The Cupboard

The best little locally-owned gourmet kitchen shop in North Alabama

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Being north Alabama’s only gourmet kitchen shop is a big responsibility, but Ginger Cobl loves talking kitchen supplies and cooking with anyone who comes through her doors. She also works tirelessly to source her unique items from local farms, small businesses, and crafters.

“From day one, I have tried to make a big focus on bringing in other small or family-owned businesses;” Ginger said. As a result, about 95% of the items she has curated are from small businesses, generating an impressive array of cutlery, cookware, pottery, gourmet food items and more. Among those brands are the local 1818 Farms, which she became the first brick-and-mortar store to sell, and German knife brand Wusthof, which isn’t local but has been family-owned since the early-1800s. The knowledge of the people who make the items she sells, and the assurances of quality items creates a partnership among the dozens of small businesses whose products are featured in the shop.

“It’s fun to be able to work with other small businesses to do fun things,” Ginger said. One of those fun things is her “Cook the Book” event series that is now entering its third year. She chooses a cookbook, and the participants must purchase the book from her and prepare a recipe from it. The participants then enjoy the dishes and discuss the intricacies of each recipe. She describes it as a “book club for foodies.”

“It’s a really great way to delve a little bit deeper into a cookbook than you would on your own,” Ginger said. The books for the event have included Mimi Thorisson’s international books for French and Italian cooking, as well as others, such as “Beautiful Platters and Delicious Boards,” “Ama A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

The Cupboard is so much more than just a store that sells kitchen items, Ginger has turned her shop into a one-stop for anyone with a love of food and people. In the eight years since she opened, Ginger has met a number of people from all over the world, learned their stories and helped build their businesses together. She loves cooking and helping others cook, but her passion for people is even greater. Helping an individual find the right items for them has set her store apart since it opened and her individual attention to customers keeps the regulars coming back and first-time visitors feeling like family. “Food brings the world together,” Ginger said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is, you can always find common ground around food GOOD food.”

THE CUPBOARD

McWane Science Center

In 1998, a stimulating and interactive science museum opened its doors in the heart of downtown Birmingham. McWane Science Center is housed in the historic and refurbished Loveman’s department store building in Birmingham’s revitalization district.

McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors—from ages 1 to 100—year-round to see, to hear, to touch and to experience the wonder of science in one of the South’s most unique venues.

Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder—you can play tunes with your feet on the giant piano, learn about gravity with a daring ride on the High Cycle or pet the sharks and stingrays in the Shark & Ray Touch Tank—there is a new discovery around every corner.

The adventure intensifies in the IMAX Dome Theater, where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breathtaking films on a five story tall screen surrounded by three tons of high-intensity speakers. McWane’s IMAX Dome Theatre shows features covering a variety of topics ranging from great white sharks to Super Power Dogs, as well as special event Hollywood hits. McWane Science Center can also be a wonderful backdrop for a group of 10- 500+, day or night. McWane Science Center offers unique but functional event spaces perfect for your business luncheon, meeting, employee appreciation day, wedding reception or even an overnight adventure.

For 24 years, McWane Science Center has stayed true to its mission—to spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science. As a cornerstone of the downtown community, McWane opens its doors to young and old alike for laughter, learning and an experience like no other.

  • 205.714.8300
  • 200 19th Street North
  • Birmingham, AL
  • mcwane.org
  • @mcwane-science-center
  • Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Weekdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Explore Madison

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Toyota Field, home of the Trash Pandas Minor League Baseball team, anchors 563-acre Town Madison, the City of Madison’s latest retail, entertainment and residential expansion. photograph by E. FORREST IG @HSVPHOTO

The City of Madison, the fastest growing city in the state of Alabama, is a rare and eclectic combination of historic charm and progressive innovation. Madison has grown rapidly, and with this growth came the demand for high-quality services, restaurants, retail, parks, green space and family recreation opportunities.

photograph by E. FORREST IG @HSVP

With regularly scheduled festivals and events, Madison is a place to connect with others. Explore Madison!

Admire Our Public Art

The Madison Arts Council teamed with the Madison City Council, city leaders, The Arts Council of Huntsville and Huntsville city leaders to expand the SPACES Sculpture Trail into Madison. Madison’s participation has grown to works displayed with the generous funding from Madison City Council along with help from The Arts Council. You can find the works of art at the following locations: The Madison Public Library, Dublin Park, downtown and city hall.

