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Italian journalist visits Alabama to promote tourism

Italian journalist and blogger Simona Sacri toured Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham last week as part of her trip to the southern USA. Sacri, who has the site is one of Italy’s top bloggers. She has been selected by the Italy Visit USA Association for best travel blog and was the winner of the 2015 Media Award by the same organization.

Sacri is using the hashtag #myTravelSouthUSA during her journey. In a website posting she said that she will show the complex and authentic experience of the old South through the in-depth exploration of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Sacri started her trip in Jackson, Mississippi and then traveled to Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham before traveling back to Mississippi on her way to Louisiana.

In Selma she posted a photograph of the Edmund Pettus Bridge with the message “Travel to learn. Remembering the ‘Bloody Sunday’ and all the difficult moments of the civil rights movement.” In Montgomery she posted a photo of herself in front of the downtown civil rights mural with the message “Today I’m in Montgomery, Alabama to discover the Rosa Parks Museum and the end of the trail of Martin Luther King march. Emotions and so many things to ponder, can’t wait to write about.”

In Birmingham she posted a photo from inside the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute with copy that read, “My journey across Civil Rights and their stories arrives in Birmingham, Alabama. I have a dream.”

The local tourism organizations of Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham helped the Alabama Tourism Department with her trip. Travel South USA and Alabama’s shared representative in Italy, Olga Mazzoni also assisted with this project.

Alabama’s blooming and that means it’s time to take pictures

To paraphrase an old song, Alabama’s Bustin’ Out All Over. That means it’s time to get those cameras out and take pictures. Here are a few helpful hints on how to get the best images for your efforts.

Take only interior images between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Old Sol is just too brutal at that time of day to get good outdoor shots. When shooting exteriors make sure the sun is shining on the object of your lens. Taking a picture in the afternoon of anything facing east doesn’t usually yield good results.

Also, attractive people can add a lot of interest to your images. Make sure they’re wearing solid and bright-colored clothing. Shorts and blue jeans should be worn only when they are appropriate to the location and/or event. Have them face the camera and appear to be having a wonderful time – if they’re really having a great time that’s a bonus.

In tourism, as in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Try to frame the images so that the location, attraction, event or other subject is obvious to the viewer.

Of course the Alabama Tourism Department always wants to get new images so, once you’ve captured all those green trees and flowering shrubs with your camera, you can send them to us. We are looking for images that are at least 4” X 6” and 300 dpi.

The Best of Birmingham as seen in Travel & Leisure

Chefs, musicians, and creative locals are driving the Alabama city’s recent rebirth. Here are the places where you’ll find them.

OvenBird: The latest project from chef Chris Hastings and his wife, Ida Hastings—of Hot and Hot Fish Club fame—draws inspiration from Southern barbecue and the open-fire traditions of South America, with everything cooked over wood (hickory, pecan, and fruit, for example). Belly up to the Calacatta-marble bar with a view of the hearth, or sit under the crepe myrtles in the courtyard to share plates like octopus and squid with chorizo, fennel, and orange.

Carrigan’s Public House: Set on a cobblestoned street in an emerging area downtown, this former warehouse is leading a cocktail renaissance. You’ll find perfectly executed classics (negronis, Manhattans), plus inventive drinks with a sense of place, like the Black Sails: locally made Trim Tab brown ale and peppery Buffalo Rock ginger ale, as well as gin, grapefruit, and celery.

Open Shop: Parts clothing store, art gallery, and music venue, this new addition to historic Woodlawn is a favorite of local creatives. Founded by singer/ producer Armand Margjeka, a force in the local community, it hosts listening-room-style concerts and pop-up dinners. On Thursdays, shoppers can stay late and sip cocktails while browsing Giorgio Bratto leather jackets and Madeworn rock ’n’ roll tees.

Saturn: This mod, space-themed performance spot—an outpost of New York’s Bowery Presents—brings national indie bands like Futurebirds, Beach House, and the Polyphonic Spree to the Avondale neighborhood. The adjacent bar, Satellite, serves tongue-in-cheek drinks like the Rocket Booster, a bittersweet frozen slushie of honeysuckle vodka, Campari, and Tang.

