Not all diversions are truly “diversions.” We recently had a need to go to the University of Alabama campus for an event. When we started planning, we remembered I have friends near there (alumni, of course), who have been asking us to come and visit for years. Perfect! A diversion to visit friends and let them show off their little piece of the planet. They live between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We relaxed with them for a long weekend.
They took us to one of Alabama’s most famous BBQ joints: Dreamland. The original Dreamland is, as all GOOD BBQ joints are, a bit rough-looking around the edges. We grabbed some sweet tea (a MUST with BBQ in the south), a half rack of ribs, some potato salad and beans … and our friends insisted the bread pudding would change your life. It was delicious, but if you follow our blog then you’ve read about Perry’s BBQ in Paris, TN. That’s the standard to which all other BBQ’s are held in our lives . While Dreamland was delicious, it wasn’t Perry’s.
We toured the University of Alabama campus. Football is a religion in Tuscaloosa and Paul “Bear” Bryant is its god. There’s an entire museum dedicated to the winningest coach in college football. I must admit, I came away with a new respect for this man who devoted his life to his passion and excelled at it. We strolled the Walk of Champions and got caught in an afternoon thunderstorm.
The next day it was off to Birmingham. My friend had read in a magazine that a restaurant in this Alabama city was the home to the “world’s best hamburger.” We agreed it was certainly worth investigating. The bad news is, Chez Fonfon, the home of the renowned burger, was closed on Mondays and it was Memorial Day. Rats! No matter, there was a great Thai restaurant, Surin, just down the block.
With tummies full, what else do you do in Birmingham? You head up to the statue of Vulcan, proudly standing over this steel city (I asked if it was the Pittsburgh of the south).
My friend’s teenage daughter said the statue is known in the area because it wears a kilt-like loin cloth that leaves his rear exposed. She said her friends call it “the Big Booty.”
It was an impressive statue overlooking an even more impressive view of Birmingham.
From there it was off to Steel City Pops – makers of gourmet-flavored popsicles. The four of us had four different flavors and, not surprisingly, we were each delighted with our own choice while agreeing all the flavors were pretty amazing.
It was a restful mini-vacation with long-time friends. I don’t know that I really would have thought of Alabama as a sight-seeing destination, but it does have charm and attractions worth checking out if you’re looking for a diversion. Check it out sometime.