Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Moonlight Bistro in Mentone By Kayla Worthey

My family and I went to dinner last week at the Moonlight Bistro in Mentone. All I can say is DE-LI-CIOUS! In case you don’t know, The Moonlight Bistro used to be the famous “Log Cabin Deli”. Owners Michael Goss and Christine Ballenger bought the restaurant back in August, made some minor changes, did some spring cleaning and voila! The place has a warm and cozy atmosphere, with a wood burning fireplace and candlelit table centers. The staff is very friendly and adds to the total ambiance of the place.
To start us off, we got greedy and ordered two appetizers because we couldn’t decide. The Fried Calamari…tender golden brown rings mingled with fried peppers dipped in succulent sauce…superb; and the Anastasia Island crab dip…warm, served with toasted freshly baked bread, I couldn’t stop eating…to die for. Before we had time for all of that to fully digest, our entrees had arrived.
My husband dined on Lemon Pepper Rainbow Trout with mashed potatoes and pasta salad. Of course I had to try it, just a taste. It was absolutely perfect! I went on the lighter side (wink) and ordered the fried green tomato sandwich. Beer battered and fried perfectly with the most delicious aioli to top it off. I honestly could not put it down. Let me go back a moment and tell you that I was very reluctant to order this meal. Fried anything on bread is not appealing to me, but I LOVE fried green tomatoes, so I had to give it a shot. One of the best decisions I have ever made (in the way of food anyway). It was out of this world!
My children are Kowen, 3 years and Kinsley, 17 months, and they are very pick-and-go eaters. We decided after all the appetizers they could just share a corn dog basket with fries, thinking they would never eat it all. We were wrong! It must have been yummy in their little tummies because there was none left and that never happens! The French fries were very good.
For dessert, we tried the hot fudge cake, one of their delightful homemade treats! Warm, rich, delicious chocolate with ice cream, do I really need to say anything more?
So with that said, our compliments to the chef and his team! We will back again, maybe for lunch next time. On my list are the gourmet chicken salad and Philly Cheese Steak sandwich! And for dessert I must try their deep fried oreos.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Springtime in DeKalb County by John Dersham

We have some of the most beautiful places anywhere, right here at home. It is time to renew your love for all the natural attributes and beauty of our county and get out there and enjoy spring. Our water falls are at their max. They are gorgeous right now.
It has been a cold cloudy wet winter but the sun and the warmth are here for us all to enjoy.
Here in DeKalb County we are blessed with plant species from the north and from the south. This gives us a wider gamut of beautiful spring flowers in bloom at the same time. Nothing like getting out there for a drive or a hike and seeing our wide variety of blooms from our early Daffodils and Bradford Pears to Redbud, Cherry, Plum and Peach to White and Red Dogwoods, Azaleas, Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons. The sky is blue, the air is warm so head out and enjoy beautiful DeKalb County.

Here are some places that are at their peak of spring beauty right now.
Little River Canyon and Canyon Center: Little River Falls, Graces High Falls, hiking trails, scenic drive on the canyon rim, picnics, boulder outcrops with white water. The Canyon Center at the Preserve. 256-845-9605
DeSoto State Park: DeSoto Falls (104 foot drop), picnics, hiking trails, playground, country store (souvenirs, local crafts and basic groceries), nature center, swimming pool (summer), resort lodge and cabins. 13903 County Rd 89 Fort Payne 256-845-5075.
Sequoyah Caverns and Ellis Homestead: beautiful scenery, famous cave with spectacular reflecting pools, swimming pool (summer only), historic location since 1841, picnics, rock climbing/repelling, store, crafts, souvenirs and restrooms. 1438 County Rd 731, Valley Head 256-635-0024
Buck’s Pocket State Park: Camping, picnics, fishing and boating, hiking and beautiful scenery. 393 County Rd 174, Grove Oak 256-659-2000.
DeKalb County Public Lake (New Improvements) 120 acre lake, fishing, boat rentals, bait, picnics, refreshments. 720 County Rd. 194 Sylvania 256-657-1300
High Falls Park: Beautiful vistas, large water falls, walking bridge, hiking trails, picnics, rest rooms and playground. 256-623-2281
Fort Payne City Park and Alabama Walking Park and Depot Museum:
Located in downtown Fort Payne- walking, picnics, playgrounds, museum, shops and restaurants.
Historic Town of Mentone: located at the top of Lookout Mountain on H-117. Visit quaint gift and craft shops, antique stores and restaurants. For a beautiful view from the brow visit the Mentone Brow Park just behind the White Elephant Antique store and Mentone Springs Hotel.

