Friday, May 27, 2011

Proud to be a Rural Southerner! By Kayla Worthey

I was born in Fort Payne, Alabama and raised in Mentone on Lookout Mountain. I went to Moon Lake Elementary School and graduated valedictorian from Valley Head High School. I went on to Northeast Alabama Community College until I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta is still in the south, but big cities do not possess that sweet southern charm that the rest of us small towns so proudly boast.

Growing up here, there were a few things that I learned in my adolescent and teen years. People here are friendly. Everyone here waves, weather they know you or not, or at least gives you a raised finger (and no, I don’t mean the middle one either). They speak when they pass you by, it doesn’t matter if they have never met you. And we say yes ma’am and no sir. The recent comradeship after the storms just proves that our communities are families and not just a group of towns.

Now I had a lot of new lessons to learn when I moved to Atlanta. Everyone in the south is not so friendly. But I managed to spread a little of my southern charm to some great friends and my accent earned me the nickname “Bama” by few. At first, I was embarrassed, but quickly learned to be a proud “southerner” and embrace my southern heritage!
While I enjoyed my years learning new cultures and ways of life, refining myself and my palate, when the time came I was glad to be back home. I learned to appreciate our southern lifestyles and our natural surroundings. There is a lot to be said about trees, and grass, and rocks and NOT so much concrete, asphalt and steel. We are so fortunate to live here and I think we take for granted what beautiful lands and natural resources and attractions we have.
I challenge you to show your family DeKalb County and the surrounding areas. Have you or your family ever been to Little River Canyon National Preserve, DeSoto State Park, High Falls Park, Bucks Pocket State Park, Sequoyah Caverns, Fort Payne Depot, the list goes on and on. Did you know that we have a State Scenic Byway right here on Lookout Mountain? There are so many things in our area that we take for granted, or at least I know that I do. Beautiful, natural landscapes surround us every day and we tend to forget that they are so rare.
If you want to show your family the area, visit our website at or come by our office at the corner of Airport Road and Hwy 35 and we will give you maps and informational materials. We can even help you plan your journey if you like. With so many things to see and do, the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Fort Payne, Ala. – On April 27, 2011, cities and communities came to a halt as over 40 tornadoes came through Alabama killing over 230 and leaving millions of dollars in damage. While DeKalb County was severely impacted in certain areas, its visitor information center and all tourist attractions and accommodations were spared and are open for business as usual. Volunteerism has been spectacular throughout DeKalb County as many people have opened up their homes and there wallets to help victims of the deadly tornado’s. Now a massive effort to restore and clean up damaged or destroyed properties has begun.

The beautiful tourist areas in Fort Payne and Mentone (on Lookout Mt.) are ready and anxious for their summer vacationers to come and enjoy the quaint peaceful beauty and to enjoy all the wonderful things to see and do in the area.

“The summertime is an excellent time to visit DeKalb County,” said John Dersham, executive director of the DeKalb Tourism. “We want to encourage visitors to not cancel vacation plans as all attractions throughout DeKalb County are open and ready for summer travelers.”

The 23-mile drive along the Little River Canyon National Preserve provides countless photo capturing moments of the 700-foot deep gorge. For those wanting to experience nature on foot or by water, miles of hiking, whitewater kayaking, and canoeing are available at Little River Falls, DeSoto State Park and High Falls Park. “The scenic areas of Lookout Mountain, Little River Canyon, DeSoto State Park, and High Falls Park were unaffected and still remain beautiful today as before the outbreak of severe weather,” added Dersham.

Situated atop Lookout Mountain among the many scenic waterfalls and majestic overlooks are a variety of accommodations. According to Dersham, none of the cabins, B&B’s, hotels, or campgrounds located in DeKalb County sustained any damage and are available for reservations. For those with any concerns may contact the property directly to confirm or inquire about reservations.

Tucked away at the foot of Sand Mountain is beautiful Sequoyah Caverns and its “looking glass lakes”, which reflect the thousands of intricate rock formations and nature’s magnificent underground creations. Sequoyah Caverns is a comfortable 60 degrees year round making a summertime visit an ideal time to visit.

“Tourism and travel are important to DeKalb County and we realize we are very fortunate that these areas were not directly impacted. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those in our county and state that were not as fortunate,” said Dersham.

For information on all attractions and special events, contact the DeKalb County Tourist Association at 888.805.4740 or visit