Red Mountain Park: For a city with such deep industrial roots, there are a surprising number of green spaces here—including this 1,500-acre oasis south of downtown. On the Red Ore Zip Tour, you’ll soar 40 feet above the mountains on ziplines. Look down to see mining sites where the iron ore used to build Birmingham was excavated.

Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook: This much-anticipated, 100-room boutique hotel is like a country retreat smack in the middle of a big city. Set in the tony, tree-lined Mountain Brook area, the English Tudor–style property has an on-site sculpture garden and hosts wine-blending classes.

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Fitzgerald story published

A year before F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack, he completed a short story about a hard-drinking writer diagnosed with cardiac disease.

“And as for that current dodge ‘No reference to any living character is intended’ — no use even trying that,” Fitzgerald warns at the start of “Temperature,” an 8,000-word piece dated July 1939 that is receiving its publishing debut in the current issue of the literary quarterly The Strand Magazine.

Presumed lost for decades, “Temperature” was written while the author known for “The Great Gatsby” struggled to find work in the movie business and hoped to revive his fiction career. His screenwriting contract with MGM had expired and twice in 1939 he had been hospitalized because of alcoholism.

“He felt anachronistic and was trying to find a voice that didn’t echo with the Jazz Age,” Kirk Curnutt, author of “The Cambridge Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald,” wrote in a recent email. “To this end he experimented with more hardboiled tones and sardonic comedy.”

Set in Los Angeles, “Temperature” is an antic story of failure, illness and decline, common themes in Fitzgerald’s work. The narrative is consciously cinematic, with such lines as “And at this point, as they say in picture making, the Camera Goes into the House.” The protagonist is a 31-year-old writer, Emmet Monsen, whom Fitzgerald describes as “notably photogenic,” “slender and darkly handsome.” Circling around the self-destructive Monsen are medical authorities, personal assistants and a Hollywood actress and estranged lover.

Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of The Strand, came upon the manuscript earlier this year while looking through the rare books and manuscript archive at Fitzgerald’s alma mater, Princeton University.

“Fitzgerald … couldn’t help using his satirical abilities to mock everyone from doctors, Hollywood idols and the norms of society,” Gulli said of the story. “When we think of Fitzgerald we tend to think of tragic novels he wrote such as ‘Gatsby’ and ‘Tender is the Night,’ but ‘Temperature’ shows that he was equally adept and highly skilled as a short story writer who was able to pen tales of high comedy.”

Fitzgerald’s stories had run in Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines, but by the late 1930s he no longer had a wide following and was unhappy with his literary agent, Harold Ober, who in the past had supported him financially. In a letter sent to Ober in August 1939, Fitzgerald writes he was feeling so neglected that on his own he mailed submissions of “Temperature,” which was turned down by the Post.

“Sending a story direct may be bad policy but one doesn’t consider that when one is living on money from a hocked Ford,” he told Ober. “I don’t have to explain that even though a man has once saved another from drowning, when he refuses to stretch out his arm a second time the victim has to act quickly and desperately to save himself.”

Curnutt was amazed to learn that a copy of “Temperature” still existed and called the discovery a “great find.” Fitzgerald bibliographies list the story (sometimes referred to as “The Women in the House”) as unpublished or lost.

Fitzgerald called Hollywood a “hideous town” but also “the history of all aspiration.” It was the author’s literary setting for the rest of his life. By early 1940, he was turning out his self-deprecating “Pat Hobby” stories, dispatches about a failing screenwriter that ran in Esquire. He also worked on a Hollywood novel he left unfinished, “The Love of the Last Tycoon,” released posthumously as “The Last Tycoon.” Fitzgerald died in December 1940 at age 44.

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Trump opens B&B

The Trump name has been attached to skyscrapers, hotels and even a winery in Albemarle County.

Now, it’s on a bed and breakfast in the area, as well.

The 26,000-square-foot Trump Albemarle Estate, one of the two properties in the Trump Estate Collection, recently opened its doors to the public. Donald Trump acquired what was formerly known as Albemarle House from Patricia Kluge in 2012 for $6.5 million, well below her asking price of $100 million three years prior to the purchase.

Trump bought the vineyard and winery, owned and managed by his son Eric Trump, from Kluge in 2011.

