Posted January 26, 2010 by Jamie Moore
It's easy to see why Birmingham is the home of Southern Living magazine. The city is steeped in Southern hospitality and charm. Experience it yourself wandering through beautiful gardens and a lively local market before satisfying your hunger cravings with Southern comfort food.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: The Gardens are open every day of the year, admission is free, and they're the most beautiful attraction in the city. (Does it get any better?) Paved and wood-chip paths meander through 67 acres of themed gardens. Visit Southern Living magazine's namesake garden to immerse yourself in inspiring ideas for your own outdoor space. Or check out the unusual Bog Garden to see wetland habitats and native plants. If it's flowers you're after, rhododendrons, roses, and irises are a few of the varieties on show. End your visit at the tranquil Japanese Garden and tea house.
Pepper Place Market: Bite into a peach at the Pepper Place Market and you'll taste the sweet difference Southern sunshine makes. Friendly local farmers sell fruit along with veggies, homemade honey, baked goods, and colorful flowers to an appreciative crowd every Saturday. And don't miss the entertainment. First up are cooking demonstrations, where Birmingham's finest chefs whip up gourmet meals. Next are local musicians showcasing their talent onstage. Head to the actual Pepper Place for an afternoon of window-shopping in upscale boutiques.
Dreamland Bar-b-que Ribs: A meal at the legendary Dreamland requires one thing: a big appetite. Everything else—bibs, Wetnaps, and toothpicks—is included. Try the one-slab package ($32; enough for two or more) and dive into the finger lickin' ribs, a loaf of bread, and 32 ounces of Dreamland barbecue sauce. Sides include homemade baked beans and potato salad. If you don't have room for ribs, go for the chicken salad drenched in house dressing, and flavored with—you guessed it—barbecue sauce. Save room for banana pudding, a true Southern favorite.
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