As the Tide readies for the Gators, ready yourself for some Southern charm
Best pit stops for your trip to Florida-Alabama in Tuscaloosa ...
In Week 3, NCAA.com took you on a road trip to High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey, to see Penn State take on Rutgers. This week we’re going a little deeper south, to see the house that Bear built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
On Saturday, Bryant-Denny Stadium will be the site for the Crimson Tide’s first Southeastern Conference game of the 2014 season when Florida comes to town. But first, explore some of the scenic views and historical sites the Yellowhammer State has to offer.
Whether you’re motoring down Interstate 65 or I-59 or I-20 toward Tuscaloosa, you need to stop in Birmingham, Alabama, somewhat of an unofficial capital of the Civil Rights movement and a beautiful major Southern city. Get there in the morning and go right to Bogue’s, a restaurant that has been serving the city a proper country breakfast for more than six decades. After breakfast you have to see the Civil Rights Institute, open to the public for various exhibits that teach about the struggles and triumphs of the 1950s and '60s. Once you’ve learned all that you can, go out at night to Zydeco’s and see some live entertainment.
People coming from the west should take a hike through the Bienville National Forest, just east of Jackson, Mississippi. There's 73,000 beautiful acres for you to explore, and you can even fish or swim in the beautifully secluded Marathon Lake.
Driving through a lovely place called the Bienville National Forest about 40 miles outside of Jackson. Pretty. Day off today!— Laura Dickinson (@ElsieLaura) May 14, 2012
Those of you coming to see the Tide from the east should hit Montgomery, Alabama. Just like Birmingham, Montgomery is filled with historical sites, museums and monuments from the Civil Rights era, but that's not all. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend, so spend some time outdoors at Riverfront Park or the Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park. Take a Friday night dinner cruise on the Harriott II Riverboat and on Saturday, the Riverwalk Amphitheater will have a 91st birthday tribute to country music legend Hank Williams.
But wait: Saturday night, you've got a date with another Southern legend. Sorry, Hank. These people need to go see the town that Paul “Bear” Bryant and the Crimson Tide put on the map.
Tuscaloosa on game day. Now, aside from the 15 national titles and 27 conference championships, Alabama football fans know how to have fun and their traditions have rubbed off on their city. Go to the Paul W. Bryant Museum and learn all you need to know about the program; you wouldn’t want to sound confused around a real Crimson Tide diehard.
The Paul W. Bryant Museum is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm for this weekend’s Florida game. pic.twitter.com/tt8InhSiIK— The Univ. of Alabama (@UofAlabama) September 17, 2014
Once you’re positive you could pass a basic Alabama football history test, treat yourself to Dreamland Barbecue. The first things you order at Dreamland are some extra napkins. Then proceed to order ribs and ribs and then maybe a couple of more ribs.
Clear your palate and go down to one of the best game day bars in America: Gallette’s. If you are of age, try their signature cocktail the Yellow Hammer. The Yellow Hammer is as much of a tradition as the Walk of Champions or the Elephant Stomp, which would be the next step on your list of traditions.
The Elephant Stomp is a pep rally started by the school’s marching band on the steps of the Gorgas Library an hour before kickoff. From the pep rally, “The Million Dollar Band,” leads fans to the stadium. Be sure to keep an eye out for a few things on your walk into Bryant-Denny.
The Denny Chimes, a bell tower at the sound end of the quad, has stood as a beacon of hope for Alabama football fans since 1929.The five coaches who have won national championships at the helm of the Tide are bronzed in statues outside the stadium.
Holly Kinsey conducting the Alabama Million Dollar Band at today's Elephant Stomp. pic.twitter.com/dMB4nj5cMC— Jeff Kinsey (@jk3291) September 14, 2014
This will complete your Week 4 road trip. Come back next week to see what’s happening on the road when the Minnestoa Golden Gophers travel to the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.