The Washington Post: Let Us Now Praise the Back Roads of Alabama

he feature travel article in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post by writer Clay Risen described the trek he took through the “back roads” of Alabama. His recent trip to the state included the cities of Fairhope, Coden, Dauphin Island, Demopolis, Newbern, Thomaston, Forkland, Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. Highlighted in the article were Fairhope’s downtown area, Fort Gaines, the Rural Heritage Center, Trowbridge’s Restaurant, Billy Reid Designs, the Rosenbaum House, W.C. Handy Museum, Ivy Green, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, and the Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard.
From the introduction to the feature article “Let Us Now Praise the Back Roads of Alabama” by Clay Risen in the Sunday, Jan. 25 edition of The Washington Post:
It’s true: Even the Birmingham airport smells like barbecue. And it’s true that there is no better football than November’s Auburn-Alabama game, a.k.a. the Iron Bowl. And of course it’s true that the state is bounded, at its northern and southern edges, by two great tourist draws: the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, just below the Tennessee border, and the USS Alabama, docked permanently in Mobile Bay. But there is a lot more to Alabama than pork and pigskins. Despite the proliferation of suburbs and highways, vast pockets of the state have managed to hold onto their roots, and even develop new ones. Such appreciation doesn’t come naturally to me as a Tennessean. In the same way Northerners look down on Southerners, as a general rule northern Southerners (we call it the “Mid-South”) look disparagingly at our lower-state neighbors. But my attitude changed a few years ago, when I ventured down to Fairhope, a small town on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. In what has become an annual pilgrimage, I was there for Southern Writers Reading, a pre-Thanksgiving literary festival that draws heavily on the local arts community. Downtown Fairhope, just a few blocks in from a bluff that offers striking views of the bay, is a warren of boutiques and cafes, galleries and restaurants……  
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