Thursday, June 3, 2010

Walking This Way

June walking tours begin Saturday across Alabama
By Andrea Brunty, Living editor, The Decatur Daily

Explore downtown Decatur on Saturday mornings in June as local guides take visitors and natives on a free one-hour tour.

Plan to be at the rose garden in Delano Park on Gordon Drive Southeast by 10 a.m. Saturday and June 12, 19 and 26 to take the tour.

The Albany Historic District will be featured in this year’s tour, while the Old Decatur area has been the focus in alternate years.

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She makes $6795 a month working online. Read her story to see how. Each tour is different, said Squee Bailey of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, so you can attend all four and learn something new.

“It’s not just an architecture tour or a history tour, the guides talk about the characters that lived there and that kind of thing,” Bailey said.

Depending on the weather, the crowd can vary from 15 to 50 attendees, and can include people from across the state.

Knowledgeable guides, including Melinda Dunn of the Old State Bank and Kelley Gillikin, a longtime Albany resident, will share history, entertaining stories and even some “tall tales.”

Gay Maloney, who will guide Saturday’s tour, may share a rumor about her house in Albany. Her brick home is said to be earthquake-proof because a California architect helped design it, she said.

“The guides will bring the historic Albany neighborhood to life, sharing its history and talking about the homes while walking through the neighborhoods,” she said.

The guides will explore the beginning of the historic district, which was originally called New Decatur.

“They’ll talk about how Albany was a planned community, and how it aimed to be the Chicago of the South to attract people from all over the country,” Maloney said.

Nearby cities such as Athens, Hartselle, Courtland, Madison and Huntsville will also participate in the statewide walking tour campaign developed by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel.

“Alabama is the only state in the nation to hold statewide, simultaneous walking tours,” said coordinator Brian Jones of the Alabama Tourism Department. “The beauty of the June walking tours is that any community, whether big or small, can do this.”

The department has organized more than 1,000 walking tours since the beginning of the program seven years ago, Jones said, and they increase in popularity every year.

The tours will continue rain or shine. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

For information about the tours and other events and attractions in Decatur, contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 350-2028 or 800-524-6181 or visit For other tours, visit or call 800-ALABAMA.

Walking tours

The free guided walking tours will begin at 10 a.m. Saturdays in June. Area towns and starting places include:

Athens, Limestone County Courthouse Annex Parking Lot

Courtland, Park on the Square

Decatur, Delano Park Rose Garden

Florence, various starting locations; Gadsden, City Hall Gazebo

Guntersville, Chamber of Commerce

Hartselle, Historic Depot

Huntsville, Constitution Village (Saturday and June 12 only)

Madison, Madison Roundhouse (June 19 and 26 only)

Scottsboro, Jackson County Heritage Center

Sheffield, Sheffield Municipal Building

Tuscumbia, ColdWater Bookstore

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