Running in Birmingham

Running is a sport for everyone. It’s a sport that becomes more popular every year, especially living in a city like Birmingham. Throughout the city, there are so many options of beautiful places to spend your time on the trails.

  • Lakeshore Trail: Located in Homewood along Lakeshore Parkway. This paved trail offers 2.5 miles of flat, paved surface without any worry of motor vehicles.

  • Vulcan Trail: Located at Richard Arrington Blvd (near Vulcan Park), Birmingham and 11th Place South. The mile-long trail scales the ridge of 1,025 ft. Red Mountain. The south side runs below 10-acre Vulcan Park

  • Jemison Park: Located in Mountain Brook. This 3 mile trial takes you through the hills and trees of Mountain Brook.

  • Rotary Trail: Located in Downtown Birmingham. This trail ends at Railroad Park and Sloss Furnace. Enjoy running through downtown on the concrete trail underneath the 46-foot sign that reads “Rotary Trail in the Magic City.”

Runners dream big and tackle new distances. They become morning people and make it a routine. One of these trails becomes their friendly southern neighbor. Try something new, go on a run and try out one of Birmingham’s scenic trails.

Birmingham Urban Planning

Urban Planning is a technical and political process concerned with the development and use of land, planning permission, protection, and use of the environment, public welfare, and the design of the urban environment. People also define it as the process of deciding how land will be used, both in the present and over the long term. It needs to take into account not only structures, but also the people and the community impacted by the space. The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPC) provides planning series, economic development services and multiple initiatives for 6 counties and 84 communities throughout central Alabama.

Live. Play. Work. Community. The RPC is an example of impacting urban planning in Birmingham for the past 50 years. Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker are the 6 counties apart of RPC. The goal is, “improve the lives of people in our region.” They do this by focusing their projects on transportation,  medicaid waiver, community planning, they try to remove traffic congestion, and economic development for small businesses. This is the team that helps local municipalities secure state and federal resources to be successful.

The Birmingham-Hoover area has seen population increases with its growth in urban development. North of town is the most prime for development which is the main reason there is so much room to grow in the Birmingham neighborhoods. The revitalization of the downtown areas will continue to see significant growth in the immediate future for Birmingham. According to AL.com, “Birmingham is no longer the sleepy little Southern city it once was.” There are very large institutions hiring extremely technical folks, companies like BBVA Compass Bank, Protective Life, Regions, and with the addition of plenty of company start-ups that have chosen Birmingham as their homes.

According to AL.com, “Companies are tasked with keeping young professionals here while also marketing our fine city to could-be young professionals in competing cities such as Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Jacksonville, and Huntsville.”

A young professional might like the idea of working in urban planning if they want to be involved in their community and develop an area in that community into a better, livable space. An urban planning job varies based on the area. Rural vs. urban area will have different needs, however, the role is focused on planning how space will be used, and what pages will be allowed. Birmingham is the perfect revitalization city that has been attracting young talent in areas such as urban planning.

Talladega National Forest

“The woods are a nourishing home to me, and the strength I find out there is the same strength I take back into the business of life, and it gives me the motivation to return.” – Jacqueline Taylor

Passing through the hustle and bustle that exists on Interstate 20 on a cool autumn morning, many drivers are unaware of the calm and relaxed experience that lies nearby in the Talladega National Forest. Talladega is not just a superspeedway in Alabama. The natural beauty of the massive Talladega National Forest will bring people into an awe-inspiring, different world that is found off exit 185 outside Oxford, Alabama. Alabama has four national forests that are part of the the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service 191 national forests, national grasslands and land utilization projects. The headquarters, located in Montgomery, are in the early stages of officially linking Alabama’s forest paths to the Appalachian Trail.

 

“Theses are your national forests and they are free for you to use any time,” Talladega Area Ranger Gloria Nielsen said. Into the forest we go, to lose our minds and find our souls as we hope to escape the chaos of everyday life, even if just for a few hours. Talladega is an easy hour and a half drive from Birmingham that takes adventure seekers to the Cheaha Trailhead to start their hike along the Pinhoti Trail. Starting there, people can park their cars for the day at no cost. Hikers then begin along the Cave Creek Trail that will take them to the start of the Pinhoti Trail. The Pinhoti National Trail stretches for 335 miles across Alabama’s Appalachian Mountains and into Georgia. The part of the trail found in Alabama was established in 1970 within the Talladega National Forest. The trail is a loop that leads to one of the best overlooks in Alabama, Mt. McDil (1,730 foot elevation). This is a popular destination for overnight backpacking trips.

Hikers all seem to have one simple thing in common: happiness. When people go to Talladega National Forest, they experience solitude. The forest provides a true escape from city life that can be difficult to find in more urban parks. The trail through the forest is clearly marked and easy to follow. During a recent hike, people could be found on the trail traveling for the day from Alabama. One weekend eight students from The University of Alabama Birmingham went backpacking, and a girls Bible study group from Auburn chose to hike the trail for the day. These people all acknowledge one another along the way on the trail, exchanging well wishes and enjoying the remoteness of the forest. They use this as an opportunity to connect with their thoughts, have conversations with their friends and enjoy the peace the great outdoors brings to everyone who encounters the forest for a day. “The views here are even better than what you see in the Smoky Mountains. I think it’s an easier hike too because it is flatter and it feels much more like the wilderness here,” said hiker Ryan Haskins. Talladega is open year round, but fall can be the most captivating time visually. Shades of red, orange and yellow surround hikers as they step into an enchanting, magnificent world. This is a place where the only noises are wildlife, birds chirping and the gentle breeze swaying its way through the trees. Even the most ordinary, city person who is unaccustomed to being outdoors, can connect with the greatness of the forest. Whether you gather a group of friends or come alone, Talladega can be your gateway to a true escape for the day.

