Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mentone Rhododendron Festival 2012

The third week of May brings the annual Rhododendron Festival in Mentone, Alabama. A tiny town on Lookout Mountain, Mentone is a quiet place filled with one-of-a-kind arts and crafts stores and unique restaurants.  I love to go and browse the shops anytime, but the Rhododendron Festival brings even more fun! Why spend a Saturday afternoon at home cleaning house when you can look at arts and crafts and hear some great music only a short drive away?
We started off with lunch at the Wildflower Cafe, my all-time favorite place to eat in Mentone. (http://www.mentonewildflower.com/index.html )  If you don't visit any other place in Mentone, you HAVE to eat at the Wildflower! Filled with quirky artwork, herbs, handmade jewelry and gifts, the atmosphere alone is a memorable experience. We like to sit outside in the garden when we can. Saturday we sat inside at a booth on seats from an old school bus. (How cool is that?)
 If you don't try anything else on the menu, you've got to try the tomato pie!  I don't care how it sounds, it is delicious! My daughter loves the fresh fruit.  If you go for dinner, be sure to make reservations.
 Below is the bench where we sat outside, while we waited to be seated for lunch.  I love this place, because it is full of little surprises and works of art tucked away everywhere.
Then, on to the Festival....
 Wouldn't this be a peaceful place to live? Love the fence!
 At any arts and crafts festival, I always check out the bottle art. I love bottle art! 
 I'd love to have these hanging all around my porch.

It's a bird feeder!
This is the view from the Park on the Brow where the festival takes place. You can sit here and listen to live music and just chill.
If you need a weekend getaway, you've got to give Mentone a try.
See you at next year's festival!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Little Garden So Far

Here is our little garden so far. Those squash are so big because they came up early as "volunteers", as my grandmother would say.  I just let them grow. I may regret that decision later...
 All I have out so far are tomatoes, peppers, corn, and green beans and dried (pinto) beans.  I planned to get more things planted this week..but so far I haven't had the chance. Maybe tomorrow....

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday at the Flea Market

Everyone who lives in our corner of the south knows that Saturday is Trade Day in Collinsville, Alabama. You can buy anything and everything there. My parents were taking me there when I was young and now here I am grown and taking my own little girl. Everybody loves Trade Day!
It doesn't matter what route you take to get there (everyone has their favorite and swears it is the fastest), you know you have arrived (almost) when you hit bumper to bumper traffic coming from all directions. That's ok, though. If you love a flea market, it is worth the traffic.
When we got there it was beginning to rain. We decided to wait in the car a few minutes to see if the rain would stop. I am so glad we did! Hoards of people were leaving because of the rain. When the rain let up (after about 15 minutes), the sun came out and the crowd was cut in half.

I've bought everything here- you name it. The fruit trees in my yard were bought here. Many of the flowers in my flower beds were bought here. However, it isn't just a place for buying plants. People are selling animals: chickens, goats, ducks. We bought 4 guineas since out flock has been decimated by hawks and owls. There we people selling sunglasses, purses (designer knock offs), shoes, handmade hair bows for little girls, and t-shirts. You can find sports memorabilia, a guy selling handmade cheese and jellies, a man selling hand-dipped incense directly across form a man selling hand-dipped corn dogs. (I found that amusing for some reason.) Collector coins and knives, furniture, home made ice cream, snow cones, pet supplies, musical instruments, and some things that you may not be able to identify (ha!).  There is even a girl who will read your cards and (supposedly) tell your future.  I passed that one up, but, to each his own. :)
My husband loves to look at the chickens. My little girl loves the goats (and ice cream) and I love the plants.  The whole family is happy at Trade Day.

We spent a couple hours looking around, but in the end we only bought 4 guinea keets and some plants for the garden. I lost a few in the cold snap 2 weeks ago, so these can help fill in the gap.

So, if you're looking for something to do on a Saturday, take a trip over to Collinsville. Your whole family will have a good time.