Tag Archives: options

In Love With: Bringing Christmas to Birmingham

So I know the economy’s tight when the hardware store in Mountain Brook Plaza is out of canning equipment. The jars and cookers that used to languish under an inch of well-meaning dust are gone. It’s proof that everyone is hunkering down into a bad patch. Which totally stinks when Christmas is just around the corner.

At a time like this, big box stores with their super sales, coupons, and aggressive ad campaigns seem like a boon for stretching Christmas dollars. However, Macy’s and Walmart don’t need your cash as much as many of our homegrown merchants do. This year, more than ever, remember the independent shops that give our city its amazing character. Affordable treats can be found almost everywhere, and each choice makes our Birmingham economy stronger – and keeps our friends and neighbors in business. You won’t face the same ugly mall traffic as at our venerable shopping centers. And hey, now that gas is back to 1993 levels, you have no excuse not to bypass the one-stop stores…

Here’s a rundown of some of the places I’ll be hitting as I shop:

What’s on 2nd and Urban Standard‘s boutique (downtown Birmingham)

Red Rain, At Home, Homewood Toy and Hobby and Collage in Homewood

Atmosphere and Interiors Market in Pepper Place

Jonathan Benton Booksellers (Mountain Brook Village) and The Alabama Booksmith (Homewood)

• The gift shops at the Botanical Gardens and Vulcan Park & Museum

Hanna Antiques close to Lakeview

Village Wine Market in English Village

Tria Market and V. Richards

Happy Holidays, everyone. Be safe and shop smart!

In Love With: Night Life

Last weekend was proof that there’s plenty to do on a weekend night in Birmingham. But music and art and bars and coffeehouses are just the beginning. A while back, I heard about two unique after-dark activities that I have put on my must-do list:

Each year, the Cahaba River Society hosts moonlight canoe trips on the river. Imagine that—the moon shining down through the trees, dancing upon the water while crickets chirp and lightning bugs add mood lighting. Ahhh. Of course, the actual experience is likely to be muddy and shared with a multitude of mosquitoes, but it’s sure to give you a new vantage point on our bio-diverse river. You don’t even have to leave the city—the launch site is just off Highway 280 near Target. For dates (two more this summer), prices, and other details, see the Cahaba River Society’s canoe outings schedule.

If you’d rather not get your feet wet, try Ruffner Mountain Nature Center’s Full Moon Wine and Cheese Hike. You’ll climb to the heights of the nature preserve’s Hawk’s View Overlook, where you can enjoy wine and cheese as you watch the sun set, the moon glow, and the skyline sparkle to life. I missed this summer’s outing, so I’m planning to sign up for the fall hike in October. For full information on this event—and several other guided hikes (in the daytime) that sound fascinating—click the “Saturdays on the Mountain” link on Ruffner’s website. Again, you don’t have to leave the city limits for this one-of-a-kind nocturnal event, since the nature center is located just off I-59 in eastern Birmingham.

Do you know of any other unusual tours, events, or sights in the night?

What’s your IN spot for BBQ?

Personally, I can’t believe it is already July, and we are talking about our 4th of July plans! That also means that the IN nominations are closed and we are shipping the IN guide book off to the printer. Whew!

But, no sense in waiting till the book is out, when you have me as an IN leak!

So in the spirit of being patriotic and ready for some 4th of July cookouts, this week’s IN spots are all about some Birmingham Barbeque. “It’s just sooooooo good!” – Michael N. Check out the list after the jump…

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In Love With: Summer School

The last school bells are ringing, but the pursuit of knowledge doesn’t take the summer off. Businesses and organizations throughout the metro area are offering some very cool, very fascinating classes during the vacation months — and each one is a great opportunity to try a new skill and perhaps get hooked on an entire new hobby.

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Got plans this weekend? 4.18 – 4.20

This weekend it’s all about being green — 100% politically correct, counting up your carbon footprint, not just for hippies anymore GREEN. And the best way to save Mother Earth is to get the younger generation on board. In that effort, there are three (Yes, THREE) Earth Day events this weekend with the little kiddos in mind. And I promised you festivals, there’s a couple of them too. Read on and promise to plant a tree.

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