6 Places you have to visit In Alabama

6 Places you have to visit In Alabama

You know what they say, "Alabama the beautiful," right? Here are 6 beautiful places to visit throughout the state of Alabama.

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6. Prattville Wilderness Park/Bamboo Forest

Prattville Parks and Facilities


This park has huge oriental bamboo soaring 60 feet to form a canopy in the sky. Along with the giant bamboo, the park is home to the state's second largest breech tree. While in Prattville, you can also visit the set of the movie "Big Fish".

5. Colleges within Alabama

Anniston Star- JSU

With several universities within the state, it could make a fun trip just to see how beautiful the campuses really are. University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) located in Tuscaloosa, AL, Auburn University located in Auburn, AL, University of North Alabama located in Florence, AL, and Jacksonville State University (Go Gamecocks!) located in Jacksonville, AL, are a few really pretty campuses within the state. I might be a little biased about JSU, though. 😉

4. Dismals Canyon

North Alabama Hiking

With it located in Northwest Alabama Dismals Canyon is an 85 acre natural conservatory that is privately owned and operated. It is a 1.5 mile hiking trail with the temperature running 14 degrees below Alabama's summer average. The canyon provides the perfect habitat for the unique insects, known as Dismalites, to survive. These insects emit bright blue-green lights to attract flying insects as food.

3. Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway- Rock Spring

The middle part of the Trace travels through northwest Alabama. Alabama's section of the Trace is 33 miles long and crosses over the Tennessee River. There are several towns off the trace along the way, that you can stop off in to visit. A few of the main attractions throughout Alabama include Rock Spring, which is a small natural spring with a twenty minute walking trail to show you around the area. After completing the walk, you might decide to pull off your shoes and dangle your feet in the cool water. One more is the Colbert Ferry. Visit: https://www.natcheztracetravel.com/natchez-trace-alabama/florence-tennessee-river/124-colbert-ferry.html to find out more about the Colbert Ferry.

2. Cheaha State Park

Alabama State Parks

Located in Delta, Alabama, Cheaha State Park is where the highest point in Alabama rests at 2,407 feet above sea level. This park just so happens to be named by the Native American "Creek" nation in Muskogee language, with "Chaha" meaning "high place."

1. Gulf Shores

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Not just Gulf Shores, but all the other beaches along Alabama's coast. Many people may not realize that Alabama has a Gulf Coast front, but we sure do! The Gulf State Park has beaches, trails and a pier to visit while you're down there.

Alabama is known for football, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, and numerous other things, but maybe now you see how pretty the state can be. Proud to be from Alabama is an understatement.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Gillette Is Not The First Polarizing Company, And It Will Certainly Not Be The Last

There is a never-ending push and pull between how companies spend their advertising dollars and cultivating customer support. Why should we be surprised when a company takes a social or political stance?

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I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say that political activism is at one of it's highest points in recent years. As with most things, social media has not only amplified activism but made avenues of activism more accessible. There are so many accounts out there tackling some of the most complicated and nuanced issues in our society today. I think over the last decade, we as a society have spent a lot of time reflecting internally and reprioritizing our values.

Somewhere along the line, I think people also began to think more about where their money goes, what products they buy and which companies they support. People nowadays choose their products not only for functionality or quality but what that product is intended to express.

Essentially, when we buy a product or wear a certain brand it's often in an attempt to express some sort of value.

So I think it's only natural that brands are now more aware of not only where they're advertising but the messages they choose to express. For instance, if you wear Patagonia it could get an expression that you enjoy more expensive, high-quality clothes but that you also support fighting climate change of some sorts.

Companies have already begun to think more about their messaging and who they support with their advertising dollars. Keurig at one point pulled their advertising from Sean Hannity, much to the ire of his fans. Most recently, Roku removed the infamous InfoWars channel from their platform, following suit of other platforms such as Facebook and Spotify.

Ultimately, corporations essentially act and are treated as private citizens. They've been influencing politics for so long that it's almost a natural progression that they then begin to influence and make statements on public opinion. Since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision, spending money on political causes is protected by the First Amendment under free speech. Companies can then give money freely in politics, so long as it wasn't going directly to any politicians. Many companies have already spent hundreds of millions of "dark money" to secretly fund campaigns and political parties.

Gillette wasn't the first company to make a statement/advertisement that comes off as polarizing, and it certainly won't be the last. If anything, these past few years have proven that companies can say such things without fear of greatly damaging their businesses. For instance, Nike's sales increased by 31 percent following their Kaepernick ad. As we become more socially aware, so will the companies that we purchase from.

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