May Getaway Guide: Alabama's Hangout Music Festival, 3 great hotel bars, and more

May Getaway Guide: Alabama’s Hangout Music Festival, 3 great hotel bars, and more

Hangout Music Festival
Photograph courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Festival of the month
Hangout Music Festival
If there’s anything better than strolling along a Gulf Coast beach, it’s digging your toes into the sand while enjoying top-caliber live music. Scheduled for May 15 to 17 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the 2015 Hangout Music Festival’s lineup includes Zac Brown Band, Beck, Foo Fighters, Sam Smith, and dozens more. Now in its sixth year, the festival has mastered logistics: Rent beachfront accommodations right from the website, and sign up for the shuttle to enjoy easy transportation. Download the free mixtape to get in the mood. And don’t forget your CamelBak (there are free filling stations).

At the bar
Jerry Slater, owner of H. Harper Station, shares his favorite classic hotel bars.

Hotel Monteleone
Photograph courtesy of Hotel Monteleone

New Orleans
At the Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone, the carousel fills up, but the big chairs by the windows make for the best people-watching. Have a Vieux Carré, or if it’s early, a Ramos gin fizz. As our server said, “It’s a breakfast drink.”

Even though I once worked at the Seelbach (and I love the Old Seelbach Bar), the grand experience is on the second floor of the Brown Hotel at the Lobby Bar.

Want to feel like a million bucks? Walk up the thick carpeted stairs to the Drake’s lobby bar and sip a martini with a harp playing in the afternoon. Something seedier? The Coq d’Or’s whiskey bar awaits you downstairs.

Paradise Garden
Photograph courtesy of Paradise Garden Foundation

Airbnb find
Night at the Museum
Weary pilgrims visiting Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden in Summerville can now stay overnight. Its new Airbnb cottage sleeps two and includes unlimited access to the property, making it an ideal getaway for an Americana adventure (from $100/night). Plus, the garden has been recently restored, and quirky elements such as the Mirror House, Rolling Chair Ramp, and towers of bicycle parts bloom with flowers again. The best time to go? Finster Fest, May 30 to 31. —Beca Grimm

Sweetgrass Basket
If you’re going to Charleston for the Spoleto festival (5/22–6/7), bring back a handwoven sweetgrass basket, made using a technique passed down for 400 years from Lowcountry slaves.

Alabama Chanin
Photograph by Peter Stanglmayr

Hands On
In Stitches
Natalie Chanin has been featured in Vogue and the New York Times, but she has stayed true to her vision of hand-sewn garments using sustainably grown cotton. Her cottage industry, Alabama Chanin, has been integral to the recent renaissance of Florence, Alabama. Visit for a studio weekend (May 15 to 17; $1,250) and create your own garment.

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One comment

  1. 1

    The recommendatio1 here make a lot of se1e – the streetca1 absolutely need to run more frequently, or else residents who live near the lines won&1quo;t ride them.
    I&1quo;m wondering how the author came up with the number of only a couple hundred people able to use the streetcar for commuting. If the author lives in Cabbagetown, the closest she could be is about a half mile from the King Historic District station.
    Drawing a half-mile radius circle from that station alone encompasses the entire southern half of the Old Fourth Ward, which includes mutliple large apartment complexes and plenty of single-family homes. Even accounting for the students and senio1 living in this area, I&1quo;d say this is more than a couple hundred people. See this link:

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