Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Keep Your Resolution and Stay Fit in Calhoun County

Whether you are training to hike the 335 mile long recreation trail of the Pinhoti or want to hike to a breathtaking view, Calhoun County has numerous trails, of vaious distances for you to get exercise, while enjoying the natural surroundings.

From Ladiga to Iron Legs, Coldwater and Cheaha, whether you're a roadie or a mountain biker, Calhoun County has trails for all skill levels and distances.

From Choccolocco Park to Terrapin Creek, Calhoun County has several options for you to paddle in and around our region.

From Cane Creek to Cider Ridge and our RTJ Silver Lakes, there are several beautiful and mentally challenging golf courses.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Need Last Minute Gifts?

Christmas is almost here! Have you checked your list twice? In case you overlooked something or are having a hard time thinking of the perfect gift, here's a list for you.

Give the Gift of Alabama State Parks
Gift cards can be purcahsed at all state parks and be used to pay for Food, Golf, Lodging, Camping and Gift Shops!

Pedal! Pedal! Pedal! 
Wig's Wheels will rent bikes, sell bikes, and provide great bike accessories for you as you explore Ladiga, Coldwater and much more!

Tee Off
From Cane Creek to Cider Ridge or a Trail Card from Robert Trent Jones' Golf Trail at Silver Lakes, buy the golfer in your life a gift card for the pro-shop or green fees.

Explore History
For the hsitory buff or for the family, give the gift of Museum Membership.

Artistic Side
The Oxford Performing Arts Center, Knox Concert Series, CharACTers, and JSU have great seasons ahead. Check their calendars and buy tickets for family and friends, while supporting local arts.

Speedy Gonzales
For the race fan, check out the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame and Talladega Superspeedway!

For the Wine-O
From sweet wines to the Norton, White Oak features Southern Oak Wine Tastings and gifts.

For a list of more, including shops and restaurants, great for gifts, browse

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holidays for the Whole Family

 "It's the Holiday Season... and Santa Claus is coming to town..."
What should you do to liven up the Christmas Break and explore our cities?

Go for a Hike
Alabama is blessed to have a mild winter, so getting outside is a great option. From the family friendly trails at Cheaha State Park, Coldwater Mountain, Henry Farm and the Museum, to the paved rail trail of Ladiga and the gem of the Pinhoti, there are options for day or weekend adventures!

Check Your Aim
Don't "shoot your eye out, kid," but test your skills with training and electronic competitions at the indoor Civilian Marksmanship Program Air Rifle Range.

A Day at the Museum Complex
Explore the wilds of Africa as if you were on safari and trace history from Hitler to Ancient Greece. The Anniston Museum of Natural History offers hands on activies for the kids to experience nature, and the Berman Museum of World History offer a facinating collection of weapons and artifacts  to see history face to face.

Lights, Camera, Action
Holiday classics may run on the TV at home, but there is nothing like experiencing them on the big screen, surrounded by other festive families, popcorn and concessions. The entire week of Christmas, Oxford Performing Arts Center is hosting a Christmas Film Festival for FREE!

Looking to explore more? Check out for a complete list of restaurants, hotels, and attractions.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday in Lights

 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Here's some adventures to add to your lists over the holidays!

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian, Calhoun County is home to many beautiful mountainsides, including Dugger Mountain, especially over the holidays. This light display allows visitors to drive or walk around the property and purchase hot cocoa or coffee for the occassion. Sundays through Thursdays, they're open from dark until 9 P.M., and on the weekends, they're open from dark until 10 P.M. 

238 The Wagon Road, Piedmont, (256)282-1593

Angel Drive, Jacksonville 
Many houses in this neighborhood decorate for the holidays, but one house, just off Hwy 204, includes light shows, singing trees, vintage decorations and inflatables. From Thanksgiving night through Christmas, lights will gleam, and donations for local animal shelters will be accepted. 

Indian Oaks, Anniston
From Pawnee Drive to Pueblo Pass, houses are decked along a trail of lights!

