Fort Payne: A Day of Discovery and Delight

Fort Payne: A Day of Discovery and Delight
By Kerry Scott

The Bakehouse in downtown Fort Payne
Southern Craftsmen
Tiger Lily Flowers and Gifts
Relics Records Fort Payne
Alabama Band Fan Club & Museum

In the often crazy-making pace of daily life, one can forget to pause and appreciate the extraordinary aspects of the place that is called home. However, a recent opportunity to guide an out-of-town guest through Fort Payne was a reminder of just how exceptional this city is.

It’s amazing how the familiar can seem new when seen through fresh eyes. The day began at The Bakehouse Downtown on First Street, where all things are delectable. The task of choosing just one treat was daunting, so a boxful of assorted treats was the obvious choice.

Next door stands Alice Circle, a haven of creativity. Captivating artwork by owner Alice Pettyjohn is everywhere. The store showcases a collection of T-shirts featuring custom designs for local schools. The vibrant display extends beyond clothing, offering a treasure trove of gifts, a succulent bar, and more.

A stone’s throw away stands Southern Craftsman on Gault Avenue, a relative newcomer to downtown Fort Payne. They specialize in rustic and farmhouse design and decor. The furniture on display stands as a testament to the skill of the builder, and tables are made to order based on almost any request.

On the other side of the street is Tiger Lily, a profusion of scents, sights, and delights. A larger-than-life Halloween tree, a vision of creativity, graces the entrance and sets the tone for the enchantment that awaits inside. From men’s grooming essentials to exquisite candles, designer laundry detergents to captivating floral arrangements, the store’s offerings transcend the ordinary.

Boom Town Makers Market is just a block away. This haven for local artisans beckons with an array of creations. From paintings that whisper tales of inspiration to wood chandeliers that emit a warm glow, the market is the spot to take the city’s creative pulse. Handcrafted pieces line the shelves, each one bearing the mark of its maker’s passion.

Also on Gault Avenue is Bleu River, home to an expansive wax melt bar featuring a smorgasbord of scents. Much of what is sold features custom artwork from the owner. Much time was also spent perusing and tasting the assorted salts, peppercorns and herbs for sale.

A satisfying lunch unfolded at Mater’s Pizza and Pasta Emporium. Though the live music was yet to start, the ambience was relaxed, providing the perfect backdrop for savoring good pizza. Hearts and stomachs full, the adventure continued.

Next stop Relics, a tiny store with collectibles from the past. Its shelves hold a nostalgia-inducing array of old record albums, DVDs, books, and paradise for vinyl enthusiasts.

The last stop downtown was the Alabama Fan Club on Glenn Boulevard — a must for any visitor and the destination for many a pilgrimage to honor the legacy of a band that etched its name in history and helped put Fort Payne on the map.

As the day waned, the journey continued through the natural wonders of Little River Canyon. The scenic drive and a stop at the Little River Canyon Center added a touch of wilderness to the day’s adventure. Visitors are educated about the history and nature of their surroundings. Good stop for souvenirs as well.

A day of exploration through a visitor’s eyes revealed Fort Payne’s strong sense of community, the ingenuity of local artisans and business owners, a growing food scene, incredible natural beauty, and a host of other experiences awaiting discovery.


Little River Falls
Little River Canyon