 

Restaurants Open On Thanksgiving Day

With Thanksgiving 2016 just around the corner, the big question the huge Birmingham food scene is asking, “which restaurants will be open?” Here is your guide to staying away from having to cook that huge Thanksgiving dinner come November 24, 2016 and take a peak at where your Thanksgiving dinner could possibly happen on tables all around Birmingham.

The Bright Star

Location:  304 19th St. North in Bessemer, Ala

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.    

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Location: Eight locations in the Birmingham metro area

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.   

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Location: 103 Summit Blvd., Birmingham  

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.   

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Galley and Garden

Location: 2220 Highland Ave, Birmingham, AL 35205

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.   

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel

Location: 1000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.   

Table service: no – Thanksgiving buffet

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Irondale Café

Location: 1906 First Ave. North, Irondale

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

Location: 4000 Grand Ave. Hoover

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.   

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Location: 23000 Woodcrest Place, Birmingham

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.   

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Seasons 52

Location: 245 Summit Blvd., Birmingham

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

Table service: yes

Thanksgiving menu: yes

Birmingham blogger Jessica Stroud on creativity and communication in an online world

As Birmingham continues to be a city of exciting new things popping up everywhere, people are staying engaged through the art of blogging. Here, local writers are able to share ideas, thoughts, and opinions on anything from new restaurants to wardrobes to match the season. Jessica Stroud started her own blog, “Daily Brunch,” and has been featured on The Birmingham Bloggers website multiple times. You can tell right away in her posts her love for the city of Birmingham and how to communicate that through writing.

southerndailybrunch.com//Jessica Stroud
southerndailybrunch.com//Jessica Stroud

Q: What was your reasoning for starting your own blog site, specifically about the Birmingham area:

There are two main reasons I started blogging:

  1. To enhance my creativity. Let’s get things straight, I am by no means creative in an artistic sense. I cannot play an instrument, paint a picture, or do any sort of d.i.y. crafts. What I can do is explain myself through writing. I figured if I started posting I’d have to come up with new ways to explain myself, and also create new material through trial and error. Managing and writing a blog has been a personal challenge that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It has helped me find new ways to think about things and challenge my brain.
  1. Express myself better. At first I felt funny asking my husband to take pictures of my outfits (see Instagram husband on YouTube for accurate review of our relationship) or write like I was talking to a friend on the blog, but now I feel more inspired and I’m just like “WHO CARES?! Come take this picture of me while I pose looking off into the distance.” This has been an extremely inspiring year for me. I have felt more like a woman in charge than I ever have! I feel my insecurities melting away. Thank you older age and wise mind! I feel like Birmingham has grown so much since I’ve been out of college, I love that there are always new places to see and new restaurants to try, it is the perfect city to expand your mind and get creative.

Q: What has the reaction to your blog been like?

When starting anything there will always be trial and error. Depending on the post and content it holds there will always be fluctuation in how many people click on the post and how many views it gets. I find that my outfit posts and recipes get more attention than any other post. People like to see pictures and something they can scroll through fast while waiting in line somewhere or browsing before they go to bed.

Q: Are there certain areas of interest that you feel most passionate about focusing your blog on?  

ARE THERE?! I want my blog to be about supporting women and encouraging them to follow their dreams. I want my blog to empower women and have those women empower women. I love it when girls are nice to each other for no reason, putting aside all the insecurities and jealousy, and just be raw with one another. That is what I am most passionate about and hope my blog displays that with every post.

Q: Why do you think blogging has become so popular for cities like Birmingham?

I have been blogging for almost three years and I am still a baby at it. I think the way readers and followers like to get their information is by seeing others display it or try it out and blogging does that. I also think people like to follow bloggers who are interesting and give them entertainment.

Q: How do you think the skill of blogging can help young college journalists?

It is a great way to explore yourself and writing styles that you may want to adopt or try on. It also challenges you and keeps you accountable, especially if you have followers who expect you to post!

Q: How have you seen the blogging community grow in Birmingham?

The Birmingham blogging scene is still growing and it’s fantastic. Ther

e are communities such as Birmingham Bloggers and Home Grown Bloggers that have gatherings and conferences that allow bloggers from all over the south come and learn techniques and ways to grow your blog. It is a great way to learn and meet people that can support you!  

Link to Jessica’s blog: http://www.southerndailybrunch.com

 

Local Coffee Shops Transformed into Popular Fictional Diner

To celebrate the 16th anniversary of the first episode of Gilmore Girls, Birmingham coffee shops partnered with Netflix on October 6 and converted into the hit show’s own coffee shop, Luke’s Diner.  Lucy’s Coffee and Tea, Crestwood Coffee Co. and The Abbey were three of the 200 cafes around the country that participated in the pop up.

The pop-ups were open from 7 a.m. to noon, and the first 200 guest received free coffee. The shops included décor from the show, such as Luke’s signs, aprons, backward caps, and coffee cups covered in Gilmore Girls quotes. Even the staff at the shops wore Luke’s Diner branded aprons and T-shirts. Netflix also announced a new season which is to premiere around Thanksgiving time.  

Lucy’s, a coffee shop located on University Blvd, was thrilled to be one of the Netflix-sponsored coffee shops. Early on, the line wrapped around the block as Gilmore Girls fans excitingly waited for their free cup of coffee. The coffee shops said that social media was a big factor in whether or not a café was chosen to host a Luke’s diner pop-up.

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Coffee sleeves were adorned with Luke’s logo
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A line of fans awaiting their coffee
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Employees dressed up as characters for the occasion