Noble Street, Anniston
During the holidays, the old architecture paints a vintage-like scene as lights shine atop the buildings, streetlamps sparkle with lights and garland, and creative holiday displays glitter. 

Quintard Avenue, Anniston
On the Sixth to 18th Street blocks, the median glistens and twinkle with brightly decked holiday lights. 

Forest Lane, Anniston
Consider it a mini-tree decoration contest, as each house decks the halls and from yard with a shimmering miniature tree, and lit up arch of trees towering over the road. 

Greenbrier Dear Road, Anniston
From Holly Hill Lane to Edgefield Farms and Greenbier Chase, neighborhoods along Greenbrier Dear Road decorations range from Christmas Extravaganza to Classic Christmas, with lights and holiday scenes. 

Friendship Santa, Oxford 
From November 26 to December 23, Santa and his helpers will be serving cookies and hot cocoa as festive music plays and holiday photos with Santa are captured. You can't miss the 17 foot tall Rudolph and the forest of lights, from 5:30-8:30 each evening. 

5921 McIntosh Road, Oxford (256)835-0111

Brookside Lane, Oxford 
Tune into 89.5 FM and enjoy the light show dancing to the beat! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'll be Home for Christmas

Regardless of where you are from, Calhoun County has invigorating outdoors, amazing cultural sights, spellbinding events, mouth-watering food and Southern hospitality that makes any visitor feel at home, especially this holiday season!

Jacksonville Christmas Parade
Thursday, December 1, 6:30 P.M. 
Pelham Street (Hwy 21) 

The Best Christmas Musical Ever
Friday, December 2, & Saturday, December 3, at 7:30 P.M. 
Mason Hall at Jacksonville State University

Anniston Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 3, 11 :00 A.M. 
Noble Street

The Nutcracker Ballet
Sunday, December 4, 2:00 P.M. 
Anniston Performing Arts Center
Oxford Christmas Parade
Thursday, December 8, 6:00 P.M. 
Main Street

A Tuna Christmas
December 8, 9 & 10 at 7:30 P.M. and December 11, at 2:30 P.M. 
Buckner Event Plaza, Anniston

Candy Cane 5K Fun Run
Saturday, December  10, at 8:00 A.M. 
Anniston quatics and Fitness Center, McClellan

Homes for the Holidays
December 10, 10 A.M.-4:00 P.M. 
Anniston Museum of Natural History

Christmas on Ivory
December 10 at 7:00 P.M. & December 11 at 2:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

Comfort & Joy with Jim Brickman
December 15, 7:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

Christmas with the Voices of the South
December 16, 7:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

Elf (movie) 
December 19, 7:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

Christmas Vacation (movie)
December 20, 7:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

It's a Wonderful Life (movie)
December 22, 7:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (movie)
December 23, 7:00 P.M. 
Oxford Performing Arts Center

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Guardian Angels

Once upon a time, Angie Shockley, Program Director for Anniston Parks and Recreation, wanted to show her mom all the lights she'd worked hard to display along Quintard Avenue in Anniston. To Angie's delight, her mom hopped in the car to see. To Angie's dismay, her mom was unimpressed with multi-colored lights. "Is this all there is? Turn around."
Years later, Angie honors her mother's love of clear lights as she and the parks and recreation staff begin to decorate Quintard each November. As you drive or walk along Quintard, you may notice the various multicolored scenes until you get to the block between 13th and 14th. There, clear Lights illuminate each tree, and a blue angel is seen centered on the grassy knoll of the median. The clear lights are in memory of Angie's mother and other Parks and Recreation staff family members who have passed away. The blue angel is symbolic for Police Officer Justin Sollohub, who was killed in the line of duty in Anniston on August 25th, 2011. The blue lights represent the blue line, as a memorial to Sollohub and in honor of his connection to those who continue serve today.
Stop by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors to admire the work the Parks and Recreation Staff does each holiday season, reflect on your own holiday memories, and pause to remember.

"Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique..." ~Deborah Whipp

Thursday, November 17, 2016

There's no place like home!

