viernes, 5 de abril de 2024

IPW 2024


1. Year of Alabama Food

The state has named 2024 the “Year of Alabama Food”, so what’s the recipe for the perfect trip in 2024? Try a food and travel break, following the BBQ trail on Alabama’s smartphone app, which features everything from the Original Alabama White Sauce invented at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur to the special house slaw at Brooks Barbeque in Muscle Shoals. Or, if you prefer a history lesson with a meal, visit Brenda’s Bar-B-Q Pit in west Montgomery. Brenda’s namesake and founder secretly tutored neighborhood residents to pass the literacy test, which was required for them to register to vote. Ask about the photo of her on the front lines of the Selma to Montgomery March.

For a change from BBQ, check out Chris’ Famous Hotdogs in Montgomery, whose customers have included everyone from Elvis and Hank Williams to Clark Gable and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And don’t forget the award-winning restaurants in Birmingham, better known as the “Dinner Table of the South”, and home to Alabama’s oldest restaurant, The Bright Star in Bessemer.

There’s plenty of beer and wine on Alabama’s drinks menu too.  Take the Craft Beer Trail, being sure to stop at Straight to Ale in Huntsville, which produces Monkeynaut, an IPA with a label featuring a monkey in a space suit. Or visit the six wineries on the North Alabama Wine Trail, including Southern Oak Wines, which makes sparkling muscadine as well as fruit wines featuring strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and peach.

Tourists are encouraged to bring a hearty appetite and let the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama be a guide. Whether it’s delicious goat cheese, fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood, home-grown collards and sweet potatoes, or mouth-watering barbecue, foodies can discover new personal favorites in this collection of Alabama’s most interesting places to eat. It is a celebration of Alabama's rich culinary history and diverse range of cuisine as you take in the unique eateries and must-see food destinations.

2. Newest Attractions

Freedom Monument Sculpture Park: Overlooking the Alabama River, Freedom Monument Sculpture Park honors the lives and memories of 10 million Black people who were enslaved in America and celebrates their courage and resilience. The 17-acre site opened March 26, 2024, to the public. Visit for more information.

Holt Street Baptist Church: What once was the first meeting spot for the Montgomery Improvement Association and where Martin Luther King Jr was voted as president of the MIA in 1951, is now a museum and the newest addition to the Alabama Civil Rights Trail. The MIA was created after Rosa Parks was arrested and the Montgomery Bus Boycott had begun.

Africatown Heritage House: Clotilda the Exhibit: More than 50 years after the United States banned participation in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the schooner Clotilda trafficked men, women and children from Africa to Mobile in 1860. It is the last known American slave ship and was destroyed to hide the evidence of the illegal activity. The ship’s remains were discovered and identified in 2019.

On July 8, 2023, Africatown Heritage House opened, with multisensory exhibits and artifacts from the ship to bring life to the story of the 110 survivors, who demonstrated remarkable optimism and resilience. Visitors will also be able to take a boat tour on the Mobile River and hear stories of the captives who sailed the same waters — but in a very different manner. Today, the National Geographic documentary Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship is out on Disney+, while Netflix has bought the rights to Descendant, which tells the story of the slaves’ descendants.

Whitewater Park: Montgomery’s $90 million dollar attraction opened in July 2023. It is located along the Alabama River, delivering perfect views for Whitewater Park’s 800-seat restaurant. While eating delectable food, you can watch the whitewater rafting course, the zipline course, rock climbing wall, or the beer gardens.

3. Transportation

Amtrak Passenger Train: The long-awaited Amtrak train service is expected to open in the fall. The train will travel twice a day from New Orleans to Mobile. So similar in history, food and culture, it’s only natural that Mobile and New Orleans will soon be linked by the Amtrak Passenger Train. An exact date when the train service starts has not been announced.

Carnival Spirit: Carnival Spirit is back in the Port City of Mobile as of October 2023. It is a great activity for family and friends to experience the Gulf of Mexico, and an amazing accomplishment for the city of Mobile.

4. World’s Longest-Running Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival

Huntsville, Alabama, will host the 20th year celebration of the world’s longest-running Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival. The multi-day event is free and raises funds for music education in Madison County, Alabama. This event will take place May 31 – June 2, 2024, at Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment.

5. 60th Anniversary of Flora-Bama

One of the world’s top beach bars, The Flora-Bama Lounge is located uniquely on the Orange Beach, Alabama, and Perdido Key, Florida, line. This honky tonk has been a landmark in the community since August 1, 1964. Since opening, the Flora-Bama hosts several famous annual events including Interstate Mullet Toss & Beach Party, Frank Brown’s Songwriters Festival, Super Chili Bowl Cook-off, Polar Bear Dip, and many more. The Flora-Bama has millions of “Bamily” members that visit them from around the world who know that the reputation, love and the legend is because of them.

