Huntsville is chock-full of historic fun, including the Alabama Constitution Village (a reconstruction of what the city was like in 1819), the Depot (which had a role to play in the Civil War), and Twickenham, a whole district of historic homes.
But unique to Huntsville is the 167-acre Burritt on the Mountain, founded by the eccentric, not to say flat-out mad Dr. William Henry Burritt. The thrice-married surgeon and homeopathic doctor left his estate to the city, and it’s now a regional history museum. You can tour the house, the collection of 19th-century rural cabins and structures (moved to the estate), visit farm animals and stroll nature trails overlooking the entire valley from on top of Monte Sano Mountain. Don’t forget to peek in and see the esteemed doctor’s car, now restored and in its original parking spot below the house. Prompt one of the volunteers for tales of Dr. Burritt…you won’t be sorry. The 3rd Annual International Heritage Festival is Oct. 19. 3101 Burritt Dr. SE. burrittonthemountain.com
Back to Infinity
As you might expect, Huntsville is home to a bustling science fiction and fantasy convention. This year’s Con*Stellation 32: Columba takes place Oct. 11-13 with mistress of ceremonies Stephanie Osborn, who besides being a novelist is—you guessed it—a retired space scientist. con-stellation.org
And to complete our orbit, we return to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, which beginning Nov. 1, is hosting an exhibit in honor of that wacky, brilliant extraterrestrial Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci.
Says the Space Center: “ ‘Da Vinci: The Genius’ ” brings to life Leonardo da Vinci as an inventor, artist, scientist, anatomist, engineer, architect, sculptor and philosopher. This amazing exhibition provides fascinating insight into not only the mind of a genius, but the fundamental scientific and artistic principles that he discovered.” 1 Tranquility Base. rocketcenter.com
Autumn is seriously happening in Huntsville.
IF YOU GO
Our best advice: Contact the nice folks at Huntsville Convention & Visitors Bureau for advice on where to stay, where to eat and for more information on any of the places and people mentioned above.
500 Church St. NW, Suite 1.
On this trip, I stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton—Village of Providence. Its spacious accommodations are perfect for families and those who enjoy having a kitchen en suite.
15 Town Center Dr.
Right next to the Homewood Suites is one of the city’s favorite restaurants, Grille 29, which boasts a friendly staff, swell house cocktails and an excellent menu. You can eat al fresco if weather permits.
445 Providence Main St. NW, #101.
Before or after visiting the Huntsville Museum of Art (or while downtown during the day for any other reason), stop into Pane e Vino, located on the museum’s lower level. Tasty pizza, pasta, panini, salads and a nicely selected wine list. Try the roasted zucchini caprese panini…yum!
300 Church St. SW.