Tag: Alabama

Mount Cheaha

Take a trip to Mount Cheaha, situated in the Talladega Mountains, and visit Alabama’s highest point at 2,407 feet above sea level. Located in Cheaha Resort State Park, the state’s oldest continuous operating state park, this mountaintop destination is the perfect day trip for anyone in Atlanta or Birmingham.

There are several hiking trails around the park, but none take you directly to the summit. If you desire to reach the summit by foot, then I recommend taking the Cheaha Express and cutting across to one of the roads that lead to the summit. If you would prefer to drive, like us, then there is a road that takes you directly to the summit.

The highest point in Alabama is marked with an observation tower named Bunker Tower. This tower was completed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In fact, the Civilan Conservation Corps statue in front of the tower is the only CCC statue in the state of Alabama. The wing to the right of the main tower is home to the CCC museum. I highly recommend taking a look around, as it is very educational.

Have you ever climbed the highest point in your state?

Checking In: Hotel Finial

Checking In is a series for reviewing properties, whether it is a hostel, hotel or other forms of accommodation. To suggest a property please send us an email.

This post is brought to you by Hotel Finial. I received a free stay at Hotel Finial in exchange for writing a review on the blog. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your support surrounding sponsored posts. 

I have mastered the art of weekend getaways. Whether it is a day trip up to the North Georgia mountains for wine tasting or driving a few hours to check out a nearby city, I am always looking for something to do on the weekends. A few weekends ago, I was provided the opportunity to visit a city I had never really explored before and to stay in one of the city’s historic hotels.

Situated on a hill above downtown Anniston, Hotel Finial is located in a Queen Anne Victorian mansion that was built in 1888. Prior to being a hotel, this mansion was home to some of the city’s most prominent families including the McKleroys, Wilsons and Kirbys. Each of these families are honored with suites named after them in the main house.

The hotel features 61 rooms including five suites. Four of these suites are located in the main house, the three mentioned above as well as a Ballroom Suite that is the entire third floor of the main house.

The last suite is The Cottage, where we stayed.

(Check out this video for a walking tour of The Cottage.)

Every morning, Hotel Finial starts off with a delicious Southern breakfast prepared by Charlene, the hotel’s chef, that you can enjoy in one of the four dining rooms. All the dining rooms are located in the main house and include the original hardwood and fireplace from the 1800s.

My favorite part about the hotel, though, is the details! The intricate fireplaces and stained glass really bring character to the main house. And don’t miss Spencer’s Bar located in The Carriage House on the property.

So, whether you are passing through on I-20, traveling on business or looking for a weekend getaway, I highly recommend booking your next Anniston stay with Hotel Finial.

The Model City {Anniston, AL}

In the foothills of the Appalachians lies the sleepy city of Anniston, Alabama. Located just 60 miles from Birmingham, Alabama and 90 miles from Atlanta, Georgia, this city makes the perfect weekend getaway destination for either city. Check out this list of things to see and do during your next visit to The Model City.


There are two museums located in the city of Anniston: Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum of World History, which are conveniently located right next door to each other. We opted to explore the Natural History Museum since my mom tried to take me as a kid.

The Anniston Museum of Natural History was established in 1930, has seven permanent exhibits and is a proud member of the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Program. In addition to the 2,000 natural history items on display, there is also a wildlife garden, nature trails, and open-air animal exhibits. This is definitely worth the visit to Anniston alone.

Wall Art Scavenger Hunt

If you are looking to familiarize yourself with the city of Anniston, there is a great walking tour that will take you through historic downtown and show off various wall murals sponsored by local businesses. It is definitely a fun little scavenger hunt, and you get to walk past some cute antique stores along the way.

Oldest Saloon in Alabama

Did you know Anniston is home to the oldest saloon in Alabama? The Peerless was established in 1899 and joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The Peerless Saloon and Grille is located on the corner of 10th Street and Atlanta Avenue. The Grille is a full-service restaurant that offers some tasty offerings. We highly recommend checking out their Shrimp & Grits and Reuben. Righ next door is the Saloon if you are looking for an evening cocktail and good music. Be sure to take a look at the mirror behind the bar; it has been in the building since 1906.