"Forever on Thanksgiving Day The heart will find the pathway home." ~Wilbur D. Nesbit

As folks trek to Anniston and Calhoun County for the holidays, several downtown venues are celebrating a downtown tradition with Pre-Thanksgiving plans and activities.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Peerless is hosting their annual Homecoming at the Grille, from 10:00 A.M. until close. They also feature The Stonerollers beginning at 9:00 P.M., with no cover charge from 7:00 P.M. until close.

The Peerless Saloon & Grille
13 W 10th Street, Anniston, Alabama
(256) 238-1899

Cheaha Brewing is hosting a Pre-Thanksgiving Jam Night, with Jammin' Guests Robby Jordan, Marc Womack, Jonn Medders, Jody Wood, Bran Strickland, Maggie Beam, Brandon Kent, Danni Ri, Jake & Summer and more local faves! So join them, Wednesday, November 23, from 7:30 P.M. until 2:00 A.M. for family, friends and fun!

Cheaha Brewing Company
1208 Walnut Avenue, Anniston, Alabama

Make yourself at home and enjoy these local holiday traditions!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Find Solitude

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. ~Lorraine Hansberry

People find solace one hundred different ways. Some find solitude escaping the noise of reality, and some find it in distracts from the outside world. Whatever way you find solitude, Calhoun County and surrounding areas may be a good fit for you. 

Coldwater's Bike Trails sometimes require razor sharp focus. Whether you're dodging a tree, navigating loose rocks and sand or grinding uphill, Coldwater requires you to be in the moment, focused on your immediate surroundings, not work, not home or not even the latest news, but present every inch of the way. You can escape for a mile or two or spend the entire day exploring the mountain, so the amount of solitude time is up to you. 

If you are looking for a spot to rest, a spot to break or read long the way, but also enjoy the rush of 18+ miles per hour on a bicycle, Ladiga is the spot for you. Ladiga has several private picturesque spots along its 33 miles of paved, mostly flat, rail trail. It's mostly quiet, with an occasional intersection that requires you pause and be brought back to fast paced reality of highways and traveled car roads. Mostly, it's a calm solace space, surrounded by shading trees and wildlife, vast fields and rolling mountainsides, with the occasional home or small town. 
The best time to enjoy this Chimney Peak is sunset. Facing West, this spot offers the best view of a quaint small town Alabama, Jacksonville, the gem of the hills, the Talladega National Forest, and Alabama farmland. If it's ever partly cloudy, the sunset paints the evening sky shades of purple, peach, blue and gold. Stand in awe and solitude at this lightly used Mountain Street or admire the starry sky at night in the peace and quiet. 

This recreation hiking trail connects the Talladega National Forest to the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia. Along the way, shelters have been erected to provide weary hikers a place to rest without work or work to construct a tent. Most of the trail travels away from busy highways and noisy cities, to allow the solace of hoot owls, coyotes howls, and cricket chirps to fill one's mind. Very little cellphone service along the mountain ridges provides a solitude not often found in today's world. 

Cheaha has several great trails, including the Bald Rock overlook with a boardwalk to the cliffs edge; however, if you are seeking quiet and solitude, the Pulpit Rock Trail provides about a half mile rolling hike to a cliffs edge overlooking Cheaha Lake and the Talladega National Forest. This peaceful undisturbed view provides a nice walk and solace from noisy kids and traffic. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Never Forgotten

 Around 1912 , the National Guard began using an area north of Anniston for training; however, in 1917, the War Department established Camp McClellan, with that same approximate 19,000 acres of farmland.
During World War II, the then named Fort McClellan became one of the largest military installations in the U.S., training a near half million troops. During BRAC in 1999, Fort McClellan was placed on the list for closure.
One thing many don't know about McClellan is that, during World War II, Fort McClellan had many POWs , mostly German and some Italian.
These men were artists, who painted Remington Hall's Murals, stonemasons who helped build bridges, and some did wood carving and more. The writers of the group also created their own newspaper, complete with games, articles and drawings, capturing life at camp.
There were POW Camps throughout the South, and some POWs became sick or succumbed to their injuries. McClellan was chosen as a location for burial. Today, each second Sunday in November is reserved for an German/Italian Memorial Service at the Cemetery, located on Shipley Road in Anniston. German and Italian delegation from nearby Redstone Arsenal attend, speak and participate in a wreath laying ceremony. This event is very unique and special, so join us, Sunday, November 13, at 11 a.m.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome Home Gamecocks