Ten rooms — five in the main house, four in the pool house and a cabin on the property — are now available for booking, said Kerry Woolard, general manager of Trump Winery.

“We hope it’s something that people walk away not really having seen or experienced before, and certainly those are the comments that we’re hearing back,” she said.

Eric Trump, who was present for the opening, said he’s heard positive feedback from the estate’s first guests.

“This is an opportunity to stay at one of the most prestigious and architecturally significant estates in the United States,” Trump said in an email. “We want people to see and experience world-class accommodations in conjunction with classic Trump quality and service and a winery, which is unrivaled anywhere on the East Coast.”

Guests also will have access to other areas in the main house, including the dining room, living room and library. Other amenities include a pool, fitness facilities and spa facilities, as well as a movie theater, fly-fishing and horseback riding.

Woolard said opening a bed and breakfast adjacent to the winery is an opportunity for visitors to have a complete experience of Virginia’s wine countryside.

Derek Hunt, director of hospitality, said they wanted to find a way to utilize the house that would be to the benefit of the winery’s guests.

“After a lot of careful thought and consideration, it made the most sense to open a bed and breakfast,” Hunt said. “We really wanted to utilize the space and we wanted other people to come and really enjoy this incredible property and this access in a way we couldn’t offer otherwise.”

It wasn’t until a few months before the transaction went through for the house that changes to Albemarle County zoning policies would allow for a bed and breakfast to exist in rural areas of the county, such as the one in Trump’s name.

Previously, only a maximum of five rooms in a single dwelling where the owner resided was permitted for tourist lodging in rural areas. But now, the changes allow other structures on a property — in this case, the pool house and cabin — to be included for bed and breakfast dwellings, but still with a maximum of five rooms per dwelling.

Rick Randolph, the Scottsville District representative on the Albemarle County Planning Commission and the Democratic nominee for the district’s Board of Supervisors seat, was one of two members who voted against the zoning changes in 2012. He said he was concerned about the potential size of these operations in the rural areas.

“The scale of this operation is much larger than what I think the rest of the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission had envisioned,” he said.

Woolard said she has heard these types of concerns but that she doesn’t see an issue with it.

“I don’t see how a 10-room, very boutique B&B has any negative impact on the area whatsoever,” she said. “To me, it only enhances the beauty of the property and the county, and really is a gem that Charlottesville and Albemarle should be proud of.”

As far as future plans for the area, Hunt said they’re focused on the bed and breakfast for now.

“We are really excited for the opportunity to share this property with others and provide a winery experience you can’t really find anywhere else,” he said.

Rates at Trump Albemarle Estate start at $349 per night, according to its website.

Birmingham chosen as site for 2021 World Games

Thousands of athletes and spectators from 100 countries around the globe will converge upon Birmingham for the 2021 World Games.

The International World Game Executive Committee just announced its selection of Birmingham from among the three finalists vying for the international games. Birmingham beat Lima, Peru and Ufa, Russia for the event.

Supporters of Birmingham’s bid are hailing this announcement as a coup for the city, region and state. Landing the event could have a $256.5 million economic impact to the Birmingham region.

The World Games are held every four years.

“Winning the bid to host the 2021 World Games is a tremendous opportunity for the city of Birmingham in so many different ways,” explained Darin W. White, Samford University professor of marketing and coordinator of the sports marketing program.

White, who is familiar with the planning of Birmingham’s bid, said winning the games has an impact well beyond athletics.

“It gives us the opportunity to create a positive and lasting legacy for our great city. It will spark dialogue and cooperation among the dozens of communities that make up Birmingham and allow us to build bridges that cut across racial and socioeconomic lines,” he told “The World Games will bring tremendous positive energy to our community that encourages us to strive to be the best in all we do and foster hope and a belief in ourselves as we witness over four thousand world class athletes from over 100 different nations compete.”

USA TODAY explains the meaning behind ‘We Want Bama’

As with so many grand ideas in college, this one was hatched in a bar. Late on a Saturday night, the two students were celebrating an Oregon victory with friends when the chant broke out:

“We want Bama! We want Bama!’

