By: Kelly Caldwell /
Some of my favorite childhood memories were being able to go downtown and shop on a Saturday. I’m not old enough to remember the movie theater being opened, but I do fondly recall going to town getting Hawaiian shaved ice and even picking out a video from the rental place.
I had a big sense of nostalgia when visiting Historic Downtown Gadsden. It was busy and active and just down right cool.
I am a sucker for the eclectic and Downtown Gadsden has it. I always say that I want a place to shop, a place to eat and something to do when I am visiting any town or city. Doesn’t matter if it’s Tulsa, Oklahoma or Wedowee, Alabama. Same is true eat, shop, do.
But… there are a few things that make certain places rank higher than others and it starts with something to see. Hitting on all five senses really make a memory stick and the impression Gadsden left will be a lasting one. So let’s get to it.
We started off getting our sense of Downtown Gadsden by visiting Taming of the Ewe. If you knit or crochet or have a cat that likes a ball of yarn, this place is for you. So many options and so knowledgeable. Not only does the shop offer a huge variety of yarns, but its also a tea room so you can get delightful teapots and teas.
I loved how the town was decorated and the murals. We visited just in time to see the newest one completed. The Welcome to Gadsden Sign is so much fun, it greets you coming into the historic area of Broad Street. There are also windows painted as well as a mural commemorating Alabama’s Bicentennial. I loved finding the unique things such as my Willie Nelson album from Gadsden Variety; the cool pyrex pieces at Dusty Things and the dinosaur head at Twigs and Roses. (yes, my friend Tammy was over the moon at that find)
There is a music coming through on the streets and it just puts you in a cheerful mood, especially at Christmas when holiday tunes will be floating through the air.
There are a lot of restaurants downtown. Locally owned, as well as, a few chains, but for our visit we went to The Rail that recently relocated to the downtown area. They have daily lunch specials and even offer a Sunday brunch. We got a variety, but for anyone that knows me personally…I Am a sucker for tacos and they have a taco special EVERY DAY!!!! I conned my way into getting a sampler of tacos because it was late in the lunch shift and the kitchen didn’t mind the request. So I can tell you without a doubt the TACOS are amazing, that day I sampled a Fried Chicken Taco with Jalapeño Ranch; a Brisket Taco with Barbecue Sauce and a Grilled Shrimp Taco with Homemade Salsa. Y’all mama was across the table or she may have gotten smacked they were that good.
Gadsden Variety has the cutest lunch counter and the locals were quick to let us in on the secret of cheesecake. From plain to extravagant, like Salted Caramel Bourbon cheesecake. Yall we had to walk that off for real, but it was so worth it!!!!!. So later that day we did break down for a Frios Pop at Laura Lee’s on Broad. A couple of fun facts. First that’s my aunt’s name so we had to visit the store and Frios Pops, these gourmet frozen treats they were created in a garage in Gadsden. How cool? (yes a pun may have been intended. ) I chose the pineapple mango for a refreshing little bit on our warm day.
Before you think this is a food tour of Gadsden, I do need to mention a few more little shops that like to tickle the tastebuds… First King’s Olive Oil, this little gem specializes in gourmet flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. You can do so many things with a little added flavor from Kings Olive Oil. I am partial to the fruit flavored balsamic vinegars like coconut!
Then there is Alabama Gift Company. If you are looking for Alabama Made products this is a fantastic place to visit. They have more than Alabama foods but y’all get the ranch Krackers. Trust me. SO YUMMY!!!
Last, but certainly not least, is the Stone Market, it’s a wine shop. They have all the kinds and some other cool stuff, but most importantly they have the wine.
Y’all every store we visited had a candle burning or one for sale or both. National brands and local favorites. Twigs and Roses had Crave candles in this funky glass that looked like patina and then Laura Lee’s (which is also my aunt’s name Fun Fact) had Sweet Grace from Bridgewater Candle Company that is my all time favorite candle scent on the Planet!
The Alabama Gift Company had candles oh plenty too… They had some different Crave candles which I didn’t know were made in Alabama but its awesome that they are.
The Gadsden Variety Shop has Down South Candles and Jirah’s they were burning the sweetest J&J Candle Company scent I have experienced in a while… Strawberry something I believe.
I hope you take the opportunity to visit downtown Gadsden soon and experience the senses for yourself. We have a bus tour shopping trip scheduled for Dec. 2. It will be a hoot of a time I promise!
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