Literary City Guide | Athens, AL
Tour Guide: CONNIE PEARSON
Connie Pearson was born in Athens, AL in 1950 in the old Powers Hospital. Both her parents were from Athens and Limestone County, so her roots run deep in this town. She's lived nearby but still in the State of Alabama for all but four years between 1960-2010, then built a retirement home with her husband in the city where her life began. Connie is a retired elementary music teacher, travel writer, and grandmother to twelve amazing children. Visit her online at There Goes Connie, and follow her on Twitter.
Relationship to Athens: I was born in Athens and lived here until I was 10 years old. Fifty years later, my husband and I moved back to spend our retirement years near the Tennessee River and many relatives who are still in the area.
Writer you’d like to invite to dinner: Nicholas Sparks. His books "get to me" every time.
Chef you’d like to prepare the meal: Chef Dennis Littley is a new friend who lives in Florida, but he's very gracious about sharing his special recipes.
Writing soundtrack: As a retired music teacher, any song with words distracts me. If there's any music playing, it has to be soft, random and instrumental. If I start humming or tapping my foot, my concentration ends.
Pen or Pencil: Pen
Coffee or Tea? Tea, preferably iced and very sweet.
Paperback or Hardback? Paperback because I can afford more of them.
Athens-Limestone Public Library. Formerly a grocery store, the building was purchased by the city and remodeled to be a large, state-of-the-art facility for research, children’s activities and civic meetings.
Athens State University Library. Although it is primarily for ASU students, anyone in the community is invited to come in, obtain a library card, and use this resource and check out books.
READINGS & CONFERENCES
Storytelling Festival. Each fall, visitors come from miles around for this popular event. Area elementary schools DO host reading events, however, during the month of March coinciding with the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. This convention is attended by thousands of musicians and music lovers every year on a weekend in early October on the grounds of Athens State University.
Athens Grease Festival. Hundreds of happy festival goers will don togas and meet in the square for "A Celebration of All Things Fried." This event is a humorous attempt to connect with our fellow Athenians in Greece.
In recent years, Haunt Walks have been offered in late fall to introduce curious people to some of the paranormal activities that have happened in Athens through the years. Many structures in town predate the Civil War, so intriguing tales abound.
Athens is the proud home of the Alabama Shakes, the wildly-popular, Grammy-award winning rock and blues band.
Square Clock Coffee House. Probably the best coffee in Athens can be found at Square Clock Coffee inside the Center for Lifelong Learning on the square.
A PROPER MEAL
LuVici's. LuVici’s is NOT an Italian place. The owner named it for his mother, and their slogan is: “In the mood for Southern food.”
306 Barbecue. This popular place is closed on Mondays but extremely popular Tuesday-Sunday.
Clark's. For lunch and dinner daily except on Mondays, many locals head to Clark’s.
Catfish Cabin. This home of fantastic hushpuppies is open everyday.
Dub's Burgers. Dub’s is long-time local icon. The burgers literally drip with goodness.
Village Pizza. Located on the square, Village Pizza uses a furnace, hearth-type pizza oven which sets it apart from the well-known chains.
Lawler's Barbecue. With locations in Athens and in nearby Madison, Lawler’s version of barbecue and Brunswick stew have been satisfying North Alabama diners for several generations.
Sweetest Things Tea Room. This unassuming-looking place is great for ladies’ lunches and delicious homemade desserts.
Drucilla's. In addition to weekday lunches, Drucilla’s offers formal teas on Wednesdays and Saturdays with a reservation. The owner named her restaurant in memory of her grandmother.
K-May Donuts. Open daily until they sell out.
Kreme Delite. Another local icon with outstanding sundaes and banana splits.
CONNIE's 5 Favorites
1. Favorite view: The church doors to the old chapel at First Baptist Church. That is where my parents stood to repeat their marriage vows in 1949. Their names are in the cornerstone as the first couple married on that site.
2. Favorite place to write: In my home overlooking the Tennessee River in a quiet gated community a few miles outside the city limits that could easily be designated as a nature preserve.
3. Favorite museum: Alabama Veterans Museum located at 100 Pryor St. in Athens was recently named as an Attraction of the Year by the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. It has displays of memorabilia and artifacts from the Revolutionary War to the present and is a source of great pride to many Athenians.
4. Favorite coffee shop: Square Clock Coffee inside the Center for Lifelong Learning on the square across from the courthouse. Even if you aren't a coffee drinker, delicious smoothies are also on the menu.
5. Favorite thing about Athens: The courthouse square with its quant shops and family-run cafes. If there's a big event or parade in town, "the square" is likely where it will happen. Numerous times a day a loud, whistle-blaring train races through town a block away from the square, stopping all conversation for a minute or so. In addition, local homes provide glimpses of the beautiful architecture on the National Historic Registry.