Mentone, Where Have You Been All My Life?
I'm so excited to share with you about our recent beautiful getaway!!!
My husband and I recently took a beautiful vacation together. The last time we had a getaway with just the two of us was 2004! We didn't need or want anything extravagant. We simply needed a time of peace and serenity to relax into life again and refocus.
This vacation was everything we needed it to be!
First things first...
Where is Mentone?
Wikipedia shares that Mentone, Alabama is in the Ridge and Valley region of the southwestern Appalachian Mountains. This mountainous town is a beautiful, quaint, quirky, artsy place that captivated us last year when we visited for a few hours with friends. We loved it then and decided to pick it as our vacay spot to get away to this year.
We rented an Airbnb in Fort Payne that was perfect! Our hosts,
Clair and Bryan were amazing people who really care about their guests. They made us feel at home and were very accommodating to our needs and requests.
We had a beautiful, lush green view of the mountain across the city and I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had a favorite mug at the cozy little apartment we stayed in! ;) Hehe! It's the little things y'all!
If you have never stayed at an Airbnb, you should try it at least once in your life. When you're ready to go on a trip, you can click my special link here and you will get $40 off of your first home booking. Also, if you're ever in the Fort Payne/Mentone area Claire and Bryan will hook you up with a great place!
Little River Canyon
We were completely captivated by the beauty of this entire area! Our first place to tour was Little River Canyon! Being that I am a huge nature lover, this trip satisfied every nature-loving bone in my body!
The beauty of the entire canyon was breathtaking! Not only could you walk down to the river, but there is a bridge you can walk on as well. We decided on the bridge so that our view was not skewed by the trees.
Under the bridge was a trail that eventually led to a camping ground by the river. However, we didn't walk that far past the bridge. It was too hot and we were not dressed to go hiking in the woods. Overall, the sounds, the scenery and purity of nature were all very beautiful.
The overlook at Hawks Glide was gorgeous! I can only imagine what Fall will look like from this view! While standing atop this lookout, you can see and hear the Hawks calling as they're soaring through the air. On another day we had the privilege of seeing one close up, as it was perched on the wooden railing atop the cliff. Unfortunately, it flew away before we could capture a picture of it.
The sign that was mounted on the Wolf Creek overlook states that Little River Canyon is called "The Grand Canyon of the East". It is so vast and beautiful that I could literally spend days out here enjoying nature! Eventually I would love to walk the hiking trails below.
We met some really nice bikers on Wolf Creek and they were kind enough to snap a picture of us. They were three longtime friends who traveled on their bikes together regularly throughout the years, across much of the U.S. They stopped just long enough along Little River Canyon to enjoy the view and keep on riding.
We overheard one of them say to the other, "If I were dropped down from a helicopter and were not told where I was, I would never have guessed that I was in Alabama."
We thought the same thing!
Seriously! It's simply breathtaking!
Along our tour of Little River Canyon, we came upon a giant rock, Mushroom Rock, to be exact! I don't know why, but I have always loved big rocks! This was fascinating to me!
Our FAVORITE overlook!!!
On a different day of the week, we set out at 6 am and re-visited our absolute favorite lookout spot of Little River Canyon, Eberhart Point.
I'm so happy we did! This was one of the most memorable and perfect mornings of my life! It was serene, silent and beautiful beyond words.
The dense fog floating in the canyon, the birds singing their morning songs, the cool morning air, the smells of earth, trees and pure nature was more beauty than I could have asked for that day.
Also, the sun breaking through the fog covered trees, as we drove, was absolutely gorgeous! I feel so blessed to have experienced that day with my husband. I will always remember Eberhart Point.
Our next place was Desoto Falls, and as you would guess, that was beautiful too! We came at the right time of the year because the locals said that, depending on the weather, the falls can sometimes be just a trickle. The stairs leading to and from the falls were artistically decorated, adding another element of beauty along with the nature that surrounded us.
We were HIGHLY impressed by the warm hospitality of the locals! For our entire trip we felt like part of the community. It was so refreshing to come to a new place and feel so welcomed. They made us feel at home with genuine courtesy and hospitality.
If you're looking to plan a trip with the beauty of nature and a friendly environment to escape to, Fort Payne/Mentone/Little River Canyon is, for sure, the place to be.
Local Events and Dining
Our favorite little breakfast stop early in the mornings was, "Rim of the Canyon Cafe". Sharon, Megan and Lisa were amazing! Megan, by the way, makes amazing omelets! They are all very friendly and made us feel at home every time we were there! I wish I would have remembered to take a picture, but here is their Facebook page if you're ever in the area! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
By the way, we didn't plan anything on this trip. Basically, we woke up, toured the area and flowed with whatever we felt like was next. We met people in the city of Fort Payne that told us about one place, then the people at that place told us about another, and that's how we spent our vacation. We had a blast!
