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FLIGHT PLAN, THE PINTA, PIPER & LEAF: A Pleasant Time in South Huntsville

Saturday was one of those times when our work was caught up for at least a small window of time, and we had a few hours to explore "just because we could." Which, of course, is one of the great benefits of being semi-retired and in good health.

We had a couple of places that sounded interesting, but for the most part, it was nice to not be on anyone's time schedule except our own. We traveled down Hwy. 36 (the detour only added about 5 minutes) to Hwy. 231 (which is called "The Parkway" as you get into Huntsville.

A REPLICA OF THE PINTA (as in, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria from 1492 when Columbus "sailed the ocean blue")

We saw on a recent newscast that this replica ship would be at Ditto Landing in South Huntsville for a few days, so that was our first stop. We were not the only visitors. In fact, one of the crew members said that this stop had been their most popular one of the season. They sail/tour for 10 months out of the year and spend the winter months in Bayou La Batre, AL. The cost for seniors is $6.00. If you're interested and you don't make it to Ditto Landing, their next stop will be in Guntersville. Click here for a schedule and more info.


Flight Plan opened in November of 2019, "just in time to close back down" according to our server. It is located on Carl T. Jones Drive and is tastefully decorated in red, gray, black, and taupe. The name was created from the restaurant's emphasis on wine flights, but I had heard great reports about the food, so that's why we checked it out. The reports were true.

Steve and I shared an appetizer of Fried Deviled Eggs, the Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders, and each had a bowl of the soup of the day, which was an amazing Tuscan Tomato Bisque with potatoes and spinach. So, so good. My aunt and uncle who went for lunch a few days ago raved about the chicken salad. The dinner menu looks very appealing. I suspect we'll want to sample it before long. Check the menu for yourself and see what I mean.

After lunch, we drove through some beautiful neighborhoods getting landscaping ideas, then stopped into Fresh Market supposedly to get wheat germ to add to our morning smoothies. We came out with some blueberry banana bread and fabulous cookies. So much for our healthy intentions.

On our way back home, we saw a big sign pointing to Piper & Leaf Tea Company. I've seen many restaurant menus that mention serving Piper & Leaf tea, so we thought it would be a place to investigate. This tea and coffee shop opened only 2 months ago. You'll miss it if you're not careful. There's a long driveway leading to the new building, and a very inviting covered porch that is perfect for enjoying your freshly-brewed beverage.

I came out with a loose tea blend called Orchard Peach and brewed some as soon as I got back to my kitchen. Think peaches, pineapple, papaya, hibiscus, and more good things sweetened slightly and poured over ice. Oh my. Check the website. I guarantee you'll find a blend that catches your attention.

Let me mention two more places. Grave's Grocery is in Lacey's Springs, a very short distance before Hwy. 36 runs into Hwy. 231. We had planned to stop in and say, "Thanks for feeding our grandchildren," but they were closed. Julie and her tribe go there often and are always welcomed with delicious meals. I want to try this for myself soon.

Reeves Farm's new location WAS open and doing a thriving business. A number of cars with license plates from far beyond Alabama were in the parking lot. The Reeves' billboards on I-65 must be working effectively. The peaches in particular were flying off the tables. The restaurant is now open, and the menu continues to expand. We have tried it, and we give it 2 thumbs way up. Go out and support Mike, Lynn, and their boys whenever you have a chance.

It was a very lovely day. I hope I've given you a few new ideas.

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