Wednesday, November 29, 2017

24 Hours for foodies in Jacksonville

College towns, especially in the south, are known for food, so where does one begin if they’re a foodie in Jacksonville?

Java Jolt not only pours some fabulous and pretty cups of joe, but they dish out delectable scones, muffins, sandwiches and much more! Our personal fav is the cappuccino chocolate muffin, with it’s sugar crystal-like topping. Don’t forget to order a dark chocolate mocha to “cut the sweetness” of the cupcake, we mean muffin.  They do have hot tea and delicious apple cinnamon scones, if you enjoy more of an English breakfast.

Sundays are always better with a brunch. Don’t take our word for it, but locals will tell you that Effina’s serves up some great quiche. They’re coffee and appetizers are fabulous too, including they’re Alabama Field Green Salad, complete with toasted pecans and feta!

If you’re looking for a quick bite before kickoff, head over to a southern college town staple, Momma Goldbergs! These steamed sandwiches will help you make it through a sweep or a nail biter ballgame. We suggest the signature Momma’s Love with a side of nachos.

Brand new to Jacksonville but well known around Calhoun County, Wiseguys Pizzeria and Bar has been recognized time and time again for having some of the county’s best pizza. Everyone raves about their Chicago style Don. So during a late night study cram session or after a game, head to the square’s newest hot spot!

Jacksonville has many other great restaurants that dish a variety of foods, from BBQ and wings to Tex-mex and more! Browse a longer list at!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Plans

 While this week may be packed with family time and feasting, if you need to get out of the house, don't forget to review our calendar of events.

Showcase Local Treasures
This Wednesday, families can enjoy a tour and programming at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, with their "Native American: Hands on History." This program shares the myths of how the bunny got its tail, a deer its horns, and the opossum a smile. Attending children will also be able to create a paper mosaic, hear stories, see live animals and more.

Earn a Feast
Before you dig into the Thanksgiving Feast, start a tradition of the Plucked Turkey 10K in Golden Springs!

Wake Up
One usually becomes drowsy after a big feast, so it'd be a great time for a walk around Oxford Lake, Choccolocco Park, Ladiga, etc.

Weekend Adventures
From Rappelling to Backpacking and adventures for man's best friend, Desoto State Park is packed with events to follow Thanksgiving.

Post Turkey
If running, walking, and hiking weren't enough, join a crew at Coldwater Mountain Bike Trails for a Post Turkey ride.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Theatre Talks: CAST presents Annie

"We Think You're Gonna Like it Here!" 
Carrie Colton grew up in Salt Lake, and her years of education in both acting and directing also included professional gigs with touring productions, even overseas. Lucky for us, job opportunities in Jacksonville State University's Department of Drama brought Carrie to Calhoun County. This November 16-19, Carrie brings CAST's production of Annie, the family favorite musical set in the 1930s, to life at the Anniston Performing Arts Center.

How did you get involved in CAST? 
CAST Kidz got me involved in CAST! I love children's theatre, and once I got here, I looked up the nearest place for children's theatre.

What’s the development of this production of Annie been like? 
There are so many pieces to string together, and with such a large cast! We have a cast of over 100 people! The development has been slow. 

What’s it like to work with so many kids? 
I love working with the kids, and they are all doing an amazing job. Kids have the best imaginations, and they are therefore always the best actors. They love playing pretend, and it's so fun watching them get into this story.
What is it about this production that you are the most excited about? 
I am most excited about all the community involvement that went into it. We have actors from all over! Some of my best friends are helping out and some new faces. Theatre always brings the best of people to one place! I love that! Anniston is everywhere in this show! So cool!

Why do you think this show continues resonate with audiences of all ages and remain popular? 
You can't help but love this show. It's so fun and cute and heartwarming. Annie is also the ideal of what we all want to be, and so we LOVE her. Ramsey and Vivian are both exceptional Annies. I cannot wait for the audience to fall in love with them. 

This show’s music is popular on and off stage. What’s your favorite Annie song and why? 
"Hooverville" is totally my favorite song. I love it because we forget that Annie was friends with the poorest of the poor and fought for them way before she met Warbucks. It's a political song that's all about the people who were really hurting during the depression. It's fun, and Annie's exposure to them only helps her continue to find the good in life!

