Monday, June 3, 2013


Last week, my husband had some work appointments in Huntsville, AL, which is about four hours north of us. It was a quick two-night trip and I thought it would be fun to join him and do a little exploring while he was on post during the day. Huntsville is the one major city (and major is a very relative term here) in Alabama that I hadn't yet been to--we've been to Montgomery a million times and Birmingham a few times. And I think my husband was happy to have a travel partner! I made zero plans ahead of time,  and I had a blast--both when I was on my own and later, when my husband and I went out that night. (These are all iPhone shots, so I apologize for the low quality.)

I started at this adorable, quirky little cafe in the historic part of town. Whenever I'm visiting a new place, I like to start in the older neighborhoods because I've found that you will usually discover gorgeous old homes (I did) and quaint, one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, and cafes like this one. It was early in the morning, and this place had the added benefit of free wifi! I sipped on a delicious latte and did some blogging for a few hours.

The barista was a really nice young woman so I told her I was exploring for the day and asked if she had any recommendations for shopping, parks, places to eat. That sort of thing. She gave me all kinds of great ideas. She mentioned this tea shop that was just down the street, and said she thought there was also a vintage consignment shop on the second floor.  

I walked to Emma's Tea Room and met the owner, whose husband is also a soldier. She said that the consignment shop had moved (and gave me directions to it) and invited me to look around. It was such a sweet little place and would be a perfect venue for a bridal or a baby shower. I spotted this teacup on my way out and couldn't resist taking it home with me. I've had tea in it every morning since!

Then I decided to drive to the consignment shop's new location, but unfortunately they were closed that day. But it wasn't all for naught--on the way back, I found a local bakery where I picked up some sandwiches before meeting my husband for lunch. Chicken salad and a BLT on homemade bread--yum!

That afternoon I had a quick catnap and then spent a few hours outside reading my book. It was a surprisingly mild day, and it felt nice to enjoy the breeze. For dinner, we went with the barista's recommendation from earlier--an artisan pizza place that was tucked into the corner of the Huntsville Museum of Art and overlooked a massive park with duck and fish ponds in it. The pizza was scrumptious--my half was a pesto pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and fresh arugula. So tasty! My favorite part (other than my date) was that the restaurant had massive photographs of New York City on its walls. They made me feel right at home.

After dinner we walked around the park and soaked up the beautiful evening. Then I made my husband very happy by accompanying him to the new Star Trek movie in an IMAX 3D theater, which was actually quite spectacular. It really felt like we were up there in the stars.

The next morning, I went back to the cafe to blog and drink some more delicious coffee, then I picked up my husband who had finished his appointments. On the way home, near Birmingham, we stopped at a fruit stand and bought a crazy amount of fresh peaches and strawberries. I've frozen most of the strawberries for summer smoothies, and a few days ago I made a peach crisp. I think I'm going to make a breakfast version this week--not too sweet, lots of oats and sliced almonds and flax seed, and plenty of juicy peaches.

In a nutshell, that's how I like to explore a new place--cafes, historic neighborhoods, recommendations from locals, great food, a healthy combination of walking and relaxing. How do you do it? 


  1. That looks heavenly--all of it! You and my daughter-in-law would make really good BFF's, I think. The activities you enjoyed sound like just the sort she would have chosen if she was setting out to explore a new city (in her pre-three-kids-under-two-years-old days, that is!!).

    And Mr. Pearl would LOVE that arugula pizza!

    Laura @

  2. I'm bummed out that she and I JUST missed each other here in AL....they were on the way out right as I was moving here. She seems like such a dear!

    The arugula pizza was divine--so fresh and healthy tasting! I bet it wouldn't be too hard to re-create at home for your hubby :)

  3. It's official-- I'm now craving pizza at 8 am. Looks like a wonderful time! My husband and I recently decided to try and visit all of the National Parks. Not sure how long that will take (years and years I'm sure) but I'm excited for all the exploring!

  4. So much fun! I love it when I have those little adventures. What a great mini vacation. And that pizza looks great!

  5. That looks like such a perfect little trip! And that pizza looks amazing. I think my husband and I might try to see Star Trek this weekend, and I've heard so many good reviews about it.

  6. Sounds like a dream! Thanks for sharing your trip with us :-)

  7. Your half of the pizza is exactly what I would pick too!
    I love going to new and quaint little towns. Looks like you had a nice time!

  8. I loved it! My husband's side was yummy too, topped with tons of fresh veggies. Artisan pizza is just the best :)

  9. agreed! So much better than greasy pizza (even though that tastes good too...:-) )

  10. sounds ideal! I especially love visiting gorgeous houses in a new town - and fantasy property-hunting :) would you share the breakfast peace recipe with us? I'm bad at using fruit for breakfast because I always make it too desserty, but that sounds so delish that I got up to find a fresh peach to eat after reading and before commenting!

  11. I wasn't thrilled with how the breakfast peach dish turned out--it was yummy, but I think I need to work on it more :) I'll try to perfect it the next time we get some peaches (or maybe I'll use some of the ones we froze)!

  12. Oh, this sounds so nice! Isn't it so much fun to explore the little corners of new places? I love how you make an effort to explore the older neighborhoods. Older homes are just so beautiful, and I love the image of strolling through quiet streets and finding all of those treasures. Glad you two had a great time! :)

  13. Thanks Sarah, it really was lovely! Exploring is so much fun, and it was great to have the whole day with nothing on the agenda.


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