A few days later, Grant Otter and Harrison Tingler had a table set up on the Oregon campus. T-shirts — light green with bright yellow block lettering — were going for $10 each. And they were going fast.

“It was only three words,” Otter says of the business venture, which was a brief hit 14 months ago, “but everyone understood what it meant.”

Maybe that’s because in the past few years, it seems almost everyone in college football has chanted it. Or put it on a poster. Or like Otter and his friend, on a T-shirt. They did it last season, when they were seniors. But as the inaugural College Football Playoff nears, everyone still wants Bama.

Earlier this month, in the waning moments of the Big Ten championship, Ohio State fans chanted the phrase. Shortly after winning the ACC championship that same day, Florida State players said they, you guessed it, wanted Bama.

“I want to play them real bad, and I look forward to that game,” said Jameis Winston, the Seminoles’ quarterback. “It’s amazing.”

No, what’s amazing is the context. Florida State had just notched its 29th consecutive victory, and is the defending national champion. The Seminoles beat an SEC team last year in the BCS title game — and, well, Alabama safety Landon Collins might have the proper reaction.

“I always laugh at that stuff,” says Collins, a junior All-American — but he understands what it means.

“I guess because of the history that’s been here,” he adds, “I guess because Bama’s been the top team all the time, people just want to beat ’em.”

Alabama, which faces Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, is the No. 1 seed in the Playoff. But there’s no sense that any team is an overwhelming favorite (No. 2 Oregon plays No. 3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl in the other semifinal, also on Thursday). The message in the phrase is about much more than this season’s results, or what happens in the next couple of weeks.

The Crimson Tide has won three of the past five national championships. Under Nick Saban, Alabama has become the standard by which college football measures itself.

Sure, Missouri fans chanted “We want Bama!” after beating Arkansas to clinch the SEC East title and a meeting with the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship (which Alabama won 42-13). And last month, Kansas students chanted it while tearing down a goal post after beating Iowa State.

The Jayhawks finished 3-9. You have to figure they didn’t really want Bama; clearly, the phrase has outgrown its original meaning.

“Wherever you are in the country, you know what Alabama is as a football team, and what they do,” says Eric
Simons, the author of “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession.” “Whether you are in Oregon or Columbus or in the South, it doesn’t matter. It’s the same touchstone when it comes to Alabama. Regardless of where you are, it means sort of the same thing.”

Simons is a science journalist, the editorial director of the California-based magazine “Bay Nature.” His foray into anthropology of sports fans was largely an introspective study; he billed the book as “a scientific investigation into the curious nature of my annual spring hockey tantrums.” Simons is also a lifelong fan of Cal’s Golden Bears, and describes himself as a typical irrational fan.

As someone who grew up on the West coast, he understands the perspective of Oregon fans such as those who bought Otter’s T-shirts, who believe the Ducks play good football, too — and want people everywhere to know it. As a phenomenon, Simons says, “We want Bama” is symbolic of beating your chest, seeking prestige and recognition.

“It’s kind of what we do in all sorts of things, from sports to politics to just about everything else,” Simons says.
“You want to find the one that everyone acknowledges is the best — and then you want to go beat them.”

That last part has been easier said than done — see Alabama’s 84-10 record beginning in 2008, Saban’s second season at the school (beginning in 2009, with that first national title, it’s 72-8). When it comes to “We want Bama,” the best response might have come last season from a Crimson Tide fan. Alabama had just beaten LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Near the goal line, standing along the fencing, he held a hand-lettered poster: “Y’ALL Don’t WANT BAMA”.

Or in other words, as Simons deciphers the message: “‘Our group is successful. You should be part of our group. You should want to be part of our group.’ ”

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Bob Baumhower to open upscale restaurant in old Bienville Club spot

Plans are under way by Bob Baumhower to open a pair of restaurants in downtown Mobile in one of the city’s most iconic pieces of real estate.

Baumhower, owner of a string of restaurants in Alabama, will open a high-end restaurant on the 34th floor of the RSA Trustmark Building in the space once occupied by the Bienville Club. At the same time, he will also open a more casual bar/restaurant in that building’s basement that features small plates and a cigar bar.

“This is something that we’ve been working on for some time. It’s a project that I’m very excited about; I can’t wait to get them open,” Baumhower said.