Find a Food Truck

The food truck scene continues to gain speed in Madison. Badd Newz BBQ and Sugar Belle can be found at concerts in the parks, Bob Jones High School and local church events. Back Alley Travelling Bistro, HotBox, Pearl: Vietnamese & Hawaiian Subs, I Love Bacon and In The Bun can be found parked in front of Rocket Republic Brewing Co. Check out Facebook for daily locations. It’s worth the chase!

Great Things Are Brewing and Distilling in Madison

Local breweries in Madison are contributing to the new moniker for this area of the state: The Napa Valley of Craft Beer. Rocket Republic Brewing Co.’s taproom offers live music, fantastic food truck cuisine and a place to challenge someone to a ping pong game. Old Black Bear Brewing Co. relocated its production facilities and opened its tap room and restaurant in historic downtown Madison. Black Patch Distillery impresses many whiskey aficionados, located off Madison Boulevard.

Catch a Game or a Concert at Toyota Field

Toyota Field, home to the new AA Minor League Baseball team Rocket City Trash Pandas, is fast becoming a social hub for the City of Madison. Conveniently located off Interstate 565 with its own exit, Toyota Field will host baseball games during the spring and summer and a number of concerts and other events throughout the year.

Keeping it Small-Town

Madison’s growth hasn’t diminished its small-town feel! There is no better time to relish in all that is small-town than at the Madison Street Festival. Held annually the first weekend in October, more than 25,000 people gather with friends at concert stages, shop booths filled with unique arts and crafts, sample delicious foods, sweets and local craft beer and enjoy all that is quintessentially Madison. Arrive early for the parade…stay late for the fun! madisonstreetfestival.org

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Madison Village Center and Shoppes of Madison are located on Highway 72. Shoppes of Madison is anchored by Target and includes Ulta, Shoe Fly Clothing and casual dining opportunities like Smash Burger and Panera Bread, or for something fancier try Tom Brown’s Restaurant—a new steak and seafood restaurant. Madison Village is anchored by Marshalls, Michaels and Massage Envy. Just west is Medical Park Station with Dunkin Donuts, Pizza 120, Taziki’s and J Whitener Boutique. The Village Shoppes of Madison, on County Line Road, features a Publix, King’s Olive Oil, Tuesday Morning and several other specialty retailers as well as Cork & Crust Pizzeria + Wine Bar and Goodland Pour House.

Tickle Your Taste Buds

For a fantastic meal, check out Buenavista Mexican Cantina on Hwy 72—this local family-owned restaurant chain has three locations and has been serving North Alabama for more than 25 years.. Looking for something savory? Another favorite dining spot is Main Street Café in historic downtown Madison. See a complete list of local eateries in Madison in the Dine Locally section of this publication.

Share a Selfie Using #VisitMadisonAL!

Snap a selfie at a Madison hotspot or landmark and share it with #VisitMadisonAL and be entered to win a monthly giveaway. Selfies that are most shared and favorited will be entered into our drawing. If chosen, you could win a gift certificate from an area merchant! Selfie must clearly identify a Madison location to qualify. Scan this code to connect to Madison dining, shopping, events and more at findmoremadison.com

Expand Your Knowledge

The new Madison Public Library is open to the public! The 25,000 square foot library is located at 142 Plaza Blvd. The state-of-the-art facility offers new technology amenities including a creativity lab, large outdoor movie screen, tween gaming center and an interactive early literacy center. Explore creature comforts such as private study rooms, indoor fireplace with quiet reading areas, separate children’s story time room and outdoor seating.

The Gem of Madison

In 1856, tracks were laid by the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company; families moved into the region for its fertile farm land; merchants were attracted and a business district founded. Even 155 years ago, people knew a good thing when they saw it. Today, the Madison Station Historic District is the iconic and practical heart of Madison; a dining/arts/entertainment district for residents and visitors. It combines Madison’s Historic Downtown District with historic homes—grand to quaint—which line the streets nearby. The Avenue of Madison, a new development off Sullivan Street, brings modern livability with boutique shopping and dining to downtown.

A Town within a City

Town Madison, a $400 million, 500-acre development, is conveniently located along the I-565 corridor, stretching from WallTriana Highway to Zierdt Road anchored by a new Minor League Baseball stadium and Margaritaville Resort. Retail, restaurants, hotels and office space is interspersed amongst luxury apartments, town homes and single family houses. Designed by Andrés Duany, the internationally renowned American architect, urban planner and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Town Madison is being designed in the new Urbanist style with walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity to one another with accessible public recreation and green spaces. Excitement has continued with the opening of Toyota Field when the first home pitch for the AA Minor League Trash Pandas was thrown on May 11, 2021. The quality of life currently enjoyed in the City of Madison will be enhanced by all that Town Madison will provide.

