Posted by: apriljobeasley | September 17, 2008

Top Ten Things to Do in Montgomery

First, this list is not for tourism.  You will not find items such as visiting various civil rights things that Montgomerians saw in the 1st grade.   This goes for other clichés such as Hank’s grave, Confederate White house, etc. 
Also, most things on this list have to be available year-round or for a considerable time-frame.  No festivals, etc. 
Despite the recent addition of the wildly popular professional baseball team and the area’s concurrent, challenging golf courses, Montgomery is more of a humanities community.  There is more commentary on this at the end.

10.  Picnic at Blount Cultural Park.
The setting is picturesque.  Montgomeryowes a debt of gratitude to Red Blount, a visionary who was scoffed at when he wanted to create a super-large cultural park in an area that was virtually outside of Montgomery.  Today, it is a system of structured serenity set in a sprawling urban area.  Flanked by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on one end, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts on the other, the park is home is full of luscious green grass, rolling hills, trees, bridges, etc.  You can fly a kite, play football, feed the ducks, take a walk, be a mime, jog, get married, sleep, attend a concert, take pictures, draw, and do tai chi.

9.  Visit the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is a wonderful venue for people of all ages.  If you have children, take your child there at least once a month for diverse and stimulating activities.  Gain perspective on your life by perceiving the world through famous artists and brilliant minds.

8.  Go fishing.
Many of Montgomery’s neighborhoods feature ponds.  Not to mention that the Alabama River is the cradle of Montgomery’s civilization.  Largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, catfish, striped bass, and white bass all make their homes in the Alabama River.  

7.  Visit scary church, 13 bridges road, or other dreaded sites.
Although I am skeptical of haunts, I have photographed several mysterious beams or orbs of light around these places.  I have even found some ecto-plasm … OK, I haven’t, but the picture thing is real.  Montgomery is home to many alleged haunted places.  Thirteen Bridges Road is home to ghosts and possessed cows, apparently.  Scary church has a hedge labyrinth behind it that I’ve never seen anyone enter at night.  Tales of confederate soldiers, ghostly swamps, and moving spirits fill the Deep South, and Montgomery is no exception. 

6.  Go to the Zoo.
The Montgomery Zoo is a rather large zoo that features animals from six continents.  The zoo prides itself on its state-of-the-art, barrier-free habitats.  The Africa portion of the zoo is by far the most valued.  The African Elephant exhibit ranks among the finest in the entire country.    Montgomery’s most popular new resident is a baby African elephant, born November 9, 2007.

5.  Watch a Montgomery Biscuits game
Number five is all the rage.  Montgomery’s professional baseball team boasts more revenue than any other minor league franchise in the country.  In USA Today, it was voted the country’s second favorite minor league team.  Number 1 was Michigan’s Lansing Lugnuts, who, by no coincident, have the same owners.  One filmmaker has called Riverwalk Stadium, the most charming ballpark in the country.  Everything about Montgomery Professional Baseball, Inc. is unique – from ballpark to food, from mascot to field design.  Yours truly is no avid baseball fan, but he attends nearly fifteen Biscuits games a year.  Go Biscuits!

4.  Attend a Montgomery Symphony Orchestra concert
I’ve called this group, “the little orchestra that could.”  But they are more than that.  Perhaps they could use some better marketing.  Their performances are excellent, and the professionalism couldn’t be any better.  To put things in perspective, this group has to compete for talent with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham and the University of Alabama, School of Music.  I have walked away from MSO’s concerts just as pleased as I have with any performance of the other two.  Very talented musicians from all parts of the globe participate in the hailed MSO fellowship series.  Our city is extremely lucky to have Maestro Thomas Hinds on hand to lead this group of overachieving musicians.  I am a huge fan.

3.  Play golf at Robert Trent Jones at Capital Hill or Wynlakes.
The area has some of the toughest golf courses in the southeast.  In Montgomery, I believe that these two are the most challenging, yet rewarding.  RTJ at Capital Hill features three courses: The Senator, The legislature, and The Judge.  The senator features the unique Scottish style layout while the other two are more traditional in nature.  Don’t want to embarrass yourself just yet?  Take some lessons or practice at any of Montgomery’s late night operated driving ranges.  Work with one club per night.  That way, you don’t have to lug your clubs to the car, then from the car to the range, and all the way back again.

2.  Patronize Montgomery’s own restaurants.
As discoursed in a previous blog, Montgomery has a plethora of unique restaurants.  For the purposes of this list and the season, I recommend Jubilee Seafood or The Montgomery Brewing Company.  Jubilee is an incredible seafood restaurant that features the best available Gulf seafood and style at reasonable fine dining prices.  The Brew Pub is a fun-loving place to hear music and get good eats.  Its locale is aesthetically pleasing and convenient.

