Friday, May 8, 2009

Touring Opelika

After we got up & changed hotel rooms we went sight seeing in Historic downtown Opelika. We walked around the town square which has a fountain in the middle. There are a couple of streets to wander down that have shops, galleries & cafes.

The downtown has been renovated & there is still work being done & signs out for new businesses that will be arriving soon.

On the first street we went down there was a school resource store named "The Apple Tree" & they do sell to the public & homeschoolers. They do not sell curriculum's but they have everything else that you would need to complete your school room. Art supplies, curriculum supplements, charts, bulletin boards, etc., a wide selection.

We then went to The Museum of East Alabama & was greeted by Glenn, a very nice gentleman with a wealth of information. He told us that Opelika had a German POW camp there during WWII. That interested me because my father was a POW in Germany for 9 months during the war until he was liberated by the Russians. The museum is free but they do take donations.

In the 1800's visitors came to Opelika to drink from the downtown mineral wells...the water reportedly had healing powers. There was also a bustling cotton trade. This also interests me because my mom grew up in Alabama & they grew cotton. She has told me stories where they picked cotton, loaded it into horse drawn wagons & would take it to the gin. They would have to go either late at night or real early in the morning & the kids would climb up on the cotton in the back of the wagon & sleep as they waited in the long line of wagons for their turn to get it weighed in.

My grandparents were share croppers & would move from farm to farm each year. They lived in Opp, Alabama back then before moving to Florida to work in the juice industry. When my grandmother passed away we took her back to Alabama to bury her. The interesting thing about that is that the cemetery she is buried in is located on one of those cotton farms she worked. The cycle of life....

Wow, I got sidetracked there! Anyway, we did walk over to the old train depot which has been refurbished. It is not open to the public & is empty inside from what we could see. They are still doing some construction work at the site.

We then ate lunch ate Jim Bobs Chicken Fingers on 1st Ave. near downtown. They had a busy lunch crowd so we assumed it must be a local favorite. It is the type of restaurant where you go up to the counter to order your food & then they bring it to you. They did have burgers on the menu but as you can assume their specialty was chicken. Chicken fingers, chicken wings, chicken salad sandwiches, salads with grilled chicken, etc.

The food was good but not awesome. I can make killer chicken wings & both my husband & son like the ones I make at home better. My husband likes hot wings & their hottest ones still did not have the kick he likes. I had the chicken salad sandwich which came with chips. It was good but again not awesome. It was served on Texas toast style bread which was nice & soft with a good flavor. My son & I shared a small side salad which ran about $3.50.

All in all the food was in the average range. The locals seemed to like it & I found out that it is a small chain with a few in Georgia as well. One thing I can say about people in Opelika is that they are friendly & look you in the eye. Even in the restaurant when people walk by your table they will either look & nod their head or give you a small wave & smile. So a nice place to visit.

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