I convinced Wayne to go to the Shoals area of North Alabama to visit the home of Helen Keller. I had never been there even though I grew up in nearby Huntsville. I called Heritage Acres RV Park in Tuscumbia to be sure they had a place to accommodate our big rig. They did and we reserved two nights. The park was not much more than a gravel parking lot filled with year-round working age campers who appeared to live there. We settled in and shook a bit of the Natchez Trace dust off the step covers the first afternoon. I spent some time that night researching area attractions and selecting the ones I wanted to see and then putting them in a kind of priority list.
Early the next morning we were up and rolling. Last week's warm, sunny days have succumbed to overcast skies and much cooler temperatures. That's a good thing as we will take Lexie and Ozzie for this super full day of touristy trivia.
Our first destination is Ivy Green, the birthplace home of Helen Keller. I remember my sixth grade teacher's lesson about Helen's difficult early youth, circumstances surrounding "the miracle" itself and the important contributions Helen would go on to make in the lives of so many. The 1962 movie, "The Miracle Worker" reinforced and brought visual importance to what I already had learned about this great Alabama woman.
|Helen broke almost all the family dishes as a young child. These few survived.|
|The bed covering was a "rag quilt" given to Helen as a gift, as was the rug.|
The next two pictures are of Ivy Green Cottage, built in the yard near the main house by Helen's grandfather for Helen's mother and father as a bridal cottage. Helen was born here on June 27, 1880.
|One room of the small house where Helen was born.|
Not sure if the furniture here was actually in the home at the time.
|The other room of the small house.|
|Kitchen and cook's quarters.|
Imagine how hot that wood fireplace made that little building in the southern summer. Ugh.
The picture below is of the actual well pump where Anne Sullivan first made communication with Helen when she was six years old. Miss Sullivan pumped water across one of Helen's hands while spelling W-A-T-E-R into the palm of her other hand. This became known as "The Miracle" and by the end of that day, Helen had learned seven words.
Cypress Moon Productions Production company and recording studio is housed in this former Naval Reserve building along the banks of the Tennessee River in Sheffield. This is the old Muscle Shoals Sound Group. The building was deserted and the doors locked the day we drove by but tours can be scheduled.
|Many internationally known artists recorded gold and platinum records here. |
The building now houses a film production company with the historic recording studio still in use.
The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio Museum (photo below) was closed and in process of renovation. It is one of the most photographed locations in the area. The Rolling Stones, Cher, Bob Segar, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkle and others recorded some of the most popular American hits of the 1970's in this building.
The session musicians who played backup music here were dubbed "The Swampers" and referenced in the lyrics of Lynrd Skynrd's hit song "Sweet Home Alabama".
|Where it all began...|
Pop artists Liza Minelli, Tom Jones, Little Richard and the Osmonds recorded here along with country music legends Mac Davis and Jerry Reid.
|Releases from this inauspicious building have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide.|
Tours are conducted twice daily: 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Key Underwood Coon Dog Cemetery at Cherokee is "the final resting place for more than 300 of man's best friend" according to the Colbert County tourism brochure. Located deep in an area known as Freedom Hills, a fellow buried his faithful coon dog, Troop, back in 1937. The rest is history. A "coon hound only" cemetery, headstones bear names like Patches, Preacher, Flop, Bean Blossom Bommer and Tex. Our friends, Marcella and Landon, told us about their visit a few years ago. I had to see it and to let Ozzie and Lexie wander among the small graves, rock and wood headstones and artificial flowers.
|The first dog buried here. Troop 9/4/37|
|Ozzie thinks, because this is a dog cemetery, that it's okay to pee on the headstones.|
|Lexie hiding in the artificial roses.|
As luck would have it Rattlesnake Saloon was closed (our visit was on a Monday) so we have nothing to show for our visit. Oh well.... maybe next time.