weekend getaway: Huntsville

March 31, 2019
Weekend getaways are the perfect cross between a day trip and an actual vacation. They allow you to see more of an area and don’t require much more than ensuring you have the weekend free. Andrew and I headed up to Huntsville to see one of our friends a couple of weekends ago. We’ve been there on several occasions, but never for a full weekend. It was nice to be able to do bigger and better things or simply take things at a more comfortable pace.

We left Friday afternoon right as I got off work, and made it in by that night. We headed out for a drink at Rocket City. Andrew stocked up on craft beer, and I swapped my typical glass of water for TrimTab’s Paradise Now, the only beer I’ll order (when I order).

Saturday morning we headed out to Stephen’s Gap Cave. Neither of us has ever done anything in the realm of hiking up and then climbing down into a cave, so it was definitely an interesting experience. Despite being ill-prepared (like forgetting to bring one of the most basic of human necessities: WATER) and not having the proper footwear, it went a lot better than it could have. My little Nike TR Frees performed surprisingly well against the wet rock and I didn’t fall once (which surprised me). Once we reached the mouth of the cave I was taken with the natural beauty. There wasn’t much I could do but be awe-stricken as I sat there looking at something I’ve only ever read about in textbooks.

After our cave adventures, we made the short trip into Scottsboro. I’ve wanted to visit the Unclaimed Baggage center since before I moved to the state, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity given our proximity. This is going to be one of the moments of honesty on my blog, which I think are really important: The experience was not great. I’m not going to complain about the hordes of people, because it’s the only one in the country and it was a Saturday, so knocking points off for that would be pointless. However, the price points were, in my opinion, a bit outrageous. I was expecting this after having watched a YT video a while back, and it was confirmed upon arrival. A lot of the items are in used condition (obviously), yet they’re priced just a few dollars shy of retail value. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on items that were not only used but some of which were really beaten up. The only silver lining here was their book selection. I was able to pick up a few books that I’ve had on my TBR list for a while at a great price. The most expensive book I saw was $2.99, but most were in the .50 cent to $1 range. I’m sure that’s because no one goes to Unclaimed Baggage to look at books, but it worked out for me!

After browsing, we headed over to Payne’s Soda Fountain for lunch. I wasn’t very hungry, but I didn’t even care because the atmosphere in there was something out of a comic strip. It was very reminiscent of the typical retro diner. I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to Pop’s Choklit Shoppe. That may be why I ordered a chocolate milkshake, which was delicious. 

After freshening up and a quick change of clothes, we headed out to Old Black Bear Brewing for what was supposed to be drinks, but turned into dinner as well. I opted for the chicken and waffles, which were green for St. Paddy’s day. Even though I was exhausted by this time in the evening and just wanted to stay home, I loved everything about this place. The service was great, everyone was in a genuinely good mood, and the environment itself was the right amount of cozy and hip. I read on my Kindle while we waited for our table, then found myself cracking jokes with the servers an hour later. I couldn’t think of a better way to end my night. Andrew went on to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with his buddies, but I was completely wiped out at this point.

Sunday was a short day. I checked out the local 2nd & Charles, browsing their clearance section with a fine tooth comb. Their clearance section is not only massive but priced extremely well. I don’t think I’ve seen a book for over $2, most of them going for a few cents to a dollar. They even have a free book bin outside! This ended our time in Huntsville, and while it may seem shorter in my retelling, we felt like we'd just taken a much more generous vacation. 

On our way home, we were driving through a lakeside town when Andrew mentioned that they have a brewery. Lo and behold, just as we drove by said brewery, we noticed they were hosting an event for the holiday. We decided to make a pit stop and check out the crawfish boil and give him a chance to tag another beer for his Untappt profile. We were on our way within the hour, feeling the serenity of a weekend well spent.

2019 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the both of us, so if we aren’t able to take a “real” vacation like we usually do, weekend getaways are a pretty good consolation. What are some of your favorite things to do or places to go on the weekend? Let me know!