Every week, United Airlines posts supercheap weekend specials that you can book last-minute. A couple years ago, Jake and I blocked off a few days to take one of the trips offered from Chicago, and once the list came out, we chose Huntsville, Alabama (it was a space center thing.)
Apparently, though, others didn’t, so our flight home ended up getting canceled thanks to low capacity. But we’d pretty much maxed out Huntsville by that time, so voila–our trip to Birmingham was born.
Our first stop was Urban Standard, an ultra-hip coffee shop downtown where we grabbed lunch. The exposed brick and industrial details quickly proved the city’s “cool” factor–because really, what’s “cooler” than exposed brick and industrial details? Let’s be real.
Next it was onward to the Peanut Depot, an adorable, old-timey little shop tucked away on a cobblestone street. Sadly, I don’t like peanuts, but it sure made me wish I did–they’ve been roasting there for over 100 years.
From there, we drove up into the hills to visit Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and a symbol of the city’s iron roots (pictured above). He’s the world’s largest cast iron statue, and he’s been overlooking the city since the 1930’s–with quite a good view, might I add. You can look out over the entire city, and there’s lots of history and information about Birmingham’s founding, too.
We rounded out the day with a visit to Kelly Ingram Park, located across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church–the site of a 1960s bombing by the KKK that killed four young girls. The park itself was the site of rallies and demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement, and it’s now home to several sculptures that commemorate its leaders.
Also of note: the Five Points South neighborhood, which I remember thinking looked like a great place to go for dinner–before I fell asleep and missed it. And sadly, we also missed the first-ever game at the brand new Regions Field, home of the White Sox affiliate Birmingham Barons, by a day or two.