For more information visit us at the DeKalb County Visitor Center located at 1503 Glen Blvd S.W., Fort Payne or call 888-805-4740.
Please visit to see all of the wonderful places to go and things to see in our wonderful county.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Northeast Alabama Home & Garden Show By Kayla Worthey

The Northeast Alabama Home & Garden Show is a non-profit corporation that was founded 28 years ago for the purpose of giving businesses in our area an opportunity to exhibit their company’s products. Every year The Home and Garden Show is held at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville on the third weekend in March. And every year, my family and I attend.
The first year, my husband and I were building a home and found a lot of useful information about windows, vinyl siding, shutters, gutters, bath tubs and showers, flooring, landscaping, and so much more. Going in, I think I just expected to hopefully find some new ideas, but we actually found a supplier for our siding and gutters and set up an appointment with a landscaper. We also came away with many other new ideas for the house and made some contacts for furniture in the future.
The second year, we had just moved into our new house and had a four month old little boy running the household! We were “strolling” this time and found all kinds of children’s clothing and accessories just perfect for the new little man in our lives. I spent some time at a booth specializing in Tupperware products that proved to be very handy for a new mom. Then I quietly tip-toed over to a booth advertising the word “spa”, while the boys picked out rose bushes as part of my first Mother’s Day. On our way out, I was paid back for the “spa” stop. The boys spent an hour touring the tractors, lawnmowers and other equipment outside.
I won’t bore you with any more of our personal findings, but you can see why we return again and again! I even saw booths for financial investment planners and tax preparation, both of which I already take advantage of! This year with two children in tow, I can only imagine what this adventure will bring.
Now on top of just being a visitor myself, I also have the pleasure of working this event one day each year and meeting a couple thousand or so of the friendliest people around. I forget sometimes how nice it is to live in the south, with everyone’s sweet southern charm and hospitality.
I would like to personally thank the board of directors for their time and efforts each year making this show such a great event! Well done ladies and gentlemen and I can’t wait to see what this year holds!
Hope to see you all there this weekend, March 19th & 20th!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Accidental Tourism by John Dersham

Most people think of tourists as people who have planned their travels and are taking their vacations to a particular planned destination. They have booked their lodging, figured out what they are going to see and do. Many even plan where they will eat or shop. It is true that much of tourism is done this way, especially if the tourist is going a long distance and especially if they are flying.
There is however all kinds of tourists and all kinds of tourism that generate income to whatever destination, of which, they arrive. By definition a tourist is anyone traveling and spending money more than fifty miles from the area of which they live. This means business travelers are also tourists. This is why a big part of the tourism industry focuses on attracting conventions and special events like trade shows to their town or city. Sports events are a major tourism draw, as are festivals and concerts. Many larger cities focus much of their tourism attention on attracting the major events and conventions. In order to solicit this business your location must be able to accommodate large groups for lodging and for meetings.
Another form of tourism is the “Accidential Tourist”. These are tourists who venture out on a day trip, or a weekend trip without a plan. They hit the road with a basic direction and a possible final destination but their trip is comprised of finding things to do and see along the way. This is very popular tourism to DeKalb County. We get many people year around that come in our information center whom have more or less just stumbled into our area, they like what they see and what to do more. They see our road signs for different attractions, they see our mountains and they find us inviting. They may have heard a little about us already and decided to come this way and see for themselves. They travel without reservations. They shop, eat and see attractions on any visual whim they get. Motorcycle tourists are especially prone to this type of tourism. Tourists are also people who stop and get off the interstate because what they see at our exit(s) attracted them. We may have been just the right spot at the right time of day to find lodging for the night. They same is true for people stopping to eat at any time of the day, or to fill up with gas and buy snacks. All of these people are spending money in our communities and bringing in badly needed tax revenue.
DeKalb County is historically a leisure tourism county. People come for our relaxing scenic environment. They come for our state parks and national preserve, they come to rent a cabin or camp or stay in a B&B. They come to mill around Mentone or Fort Payne. They come for our yard sales and antique shops. They come to relax. The opening of our N.E. Agri Business Center in Rainsville has added event tourism to our list of attractions. Event based tourism attracts people to an area specifically because of an event like our upcoming rodeo at the Agri Center or the upcoming John Michael Montgomery concert. A fishing tournament at DeKalb County Fishing Lake is event based tourism too.
Tourism is a critical part of our revenue stream in DeKalb County. We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful things to do and see here in DeKalb County.