Do you want to know one of the reasons I love talking about this road trip?
The last day, A and I are headed home and we’re listening to music, talking and laughing and she says, “I love how we can spend an entire week together, 24/7 and not be tired of each other. I love how we don’t argue or get on each other’s nerves.” And that is the best thing of all we did. The fact that we could get away, run all over the state almost, laughing and talking the whole way. No teen-aged eye rolls. No arguments. Enjoying one another’s company, having nonsensical conversations and serious conversations both. It’s an amazing feeling to be a mother to such a special human being. I’m blessed indeed.
So what did we do next, you ask? Day six of our trip found us at Moundville Archaeological Park. I found this spot very intriguing. I loved it.
Moundville is a large settlement of Mississippian culture on the Black Warrior River. It was occupied from around A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1450. At the height of the settlement, the community was a three hundred acre village built on a bluff overlooking the river. The town was roughly square, and protected on three sides by a bastioned wooden palisade. There was a central plaza, with twenty six earthen mounds surrounding it. The tallest mound mound rises 58 feet. Steps lead you to the top where you have an amazing view of the surrounding area.
Also located here is the Jones Archaeological Museum. This University of Alabama Museum is simply beautiful. Inside you will find artifacts that have been found at the site, as well as life size figures displaying clothes and jewelry of Mississippian culture, hand sewn and made by Native American artists. They also have a lovely gift shop.
This was well worth the stop. It was hot, yes, but we enjoyed the time we spent here very much.
We left there and went to nearby Greensboro AL for two things. Magnolia Grove and pie.
Magnolia Grove is a wonderful example of Greek Revival architecture that was so popular in the South. The house dates to 1840 and still has one of the two slave cabins as well as the cook house and cook’s quarters.
We were allowed to just roam the rooms by ourselves – the ladies were lovely and informative if we had questions, and readily gave the history of the home and its occupants.
Heavy rains had very recently done quite a bit of damage which was sad to see.
At one point we went to the outer buildings where we were shown the kitchen and cook’s quarters. Some of the furniture from inside the home had been moved into the space because of the rain and leaking roofs, but you could still get a good idea. Also the slave cabin, a one room tiny space that would have housed up to seven people, was also serving as a temporary spot for some of the furnishings.
Interestingly, in the cabin there was a copy of the census of the house. A record of the births as well as purchases of slaves. While the woman was telling us about this, the air around us came to life with a man’s voice yelling, calling, vocalizing in a strange rhythm. We all startled – myself, the woman showing us the cabin, as well as two young ladies who were present. Wide eyed we turned to one another quizzically while my daughter, standing there, looking quite confused, and yet somehow guilty was red faced and looking like she wanted to sink through the floor.
There was a white box beside her with several black buttons. Apparently she had leaned and pressed one of said buttons with her elbow. The ensuing sound was an example of a foreman calling slaves to the field. (or from) The woman tried to talk over the call, but it went on and on and on. Forever it seemed. Rising, falling, changing…on and on. The two young ladies started to giggle quietly. A looked more and more panicked. The lady finally waved a dismissive hand and said, “Oh, it’ll stop in a minute.” Seeing A’s face she had to laugh and tell her she didn’t do anything “wrong.” A whispered, “I didn’t mean to, I promise.” Thankfully the call finally died out and we slunk away from the house before we could do any more damage.
Upon leaving we were each given a copy of a little cookbook, the collected recipes of the lady of the house – who, ironically, had probably never cooked anything in her life.
And yes, you heard me correctly – the other wonderful thing you will find in the town of Greensboro is pie. If you are ever in the area run, don’t walk to a place called Pie Lab. You won’t be sorry.
We were late in the day and they close at four so our choices were limited, but we considered ourselves lucky that they had anything left! A got a piece of lemon ice box and I got the very last piece of key lime coconut chess.
Oh my. The pie was worth the trip. Absolutely. The space is fabulous too with original ceilings and plaster removed from the walls to reveal the the original brick. Very nice. The vibe here is a wonderful community oriented institution where people just seemed happy to be there and glowing when they left. But who isn’t happy after eating pie??!!
Our adventure continued on day seven with Old Cahaba Archaeological Park.
This was the original capital of Alabama and once you got past the swarms of man eating mosquitos it was a purely magical place. Some ruins are left, and while nature has reclaimed much of the old streets, you can see how it all was laid out and the park is being preserved and the sites are made easily accessible.
What really strikes you here is the the utter quiet and tranquility of the place.
The Cahaba River provides a beautiful backdrop and with the draping Spanish moss you can almost hear the old walls and columns speak.
We spent the better part of the morning there, wandering the ruins and the old cemeteries.
We left Old Cahaba (Or Cahawba originally) and ended up in Wetumpka where we stopped at Jasmine Hill Gardens.
This place is magnificent, people.
The family loved Greek architecture and set out, in the 1930’s, to reproduce a feeling of Greece at their hillside home. They made around twenty trips to Greece to study and plan and the resulting gardens and sculpture shows their meticulous attention to detail.
I’d been there before many years ago, and today we made it most of the way through before the humidity of the day finally caught up with A and her asthma.
We had to call it a day pretty quickly and find a place to stay for the night where she could get cooled off and rest. The next day we would have one last hurrah before heading back home and to the kitties we’d been missing like crazy!!
We did get quite a few great photos before A’s asthma attack, but one little gem stood out above all the rest. A loves taking photos. She usually does all the honors, allowing me the privilege of taking a stray photo here and there. When we got home and I was scrolling through the hundreds she (we) had taken, I found the one that I knew she had snuck in, imagining my face when I saw it.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are a few of the more (less??) um, scenic shots from the day.
I think I’m going to save the last day for one last post to wrap up or ADHD vacation.
til next time…