Alabama Bucket List
by: Bradley Jean
Summer is here and I honestly cannot believe it. Wasn’t it just January when time was moving so slow? We are almost halfway through 2019! Time goes be so incredibly fast, which is why we created our Alabama Bucket List.
I have learned a lot over the last few years running George’s Farmers Market, but one idea that always comes back to me is this: You must create what you want.
Sounds simple right? In many ways yes, but all too often we want things and fail to stop in time to create them.
After making the decision to close our doors full-time (another post for another day), I had an empty space in my soul. All my customers, all my efforts, all my joy, all that I had created, came to a screeching halt. I had no idea what to do with myself.
Enter the wild world of my children. My three spirited, loud, out-door loving, farm kids. My time was placed back into their lives. It was time for them to fill their appropriate space in my soul.
What I have always wanted, for as long as I can remember, was to be a mother. A present mother. A fun mother. A mother that laughs and enjoys her children. A mother with adventure and joy. A mother that teaches and explores and engages with her kids. All these things had been missing.
I realized that in order to have the desires of my heart, I had to create it…
Welcome to our Alabama Bucket List!
Our mission: to explore all the beautiful, unique places in Alabama; to spend adventurous quality time with my kids; to create space with my children to laugh and learn and grow together.
The cool thing about my kids at this time, is they are eager to work and explore. I’m owning this stage in their lives and using it to its fullest glory. They are like worker ants. They are gritty and hustle and have the energy of superheroes. Do you get what I’m saying here? They are a work force!
Pitching a tent, done. Building a fire, done. Cooking over said fire, done. The excitement of this endeavor is heart swelling! It is truly a gift. If they are so eager to work and to be “do-ers” of life, then by all means, I will allow them to grab it by the horns and own it!
Do you sense my enthusiasm?
Teaching our kids to work together has always been a goal of my husband and me. It is a hard skill to teach and learn. They are all so different and they all want to be the boss. But how will they learn if not given the opportunity?
Our adventures will involve a lot of camping.
Am I a seasoned camper? No. I am not. Honestly, it is not my vacation of choice. Give me a beach front condo, a book and a cup of coffee and I am one happy lady. But ya’ know what, this isn’t about me. It’s about us. It’s about them and creating a Summer we will never forget. It’s about stepping into the wilderness to see where we might end up.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been researching and exploring all that Alabama has to offer. I have been amazed and blown away at the beauty and cool things right in our own backyard. We have mountains and caves and waterfalls. We have movie sets and a whimsical castle. We have a handful of rivers and lakes and tons of natural wildlife. We have bayous and beaches and historical forts. I’m 100% sure we can not cover it all this Summer and also be still long enough to enjoy it.
I want to use this time to slow down, to ponder all we see and rest in it. I have no desire to rush from here to there. One of my favorite quotes is “hurry always hurts…” by Ann Voskamp. We will be in no hurry. We will enjoy all that we can see, even if it takes longer than expected.
Moving right along with our list…
I began by making one list of all Alabama destinations we wish to travel. With it being Summer, I focused on outdoor destinations. We are an outdoor family and honestly, my kids are too rowdy for indoors. We kept a few indoor spaces on the list, we don’t want to skip out on cool things.
Then I separated the list into regions of our state: North-East, North-Central, North-West, Central AL, South-East, South-West. There is a lot up North, and we have never traveled up there. We have spent a great deal of time in Central and Southern AL, but there’s a lot more to explore than we ever knew.
We are starting our journey in Central AL. I feel like it’s not too far from home and we can get our feet wet in the camping department. I’m planning out the rest of our Summer based on region. I’m not planning out specific dates just yet, only the regions with the places we want to visit.
Our first journey is planned: Oak Mountain State Park (also including 3-4 other destinations)
My kids are crazy excited!
I’m thrilled to share our experiences and travels with you. I will give detailed reports and pics along the way and hopefully share many stories.
I hope that our journey will inspire you to get out and discover your own world, to get off the beaten path and try something new with your family. We can travel around the world to see lovely things, and yet we can travel in our own backyards too. We can create the adventure we want for our family.
Our Alabama Bucket List
· Kymulga Covered Bridge and Grist Mill - Childersburg
· Moss Rock Preserve- Hoover; also Aldridge Gardens
· Botanical Gardens- Vestavia
· Pelham- Blue Water Quarry
· Millbrook- Specter (from movie Big Fish)
· Hot Air Balloon Ride- Helena
· Oak Mountain State Park // Pea Vine Falls – Pelham
· Rickwood Caverns State Park
· Natural Bridge AL- Jasper
· Cheaha State Park
· Bankhead National Forest
· Sipsey Wilderness
· Dismals Canyon
· Rock Bridge Canyon
· Friends of Cane Creek Canyon
· Rattlesnake Saloon- Muscle Shoals
· Space Center- Huntsville
· Pointe Mallard- Decatur
· Walls of Jericho – Scottsboro
· Fort Payne
· Little River Canyon // Falls
· Desoto State Park
· Lake Guntersville // Cathedral Caverns // Cave Mountain Small Wild Area // Honeycomb Natural Bridge // Ghost Creek Falls
· Noccalula Falls – Gadsden // Bucks Island
· Cherokee Rock Village
· Cedar Bluff – Weiss Lake
· Bayou La Batre
· Blakely Sate Park
· Dauphin Island
· Fort Morgan
· Swift Cole Historical Homes
· Blue Springs
· Fairhope // Mosher Castle
· Pointe Clear // The Grand
· Orange Beach
I’m betting we are missing some really great places. If you have more suggestions, we’d love to hear them.
We hope you enjoy this journey with us!
-The George’s Family