1.  See a production of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
One of the largest in the world, the Alabama Shakespeare festival is located in beautiful Blount Cultural Park.  It has been home to some of the finest stories ever written.  Actors from Broadway consider it a side-step, not a step-down.  Inside, the Octagon and Festival theaters feature unique vantage points that allow for a variety of perspectives and set design.  Enter a world of perfected Shakespeare productions, whimsical musicals, and the only perfected Southern Writers Project.  They produce 14 world-class productions annually.  This is the most enriching thing to do in town.

HONORABLE MENTION
1. Spend a Sunday afternoon visiting Open Houses in Old Cloverdale.  You will get a glimpse of what Montgomery was like a LONG time ago.

2. Jasmine Gardens is a great place to take a girl.  Pick flowers for her.

3. Through a party.  When all else fails, make your house the entertainment venue.  Play an interactive video game, sing karaoke, watch a sports event, or work on project together, but most importantly, provide something interesting to eat.  My favorite type is the celebration of a friend’s accomplishment or some type of benefit for an obscure or interesting cause.

 

4. Montgomery has an assortment local jazz/blues/rock bands.  Pick one for you and your friends to follow for at least six months.

 

5. See a film at the Capri Theatre – I agree that most indie films are far too eccentric to tolerate, but you will find a good one every so often.  Make it a point to see one, it will be refreshingly artistic..

 

So.  There you have it.  This list shouldn’t be surprising, but it should dispel any myths about there not being anything to do in my hometown.  If you have friends in Montgomery, you probably don’t need this list, but if you don’t have friends, I guarantee that this list will help you meet new people.

 

25 years ago, Montgomery should have had its own minor league baseball team.  Instead, it became home to the sought-after Shakespeare Festival.   With that, Montgomery shocked the entire country and became the envy of neighboring cities.  Since then, Montgomery evolved into a more cultural and artistic community.  I’m not being silly and claiming that Montgomery is the axis for culture in the southeast.  I’m just pointing out that Montgomery grew more culturally than it has in the way of sports.  I enjoy both.

I’d like to propose an idea.  Montgomery needs an arena – badly.  The new one doesn’t have to be huge; just something with which to work.  But that’s not the whole idea…

Basketball is the second most exciting sport to watch for Americans.  The NBA has a much unpublicized D-league.  Last time I checked, they were trying to make into in to a full-fledged farm league, similar to the system in which The Biscuits participate.  I believe Montgomery has the perfect demographics to host a successful professional basketball team.  I would enjoy these games far more than any baseball game, I assure you, and so would most of you.  For you women, who hate to bear a sporting event from time to time, think about this:  1) basketball games are shorter than baseball or football games 2) it’s indoors.  If we cannot get proven owners like the Dickson’s though, forget about it.  That’s the key to any successful professional team, at any level.  Perhaps, I haven’t thought this all the way through.  I just wondered why it hasn’t been proposed yet.

 

Author:

Dean Norton

Montgomery Native

Food Broker

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Responses

  1. Where is 13 Bridges Road?
    I have been trying to find out for a while now but no one seems to know where it is!

    • We have tried to find 13 Bridges Road many times. Unfortunatley we have yet to find it. We have plenty of fun though just looking for it. It is out the Macon county/Cecil area from what I have been told.

  2. Follow Vaughn Rd. (Hwy110) out of Montgomery. In Cecil, hang a left on Barganier (13 Bridges Rd). Used to be gated, unsure if it remains that way. Back in “the day” you could follow this rd to Shorter. Many stories about spooky stuff back in there, most of them just stories. Supposed to be a bridge missing on the way back, as in you would count 13 going in, and 12 on the way out.

  3. Upon further review, unless you plan on driving the General Lee don’t bother. At least one of the 13 bridges is out, as seen in the following link.

    http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=pcp04y7v1tdj&style=b&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=31213374&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

  4. We found the Cecil 13 bridges road and it didn’t work. But was fun anyway. The bridges were all intact too. I don’t think that is the “real” 13 bridges road.

  5. I too have been there back in 1994 and Barganier Road is the real deal. The trick to the bridges is that one of them was covered with moss that would cover (or hide if you will) the bridge. Naturally this would only work at night and given the many stories that this road has generated over the years most people only would travel there at night to see if the stories were true and thus we have the legend of the missing bridge. I must add that just because the bridge is a hoax that there is very strange activity back there. That night was the first and last time I will travel back there at night.. It was just that weird. Hit me up if you want more details of my visit to Barganier Road aka 13 Bridges Road.


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