Downtown Tuscumbia, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama is like a setting for a romantic comedy. I can picture Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks walking hand in hand down the adorable sidewalks, window shopping and stopping into Coldwater Books to have a coffee at a table for two as they admire the Alabama weather. No matter the season there is magic in the air in this quaint town where Southern charm exudes in everything from the shop windows, to the historical buildings, to the friendly small town lifestyle. If you live in the Shoals area then I’m sure you’re familiar with some of the popular spots, but this week in particular I’m highlighting Tuscumbia not only because of the many boutiques and eateries, but because the 37th annual Helen Keller Festival is taking place, which is a week of events honoring the woman who was born and lived in this delightful town. Over the past decade Tuscumbia, Alabama has transformed into a precious, picturesque little town that has some of the best shopping and unique spots in the Shoals and it’s just getting started.
If you live in one of the Quad-Cities then you’re familiar with shops like Coldwater Books and Thread Fabric, along with many other popular boutiques such as Ann Aldridge, Nellie Mae, Blush, Audie Mescal, and Mimi’s. In just a few blocks there is plenty to see as you browse from one store to the next. Many of the boutiques have the latest fashions and styles, making it easy to find that perfect date-night dress, or you can stop into Thread and pick out some unique fabric to get started on making an outfit of your own. Each store is one-of-a-kind, making Tuscumbia a fun place to explore. Coldwater Books will capture your heart with its two-story shop lined with books from floor to ceiling. The smell of fresh coffee lingers from the in-store café making the perfect backdrop for curling up with a good book. Or perhaps you just need to stop into the Coldwater Seed & Supply Co. for some gardening supplies and spend the afternoon antique shopping—whatever your taste, Tuscumbia has something to suit you and your family for an afternoon adventure.
After a day of shopping stop by The Palace, a historical ice cream and sandwich shop with soaring ceilings and retro, red bar stools that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. For dinner, you can always find something delicious at O’Bryan’s Steakhouse, or the relatively new restaurant, PoBoys Cajun Grill, which serves up the yummiest crawfish etouffee, cilantro lime tacos, and frequently hosts live music on the patio. It’s a fun restaurant for the whole family and also the perfect setting for a romantic date night. No matter the occasion, Tuscumbia has something for everybody including the Railroad Museum, beautiful Spring Park, and tours of Helen Keller’s home, Ivy Green.
Every year around Helen Keller’s birthday, June 27th, Tuscumbia comes alive with parades, music, arts and crafts, and lots of shopping. Stores stay open later, vendors line the streets and the life of a very special woman is celebrated throughout downtown. The fun begins with a live band and a parade that marches through the middle of town. However, the entertainment continues throughout the weekend at Spring Park, which is a child’s wonderland year-around filled with a playground, splash pad, snow cone stand, train rides, mini-coaster, and merry-go-round. At night as the sun sets music plays over the pond complete with fountains that glow with multi-colored lights. Tuscumbia is a family-friendly town, and it has created a place that is safe, scenic and fun for kids and adults alike.
So, stop by the Helen Keller Festival this weekend and catch some of the many events taking place. Today, June 26 thru Sunday, June 28 there are tours of Ivy Green, a Railroad Museum, an Arts and Craft Show, plays, concerts, and much more. Tuscumbia has so much to offer and I haven’t even mentioned the beautiful streets lined with towering oaks that have gorgeous, historical real estate ready to be snatched up. Talking about everything this small town has to offer is going to take more than one blog post, so get ready to learn more about this area as I explore the best of the Shoals.