Burn Some Calories

Dublin Memorial Park located at 8324 Madison Pike is a fantastic place to get in some exercise while you’re in town. The park features a double-court gymnasium equipped for basketball and/or volleyball with an upstairs walking track, 25-yard, eight-lane heated indoor swimming pool, meeting rooms and administrative offices, paved walking trail, nine soccer fields, nine-hole disc golf course, seven tennis courts, community-built playground, outdoor pool with a diving well and children’s pool.

Get Some Fresh Air

Rainbow Mountain Preserve is located off Stoneway Trail, 1.5mile long Loop Trail follows a generally rocky path along the cliff ridge and east side of Rainbow Mountain. It features beautiful rock formations, such as Balance Rock, excellent views of Madison to the west, fossils, caves and a waterfall. Bradford Creek Greenway provides scenic views of the creek and hardwood forests along the banks. The wetland areas support beavers, raccoons and many species of fish and birds. Gain access via Palmer Road, across from Palmer Park, with paved parking adjacent to the east entrance of the park. Mill Creek Greenway can be accessed via Mill Road. Indian Creek Greenway is located on the border of Huntsville and Madison and can be accessed from Old Madison Pike, near the intersection of Slaughter Road.

Wide Open Spaces

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

From awe-inspiring mountain vistas and pristine waterfalls to echoing caverns and meandering creeks, the Huntsville area offers a wealth of outdoor escapes.

Major Outdoor Attractions

NORTH ALABAMA BIRDING TRAIL

Comprised of 50 sites throughout north Alabama, The North Alabama Birding Trail is not a “trail” in the traditional sense, but a series of mostly roadside stops throughout north Alabama selected for their bird-watching characteristics. While all of the sites can be accessed from a vehicle, many of the sites also have traditional walking trails associated with them; and a few sites contain extensive areas that are best explored by boat or canoe. Contact the Huntsville/MadisonCounty Convention and Visitors Bureau for more information at 256.551.2230.

MONTE SANO STATE PARK

Monte Sano, Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” rises more than 1,600 feet above sea level. The mountain has attracted visitors since the mid 1820’s. Currently over 14 miles of hiking/biking trails service our state park and its patrons. The North Plateau Loop and South Plateau Loop trails offer stunning vistas of theTennessee Valley, with mild trail elevation changes. For our more serious hikers and bikers we invite you to try our Mountain Mist and McKay Hollow trails. Call 256.534.3757 for more information.

WADE MOUNTAIN PRESERVE

Approximately 11 miles of trails on a combination of land trust and private land and TVA easements. The trails are moderately technical single-track that ring the west and south sides of Wade Mountain. When followed in the correct order, the trails can provide nearly two hours of enjoyment, riding on undulating or descending single-track (after one long climb). The trail can be ridden in two segments, one 8-mile figure-8 loop with the option of the more difficult 3-mile Land Trust Devil’s Racetrack trail at the beginning or end of the ride. The Devil’s Racetrack is a unique geological formation that surrounds the crest of Wade Mountain and has one of the best views of north Huntsville and views to Tennessee on a clear day. This feature is a rock outcropping of limestone and is generally covered with grasses and wildflowers. Folklore that claims the Cherokee Indians raced horses atop the mountain. It is connected to trails that encircle the south and west portions of Wade Mountain. Located on Spragins Hollow Road. For more information call 256.534.5263.

CATHEDRAL CAVERNS

Located deep beneath Gunter’s Mountain in northeast Marshall County is a hidden treasure that offers breathtaking sights and chilly temperatures. Cathedral Caverns, originally called Bat Cave, was opened to the public by Jacob Gurley in the1950’s. The cave was renamed because of its cathedral-like appearance. It was opened as a State Park in the summer of 2000 and boasts one of the world’s largest stalagmites, frozen waterfalls, flowstone walls and stalagmite forests. The constant year-round temperature is 60 degrees F (16 C) in the 14-acre underground wonderland, designated as a Registered National Natural Landmark in 1972. Call 256.728.8193 for more information.

THE LAND TRUST OF NORTH ALABAMA

Showcasing leisurely walks and challenging hikes, wildflower trails and natural springs, The Land Trust ofNorth Alabama preserves and protects green space and natural resources for conservation, public recreation, and environmental education. The Land Trust offers more than 62 miles of free public trails for hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation. Fagan Creek runs along Wildflower Trail on Monte Sano Nature Preserve. It’s a great spot for a family hike. Kids can play in the creek and look for salamanders, tadpoles, etc. Trail Maps available at landtrustnal.org. Call 256-534-5263 for more information.

