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Our Trip to Birmingham, Alabama

Saczynski family

We traveled to Hoover, Alabama, the first weekend of November for the Moss Rock Festival. Now that our baby is three, we can finally start taking this show on the road as a family. Unfortunately, our two older kids (Taylor and Nathan) couldn’t afford to miss a few days of school this time, so only the younger three (Noah, Jonah, and Josiah) came along.

Stuart Peters Hope Peters

On the way, we made a quick stop for lunch in Deatsville. Our very good friends Stuart and Hope live there with their daughter Brianna. We met Stuart and Hope while living in Jacksonville (1999-2004). They moved back home to Alabama a few months before we moved back to Destin. They may be Auburn fans, but it’s hard to say.

Alabama cotton field

As as we traveled north through Alabama, we passed beautiful rolling hills and cotton fields. We drove straight to Hoover and set up for the festival.

kids with tricycle

Just in time for dinner, we finally made our way to Vestavia Hills to stay with our friends Mark and Lauren and their two children, Anna Caroline and John Ross. What a treat! Their neighborhood is like something out of a fairy tale and their home is like something out of Southern Living. They even gave up their Tempur-Pedic mattress for us for four nights. Dang! They must LOVE us!

Church of the Highlands Riverchase Campus

Sunday morning we attended Church of the Highlands, Riverchase Campus. It was amazing! Even after bringing extra chairs into the sanctuary, there was still standing room only and lines of people waiting to enter the service. The worship was great and Pastor Chris Hodges delivered a message on Intentional Generosity. It’s easy to understand why Mark and Lauren call this their church home.

The Moss Rock Festival wrapped up Sunday at 4:00 pm. It took about three hours to break down our tent and pack our trailer, and then we were free to relax. (Read all about the festival here.)

Vulcan Park Birmingham

On Monday, Mark and Lauren showed us some good things to do in Birmingham. We brought a picnic lunch from Iz (two sandwiches to try: chicken salad and pimiento cheese) to Vulcan Park at the top of Red Mountain overlooking the city of Birmingham. I’m ashamed to say that after going up the elevator, I couldn’t walk around the top of the tower. “Don’t look down!” the employee warned. Well, I did look down, and that’s why I stayed in the elevator. Good grief, I cannot handle heights, especially on a windy day. But the views were spectacular!

Vulcan Park Birmingham

Vulcan Park Birmingham

Vulcan Park Birmingham

Next we took a scenic drive around some of Birmingham’s most charming neighborhoods. We had a few sleeping children in the van, so we didn’t explore by foot. I’m already thinking about our next visit! There are so many things to do in Birmingham, one day is certainly not enough time.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

We spent a good bit of the afternoon at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Wow! What an excellent time of year to go. The trees were gorgeous and the temperature was perfect for walking around.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Lauren Veal

Anna Veal

John Veal

Noah Saczynski

Jonah Saczynski

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Southern Living Garden

Well, look at that. The Southern Living Garden was established the same year Andy and I were born.

Josiah Saczynski

Anna Veal Jonah Saczynski

It’s possible that Anna Caroline and Jonah will get married. Did I say possible? I meant probable. Lauren and I may as well start planning their 2034 wedding!

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

These kids crack me up!

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Andy Saczynski

Andy carried my heavy purse without complaint. What a babe!

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Impressive bamboo, yes?

Lori Saczynski Andy Saczynski

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

John Veal

John Ross! Don’t you want to squeeze him? Andy and I should go for #6. I jest, I jest!

Noah Saczynski

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Mark Veal

After leaving the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, we stopped by Target, which had its own parking garage underneath – you don’t see that in Florida!

Samford University

We also drove by Southern Progress Corporation (Coastal Living, Southern Living, etc.) and Samford University (where Jon Acuff graduated – woohoo!).

I would’ve enjoyed staying in Birmingham a few more days, but we missed Taylor and Nathan, and Noah already skipped three days of school. We departed Vestavia Hills early Tuesday and headed south.

Deatsville

Deatsville

We stopped for brunch in Deatsville with Stuart, Hope, and Brianna. We had just enough time to play in the country, including a golf cart ride and feeding a neighbor’s beautiful horse. Sweet home Alabama? Sweet, indeed… but I still call Destin home.

I wonder where this traveling art show will go next?

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