The restaurant on the top floor will be named “Dauphin’s,” which pays tribute to the region’s French heritage and is a play on words for the National Football League team that Baumhower played for in the 1980s. “We wanted to come up with a name that was fun and also had some meaning and history,” he said.

It will have a seating capacity of 160 and plans are for an art-deco style restaurant with a menu laden with familiar Gulf coast favorites. The chef will be Baumhower’s corporate chef, Steve Zucker, who plans to offer a lunch menu anchored by what Baumhower called “Creole/Soul cuisine.”

They are also redesigning the restaurant’s footprint to include a chef’s table in the kitchen that will overlook the Mobile River looking south.

The basement eatery will be named “Floridita’s” and it will have a decidedly Caribbean feel, he said. The “Cuban piano bar” will be located adjacent to the old bank vault in the basement and Baumhower said he intends to turn that bit of hardware into a humidor for cigars.

Seating will be about 120 and the menu will be a late night spot with what Baumhower called “a speakeasy feel” to it with a casual upscale atmosphere.

The opening date has not been announced, but Baumhower said plans are for the work to be complete sometime in 2015. “I’m excited about the future of Mobile and especially what’s happening in downtown Mobile. We’re happy to be a part of what’s to come,” Baumhower said.

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Baumhower’s Restaurants launch new menu featuring Alabama products

Aloha Hospitality, parent company of Baumhower’s Restaurants, recently launched a new menu featuring several local Alabama products. Alabama Gulf Coast Seafood, Conecuh Sausage, Wickles Pickles and Gabby’s Tortillas are all included on the new menu.

Gabby’s Tortillas were added to the menu when company owner Bob Baumhower met young Gabby Griffin at the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermen’s Market in Foley and was immediately impressed with her locally made tortillas. Griffin is a 16 year old student who started her tortilla making business as a school project at the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy at Foley High School. The project took off and grew into a family business in Foley. Gabby’s Tortilla’s donates to local food banks and also gives a portion of their sales to charities that fight against child abuse and neglect.

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A visit to the Helen Keller museum provides a reflection of Alabama’s culture

In 1902 Helen Keller wrote in her autobiography “The Story of My Life”: “… during the first nineteen months of my life I had caught glimpses of broad, green fields, a luminous sky, trees and flowers which the darkness that followed could not wholly block out.” Born in Tuscumbia, the blindness and deafness that soon ensued did not dint her spirit or mark her searing intelligence. She became a symbol of triumph over literal darkness, and in some ways a metaphor for the survival of Alabamians throughout their complex history. As it was my first trip to Alabama, visiting her home, Ivy Green, was a must. I wanted to touch the water pump where her teacher, Anne Sullivan, guided her in making the cavernous leap from feeling the object to knowing the word that describes it. Her famous first word, “wa wa,” for water, allowed the floodgates of her brilliance to burst forth.

Her home and its adjacent cottage are now a museum, lovingly maintained. The broad green fields and grand old oak trees, still there, are a testament not only to her memory but also the combined respect in Alabama for its own unique history and its preservation that I encountered during my weeklong trip.

On a lighter note, not far from Ivy Green is Claunch Cafe where my companions and I ate at a modest family-run restaurant tucked away in Spring Park. Alabama history was literally dished out in platefuls of cornbread, fried green tomatoes, grits, homemade meat loaf, fried catfish, barbecue ribs, fried chicken, collard greens(thank God) and an array of pies that curdled my cholesterol; banana pudding, lemon box pie, peanut butter pie, chess pie and a chocolate fudge pie. Forks were flying like lightning strikes from one plate to another lest we miss out on trying each other’s sinful dessert. This was all washed down with another Southern specialty – a cold brewed sweet tea – as if we needed more sugar.

As we drove on the road to Birmingham along the swathes of cotton fields, we listed names of famous Alabamians. Among them – Jesse Owens, Willie Mays, Diana Ross, W.C. Handy, Rosa Parks, Truman Capote (who lived there as a youth), and Harper Lee, a lifelong friend of Capote. In her one and only published book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1960), Lee created Atticus Finch, a father, a lawyer and a fighter for justice. The timing of her book was significant considering the racial turmoil in the Deep South. Birmingham soon after became the center of the civil rights movement, first under the guiding hand of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and then the oratory of Martin Luther King Jr. and his call for nonviolent demonstrations.