In 1883, the State Normal School began, merging a "polytechnic school or high grade for young men" with Jacksonville's "female academy for young ladies." In 1929, the school became Jacksonville State Teachers College. In 1957, the institution became Jacksonville State College, and in 1966, it became what it is today, Jacksonville State University.
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Jacksonville is often referred to as "the Gem of the Hills." Nestled in between Atlanta and Birmingham, Jacksonville is a convenient drive to anyone and near perfect for the college experience.
Each fall, you must forgive our "cocky" behavior, as we cheer on the Gamecocks. It's a setting "made for champions by champions." JSU and the surrounding hills echo the late night practices of the Marching Southerners. The field's lights reflect on every cloud in the sky, as players prep for the weekend's events. Red and white appears in store windows. RVs and grills unload to tailgate, and fans of all generations gather at Burgess Snow Field for traditions and hopefully another win.
Homecoming is more than football. It's reunions of previous champions, parades of current students and alumni lining the streets, and 20J tubas and Ballerinas taking to the field for another spellbinding performance. The Letterman's Club is painted up, and we're ready for another trip to Frisco for the Championship.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Local Lunch Near Campus

Football is back, and school is in full swing. Most kickoffs are set for 1:00 P.M., and if you don't have time to tailgate or need a quick lunch between classes, where should you go eat? Here's our local favorite lists.

Cecil's Place has been around since 1980, serving up delicious milkshakes, mouthwatering hamburgers and our favorite Chicken Finger Snack. If you're in a hurry, just call (256) 435-8909 to place your to-go order. If you need an afternoon sugar burst, may we suggest a sundae?

Yes, Cooter Brown's is listed in Alabama's 100 dishes to eat before you die, and we've heard from some Tennessean's that Cooter Brown's Ribs beat Memphis! It looks like a true rib shack, and their food is some of the best you've eaten. You can call in the tailgate necessities to-go at 256-435-1514.

Effina's knows how to market to college students, with $5 one topping pizzas on Thursday and many other specials throughout the week. They're conveniently located near the edge of campus and serve up everything from pasta to salads and everything in between.

Java Jolt maybe a coffeehouse, brewing everything from tea, cold brew to espresso, but they also have delicious muffins and scones, mouthwatering cakes, and delectable sandwiches and salads. The Cocky Chicken Salad is our favorite, on croissant or salad.

Founded in Jacksonville in 1991, Jefferson's has multiplied across the U.S., but the original still dishes our the best fried dill pickles and wings. However, our favorite is a Mushroom & Swiss burger. It may be messy, but it's good.

You can't beat 99 cent Tacos every Taco Tuesday. Loco Mex was also recently voted best chicken for the "Pelham Chicken," but we love their chips, salsa, cheese and affordable prices.

Besides Waffle House, Struts and Yamatos, the closest things to campus is Momma Goldberg's. This  unique experience originated in Auburn, but this location still serves up the signature Momma's Love and chips.

Since 1999, Struts, which is also on Mountain Street across from campus, has served wings, burgers and more. From the delicious but messy Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla to the delectable Hamburger Steak, Struts offers to much that pairs nicely with the mouthwatering Bacon Cheese Fries.

Open since the 1950s, The Rocket has served Bar-B-Q out of the pit out back. It may look like a hole in the wall, but it serves a great cheeseburger with special sauce. It's messy, but the flavor is worth the mess.

Located along Jacksonville's quaint Square, Roma's is known for their pizzas and pastas. However, their steak and chicken tips are delicious too! Roma's is a Jacksonville staple.

