With the completion of the NFL draft and 8 members of my favorite college football team being drafted -four in the first round – it seems fitting to reminisce about trips to Alabama.  Whether you are a Bama fan or not, the southern part of our great country, especially Alabama, has a lot of character to offer to us travelers.

The hospitality and BBQ are unmatched and genuine, and both can be found at Dreamland Bar-B-Que. The ribs, slices of plain white bread to soak up that delicious sauce, homemade banana pudding and sweet tea is, well, dreamy.

Tuscaloosa, AL is not only home to Dreamland’s first restaurant but also the University of Alabama.  A visit to UA during football season is an experience all its own – especially if you are from Central Illinois like me.  During football season in the south you don’t have to ask what anyone is doing on the weekend.  Everyone knows that Saturday is football and Sunday is church.

And just like church those who arrive early get the best seats, but before you do anything you must have breakfast at Rama Jama’s.  Patrons choose their breakfast from the chalkboard menu and take a seat in the memorabilia-stocked restaurant to fuel up.

The congregation at UA celebrate all day long with tailgating, music and more. But, before you visit The Quad, which is packed with tents furnished with large flat-screen TVs, grills, and comfortable seating, you need to visit Paul (Bear) Bryant Museum.  The museum has exhibits, historic footballs, trophies and more.  When you leave you will be walking by college students dressed in suits and dresses – some in full houndstooth.  Make sure to you visit the famous Denny Chimes and captains walk of fame, before heading to Houndstooth Sports Bar for BBQ nachos and pre-game drinks.

On your way into Bryant-Denny Stadium you can take in the glory of the statues for each Alabama football coach who has led the Tide to a national championship. Inside you will be one of over 100,000 to enjoy the exciting energy of game time! Take in the Million Dollar Band and meet Big Al!

If you haven’t gotten enough, you can head south toward the Gulf Coast to visit the Flora-Bama and hopefully run into past Alabama quarterback Kenny Stabler.  The shack on shack on shack layout provides several bars to enjoy music, drinks and fresh Gulf air.  Stay at Perdido Beach Resort and you will be close to the Flora-Bama, on the beach and across the street from boutiques and restaurants.

In more ways than one, on a visit to Alabama, you will be saying ROLL TIDE!