First Monday Weekend in Scottsboro, Alabama

Scottsboro, Alabama is the home of one of the largest trading days in the region. First Monday Weekend is held each month starting on the Saturday before the first Monday of the month. This huge event is held in downtown Scottsboro in the area around the Jackson County Courthouse Square.

First Monday in Scottsboro goes back more than 100 years. It began in 1902 as Horse Swapper’s Day. After a rather slow beginning, the event was eventually changed to Market Day to give area farmers a place to sell and trade their goods. Over the years the variety of vendors increased and so did the crowds. Today First Monday in Scottsboro is a massive trading weekend.

First Monday has had to adapt to changing times. Many vendors who had full time jobs were unable to participate only on Mondays, so the event is now held Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Sundays generally bring out the largest crowds. Labor Day Weekend is usually the biggest and best weekend with thousands of people in attendance. Many vendors are regulars who reserve their spaces from month to month. Vendors are expected to set up at least one day of the weekend.

Today no horses or other animals are swapped on First Monday. What buyers will find are handmade crafts, furniture, antiques, baskets, plants, clothing, and food vendors. The atmosphere is fun and festive, and people enjoy browsing among the booths. All kinds of treasures await those who attend First Monday.

Located in northeast Alabama, Scottsboro is situated on Lake Guntersville, the Tennessee River’s largest lake. Downtown Scottsboro has an attractive historic district, filled with a variety of shops and restaurants. Courthouse Square, containing the Jackson County Courthouse, is the centerpiece of downtown. Local highways and Interstates serving the Scottsboro area are Interstate 65 and U.S. Hwy. 72, making it easily accessible to the many local attractions and fun things to do.

Top Attractions in Scottsboro, Alabama

Scottsboro, Alabama is a pleasant town in the northeast corner of the state, a region of mountains and lakes. The town is located on beautiful Lake Guntersville, the Tennessee River’s largest lake. The downtown historic district, centered on the courthouse square, is filled with a variety of restaurants and shops to browse. After exploring what downtown has to offer, visitors may want to explore Scottsboro’s other attractions.

Goose Pond Colony, just south of town on Highway 79, is a city owned resort on Lake Guntersville. There are activities here for every member of the family. The resort offers two championship 18-hole golf courses, the Colony Course and the Plantation Course. Families love the swimming pool and beach area. The full service marina at Goose Pond Colony rents pontoon boats and fishing boats. Lake Guntersville is one of the best fishing lakes in the Southeast. The resort also has more than five miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. Visitors may want to finish their day at Goose Pond Colony with dinner at The Dock’s Restaurant, a Scottsboro favorite.

Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro is a shopper’s paradise. Bargain hunters search for treasures amid the 40,000 square feet of unclaimed baggage and freight that is brought in daily. Shoppers never know what they’ll find- jewelry, electronics, cameras, sporting goods, and designer clothing and accessories. Located at 509 West Willow Street, Unclaimed Baggage Center offers a truly unique shopping experience. Monday-Friday hours are 9am-6pm. Saturday hours are 8am-6pm. Unclaimed Baggage Center is one of Alabama’s top attractions, with one million visitors annually.

The Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center is located in an 1880s Greek Revival style mansion at 208 South Houston Street. The museum contains Indian artifacts from the area, Civil War memorabilia, and local genealogical records. It hosts traveling exhibits throughout the year. Behind the house is the Sagetown Pioneer Village. A number of log structures have been moved to the site for preservation. Jackson County’s first courthouse, dating to 1868, is also onsite. The Heritage Center is open Monday-Friday from 11am-4pm.

Visitors who are fortunate enough to be in Scottsboro on the weekend preceding the first Monday of each month will be able to experience First Monday Trade Day. This event has been a Scottsboro tradition since 1902. Vendors set up booths around the courthouse square downtown and offer all types of products including antiques, crafts, and furniture. Vendors sell local produce in season and ready to eat treats. The atmosphere is festive, and Sunday usually brings out the largest crowds.

Visitors to Scottsboro may enjoy these top local attractions. The city offers plenty of fun activities for visitors of all ages.

A Visit to Bardstown KY – Bourbon Capital of the World – 5 Things You Must Do

On my recent all-too-brief trip to Bourbon Country and Bardstown, KY, I had time to do a few things that I wanted but I saw so much more that I would love to experience. Luckily for me I live only about 40 miles away so I can go back and do these later. If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself in Bardstown, here are five activities or attractions that you should consider doing.

1. Visit a Distillery or Two. Okay, this is really the only real “must-do” in bourbon country. I only had the time to visit Heaven Hill, the closest distillery to downtown, but there are dozens more distilleries within minutes of Bardstown including the world famous Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Distilleries. Learn how bourbon is made, the history of bourbon and the surrounding area and sample the goods at the end. What’s not to love.

2. Visit The Old Talbott Tavern. I had lunch at this historic inn and tavern that sits smack on the Courthouse Square. It now operates as a restaurant, hotel and bed & breakfast. It has a very colorful past. Here is a clip from their website:

The old stone reminder of Bardstown’s beginnings still welcomes visitors to the bustling downtown area. Since the late 1700s, the Old Talbott Tavern on Court Square has provided shelter, food and drink to Kentucky travelers.

Talbott Tavern is said to be the oldest western stagecoach stop in America as the westward expansion brought explorers from the east into Kentucky.

According to legend, figures straight from the history books sought lodging here during their travels; as a young boy Abraham Lincoln and his family stayed here, Gen. George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, and exiled French King Louis Phillipe and his entourage stayed here, even painting murals on the upstairs walls. There are noticeable bullet holes in the now faded paintings and Jesse James is said to be responsible for them.

Riiiiight. Hey, it’s possible. Jesse James mother lived in my hometown of Brandenburg and I have slept in her bedroom. She wasn’t there at the time. 😉 But that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, if you go to the Old Talbott Tavern, go for the history because the food is just average. Nothing wrong with it but it would definitely not make it onto my Roadfood Blog of places to eat on the road.

Oh, one more thing — it’s said to be haunted. Maybe it’s Jesse.

2. Walk the Courthouse Square and Downtown Area. Bardstown is proud of its history and it have reason to be. It is Kentucky’s second oldest city and has one of the largest collections of late 18th and early 19th century buildings in the Southern United States. There is even a recreation of a frontier village right on the Courthouse Square. I do love reading those little history plaques they put on old buildings.

Across from the Old Talbott Tavern there is a drugstore that still has an authentic lunch counter. If the noon crowd is any indication this would have been a much better choice for lunch though I would have probably had to wait until 3 or 4 pm to get a seat. Next time.

4. Kentucky Railway Museum. See a wealth of old engines and cars from a time when trains ruled the west at Kentucky’s official railway museum. Take a ride through the scenic Rolling Fork River Valley on the dinner train.

5. Abbey of Gethsemani. The center offers displays and a video presentation about monastery life as well as a gift shop with Gethsemani Farms products. The Abbey, founded in 1848 by the Order of Trappist Cistercians, is home today to Trappist monks who open doors to spiritual seekers from all over the world. Pick up some monk-made crafts while you are there including their world renowned cheese.

I wonder if they make beds. Get it? Monkbeds. HA!

There is so much to do in and around Bardstown that it may be best just to make a weekend of it. There are several B&B’s listed on the official site that look good and I saw at least two right downtown on the square. Who wants to drive home after all that bourbon sampling anyway.