Friday, September 26, 2014

Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Turning off 202 onto Coldwater Road, it is evident there is a climb ahead. The entrance to the original trail head has an immediate incline. Cyclists know instantly, they’re in for a treat. The gravel parking lot at the top is often full of tags from across the U.S., Wyoming, Mississippi, New York and Tennessee, just to name a few. This time of year is a great time to explore Coldwater, with the cooler temperatures, the fall colors and changing leaves, tree shades and refreshing breezes. The trail map, constantly evolving and growing marks the start. The smooth Baby Bear loop is perfect for the whole family with its downhill start and sidewinding ending. You can rest when you get back to the top. The Mama and Papa Bear loops are longer, with their very quick downhill to a consistent finishing climb. The Bomb Dog is more advanced with river rocks, roots, moguls, tricky switchback turns, and challenging gradual climbs. This trail system continues to grow with gravity trails and new additions including the Bunny, the Tortoise, the Hare and Chilhowee Trails. Runners and hikers are welcome to explore these trails, but it is suggested with these single tracks that they take the course backwards, aware of other oncoming traffic.
Coldwater is a beautiful escape into the 4000 acres of Alabama Land Trust property, wooded, shaded and picturesque. The creek runs along the trail and can often be heard, especially after a big rain. The trails are well maintained, furnished with signageand perfect with rideable grade and fun features. Coldwater is also convenient with its location just outside of downtown Anniston.
Plan a weekend! Stay and shop in Downtown Anniston, with Wig's Wheels conveniently located nearby. Then, explore the other trails in our area, including Coleman Lake, Henry Farm and Cheaha Mountain. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

White Oak

Since 2004, White Oak Vineyards has predominately grown types of muscadines, from Nobles, Ison, Carlos to Magnolia and Regal. The farm totals 60 acres, and also grows bunch grapes like Chambourcin, Chardonel, Norton, Seyval Blanc and more. Randal Wilson, Farm Owner, planter and wine bottler, grows Asian persimmons, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes and more. Now, he's focusing on new grapes.
White Oak is partnering with UC Davis with Pierce Disease Resistant wine grapes, with 6 acres of Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes.
White Oak is currently the only winery in Alabama that produces a sparkling wine, with the Charmet method of fermentation, available at Alabama Publix. Now, White Oaks' distributor, United Johnson Brothers of Alabama, LLC, has secured distribution with Walmarts in Alabama.
White Oak has won Gold, Silver and Bronze with their dry red, whites, sparkling wines, and the very first batch of champagne. Currently, one pressure vessel is holding 160 cases of bottling champagne.
White Oak's Winery is nestled at the foot of the farm's mountain, surrounded by the picturesque Choccolocco Valley and mountain sides, home to breathtaking sunsets and awe-inspiring sunrises. It's no wonder Randal's granddaughter wants to move to the farm.

Bird-netting, draped by machinery, 2-3 acres per hour, protects the grapes and muscadines from area wildlife, deer, birds and more, native to our region.
White Oak gathers 4-5 tons of muscadines per acre and 3-4 tons of grapes per acre.
The Southern Oak Wines tasting room is open on Fridays from 1-6 P.M. and Saturdays from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Plan a visit to taste the wines and muscadines, and see a part of Calhoun County's "Natural Attraction." Check in the spring for their native azalea and rhododendron collection, rivaling Callaway Gardens, with 5-15 gallon plants available for sale.

For more information and virtual tours, visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Welcome to Calhoun County, Alabama!

Calhoun County boasts of an unbelievable selection of outdoor recreational opportunities. From kayaking and fishing to mountain biking and hiking, Calhoun County is a haven for outdoor enthusiast!
Located approximately 45 minutes from Birmingham and 90 minutes from Atlanta, the county-which includes the cities of Anniston, Oxford, Jacksonville, Hobson City, Piedmont, Ohatchee and Weaver-has the hybrid of relaxation and excitement to make it the place of your dreams.
Discover Calhoun County, Alabama as not only a place to visit, do business, and attend college, but also as a region of progressive communities with strong economies that still retain their small town Southern charm and friendliness. Such appeal makes Calhoun County, Alabama a place one enjoys calling home.
At Visit Calhoun County, the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce is here to assist you with all of your needs. Not sure where to stay, eat or shop? We are your #1 source of information! Regardless of whether or not you’re planning on visiting for a day or a week, Visit Calhoun County is your one-stop information shop on all things Calhoun County.