The Courtyard in Fort Payne
So what's in Fort Payne?
Fort Payne is known to be home to the band "Alabama" and they even have a museum that you can tour. We didn't do the tour, but maybe next time we'll have that opportunity.
We don't know how we heard, but we found out about an event that takes place on main-street in Fort Payne next to the historic Dekalb Theater. We love that this theater is still in operation for plays, movies and activities for entertaining!
So we decided to see what the downtown courtyard event was all about!
What a great time we had! We made some new friends who happened to be the chief of police, Randy, and his brother "Booger". Yes, his name is Booger and he's a totally cool guy! They were super kind and as we chatted, and drank some wine (Jeremiah had a beer), we listened to local musicians and singers perform.
One of those musicians was Matty Croxton (shown in video below). He was a lot of fun to watch! Matty is a true performer and you could tell he loves what he does! He travels with his band and they perform weddings as well.
We were invited by Randy to go and enjoy another night of good food and entertainment at "Vintage 1889". We were not disappointed!
Not only did we enjoy the live music and great food, but we made more new friends!
Guy, Sharon, Darlene, and our server Carrie were super sweet people!
Carrie made delicious drinks. I had a refreshing Mojito and Jeremiah had an Old-fashion.
We enjoyed the food, fun and friends as well as the singing and music of Dusty Smith. In the video, he's singing a John Mayer song and by the end of the night he was doing Led Zeppelin. It was nice to sit back and enjoy the evening as other musicians and poets also displayed their talents!
The Mentone Market was another other breakfast place we liked. Why? Well for one, it's on the mountain (be still my heart!) and secondly, they have French pressed coffee! I never had French pressed coffee until then and I loved it!
Anyone who knows me knows that I really love coffee! I love cafe's and unique coffee shops. And yes, I even love Starbucks. If a place has great coffee and a pleasant atmosphere I'm there!
However, I learned some things about French press coffee that may help you if you've never had it. First of all, the longer it sits the stronger it gets! You'll want to let it sit for at least three to five minutes (depending on how strong you like it) after they bring it to your table for the deliciousness to emerge. By the way, I have also recently learned (thanks to our friend Scott) that the beans you use, how the coffee is ground and what you grind it with are important as well.
Second, of course, ask them to bring it to your table un-pressed. Thankfully my first experience with French pressed coffee was done right. I only know this because of my second experience within the same week. The waitress, who was part of my second experience, pressed it herself before bringing it to our table and it didn't have time to sit and get strong. I like strong coffee. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the same.
Third, go slow! When you let your coffee sit a few minutes, when ready, be sure to press it down slow and steady. They had to remake mine after this picture because I plunged it too fast and it bubbled out of the top spilling everywhere! Oops!
Here is a short video about French press coffee!
Green Leaf Grill
For lunch we ate at the Green Leaf Grill. It was another adorable mountain-town restaurant that was converted from a cabin. The cabin was built in the 1800's. Originally an American Indian Trading Post. It was such a unique place to eat and the food was pretty good too!
Our vacation finale dinner was at the Wildflower Cafe! How perfect it was!!!
However, before our perfect dinner, we got to meet and hang out with a beautiful couple, Ray and Sandra. They were such sweet people who made the last few days of our trip even more memorable!
We spent hours talking about the beauty of the area, our families, life on the mountain and so much more! They were a wonderful couple.
Earlier that week, we were told by Randy when we go to Wildflower Cafe, to order the Prime Rib because it is the best. OMG, he was so right! What a delicious and tender prime rib it was!!! Along with that, Jeremiah had their famous tomato pie and then we split the most delicious, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, gluten-free peanut butter pie I have ever tasted!
The place was packed and while we dined they had live music as well! The atmosphere was happy and carefree. Even our waiter, being very punctual and busy, sang along to the live music and light-heartedly joked around with people as he served them. He and the rest of the staff were all very friendly! Other servers were singing as well while they carried the delicious food to the tables. It was a very relaxed, exciting, and fun evening.
The entire restaurant has a quaint, artsy flare that invites you to sit back and relax into a mountain country feel with hippie vibes. This was truly the best ending to our trip!!! What a great experience!
Below, standing with us, is the owner of Wildflower Cafe. Her name is Moon and she is just as pleasant to meet and talk with as her staff is.
We will always be grateful for this amazing vacation and will return again. We were able to rest, refocus, reconnect and gain deeper clarity for our lives, as well as meeting new friends and seeing beautiful places.
I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to go and will always be grateful for the beauty of this planet we call home!
Love and hugs to you, my friend, and may you discover and enjoy the smallest details of beauty in your day.
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