Today we decided to visit two places in Birmingham, Alabama. The first was Rickwood Field. This is proven to be the oldest ball park (baseball) in America and it opened in 1910. Many baseball stars have played here over the years (including Babe Ruth and Shoeless Joe Jackson) and while it is no longer the home of the Birmingham Barons (they moved to a newer, larger stadium some time ago), it is still in use regularly for local leagues, high schools, colleges, charity matches etc. The interesting thing about this park (aside from the fact it is indeed the oldest park) is that the Friends of Rickwood have worked hard to keep this ball park looking as it did in the 1940’s. Where possible the original artifacts are still there, including the wooden flooring in the dug outs and the entrance way etc. I believe they told us that it is the only (or one of very few) that still has real grass. Having never seen a baseball park before this was a really interesting trip for us and Vernon, the man who worked there and patiently answered all our questions, was super helpful and rightly proud of all the work they do here. If you are in the area, this is definitely worth a visit (and im sure a small donation would be much appreciated too!). 😀
The second stop of the day was Sloss Furnaces which is a national historic landmark. Basically, these furnaces are the start of Birmingham!
Pig Iron production began in 1882 and continued for almost 90 years when environmental pressures mounted and it finally closed.
After a bit of a nightmare journey which saw us having to return home an hour into our journey to Manchester to retrieve my (Lucy) driving license (apparently they won’t allow me to drive around here without it, how rude!) We got diverted by roadworks but eventually found our hotel with a huge comfy bed yay! Glen was well away in lala land but I couldn’t sleep. Early up to get to the airport, stood in line for ages to be told as we didn’t have a hotel booked for the first night we were denied permission to fly. Cue a mad 20 mins trying to get the airport internet to work and book a hotel, we eventually bribed it with a credit card! Long 7.5 hour flight to Newark then the connecting flight was delayed to Atlanta by an hour so 4 hours waiting before another 2.5 hour flight. Ps Glen sleeps on planes, I do not so by this time I was kind of tired. Caught the sky train which should be called zippy (but wasn’t, I checked) to the car rental then had a terrible drive in the rain for 3 hours to hotel. Stopped for dinner at JR Crickets on way which taught me that mild here means burn your skin off your lips :/ Got to hotel, Days Inn, they have a microwave and fridge in there lol. Very tired room but comfy bed which I collapsed on.
This morning (Saturday) we drove through Alabama and finally got introduced to some Sun and some Southern hospitality when we stopped for lunch at a diner, Creek Travel Plaza (see photo) which is straight out of a 50’s film. We had fried catfish (Glen) and fried chicken (Lucy, although I pinched some catfish and hush puppies) . Super gorgeous. Then we tried some boiled peanuts which were yum. Only tried one but will definitely be trying more. Then back on the road after some ribbing from the locals. Finally made it to NOLA (New Orleans for those not in the know) at about 4.30. Will update on it here tomorrow. Now we are getting ready to experience the nightlife of Frenchmen Street and jazz the night away. Enjoy your Sunday dinner, we will be munching on crawfish or gator and on that note, later gators. Xxxxx