Canoeing & Boating

CHICKASAW CANOEING

Featuring two courses on the Flint River; the upper course is great for small children, while the lower course is a bit more adventurous. Call 256.682.1561 for more information.

DITTO LANDING

Servicing Wheeler Reservoir, which has more than 60,000 acres of adventurous playground. There are ample facilities for boats of all sizes. Call 256.882.1057 for more information.

NORTH ALABAMA CANOE & KAYAK

Large variety of canoe and kayak rentals variety of river tours for groups of any size shuttle service to all local waterways, guide service to all local waterways, and daily information on water conditions. Call 256.529.0357 for more information.

MADISON COUNTY LAKE

Madison County Lake is 15 miles northeast of Huntsville. The lake is a 105-acre, public fishing lake offering concessions, picnic facilities, grills, rentals and a bait shop. Fishing license and daily permit required. Madison County Lake is located at 2501 Country Lake Road in Gurley. For more information call 256.776.4905.

Disc Golf Courses

ASBURY UMC

  • 980 Hughes Rd., Madison
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

Redesigned in 2021, this is a longer recreational course that can be enjoyed by beginners. The course begins in the back corner away from Gillespie road in theGrace parking lot. It’s on the side with two, modern buildings. The first tee off is right next to that corner of the parking lot.You’ll see the road change to a gravel road and a field were the course begins.

BRAHAN SPRING PARK

  • 3771 Ivey Ave. SW, Huntsville
  • Hole Type: Mach X

This mostly flat and moderately wooded 18-hole course’s fairways weave among tall pines, demanding accuracy. Front and back 9 end at parking lot. Restrooms are located across road from No. 6.

DUBLIN PARK IN MADISON

  • 2324 Madison Pike, Madison
  • Hole Type: Black Hole Portal

This moderately hilly and lightly-wooded a hole course is designed for beginners and is easily played with a mid-range and a putter.

FLYING DRAGON

  • 2616 Modaus Road, Decatur
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

This technically challenging, medium length 18-hole course winds through jock-filled terrain dominated by cedar and hickory and the course’s namesake the “Flying Dragon”, which is a wickedly beautiful thorny bush that produces hitter oranges in the fall. Although these plants and the moss and fern covered boulders provide great scenery, they canal so quickly turn a birdie opportunity into a double bogie, so bring your A for Accuracy game! It also has a very popular warm-up area with two baskets a short distance apart; great for practicing your short game.

INDIAN CREEK GREENWAY

  • 300 Harvestwood Ct., Huntsville
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

This 18-hole course is very challenging and spans 50 acres of diverse terrain. Open holes with elevation and length and a good mix of wooded holes. Four holes have water hazards and over half the holes have some out-of-bounds danger. Multiple pin positions and the longer holes have baskets in both long and short positions. Aluminum benches throughout.

MASTIN LAKE

  • 3317 Watson Dr. NW, Huntsville
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

Wooded course moving up and down the side of a hill. The most elevation changesin the Huntsville area, but maxes out at 40 feet of elevation change on any one hole.

MONTE SANO STATE PARK

  • 5105 Nolen Ave., Huntsville
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

This 18-hole course spans the entire top of the mountain, and also includes a 8-hole mini-disc golf course along the main course. Park entrance fee is required to play, entrance is collected at front entrance gate and is cash only. $5 per adult & children ages 12+$2 for seniors & children ages 3-11. Active & Retired Military always free (ID required).

NATURAL WONDERS SOUTHSIDE PARK

  • 15935 Chaney Thompson Rd., SE, Huntsville
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

An 18-hole course with a wide variety of wooded and open holes, Southside course provides for a variety of shots. Southside isa shorter course geared toward beginner disc golfers, but still provides enough shot variety for any golfer to enjoy. Local Directions: From Huntsville take Memorial Parkway South to Hobbs Road. Turn left on Hobbs Road, drive approximately one mile, then turn right on Chaney Thompson Road. Course is one mile down on the left. Golfers park along the side of the road between holes 1 and 10.

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE (UAH)

  • 301 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville
  • Hole Type: DISCatcher

A very difficult links type course with 21 holes requiring a variety of throws. Open, long beautiful vistas, wooded shots, lots of water hazards and OB. Long, but those with accurate middle distance can play this course well. Lots of risk/reward will penalize long shots that lack control. Local Directions: I-565 to Sparkman Drive, go north 0.25 mile to a right on Technology Dr. which runs into John Wright Drive. Turn left into first parking lot on left.