So, do you remember back when I said I liked to pretend I was a photographer? Yeah, plenty of photos in this blog. I have a problem, I should seek help. I just can’t control myself. If you have a slow connection, be patient and wait for them to load.
Our first road trip was to the beautiful Mentone, Alabama. What? You never heard of it? That’s okay, I’m here to change all that. Mentone may only be the size of a postage stamp but it packs a wallop. Hiking, backpacking, camping, cabins, arts, crafts, food, music, golfing, B&Bs, Inns, rock climbing, cave diving, kayaking, Oh, and the real kicker… a ski resort. Seriously. In Alabama. I have to go back in the winter just to check that out. I’ll keep you updated.
Desoto State Park
Our first stop was at the Desoto State Park
I love wooden bridges walking through the woods and this park did not fail me. Their “Boardwalk” was a cool 1,000 feet long. My Nottingham Forest fetish was fulfilled.
After Running through the woods, I spotted a sign that pointed me to something called Indian Falls. Yay, falls I hadn’t expected. I do love surprises.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I was not in any way upset that I didn’t get to see the falls in all of their glory. I, personally, found this side of nature just as beautiful and profound.
At the park headquarters, there is a clean restroom, laundry area and gift shop. I am posting pictures of the restroom because quite frankly you never know what you are getting into at some places.
We drove on down to the Desoto Falls and Dam. They have boat rentals in case you’re anything like me and don’t happen to travel around with one on day trips…or have one.
Now, you see this fellow here? Pay attention.
He wants to be where this guy is.
Look hard, he’s the little guy dangling from a rope in the middle of the picture. You may have to click on the picture to see him. I know I do but then again I’m half blind.
People were gathered around watching him with the excitement of watching a trapeze artist without a net.
He made it 🙂
Sallie Howard Memorial Church
I knew before I left my house that I was going to find this church. I have been to Mentone a few times but had never heard of it. While I was planning my trip I stumbled across this gem and said there was no way I was going without going in for a visit. We went on a Sunday but when I got to the church they were in mid-service. I drove here three times waiting to get in without interrupting anyone. I’d do it again.
I had looked at a couple of pictures online before I went to visit this church. No picture can do it justice. There is a feeling there and beauty there like no other. Understanding that a man loved his wife so much that he built one of the most unique monuments to her memory is soul touching. That he chose to combine his unshakable faith with an unmovable stone speaks volumes in a way nothing else could. And we get to continue to witness this profound love.
You combine that love with the openness displayed by the sign below.
There is a peace and joy inside these walls. No matter your faith, you can walk in this small, humble and remarkable sanctuary, any time you need to and pray or meditate or simply be. When you are seeking solace, this door is open. In a world of locked doors and barred windows, here you will find trust and welcome.
We got hungry after all of that walking. So we decided to visit a place my husband and I had wanted to on several occasions but had not managed to have the time. The Wildflower Cafe.
Here you are surrounded by artwork and crafts by local artists, proudly displayed with their names. Every sign, saying and piece of work is done to remind you to live in a state of joy. No negativity allowed. Could you imagine how much better the world would be if every place we went insisted on that kind of attitude?
We were asked if we were willing to sit at a table outside to avoid a long wait. Heck yeah we were! Outside really seemed perfect for the day we were having. And we couldn’t have been more right. Each table was adorned with these fresh flowers.
And if we hadn’t been outside we would not have been serenaded by the ringing bells of Saint Joseph’s on the Mountain.
We enjoyed being at Wildflower Cafe so much that we were there to hear the bells ring twice.
Our waiter, Austin, had to make several trips before everyone could decide what they wanted. He never got frustrated with my indecisive teens. He was as laid back as his cut off jeans and Hawaiian-ish shirt suggested him to be. When everyone finally decided what they wanted, he took our order without the privilege of pen and pad. Using only his memory, he managed to keep five separate orders straight. I’ve only been to one other restaurant that did that and am always amazed when my food comes out correct.
While we were enjoying our meal a cute, young lady popped out of the Cafe. “Hi, I am Moon, the owner!” she said full of smiles. She asked if we could hear the music inside. We said we could but that we couldn’t quite make out the singing. She told us she would be right back. A few minutes later she returned with none other than our awesome troubadour, Tony. Together they regaled us with a duet while we ate. She talked to us a bit more, told us how the Cafe had been named Best Restaurant in Alabama by Alabama Magazine and then disappeared back inside.
We left our car parked at the Wildflower Cafe and walked on out to visit some of the other shops in the town proper. As you leave you can’t help but enjoy all of the artwork on the the Cafe’s exterior as well.
Walking to the road you are greeted by the Log Cabin Craft Village. Rows of tiny log cabins/stores. Here you will find everything you expect to find while being a tourist and a few things you might not expect.
Walking around the corner, we were greeted with music singing out from a radio- “Country road, take me home” it sang. Flags unfurled, line the streets, hanging off these cabins to let you know they are open. Each cabin filled with a different treat. Not only do they have foods, ice cream, arts, crafts, and a multitude of other wares but country folks ready to make you feel right at home. You can’t be shy around these guys and gals. They have plenty to say and they say it all with a laugh in their heart!
I am the world’s worst at crossing roads back and forth as I see something new every where I look. I didn’t have to wait on long lines of cars. Not that there weren’t long lines. There were, between all of the yard sales, stores and sites to see, there were cars in droves. In Mentone, the cars stopped, right there in the middle of the street and waved me across. I hope I carried some of their hospitality home with me.
I barely scratched the surface of Mentone. Hopefully one of the trips I make back to explore further I’ll bump into you! Until then….