Huntsville really showed off last week when several hundred tourism folks rolled into town from all over the country. I heard so many compliments about the beauty of North Alabama and how impressed they were with everything Huntsville and the surrounding area had to offer. Many had never been in our "neck of the woods" before, and I was extremely proud. I had a chance to visit several places as a tourist but from an insider perspective. It must be said -- we are very fortunate to live where we live.
Mazzara Vinoteca was a new restaurant to me, but I'm so glad I found it. A tourism friend invited me to join her for dinner and suggested it. Our meal was delicious, the surroundings were lovely, and our conversation was fun and uplifting.
Sometimes Italian food can be a little heavy, but the entrees we ordered and the dessert we shared were both flavorful and light.
I order the Fried Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan over Pasta.
My friend ordered Shrimp Scampi over Pasta.
We shared the Limoncello Cake with Bing Cherries.
Mazzara is in a stately home (the historic Humphrey-Rodgers house) at 102 Gates Ave. SW, near the Courthouse Square in Huntsville and directly behind EarlyWorks Museum.
Reservations are strongly recommended. We were there on a Monday night, and the place was comfortably full.
The group of travel writers I was in was given a tour of the gleaming, new Orion Amphitheater which opened last year. The stage is immense, the accommodations for touring artists are enviable, and the audience is treated to great views from their seats. Victoria Jones, the Community Partnership Manager, gave an informative and enthusiastic tour.
For grabbing something to eat before a concert, head to an area called Apollo South and look for the food trucks. Then you are welcome to bring your food inside the venue if you wish.
Parking is free but is available on a first-come first-served basis. Be sure to check the website for all the safety instructions and make your plans to enjoy a concert at the Amphitheater. I personally have my eyes on the James Taylor concert coming up on June 20th. :) The amphitheater holds 8000. Maybe I can be one of them.
Harrison Brothers Hardware
Harrison Brothers Hardware at 124 Southside Square in Huntsville has been serving customers since 1897 -- although it no longer sells hardware. Harrison Brothers is a great place to find a gift with a local theme or one that is made by an Alabama artisan or author. As a matter of fact, the store carries my book -- "100 Things to Do in Huntsville and North Alabama Before You Die" -- and I have had 2 book signings there.
Often there are special activities and occasionally a harpist is playing while you shop. Check the website for events but visit any time you're in the area and be sure to admire the antique cash register that is still being used.
Weeden House Museum is my favorite historic site and tour in Huntsville. Director Gina James is a gifted teacher and presenter who is full of knowledge about the home and its former occupants. She relates the intriguing story of Maria Howard Weeden and points out her works of art proudly and with passion.
Weeden House, built in 1819, is located at 300 Gates Ave., SE. It is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Cost is $10.00 for adults. Take cash, please.
Have I stirred you to make a reservation or plan a visit? I hope so.