• Madison Miller

Day Trips for After Quarantine

Andrew and I on Mt. Cheaha

Guys, I am getting so tired of being cooped up. I’m sure everyone can relate. While I know how important it is to keep social distancing, I can’t help letting my mind wander to travel ideas or just ideas that involve leaving the house. I mentioned in my last post that I have some things in the works for international travel later this year, but I’m keeping my expectations low in case they don’t work out.

The bottom line is that travel is going to be very different for probably at least the next year. If we do get to go places, we’ll have to take precautions we ordinarily wouldn’t. For now, our state is still shut down, but it’s looking like we’ll go back to limited business openings very soon. While I wish it were safe to just immediately plan bigger trips as soon as we are open, I know that’s not the case. But, I want to find some kind of compromise that will allow me to scratch the travel itch I’ve been dealing with for the past couple of months. So, I decided to put together a list of some day trips I want to take when I feel it’s safe enough. We’re in Birmingham, and I definitely want to stay close by enough that we can easily come back home at the end of the day. Mt. Cheaha - A few years ago, when Andrew and I were still just friends, we decided to go out to hike at Mt. Cheaha one weekend. At this point, I was doing a lot of solo hikes around Birmingham. It was always a good way to relax and get out of my head for a while. I felt like I had enough experience to tackle Cheaha even though I had never been in the area. We started out alright, but I soon got us lost. It felt like we just spent the whole day getting lost over and over again. As soon as I felt like we were on the right track, I made a wrong turn. Andrew was wearing soccer cleats because he didn't have hiking boots. At one point, I asked if we could run the trails for a bit because I wanted to see at least one good view before we had to turn back. We finally made it to a lookout spot and it was gorgeous. Part of me thought Andrew would push me over the cliff for putting him through all of that. But, he didn’t and in fact, I think it just made us like each other more. I’d love to go back with a better plan and just reminisce about the time we almost became feral humans of Mt. Cheaha.

Muscle Shoals/Florence - I’ve unfortunately never spent any time in this area since living in Alabama. Muscle Shoals is a huge music area of the state. One of my favorite bands, Alabama Shakes, are from there. Across the Tennessee River from Muscle Shoals, there is Florence. It’s home to a Frank Lloyd Wright house. It’s small, but it’s full of incredible history. I’ve also heard great things about the food in this area. I could go for some real Southern cooking. I’d cap the trip off with a visit to a local brewery, of course. Singin’ River Brewing looks like it’s the main craft brewery, but if anyone knows of others please let me know!

Smith Lake - My dad used to live on Smith Lake. He’s since moved to North Carolina, but I have so many good memories of going there to visit on weekends or in the summer. I’m not sure if this would be a good day trip or maybe an overnight trip, but I would love to drive out there, rent a boat, and just drive around all of the places on the lake we used to go. It’s also one of the cleanest lakes in the state, so I’ve always felt great swimming in it. I’d also like to drive around Arley, the town he lived in, and visit old spots and restaurants. It’s your typical tiny southern town, but it was always fun. A lot of this list is based on nostalgia, but I think that’s one of the best parts of travel. If you want to go somewhere just one time, you probably didn’t like it very much. I also think it will be great to visit some local spots and put some money back into Alabama’s economy after all of this is over. We’re all going to be hurting in some way and local support will be so important. What are some of your short term goals for after quarantine? We all need to remember to ease into this, but having some plans in mind has been a great way for me to cope with the feelings of isolation. Hang in there, everyone!