Welcome to Live the Adventure! Not only I am celebrating my one year blog anniversary here on Blogger, I am also the featured blogger at Blog-Trotting, a virtual travel blog where you can stop in and learn about US cities far and near. Today I’m thrilled to be your tour guide.
A family picture with my mother-in-law
My name is Tonya and I was born and raised in the Buckeye State. I’m married to my high school sweet heart, Rod, and together we have three awesome teenagers, Nickolaus, Joshua, Chelsea and our rescued four-legged fur baby, Vincent.
Five years ago, my family embarked on a special adventure when we began traveling with my husband’s job. The fact that we have always homeschooled the kids and loved to travel motivated us to take the family on the road. It didn’t take long for us to tire of our travel arrangements, a mix of hotel rooms and temporary apartments. We longed for something that felt a bit more ‘homey’. Last year we bought a 31 foot Class A motor home and excitedly moved in.
As you can imagine, living in such close quarters had its ups and downs but overall I think we survived quite nicely. I couldn’t imagine not having the experiences that we had. Finally, it became clear that our time on the road was drawing to a close and we were excited to once again put down roots. In July we moved into a house again, for the first time in over 18 months. But we didn’t return to Ohio…our adventure led us South to Huntsville, Alabama and this is where your tour will begin.
Welcome to Rocket City USA!
You can ask anyone in Northern Alabama what Huntsville is known for and they’re likely to mention Redstone Arsenal and the US Space and Rocket Center in the same breath. Redstone is a US Army post and home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center where the local iconic Saturn V rocket was built.
Today a replica of the Saturn V can be seen from I-565, outside Alabama’s #1 Tourist Attraction, the US Space and Rocket Center. The Davidson Center, the newest edition to the museum, holds an actual restored Saturn V rocket which is now a National Historic Landmark. Though the rocket center has amazing exhibits, simulators and an IMAX theater, perhaps it’s best known for Spacecamp.
Though technology abounds you’ll find plenty of other attractions that beckon. Just down the road from the US Space and Rocket Center you’ll find another of our favorite attractions, the Huntsville Botanical Garden. No matter what season you visit, you’ll find something going on such as the annual Scarecrow Trail each fall or the Galaxy of the Lights, guaranteed to be one of the best Christmas light displays you’ll see. You’ll also find the largest open air butterfly house in the nation right here at the botanical garden.
Of course, I know some of you like to shop and I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest a quick stop by the Bridge St.Town Centre Mall for some of the finest shopping in the city. Make sure you take a break from your shopping and grab a bite of a chocolaty goodness at The Chocolate Crocodile. The specialty caramel apples are the BEST! If you’re looking for something unique and romantic be sure to schedule a tour on the gondola before continuing your tour through Huntsville.
If you’d like to learn a bit of local and state history while you’re in the area, you’ll find nearby Mooresville a must stop! The entire town, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, is a fun side trip. Of course you certainly won’t be the first to visit, Disney beat you to it when they filmed the “Tom and Huck” movie in the very same town. Can you believe that Mooresville was a town before Alabama was a state?
If you’d like to dip a bit deeper into the history of the area, you’ll enjoy Harrison Brothers Hardware Store, the oldest operating hardware store in the Yellowhammer State. Within blocks of downtown you’ll also find Constitution Village, Earlyworks-an amazing children’s museum, The Huntsville Museum of Art, Big Spring Park and a particularly special treat, Weeden House, one of the oldest antebellum homes not only in Huntsville, but in the state as well. It is currently operated by the most engaging curator. You’ll leave not only entertained but with an incredible appreciation for Southern Life.
Of course you don’t want to spend all day inside museums! It’s time to enjoy some of spectacular scenery and hiking trails that make Huntsville great. Our first stop is to Monte Sano State Park which happened to be the first place we parked our home on wheels. Though we loved our home on the mountaintop, with no internet access it didn’t appear to be the best fit for an active blogger.
Our two favorite spots in the park would be the scenic overlook which will give you a breathtaking view of the Tennessee Valley and the trail that leads to the Stone Cuts. The exposed and weathered capstone of the mountain has resulted in an interesting passage through rock and a natural tunnel that is perfect for the explorer in you.
Another outdoor favorite is the Madison County Nature Trail located on Green Mountain. This retreat like setting boasts a wooded 1 ½-2 mile trail that meanders along a beautiful, fish stocked lake. Of course, if you’d rather relax and enjoy the view you’re welcome to grab a seat in one of the many Adirondack chairs or wooden gliders at the covered pavilion where you can feel the breeze off the water and watch the playful ducks and visitors as they enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of the world at the base of the mountain.
Have I talked you into a visit yet? Of course I could spend all day telling you why I have grown to love Huntsville but I’ll leave you to explore on your own at this website. Let me just say that if we can’t live in Ohio- there is no where else I’d rather be. Not to mention the winters are definitely more pleasant!
Blog-trotting features a different destination each day and would love to eventually highlight each state. Would you like to be the next featured blogger? It’s easy, just go to the destinations page and leave a message. It’s that easy. Oh, before I forget, Carabee would especially love to feature someone from Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Connecticut and West Virginia and I know that some of you live in these states. Interested? Stop by Blog-trotting and check it out.