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CONTACT: Dilcy Windham Hilley
                        Vice President Marketing/Communications                      

                        800-458-8085 or

Beauty, Class, Okra, Charm, Cornbread, James Beard, Folk Art,
Sweet Tea, Intrigue and Eccentric Relatives….
Birmingham, AL---Something we hear time and again from first time visitors to Birmingham is that they never realized the beauty of the area. With the foothills of the Appalachians as a dramatic backdrop, the city is laid out on a series of lush rolling hills, with woodland-covered neighborhoods just minutes from downtown.

That this Southern city has its own cosmopolitan personality is another eye-opener to visitors. It’s hip without being pretentious. It’s tuned-in without being pushy. It’s very cool without the exertion. So if you thought you were coming to the Waffle House---not that there’s anything wrong with that---you’re coming to James Beard country instead.

Speaking of dining, “fine” follows many paths. Should you have us pigeonholed as serving only barbeque and fried pies, just remember that Birmingham is home to numerous James Beard Award winners and nominees. Dining is one of the great joys of being in Birmingham. Anyone visiting the city should take great delight in the beauty of fine Southern cooking here as well. No one wants to leave without a meal of catfish, fried okra, fresh corn, tomatoes ripened on the vine, cornbread (made without sugar, please), all topped off by deep dish peach cobbler---hot---with a dollop of ice cream.

Birmingham has retained its strong Southern character while embracing progressive attitudes. It is said that Southerners are guilty of at least three things that folks from outside the South find interesting: We eat off one another’s plates---just a taste of the dish we didn’t order; we announce where we’re going when we leave to go to the restroom. It would just be rude to leave with no explanation; and we are not ashamed to trot out our eccentric relatives. As a matter of fact, we enjoy them.

The art we hold up as fine examples of the talent is intriguing as well. Birmingham has become something of a colony with recent openings of dozens of new art galleries of every sort. Clusters of galleries downtown and in nearby suburbs are is giving art enthusiasts and collectors wide open options on paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fine art and folk art. In addition, thousands of visitors to the Birmingham Museum of Art each year leave town marveling, “I had no idea….”

The quantity and quality of shopping opportunities is often a discovery for Birmingham guests. The area’s antique shops are becoming places of legend in upscale lifestyle magazines around the country. Awe-inspiring pieces still can be found at reasonable prices, especially in the shops along the main drag in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood.

Trendy malls have taken root all over the area, bringing those posh, high-end shops to our charming burg. Birmingham’s downtown has its own shopping character, with real hardware stores and record shops (yes, some selling vinyl).

So it is diversity that is this city’s greatest strength and strongest appeal. We are a spectrum of attitudes and cultures that are all a part of the charm and intrigue that is Birmingham and the South.


Vickie Ashford
phone: 205-458-8000
Dilcy Windham Hilley, VP Marketing/Communications
205-458-8000 or