us to take a few pictures of the falls.
 On the edge of the little town of Mentone, Alabama the West Fork of the Little River takes a 100-foot plunge off a Lookout Mountain cliff and is known as DeSoto Falls - named for the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto. The upper falls - pictured above - can be seen by following a path just a few yards down from the parking lot.
The main waterfall - part of which can be seen in the above picture - is accessed by a series of stone steps leading down to an overlook. Since it was raining we decided not to take the boys down to the lower overlook. The rocks were just too slippery. We will definitely have to visit DeSoto Falls again on a dry day!
We had to stop by this interesting sculpture for a quick photo.

After we left DeSoto Falls we drove west through a small town called Geraldine, Alabama and found another rock school!! The town of Geraldine is very proud of this school, too. Just about every sign, business, or municipal building boasted "Home of the Bulldogs." The town's new water tower pictured a giant bulldog head, and a historic marker in the town even read, "Home of the Bulldogs."

We could not find much information about the history of this school except that it was built in 1921 on land that was donated by William A. Johnson - who also started the town post office in 1882.

Small southern towns have so much charm! Where else could you find a shop called Nae Nae's?

...and where else would you find authentic bottle trees (not the fancy-pants ones you can buy on the Internet)?
 As you can probably tell, we shot these pictures "Private I style," then quickly drove off before anyone noticed!!

A quick bottle tree history: Glass bottle trees originated in the Kongo around the 9th century when the superstitious Central African people thought that an imp (genii) could be captured in a bottle. They believed that evil spirits were attracted to the sparkling colors (especially cobalt blue or haint blue) so they would place the empty bottles outside their homes. The spirits would get trapped inside the bottles and would be destroyed the next day in the sunlight. Often the leaves were stripped off a tree at the corner of the house and decorated with bottles. The practice of hanging bottles in trees in America - particularly cedar or crepe myrtle - started with slaves in the southern states and quickly spread north into Appalachia.

Read this description of bottle trees from the book Livvie, by Eudora Welty:
"She knew that there could be a spell put in trees, and she was familiar from the time she was born with the way bottle trees kept evil spirits from coming into the house - luring them inside the colored bottles, where they cannot get out again."

After leaving Geraldine we drove north west to Grove Oak, Alabama to find High Falls Park. 
The park closes at 6:00 and we arrived at 5:30. We were quickly informed by the park attendant that the "park closes at 6:00 straight up and down" and that we would be "locked inside till 10:00 the next morning if we weren't out by then." We took a brisk walk half-way down to see the falls from the fence line. 
 Here are a few pictures I snapped from over the fence:

According to the park's Website, the falls are 35 feet tall and can reach 300 feet wide when Town Creek is at peak flow.

We would have liked to have gone down closer to the falls and cross the foot bridge, but we did not really want to camp out until 10:00 the next morning.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Little River Canyon - Fort Payne, Alabama - June 18, 2011

Today's One State, Two Boys adventure begins with a northeasterly drive to the beautiful city of Fort Payne, Alabama. We went to Fort Payne in search of waterfalls - and boy, did we find some beauties!

Our first stop, however, was at the statue honoring the band Alabama. They had to pose with the life-size sculptures! The statue was situated in front of a beautiful park complete with picnic tables, lush green areas, and play equipment. Also nearby was the Depot Museum and the Dekalb Theatre.
Our main reason for visiting Fort Payne was The Little River Canyon National Preserve located on top of Lookout Mountain.
Formerly part of DeSoto State Park, the 14,000-acre canyon area was declared a National Preserve by an act of Congress in 1992. This act protects the nation's longest mountaintop river, The Little River. The river is said to be one of the cleanest and wildest waterways in the South - maybe that's why Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild decided to film there!
During our scenic drive, the boys spotted some climbing rocks. The rocks formed little tunnels and trails - a perfect natural playground for these two creative geniuses!
When we drove down to Little River Falls the boys were ready for a quick wardrobe change and a dip in the cold canyon water.
As you can see from the expression on #2's face, he was not happy about being dragged into the cold water.
 We had so much fun playing in the Little River but the boys were getting hungry, and the black clouds started rolling in. Overall, the boys give Little River Canyon "two thumbs up!"
We hope to return in the fall as the leaves are changing.