I met a young black boy in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. We were both standing in front of a video encased in an antique wooden jukebox featuring a 1954 performance by Bo Diddley. The youngster was joyfully swinging his arms and dancing in perfect sync to the music. Later I saw him again, standing quietly in front of the replica of the bus that had carried Rosa Parks. She was arrested in 1955 for her refusal to give up her seat to a white man. That child won over my heart, and I had him in mind when on Sunday morning I attended a 16th Street Baptist Church service and witnessed an utterly rousing display of song and prayer lead by the charismatic pastor, the Rev. Arthur Price, Jr. A choir of children sang their little hearts out with a chorus of “amens” from the enchanted parishioners. In that church on a September morning in 1963, four young black schoolgirls were killed by a bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan. As a matter of fact, one of the most haunting displays in the Civil Rights Institute is a Klansman white cloak with its pointed hat and sinister aspect.

On the top of a tower on Red Mountain overlooking Birmingham stands Vulcan. He is the largest cast iron sculpture in the world – 56 feet high – and his muscular bare butt has attracted many a viewer. Patterned after the mythical Roman god of the forge, he is the emblem of the city’s powerful position in the iron and steel industry in the first part of the 20th century. The adjacent museum with its soaring light-filled entrance tells that history, in creative exhibits, of the darkness in which the miners labored to unearth the elements that would be forged into items as varied as sewing machines, potbellied stoves, hydrants and manhole covers. The lives and sacrifices of those miners are well remembered here, as they are in the 1000-plus acre park embedded in the Red Mountain. Above old mine shafts and railway tracks, ziplines have created a forest of fun where kids and adults alike squeal with excitement as they buzz along the lines stretching between wooden platforms perched high in the trees. Below, dogs frolic freely in three spacious dog parks, one of which was built exclusively for deaf and blind canines.

Despite the emphasis on history, Birmingham is becoming a vibrant city of the future. Pockets of urban renewal are evident from the former red light district to the Red Mountain area. National award-winning restaurants and their surrounding upscale shops are gracing the landscape. The elegant Highlands Bar and Grill is a perfect example. Its owner, Frank Stitt, is considered one of the top chefs in the U.S. In the tony area of Mountain Brook, Chez Lulu invites you to sample a fresh take on French cuisine, and the thin-crusted pizzas at Post Office Pies in the south side of the city deserved our bravos.

To make amends for my obvious gluttony, I took advantage of the outdoor pool and superlative spa at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. Sweating it out in the steam room and treated to a Ginger Renewal massage by the expert hands of Marcie McMath, I pretended for a day that I was svelte again. If I were so inclined, I could have had a round of golf as well, or for that matter endless rounds of golf that the 384-mile Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and its various resorts provide, from the Grand Hotel on Mobile Bay to Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa near the Tennessee border.

Another kind of trail blazing was to be found at the legendary FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound recording studios in Muscle Shoals, along the Tennessee River. Started by the innovative music producer Rick Hall, the studios showcased the talents of performers such as Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Cher, The Rolling Stones. Hall crossed the color barrier by bringing together white and black talent at a time when segregation was the norm. The FAME studio has that Carnegie Hall quality where you can practically feel the ghosts of the greats that performed there. Just touching the keys of the little Wurlitzer piano induced a thrill.

The Trail of Tears ends my journey. In a wooded area just outside the charming city of Florence, the ruggedly handsome 86-year-old Tom Hendrix regales us with the story of his life’s creation. Since 1988, Hendrix has been creating a low, thick labyrinth of a wall slowly built from 8.5 million pounds of individual rocks that he found, transported and layered, to honor his Native American great-great-grandmother. She was the only known person banished from her home, during enforced relocation of Native Americans, to have ever returned to her beloved land near the “singing waters” of the Tennessee River. It took her five years to walk that daunting distance. To wander along this wall and pause to touch these stones under the brilliant blue Alabama sky with the autumn leaves falling silently, was to feel akin to a place that, until this trip, had been unknown to me.

The Alabama I experienced was a revelation.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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