The Flora-Bama has five stages for live music and features bands of country, rock, dance and beach music. You can relax in any of the areas and select the entertainment of your choice. If you need a little away time the Flora-Bama has several beach-front bars where you can sip on a famous Bushwacker and enjoy the beautiful sunsets on the water.

6. MoonPie Drop in Mobile

The South’s most iconic New Year’s Eve celebration, known for its electrifying live music, festive atmosphere and the iconic MoonPie drop at midnight. This annual event draws over 50,000 revelers to downtown Mobile, making it a must-attend celebration to welcome the new year. MoonPie Over Mobile earns #9 spot on USA TODAY's "10 Best New Year's Eve drops in the U.S.”

7. 60th anniversary of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement

April of 2023 marked the 60th anniversary of the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, which tragically killed four young Black girls, and launched the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. This monumental tragedy took place in Birmingham, Alabama, and it is an essential part of the Alabama Civil Rights Trail.

8. The Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival celebrates 20 years of flight

Spot hot-air balloons shaped as everything from a unicorn to the sun at the Gulf Coast Air Balloon Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary from May 2-4 at OWA Parks & Resort in Foley. Take a tethered balloon ride 35 feet into the sky for a birds-eye view of the proceedings, then try the theme parks’ AeroZoom ride, which replicates a hang glider, and the Air Racer, which simulates the dives and loops pilots take in an air show. The park features coasters and carousels among its 23 rides, as well as Tropic Falls, an impressively large indoor water park beneath a glass roof. More details on and

9. Literary Greats

Forrest Gump’s 30th film anniversary: July marks 30 years since Tom Hanks told us that life was like a box of chocolates while portraying Forrest Gump in the Oscar-winning movie. The 1994 film placed Forrest’s home near the fictional town of Greenbow, Alabama, but Winston Francis Groom Jr. set his 1986 novel in his hometown of Mobile. Groom studied at the University of Alabama (also ‘attended’ by Gump) and was inspired to write the book when his father, a lawyer in Mobile, told him about a slow-witted boy he had known, whose mother taught him to play the piano. That night, the author drafted the first chapter; he finished the book’s first draft in just six weeks. Groom died in Fairhope, Alabama, in 2020 and is buried in Mobile’s Pine Crest Cemetery. His tombstone is inscribed with a quote from Forrest Gump: “So whatever else has happened, I am figgerin this: I can always look back an say, at least I ain’t led no hum-drum life. You know what I mean?”

Tender is The Night turns 90: F. Scott Fitzgerald worked on parts of Tender is The Night while staying in Montgomery with his wife Zelda from 1931 to 1932; the book was published in 1934 and was the author’s last completed novel. The couples’ former home is now a museum, and you can stay upstairs in the one-bedroom Scott apartment or the two-bedroom Zelda from about £140 a night for two ( While both are as period accurate as possible (the Scott features original wallpaper in the bedroom and living room), they have kitchens and modern bathrooms. Zelda wrote part of her novel Save me The Waltz there; she was also an artist – you can see some of her work at The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts ( The centenary of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel, is in 2025.

Harper Lee’s 98th birthday: Celebrate the 98th anniversary of Harper Lee’s birthday by watching a play of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird at the courthouse in Monroeville, the town where she grew up and which doubled as the fictional Maycomb in the book. The two-act birthday celebration play is on April 27; the $135 ticket includes food, drink and a chance to meet the actors. Other performances are held throughout April ( Tickets sell out fast; those for 2025 are already on sale. Visitors to the courthouse museum can see exhibitions on Harper Lee and her childhood friend Truman Capote, the inspiration for Dill in the novel ( There’s also an interesting self-guided walking tour around Monroeville, including the original county jail, the elementary school and Mel’s Dairy Dream, a hamburger restaurant on the site of the author’s original home. Harper Lee’s grave is marked by a simple granite stone in the town’s Hillcrest Cemetery. More details on

More Literary Greats from Alabama: Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish, later a Tim Burton film, was born and grew up in Birmingham, while Winston Groom wrote Forest Gump in Mobile and based it in Bayou La Batre, Alabama’s fishing village and seafood processing harbor. And Barracoon, Zora Neale Hurston’s account of how Cudjo Lewis journeyed from capture in Africa to captivity in Alabama on board the Clotilda, was published in 2018, a year before the scuttled ship was identified in Mobile.

