North Alabama is a land full of hidden gems. Living in Georgia, the neighboring state, I spent much of my childhood at my Grandmother’s farm in North Alabama, I thought I was familiar with the quaint spots and secret treasures. I was wrong. Instead, I discovered serene natural travel spots and fun historical sites in Franklin County, a seemingly sleepy county nestled near the Mississippi State Line. These sites would be perfect for a family vacation, a romantic weekend, or a Girlfriend’s Getaway. They are perfect for the history buff or nature lover as well. Here are the Sites in Franklin County, Alabama you don’t want to miss.
Must Visit Sites in Franklin County, Alabama
1. Red Bay Museum– Red Bay may be a small town, boasting a population of around 3,500, but it boasts an impressive history museum. Thanks to the efforts of Scotty Kennedy, affectionately known to area residents as “Mr. Red Bay,” Red Bay’s past has been preserved. While working on his book, “One Hundred Years of Memories, An Oral History of Red Bay, Alabama,” Carl Elliot discovered many people in the area had items or photos from now-defunct businesses. Mr. Kennedy began collecting and storing these items. Today, the Red Bay Museum is a tribute to the history of the city.
When you enter the museum the first thing you will see is the recreation of the Red Bay Hotel Lobby with the original counter and staircase. Continuing through the downstairs, you’ll find displays from the bank, the grocery store, and myriads of other businesses. There’s even a representation of the different churches of the area, right down to the Baptist Hymn books. The upstairs shows how the townspeople would have lived in the past, with a schoolroom, bedroom, and kitchen. If you are a classic country music fan you’ll love the extensive tribute to Tammy Wynette, who called Red Bay, Alabama her home. The museum is open from 1:30-4:00 PM, Tuesday, and Thursday. You can also book appointments. I recommend Mr. Kennedy as a tour guide. He’s passionate about the history of Red Bay. His personal anecdotes and knowledge bring the past to life. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students and no charge for ages 6 and under.
While in the area, check out the Tiffin MotorHomes Factory Tour. This tour explains the process of building the motorhomes and allows participants to chat with the craftsmen who build the homes. The free tours last about an hour and closed toed shoes are required.
Finish your tour of Red Bay with a meal at Fourth Street Grill & Steakhouse. Locally owned by Lorie and Brent Collum, this restaurant is perfect for a casual dinner with friends or family. The salad bar features local produce and menu items, including their luscious desserts, are made from scratch. Along with their traditional menu, daily specials are served. As they say, “You never know what we’ve got cooking!” Tip: Be sure to try their homemade chips sprinkled with “Cricket Dust.”
2. Cypress Cove Farm – This is the place to be if you enjoy outdoor activities. Formerly a small working farm, the 300-acre property has been converted to a nature preserve. Historical buildings on the property have been converted to bird watching stations and educational facilities. Trails on the property allow for hiking and the opportunity for bird sightings.
Cypress Cove Farm hosts several archaeological expeditions each year for area school children. We visited the sites and learned Native American artifacts have been discovered on the property. The dig sites can be seen by the public. The Farm hosts several events each year, including a Veteran’s Day program. Open from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM daily, there is no admission charge for visiting. Group trips should be arranged in advance. Tip: Go when there has not been a lot of rain as many areas of the farm will not be assessable.