Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekend Trip to Montgomery, Alabama

We decided to get away for a weekend to Montgomery, Alabama & take advantage of all the Civil Rights Movement learning opportunities.  We were happy to find a hotel with an indoor pool as it's definitely still too cool for outdoor swimming! We carefully planned our Saturday as most of the sights are closed on Sunday. And, we were all delighted to have Steve get off work early on Friday! He's been working so much that it was a real treat to have him come home early, so we could get an early start on our adventure!

After our arrival on Friday, we checked out the local restaurant with great reviews, Southern Comfort.  It's just a little place, and we clearly timed our arrival just so, as it got crazily busy after we were seated. As the name implies, it's not a place for gourmet offerings; it's a place to enjoy what is deemed typical Southern fare. (And how, after moving away from the South, did I not remember how much fried food is *the* staple fare???) Since the chicken fried chicken got rave reviews, Steve & I both tried it.  And, it did not disappoint! It was by far the most tender, moist, & flavorful chicken fried chicken I've tasted. The gravy on it was just the right amount (I'm not a fan of drowning it in gravy), & it was not heavy & greasy! Out of all the things we ordered, it was definitely the best!  

The kiddos sitting on the front steps of Martin Luther King's home for six years
We got an early start (for our crew) on Saturday morning & began our day with a tour of the MLK parsonage. It was really neat that our tour guide, Ms. Foley, was actually a member of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church that Dr. King pastored, while he was pastor! For some reason, that helped bring home the reality that all of these events took place in the not-so-distant past! It was also neat to be standing in the very kitchen where Dr. King, considering the possibility of stepping down from his role in the Civil Rights Movement, felt like God was telling him to stay strong & not give up!

After touring the parsonage, our next stop was the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Dr. King was pastor. Our tour guide, Ms. Wanda Battle was amazing. Seriously, she embraced the verse in the Bible that tells us to do everything as unto the Lord. She is such a people person & did such a phenomenal job of not just telling the history behind the church, but also of loving on & ministering to the people on her tours. What an amazing lady!

Our family (except Dad) with Miss Wanda inside the sanctuary of the Dexter Ave Baptist Church
Peeking in the mail slot of MLK's former church while we wait for our tour
Our next tourist stop was the Rosa Parks Museum. We were rapidly running out of time, so we didn't have time to see the children's museum section, just the main portion, and we couldn't linger after the "tour" was over. It was indeed very well done, but it was also a bit pricey! And? I couldn't help but think that a certain brown-eyed spunky girl of ours (whose name begins with A) has a similar combination of bravery & sense of justice as Rosa Parks...

We hastily made our way to the Little White House of the Confederacy, where the littles had great fun exploring as each room was set up like the days of old. I spent my time chasing after them & making sure they didn't push past the roped off areas, so I couldn't tell you much about the place! But...I bet Shanan could because she's such a thorough sign reader & learner!

A Liberty Bell without the crack in front of the Alabama state capitol
We rushed out & made tracks across the street to tour the Capital building. Sadly, after arriving, we learned that only guided tours are offered on Saturdays, & we had already missed the last one. However, I wasn't too disappointed because, by this point in the day, a guided tour didn't seem like it would have gone all that well. Instead, the kids had a blast exploring the well-manicured grounds around the Capital. And?? Someone discovered that the steep, grassy slope leading down to the sidewalk served very nicely as a slide. Only one child didn't participate in the festivities...

The Zavocki Family First Lady
Cute kids grow on trees in Montgomery
Thanks to Steve's research, we ended up at Taste of India for dinner. After living in places with a plethora of Indian restaurants, there are none where we now live, so this was a really special treat! Our waiter said they close one day a week in order to travel to purchase goat meat & the spices they need. The samosas, tandoori chicken (best I've ever had), chicken biryani, and tikka masala were so incredibly yummy & enjoyed by all!

Might be the best Indian Food we ever had
After more swimming & sleep, we packed up & headed to the Modern Art Museum, pretty much the only thing in Montgomery open on Sundays! It is free, always a bonus with a crew our size! I *think* a prerequisite for working here might be to make sure you never smile at the patrons & never, *ever* give the patron the impression that you're glad they're visiting... Seriously, we walked in the entrance, & the guy manning the front desk literally just stared at us (none too warmly, I might add) & never opened his mouth to say anything except, "Children are not allowed to push strollers!" He did not welcome us, nor did he explain the layout of the museum or tell us where we might find maps of the museum; he didn't even brief us on the rules, except that children are not allowed to push strollers. When I asked one of the guards whether pictures were allowed, she told us they were allowed everywhere except the room we were in, but when we took pictures in a different room, she found us & informed us that pictures weren't allowed.

Love this painting, photo doesn't do justice
We mostly had the place to ourselves
In spite of their lack of warmth at the museum, we still stayed for quite a long time & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The children's section was fantastic; the kids played & played & Steve stretched out on the floor & caught some zzzz's. His ability to sleep anywhere, at any time, is clearly a gift that I simply don't possess!

The littles were super bummed to leave. Genna even shed a tear or two when it was time to go & announced that she wanted to come back on her birthday! High accolades, I say! The weather was crummy when we were there, but on a beautiful weather sort of day, you could totally make a day of it by packing a picnic lunch & enjoying the surrounding park area!

We definitely made good memories in Montgomery!

Don't know what to call this wood donut, but it was very impressive
This is a close up of a mototcycle

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