Scottsboro, Alabama is like walking into a Norman Rockwell painting; small-town Americana that's just overflowing with charm and hospitality. Nestled in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains, and surrounded by 70,000-acre Lake Guntersville, the town still looks pretty much like it did in the 1950's. There's an unmistakable feel of nostalgia here that makes you long for "the good old days".
My traveling companion Carol and I, found the residents of Scottsboro (the county seat of Jackson County) to be some of the most gracious and helpful people we've encountered on any of our trips writing this column. In fact, they impressed me so much, I momentarily considered raising their population from 15,000 to 15,001!
Why was I here? Well, I recently lost my suitcase on a trip back from Boston. First time ever. The airline never found it and eventually I was compensated for my loss. But still...I wondered...where did it go? What happened to the contents? It gnawed at me--after all--lost baggage had to go somewhere.
That's when I found out about the Unclaimed Baggage Center, in Scottsboro, Alabama; a place where lost baggage finds its "final destination". A veritable treasure chest of lost items, the UBC is the place where many unclaimed bags, cargo and sometimes even fine arts and collectibles go, after they've been deemed unclaimed.
I decided to pay a visit to Unclaimed Baggage Center, a 33,000 square foot shopaholic's dream come true.
A little background music
do they have?
new items are circulated into the store randomly throughout the day. The
shopping carts are specialized double deckers that economize space in
the aisles, but still hold plenty of items. Although it's all interesting,
a few things will really catch your eye. For starters, how about
a 40.95 carat emerald (available at the time this article was published)
or a pair of Georgio Armani or DKNY sunglasses? Maybe a surfboard strikes
your fancy? (You wonder, how can anybody lose a surfboard!)
the Shoe Queen, saw a fabulous pair of brand new Kenneth Cole Mary
Jane's (retail: $175) for a tempting $66. Do I get those or the gold Mootsie's
Tootsie's for $19.50? Then I saw a pair of Skechers for $27.00! What's
a shoe addict to do? Buy 'em all!
A great story...
asked Terry Biel, the Senior Director of Marketing, to tell me her most
unusual UBC story. It sounded like a Weird Tales story.
Wait! There's more!
And when you get tired looking at the hundreds of items, take a break at CUPS, the in-store cafe that serves up soups, salads, sandwiches, gourmet desserts and freshly brewed Starbucks coffee. There's also a children's video area in there to
occupy the tots.
So what are you waiting for? Gather ye cash and credit cards and pay them a visit! You won't be sorry!
Baggage Center, 509 W. Willow St., Scottsboro, AL 35768, Tel: 205/259-1525.
Open Mon-Thurs 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Fri-Sat 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Closed
Monday Trade Days
Tom Stills, a vendor from a nearby town, sells ceramic angels and has been coming here for a couple of years. "I like it fine," says Stills, "I enjoy the people and the whole atmosphere." Stills also sells Dale Earnhardt Coke bottles for $3 a 6 pack.
You said there are other Scottsboro Attractions besides shopping...
Yes, there's plenty!
Fishing and boating
Fishing enthusiasts will have the time of their lines fishing on the Tennessee River or the majestic Lake Guntersville. Local freshwater fish include crappie, bass, and beam. Many marinas in the area offer boat rentals, fishing licenses and fuel. Lake Guntersville is one of the top bass lakes in the Southeast and has been the site of the National BASS Masters' Tournament. The lake is also perfect for recreational boating; there's 69,000 acres of clear blue mountain lake water to cruise around on.
Jackson County is a fertile hunting ground where hunters are allowed a buck a day making this a popular place for the discerning hunter. Duck and whitetail deer are the draw in the fall. There's a wide variety of small game here too, including dove, quail, squirrel, rabbit, and turkey. Hunting is available on public land and also through private hunting clubs.
During the Civil War the Stevenson Depot was a stronghold, today it's a popular stop for a journey through history. In June, the city brings back the days when the Depot was a major stop for weary travelers. There are reenactment activities focused around the Depot which include wagon trains to nearby Fort Harker as well as storytelling, parades and square dancing.
Some great local dining
Crawdaddy's Too Steak and seafood. Rated one of the area's best. Located on the edge of Lake Guntersville in Goosepond Colony. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed. Wed-Sat 4:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Tel: 256/574-3071.
Liberty Restaurant Home cooking at its finest! Features 3-4 meat selections and 6-8 vegetables per day. Mon-Thurs 6:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Tel:256/574-3455.
R BBQ Exemplary pork and chicken BBQ and delicious catfish. Mon-10:30
a.m.-6:00 p.m.,Tues-Sat 10:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Closed Sunday.
General consensus: The little town of Scottsboro, Alabama, taught me a lesson: Little towns hold big surprises; you just have to have an open mind and heart to see them!
more information on Scottsboro, Alabama