10. An out-of-this-world family vacation

Nicknamed Space City, Huntsville, Alabama, is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the world’s largest space museum. In April 2023, families can take stimulated missions to the International Space Station when NASA launches the first crewed flight test of Starliner, which will carry astronauts to and from the space station. Visitors today can try the flight simulator, take part in underwater astronaut adventures, relive man’s landing on the moon in a virtual reality experience or run the gauntlet of the multi-axis trainer. Popular space camps are also held here, including three-day family visits and week-long stays for children, who undergo the basics of astronaut training. There are also specific space camps for the visually impaired and the hearing impaired.

11. America’s oldest Mardi Gras

Just two hours from New Orleans, Mobile celebrated its first Mardi Gras in 1703, 15 years before New Orleans was founded. Dauphin Street’s wrought-iron railings and pastel facades give it a similar architecture and ambience to New Orleans. If you’re not there for Fat Tuesday, the Carnival Museum has a collection of fun floats, glittering crowns and gowns.

12. Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Alabama offers a wide range of sports thanks to its geographical diversity. Golfers can tee off on The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which has 26 courses on 11 sites in Alabama. Eight exceptional resorts that appeal to both leisure and business travelers are perfectly placed so you can stay and play while taking in attractions in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Muscle Shoals.

13. Musical highs in Alabama

Muscle Shoals is home Rick Hall’s FAME studios, and they just celebrated their 60th anniversary on April 23, 2023. The studios have attracted and recorded artist’s biggest hits from Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Never Loved a Man’ to Wilson Pickett’s ‘Mustang Sally’. Much of the soul-shaking soundtrack of the sixties and seventies was recorded in Muscle Shoals on the banks of the Tennessee River. Keith Richards, who recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, from the Rolling Stones referred to it as ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’. More recently, Alicia Keys recorded there. Both FAME Studios and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio still operate (the latter was revived after receiving a grant from rapper Dr Dre) but a new behind-the-scenes tour takes visitors into Hall’s personal office and showcases his collection of instruments. Nearby in Florence, the wood cabin where the Father of the Blues W.C. Handy was born is now a museum. In Montgomery, step back into the life of country star Hank Williams whose 100th birthday was in 2023 and celebrated at the Hank Williams Museum.

14. Get back to nature

As more of us seek different places to experience the big outdoors, Alabama has the perfect offering: white sand Gulf Coast beaches, lakes that are perfect for fishing or kayaking, and nature’s own obstacle course in the foothills of the Appalachians.

The 32 miles of Gulf Coast beaches in Alabama are the perfect place to kick back. Explore Gulf State Park’s 28 miles of trails by biking, hiking or even Segway. The park is home to 325 species of birds as well as alligators, bobcats and nesting sea turtles. Dubbed the Red Snapper Capital of the World, Orange Beach is the place to go to land a fish, including grouper and amberjack. If you catch a big one, many of the local restaurants will cook it for your dinner.

Get an eagle-eye view over the treetops while ziplining through Lake Guntersville State Park, home to 39 miles of trails as well as Alabama’s largest lake. Go kayaking in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, dubbed America’s Amazon thanks to its plethora of wildlife, or canoe to see the endangered Cahaba lily in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge near Birmingham. For something a bit more strenuous, get active in the foothills of the Appalachians, where you’ll find the long-distance Pinhoti trail as well as vast forests and towering waterfalls. Alabama has 21 state parks where you can stay in campsites, cabins or lodges.

15. See Helen Keller’s childhood home

A 10-minute drive from Muscle Shoals is Tuscumbia, where Helen Keller was born in a house called Ivy Green in 1880. She famously became both blind and deaf as a toddler, and, with the help of her teacher Annie Sullivan, she learned her first word, water, at the well pump in the garden. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson’s tale of Helen’s childhood, is performed on the grounds of Ivy Green during the summer. Book in advance to see the true story brought to life.

16. The perfect fly-drive destination

Talk about an easy fly-drive destination — you can drive from Huntsville in the north to Mobile in the South in just over five hours. What’s more, none of the major sites are more than 2.5 hours from each other: Birmingham is just 1.5 hours to both Huntsville and Montgomery, which in turn is 2.5 hours from Mobile. Alabama is easy to get to as well, with direct flights to Atlanta, Georgia, a two-hour drive from Birmingham. And if you want to combine it with other parts of the Deep South, New Orleans in Louisiana is a couple of hours from Mobile, while Nashville, Tennessee, is the same distance from Huntsville.

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