One of the newest restaurants to Jacksonville is Yamato Steak House. Their salad and yum-yum sauce are amazing, and everything from hibachi vegetables, chicken or steak are delicious.

Not far from the city limits of Jacksonville, you can also find Heroes, known for their burgers. Many evenings offer both food and entertainment.

If you need a sugar boost one afternoon when you cram in school work, check out Mad Hatter Cupcakes! These cupcakes have daily varying flavors from favorites like Rocky Cocky to seasonal specialties like Key Lime.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nothing Brings People Together Like Good Food!

It's Restaurant Week in Calhoun County, and we have some great ones (Best Pizza, Wings, etc. in the State). Calhoun County’s culinary experience includes everything from family favorite franchises to local barbecue and farm to table, and this week spotlights some signature dishes.

Traveling north on Hwy 21, you could probably follow your nose or the bus loads of people headed to Cooter Brown's Rib Shack. This week, they're featuring 2 BBQ platters and Hillbilly eggrolls for a great $20 dinner. Yes, you read that correctly, Hillbilly Eggrolls, which is like Carolina BBQ in an eggroll. Their lunch special features a regular BBQ sandwich with side and drink for $5. They didn't feature their ribs, which we and others rank higher than Memphis. (8464 AL Hwy 204, Jacksonville) 

Some, who travel I20 regularly, make a pit-stop at Garfrerick's Cafe. This week they feature their classic Farm to Table vegetable plate for $10 with dessert and drink. Their veggie plate normally offers stewed tomatoes, the best black eyed peas, mac and cheese, squash casserole, and whatever else is fresh from the garden. (655 Creekside Drive, Oxford)

In the heart of downtown historic Oxford, you'll find Hubbard's Off Main, with its beautiful exposed brick walls and mouthwatering food. This week Charlotte is featuring Shrimp and Grits and Steak for two as a $30 Dinner package and a Philly Cheesesteak for $7 at lunch. (20 Choccolocco Street E, Oxford) 

If you're in Jacksonville looking for some Mexican Cuisine, Loco Mex can cater to you. Their cheese dip is the best, and their Tacos are 99 cents every Taco Tuesday. (809 Pelham Road South, Jacksonville)

Many people think of Auburn when they think of Momma Goldberg's, but Jacksonville also has a location just across from the stadium. This week, they're featuring Sandwich and Nacho Combos, $8 for Lunch and $17 at dinner for two sandwiches and two nachos. (208 Mountain Street NW, Jacksonville)

The Peerless may be notable for its building's history, but this week, they included the kids, where 12 and under eat FREE with the purchase of one adult meal. They're lunch special features Beans & Greens for $6, and their dinner for two special features Derby Chopped Steak. (13 and 15 West 10th Street, Anniston)

Last year, the Taste of Calhoun County award for Best Pizza went to Wiseguys Pizzaria and Bar, who recently opened a second location in Oxford. This week, take a break for lunch and grab a one topping slice with salad and drink for $6.99, or take the whole family to dinner with a one topping large pizza, and appetizer and four drinks. If you want to splurge, we recommend the Wiseguy Pizza. (7113 U.S. Hwy 431, Alexandria)

Last but not least, Weaver has a crown jewel in Zoe's on the Lake, overlooking the picture perfect setting and pond at Buckhorn. Their lunch features Chicken Fettucine and salad for $9.95, and their dinner special this week features a 12 oz Ribeye with baked potato and salad for $12.95. (187 Angel Lake Drive, Weaver)

Family Favorite Franchise Features: 
Chick-fil-A Quintard Mall
700 Quintard Drive, Suite FC8, Oxford
Dinner Special:
Buy One Dessert, get one free (of same value or less)
Lunch Special:

Buy One Dessert, get one free (of same value or less)

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
1925 Quintard Avenue, Anniston
Dinner Special:
Chicken Sandwich Combo with Choice of Side and Medium Drink
Lunch Special:
Chicken Sandwich Combo with Choice of Side and Medium Drink