Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 9, 2007


We saved money by staying in Alabama for our vacation


          A vacation usually involves travel. But with the price of gas so high, travel these days is very expensive. So this summer my wife and I chose to stay in Alabama for a week’s vacation. It was a good decision. We saved money and had a wonderful time.

          Of course we were tempted to escape the hot, dry weather of the hottest August on record in Alabama. But we reasoned that had we left the state we might have had worse problems than the 105-degree heat wave that dragged on for weeks.

          We love Minnesota but had we gone there we might have been on that bridge that fell in the river.

          We love Texas and Wisconsin but had we traveled to either state we might have been drowned by the flood waters that ravaged those states.

          Mexico is nice but had we planned a getaway to Cancun, we would have arrived just in time to get blown away by Hurricane Dean. I knew from day one that I did not want to tangle with a hurricane named Dean.

          All of the above justified our decision not to leave Alabama. So on our first day we traveled only a hundred miles from home, having reserved a room at Mt. Cheaha State Park near Anniston. Actually the address is Delta, Alabama, but only the folks who live there have ever heard of Delta.

          Why Mt. Cheaha? We reasoned that people go to the mountains to find cool air and Mt. Cheaha is the highest point in Alabama, 2,407 feet above sea level. Well, you guessed it. There had been no cool air at Mt. Cheaha. Like everywhere else in Alabama, it had been hot and dry there for weeks.

          That is, until we arrived! It rained both days we were there and in the late afternoons we enjoyed a nice cool breeze. We sat on a bench overlooking the vast Talladega National Forest and admired the natural beauty of Alabama’s highest pinnacle. We held hands and talked of bygone days when the kids were small and the stress of life was such a struggle. We gave thanks for the peace of more pleasant days that is ours now, having come through “so many dangers, toils, and snares.”

          We enjoyed Mt. Cheaha so much that we decided to move on to another state park – DeSoto Resort State Park near Fort Payne. Again we traveled less than a hundred miles. This time we rented a cabin in the woods and found it delightful. The cost for a cabin was the same as for a room in the park lodge, and less than the price of a night’s lodging in motels like Holiday Inn Express.

          The DeSoto Park is near one of our favorite getaways – Mentone. We have enjoyed staying there in more than one bed and breakfast inn, though the cost nowadays is a hundred dollars or more. By staying in a cabin for several days we saved some money by eating several simple meals in the privacy of our little cabin. Cold cereal is hard to beat most any morning as long as I can find a couple of cups of coffee.

          Our last stop was completely unplanned. We got off the busy highways and decided to ride awhile on state highway 25. That took us through Wilsonville and soon to a wonderful little town we had never visited before – Columbiana.

          Having noticed on the map that there was a museum in Columbiana, we decided to check it out. Much to our surprise the museum housed a fine collection of George Washington memorabilia. While there we inquired if there were any bed and breakfast inns nearby.

          Our gracious hostess first said no; there were none in Columbiana.  Then her face lit up as she remembered that a new one was about ready to open for business just down the street. She called on our behalf and gave us directions to the stately DuBose home on East College Street.

          There we met Andrew and Diane Moore who kindly invited us to be their first guests in the beautiful home they had been renovating, off and on, for five years. They did practically all the remodeling work themselves. The result is most impressive – a marvelous old home built in 1889 completely restored, sharply decorated, and ready for guests to enjoy its exquisite Victorian flavor. An appetizing breakfast is such surroundings, along with gracious southern hospitality, can make the heart sing.  

          The Moores, who live upstairs, have named their bed and breakfast the Columbiana Inn though the sign for the front yard is still at the print shop. Six bedrooms, each with a private bath, are available for use. Each room is equipped with cable television and wireless connectivity.

          One room, with a private entrance on the front porch, is called “The Visiting Parson’s Room.” We stayed in the lovely bedroom next to it but the room has not been named yet. Diane laughed and said she might call it “The Backslider’s Bedroom.”  We thought that was a great idea. We are experienced backsliders.

          Soon we hope to return to Columbiana, one of Shelby County’s best kept secrets, and enjoy another night in the little town’s newest and only bed and breakfast, the Columbiana Inn. Our time there was a delightful way to conclude our money-saving, stay home in Alabama vacation. + + +