In 1899, the county seat of Calhoun County moved from Jacksonville to Anniston. More than 100 years later, the community is a bustling center of industry and commerce with more than 24,000 residents. Over the years, city officials and local citizens have done everything possible not only to retain the environmental beauty of the area, while allowing it to thrive economically, but also to preserve its history. The Spirit of Anniston Main Street Program, Inc., a nonprofit organization started in 1993, spearheaded the restoration and revitalization of historic downtown Anniston, with a strong focus on the city's main thoroughfare, Noble Street.
Historical sites include the Freedom Riders Murals at 1031 Gurnee Avenue and the intersection of 9th and Noble Street. Anniston is also home to the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum of World History.

Oxford is known as one of Calhoun County's fastest growing residential and commercial cities. It stretches across the county line into neighboring Talladega County. This unique location allows Oxford to have excellent access to the resources in both counties.
Oxford officials have adopted a progressive attitude, implementing a number of city improvements to meet the demands of a growing population, including the construction of a new City Hall and public library. The investment in Oxford's facilities and amenities is part of an ongoing effort to be recognized as "The Crossroads and Retail Capital of Calhoun County," as well as a safe and comfortable place to raise a family. Sites include the Oxford Civic Center and sport complex at Oxford Lake and the new 10.4 million dollar Oxford Performing Arts Center, housing a 1,130 seat auditorium.

Because of their close proximity, the cities of Jacksonville, Piedmont, & Weaver share a location along the Chief Ladiga Trail. The trail runs west from the Alabama-Georgia border into Piedmont and then south through Jacksonville and Weaver, before ending in Anniston. It is the state's first extended rails-to-trails project and has provided locals with an excellent family-friendly recreational venue, complete with areas for hiking, mountain biking, and more.
In 1834, the town built on land, once Creek Territory, was named Jacksonville for Andrew Jackson.
Also in 1834, Jacksonville began its storied history in education when the town reserved a one-acre square for a schoolhouse. Over the years, the school developed from the Jacksonville Academy into Jacksonville State Teachers College. Today, known as Jacksonville State University, it is one of Alabama's most prestigious institutes of higher education.
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians, historic Jacksonville truly lives up to its nickname - the Gem of the Hills with its picturesque neighborhoods, the charm of its public square, it beckons to many. Come for a visit, and prepare to make yourself at home!

In 1888, this area was named Piedmont—meaning 'Foot of the Mountains,’ which was pleasing to the people who enjoyed being nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range surrounded
with the scenic beauty of mountains and streams. The City of Piedmont has prime real estate as well as the infrastructure necessary for industrial and commercial growth. This area is home to the Chief Ladiga Trail and Terrapin Creek, perfect for any outdoor adventurer, with the Pinhoti Trail not very far away.

Weaver is a very good example of small town life at its best. The City of Weaver is a growing community, with The Chief Ladiga Trail running through the city alongside Elwell Park and on throughout the county, north, towards Jacksonville. There is an Easter Egg Hunt in the spring, a Christmas Parade in December, and the annual Weaver Station Heritage Day Celebration held in the Fall. Come to Weaver and see for yourself that there is a jewel lying at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and you too will fall in love with the little town that’s a big city at heart.

Hobson City
Fewer than 1,000 people inhabit this small historic town, but its name is larger than life. Hobson City, located directly across from Oxford, was incorporated in 1899 by a small neighborhood of black
citizens when the new mayor of Oxford gerrymandered the residents' homes out of the larger city. The displaced citizens refused to leave the area and simply created a city of their own.

Ohatchee is located in the northwest corner of Calhoun County and is positioned on the Coosa River. The 2000 census showed that the town had a population of 1,215. It is located along Highway 77, a thoroughfare connecting Talladega, Lincoln, and I-20 to the south with Gadsden and I-59 to the north. Several historic sites are located in the vicinity of Ohatchee including the site of the former Fort Strother at which Gen. Andrew Jackson was headquartered during part of the Creek Indian Wars in the early 1800's and Janney Furnace, which was a pig iron furnace built during the Civil War. Ohatchee's business environment includes fishing and recreational businesses, industrial companies, forestry related businesses, and a small retail and service district.