Alabama, like much of the South, is rife with history, mystery, and plenty of obscure off-the-beaten-path experiences to discover if you’re up to the challenge. Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery, has plenty of neat and interesting experiences to fill your itinerary all by itself.
The Montgomery metro area is full of things to do, places to see, and things to eat. Simply walking the city will enlighten you as to the many adventures that await you in and around Montgomery. However, if you’re looking to cut to the chase, then there are plenty of “undiscovered” sites to draw your attention to the next time you’re in the area.
Eastbrook Antique Flea Market & Antique Mall
If you ask a local for the directions to the weirdest antique mall in the state of Alabama they’d say that the Eastbrook Antique Flea Market & Antique Mall is the place to go. Full of southern kitsch and the exciting prospect of an undiscovered gem, the antique mall offers 60,000 square feet of indoor space filled with over 300 vendors.
Throw caution to the wind, stuff a few bills in your pocket, and see what you can uncover as you peruse the nooks and crannies of the mall. From jewelry to antique furniture, to old voluminous books, it’s unclear what exactly you’ll find. And as they say; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Chris’ Famous Hotdogs
Called both “weird and gross” and “KILLER DELICIOUS” by patrons, we’ll let you be the judge as to whether this century-old institution deserves its notoriety as the go-to hot dog spot in the entire state of Alabama. While Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs may be famous in Montgomery, it’s still very much a secret to the rest of us.
The hot dog shop refuses to break with tradition—it’s “famous hotdogs” are offered up in the same way they were when they were first cooked up back in 1917. The “Chris’ Famous Hot Dog” comes with mustard, kraut, and Chris’s Famous Chili Sauce, which is more gravy-like in its consistency than you’d expect but exceedingly delicious. Not enough for you? Then order the “Special Hotdog”—it holds the same toppings but they’ll cram two hot dogs into one bun for you!
The Ghost Town of Spectre
Who said that ghost towns have to be ancient history? The ghost town situated outside of Montgomery known as Spectre was built and subsequently abandoned in 2003. While you may assume that something tragic or catastrophic occurred, you’d be wrong.
Spectre was, in fact, a fake town built for the filming of the Tim Burton film, Big Fish. Much of it has fallen apart, some of it perished in a wildfire, but you can still see the remnants of the town—mostly plywood and Styrofoam. The atmosphere is eerie even with the foreknowledge that the area was one big movie set. Plus, how many people can say they visited a ghost town built-in 2003?
Hank Williams’ Blue Cadillac
The country singer Hank Williams is well known around the world but because he was born, raised, and died in Alabama the southern state has a special place in its heart for the man. Unfortunately, the most morbid and mysterious aspect of Hank’s life can be found right in Montgomery, Alabama at the Hank Williams Museum.
The story goes that Hank’s chauffeur stopped for gas right inside of the West Virginia state line. He noticed his pal Hank was asleep in the back of the Cadillac and, when he finished pumping gas, decided to check on him. Unfortunately, Hank was already stone-cold dead of unknown circumstances.
The Death Car itself, a beautiful Cadillac, was put to practical use for years after Hank’s death by the Williams family. Hank Williams Jr. drove it when he was in high school. Years later he had the car restored and displayed it in his Nashville museum.
The Wetumpka Crater
Via Wikipedia, “The Wetumpka impact crater is the only confirmed impact crater in Alabama, United States. It is located east of downtown Wetumpka in Elmore County. The crater is 4.7 miles (7.6 km) in diameter and its age is estimated to be about 85 million years old (late Cretaceous), based on fossils found in the youngest disturbed deposits, which belong to the Mooreville Chalk Formation.”
While much of the area is on private land interested tourists can drive over Jasmine Hill Road, which is a picturesque drive all its own. The crater may be overgrown with vegetation, but a little imagination can go a long way to visualizing how large the object was that first smashed into Alabama nearly 85 million years ago. And who knows what that object brought with it!
Alabama is the Place for Weird, Morbid, & Downright Interesting
There is still much to uncover in Alabama, especially in the Montgomery area. While this list is the perfect way to start your “off-the-beaten-path” tour through the state, you shouldn’t fear simply asking the locals what’s worth taking a look at.
You might be surprised by the adventures that await. Who knows—you might even be one of the few to experience a best-kept local secret by winning over the townies at the local bar. Whatever you do, keep an open mind, keep your eyes peeled, and be prepared to have some fun!