Mount Cheaha

Mount Cheaha is the highest point in Alabama, and it is only 45 minutes outside of town. It is definitely worth the day trip to say you have been to the top of Alabama.

Hotel Finial

Last, but not least, you will need a place to stay. Be sure to check out the historic Hotel Finial.


What do you want to see and do during your visit to Anniston?

Vulcan, The Keeper of Birmingham

Situated on top of Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama sits the world’s largest cast iron statue: Vulcan.

Now you are probably thinking why does a classic southern city have a Roman god as its symbol?

Birmingham, founded in 1871, has a deeply rooted history in the steel and iron industry. With rich veins of coal, iron ore and limestone this city boomed as an industrial city. To help advertise the city and state, Birmingham officials funded the building of a cast iron statue to be revealed at the 1904 World’s Fair, and thus Vulcan was born. Designed by Giuseppe Moretti, Vulcan was revealed on June 7, 1904 and moved back to the city in 1905.

Since his move to Vulcan Park on Red Mountain, Vulcan has been the keeper of Birmingham.

If you are looking for a unique perspective of the Magic City and want a history lesson of it’s industrial history, check out the Vulcan Park & Museum. The museum offers an interactive experience of Birmingham and Vulcan’s history.

What is your favorite sight in Birmingham?

One of Anna’s Favorite Places in Montgomery: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

While I continue my adventures in Romania, I’m excited to introduce y’all to a college friend who is taking over Southern Exhilaration for the day! Welcome, Anna!


Hi I’m Anna, of Ann with a Plan, a lifestyle blog, focusing on food and travel.  I currently live and work in Montgomery, Alabama.  Montgomery is full of great food, family-friendly events, and history.  You can follow me on Instagram at @anna_watk or on Pinterest at @annawatk.

Today I’d like to share one of my favorite places in Montgomery with you.  The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is located on the 250 acre Blount Cultural Park along with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Garden and the Bark Park.  In additional to the beautiful works of art of MMFA’s own collections and loaned exhibits, the museum features family-friendly interactive exhibits, which complement MMFA’s permanent collections.  One of my favorite parts of the museum is the Artworks hallway which features the art of local students.  There are plenty of things to do for adults as well, with lectures, studio classes, book clubs, regular events and Arttalk, which gives local artists an opportunity to share their work.  The museum, with free admission, is a wonderful summer activity, being a relaxing break from the heat.

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In addition to the lovely and well air-conditioned galleries, the museum is surrounded by several sculptures, a beautiful pond, and many geese, which will happily follow around children or adults in exchange for bread.  The geese, ducks, turtles and other wildlife are so entertaining.  I loved seeing the baby geese this spring.   While several sculptures currently surround the museum, MMFA is also in the process of adding an additional sculpture garden and walking trails which should be completed by next summer.

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The Blount Cultural Park is also home to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Garden, the Bark Park and miles of walking trails.  The Shakespeare Garden is tucked away just north of the Festival.  It is wonderfully shaded this time of year and features plants referenced by Shakespeare and a small amphitheater.  While the park is always full of people, the Shakespeare Garden is a quieter area to me, used for its peaceful surroundings more than its running trails.  It’s the perfect place for a summer picnic.

Natural Bridge of Alabama

There are times when the scenic route is absolutely necessary, and that is exactly what I did this past weekend. Driving back to Atlanta from Decatur, Alabama, I took the long way home along US Highway 278, and in doing so we stumbled upon Natural Bridge Park. The park has been open since 1954 and is home to Alabama’s largest natural arch.

The Natural Bridge is located just outside William Bankhead National Forest. The overpass spans a small cave area with a curved rock formation 148 feet long and 60 feet high. This makes it the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies, and it is estimated to have formed over 200 million years ago.

If you are looking for a natural wonder, then I definitely recommend checking out this hidden gem. The park includes several varieties of fern and a variety of hemlock, which dates back to the Ice Age. Don’t miss the natural trail that goes all around the park. Natural Bridge the perfect place to come have a picnic, and take in the blindingly green foliage and stunning rock formations in Alabama’s back yard. Also don’t miss the large American Indian profile in one of the outcroppings.


What are some of your favorite Alabama roadside attractions?