In 7 words or less, why should everyone come see Annie?
Heartwarming, Powerful, Festive, and deeply moving night of theatre!
 If you're looking for a few hours of entertainment and family fun, "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," so let this production of Annie in "Annie's Town" warm your heart and get you on your feet. Showtimes are 7:30 P.M. on Thursday, November 16, Friday, November 17, and Saturday November 18, and 2:30 PM on Sunday, November 19. Get tickets online through

Thursday, November 9, 2017

24 hours for FOODIES in Anniston

Anniston's restaurants are full of great food and rich history. From Alabama's oldest operating saloon to some of the "Best Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die," Anniston has a variety of culinary experiences, blending quintessential southern cuisine with even international influences. 

Breakfast/Brunch: Classic Too is a great meeting place along Anniston's historic thoroughfare Noble Street, complete with various coffees biscuits and more! Although, if you're here on a Sunday, it's of the utmost importance that you try Classic on Noble's famous brunch. Complete with one of Alabama's 100 dishes to eat before you die, Shrimp and Grits, there's every salad to choose from, numerous desserts, entrees, omelets, kids snacks and more.

Lunch: recently voted on Alabama's Best Pizza, and decided Anniston's own Mata's Greek Pizza and Grinders take the title. This is Anniston staple is quite popular amongst locals, so it's suggested that you call in your Mata's Special for it to be ready when you arrive.

Dinner & After Hours Fun: Alabama's oldest operating saloon is alive and well. The Peerless Saloon and Grille dishes out local favorites like their Cuban, fish tacos, and more. They also feature live music several nights a week and offer great event space for celebrations.

There are so many great restaurants, and it would be extremely hard to hit them all in 24 hours. So, if you're around for more than a day, look to our restaurant list for some more flavors and options in and around Anniston. From our local bakery, Artisanal Baked Goods and their fresh Friday pretzels to an extremely busy Betty's BBQ lunch, everything is full of flavor. Local chains like Dad's BBQ and Top O' The River also serve up southern favorites like hearty fried green tomatoes and catfish with greens. Local favorites like Thai One On and Effina's serve up flavorful fusion dishes, like drunken noodles and tiramisu. If farm to table is your thing, Rosie's Gourmet 2 Go also has dine in options, including their delicious chicken salad. Local hot spots like Rack & Roll offer up billiards, entertainment and delectable food. Then, you also have dinner with a view at The High Pointe

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Wanna Learn to Mountain Bike?

Calhoun County, Alabama is and is becoming even more of a mountain bike destination. With Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail plus Henry Farm and Iron Legs, plus the development of McClellan, as well as nearby Black Creek and Cheaha, we're surrounded by reasons you should give mountain biking a try.
There are trails for every skill level.
From basic downhills and climbs like Baby Bear to Bomb Dog, gravity trails and everything in between, there is more than 35 miles of trails at Coldwater alone. The rolling hillsides with giant boulders and rock features can be as easy or as difficult as you'd like. We're near Atlanta, near Birmingham, near perfect for a weekend getaway.
From local bike shops like Wig's Wheels and Fun Wheels to our local rails to trails project at the Ladiga Trail, everything is located in close proximity to our downtown areas, restaurants, hotels, and other attractions.
Luckily, Alabama has a mild winter, meaning it's great for trail riding year round. Anytime is a good time to hit the trails.
It's fun!
The great thing about cycling is, even though it's exercise, it's fun. It's also judgement free, as we've all been a beginner, and most cyclists are encouraging of newbies. Get the gear, learn the basics, and have fun!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Rewarding Hikes

Calhoun County and surrounding areas are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Trails abound, and some are easy and still offer the breathtaking view reward.

Bald Rock
At Cheaha State Park, the Doug Ghee Accessible Trail to Bald Rock offers an elevated handicap accessible 1,520 ft walkway to Alabama's highest point. The trail also has benches along the way and multiple access points to side trails. This 1/4 mile trail is easy and accessible to everyone.

Pulpit Rock
Also at Cheaha State Park, this .6 mile trail is an out and back trail good for all skill levels. There is a slight elevation change, but it's accessible year-round.

Baby Bear
Coldwater Mountain is home to mountain bike haven, but it's also great for hiking. The baby bear is the shortest and easiest loop, about 1.1. miles with gradual rollers.

Desoto State Park
This park offers a variety of trails and difficulties, but the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail is a 360 yard trail for people of all abilities.

Little River Canyon
From the Visitors Center, there are several trail options, including the family friendly "Path to Learning Trail," with information geared toward school programs.

In Calhoun County, there's so much to explore outdoors. Learn more at