We’re all about keeping up with the fast-paced environment of today’s Huntsville, but sometimes we want to travel back to a time when things were a little bit slower.
These old-fashioned spots in North Alabama help up do just that. And we’re not just talking about spots that have the retro vibe of the ’80s and ’90s (we’ve already got a guide for that). We’re going way back. These eateries, experiences and shops are like time-travel machines to the early days of Huntsville.
Old-fashioned eats + sweets
Let’s start off with our favorite category: food.
- Vintage 1889: This American eatery, located in Fort Payne, is housed inside the historic W. B. Davis Hosiery Mill that was built in 1889.
- Dogwood + Magnolia Bakery: Tucked in historic Mooresville, you’ll find this adorable little bakery with lots of antique charm. They bake everything from scratch with old-fashioned recipes.
- Grandmother’s House: In the quiet area of Owens Cross Roads, you’ll find a house built in 1928 by George and Vinnie Craft, the current owner’s grandparents. Today, they serve from-scratch Southern classics in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.
- Paynes Soda Fountain: This is not a look-alike of a soda fountain from the 1800s—it is a soda fountain from the 1800s. Located in Scottsboro, this spot opened in 1869 and still serves up sandwiches, sundaes and weekly specials.
Old-fashioned shopping + entertainment
Now that our bellies are full and our sweet tooth satisfied, let’s see where we can spend some leisure time shopping and having fun—the old-fashioned way.
- Preservation Company: This place is loaded with pieces of history—that you can buy! Preservation Company is a treasure trove of antique finds for builders, decorators, collectors and anyone who loves peeking into the past.
- Sand Mountain Twin Drive-In Theater: Road trip, anyone? While this drive-in theater is a bit of a trek from Huntsville, we think it’s worth the hour-long drive. They show modern movies, but with an old-fashioned drive-in experience.
- Harrison Brothers Hardware: This well-known spot simply must be included in the list. Stepping off the Downtown Huntsville square and into Harrison Bros is a must-experience if you’re looking to travel back in time in Huntsville.
- Holtz Leather: While Holtz Leather doesn’t date back to far, it does draw inspiration from “way back when.” You can find all sorts of leather goods, gifts, pottery and more inside either of their vintage-inspired retail stores in Huntsville and Madison.
Old-fashioned sights + experiences
Not only are these spots pieces of history, they’re also beautiful places to relax and enjoy—especially during the beautiful weather we’ve got coming.
- Constitution Village: Just strolling through the old houses and buildings that compose Constitution Village is enough to take you back in time. But, if you want the full experience, you have to get the tour. Unfortunately, they discontinued tours during the pandemic. But, they’re planning to reopen them this year.
- Burritt on the Mountain: This place provides a complete old-fashioned experience. It’s 167 acres full of history, reenactments of what life was like in the 1800s, authentic 19th century homes and more. Plus, they host fun events all the time!
- Madison County Nature Trail: Located on Green Mountain, Madison County Nature Trail isn’t your average hiking path. Scattered along the trail, there are historic homes, a historic bridge and even an old A-frame chapel.
- Weeden House: Dating back to 1819 and preserved over 200 years later, the Weeden House in Downtown Huntsville has history embedded in every nook and cranny. They offer public tours of the home every Tuesday-Saturday at 10AM and 1PM.
- Huntsville Revisited Museum: If you’re wanting to go back in time to old Huntsville specifically, this is your place. Be prepared to get lost in the countless stories inside.
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