Fall has been here for a few weeks, but with the weather finally cooling down, it FEELS like autumn is officially here! Some people enjoy pumpkin spice everything, and while I can appreciate that, I’m excited to get outside in the fresh air!
Friday afternoon, my husband, baby and puppy took a short drive to Mentone, Alabama. From where we live in Gadsden, the drive is about an hour. *Our 6 month old thought the drive was half a day by the amount of crying, but the trip was worth it. Mentone is in northwest Alabama and is a refreshing little mountain town. It’s very small, which adds to the charm.
We first went to Wildflower Cafe, a beautiful little restaurant with handmade items for sale throughout. The menu is vegetation friendly and suggests to ask for vegan and gluten-free options. I asked for vegan and got a delicious veggie wrap filled with grilled vegetables, grapes, and my husband ate a chicken salad sandwich. We were both very satisfied!
After lunch, we walked down the main street to the shops. As it turns out, several were closed. I’m not sure if they are always closed on Fridays or just this specific day, but we missed a few places. The shops carry handmade art, jewelry, bags, and fair trade items. One store had knitted stuffed animals. Everything is so cute! We also stopped in the outdoor store that is connected to a farm to table restaurant and to an art gallery education center. Walk down the block, that’s about all the shops there are, and explore for yourself!
After walking around Mentone, we drove about 20 minutes to Desoto State Park near Fort Payne. The park entrance is free unless you decide to camp (we will sometime!), and the park map is only $1.00. There are several waterfalls within the park, a bird sighting trail, many hiking and biking trails, and over 3500 acres to explore! Honestly there is something for every outdoor enthusiast. With the perfect weather on Friday, we hiked from the Boardwalk, taking the blue trail out and the orange back, marked as a moderate hike equally about 3 miles. With the baby in the carrier and excited puppy on her leash, it was perfect!
Next trip to this location will involve different trails and a longer afternoon!
I recommend getting a map, determining your distance and path, taking water, bringing a camera, a trash bag, and enjoying every step. Being in the middle of the forest is therapeutic. Enjoy the environment. Breathe in fresh air!
*Oh, and one thing I found VERY IMPRESSIVE, there was absolutely no litter along the trail. I applaud this park for the experience and keeping our Earth CLEAN!