The town of Brookside owns Five Mile Creek Canoe & Company, which works from a philosophy that nature is a splendor to be shared by all people. Five Mile not only grants access to a bonanza of camping and canoeing activities—such as bench pressing a canoe—it gives patrons the opportunity to control their own adventures. The campground presents enough activity opportunities to keep patrons busy throughout the day, including a playground, a 2-mile walking track, and a swimming hole.
When patrons want to set out on watery expeditions, they carry their own boats down to the creek and steer their vessels from beginning to end. After pushing past the shallow waters, canoes paddlers can traverse up to 26 miles of gently flowing creek lined on either side by a row of trees. These leaf havens obscure guests from the curious eyes of civilization, chipmunks, and Bigfoot's cousin, Steve. Before they hit the water, helpful staff members can give demonstrations to those with little paddling experience. They can also organize group floats for social paddlers.
After six and a half years working as a restaurant pastry chef, Bianca Priest had an itch for change. That itch led her to open her own bakery, where she specializes in everything from old-fashioned towering cakes to new and innovative sweets. Her butter cake batter, which boasts a satisfyingly dense texture similar to pound cake, provides the base for most desserts and helps stabilize any wobbly tables in the bakery. Bianca also crafts cupcakes, pies, cookies, and bars from scratch, as well as custom cakes and elegant nuptial desserts. Those with dietary restrictions can rejoice in the bakery staff’s ability to accommodate special diets, with lower-sugar-content and vegan options available.
Freshfully partners with Alabama–based farmers and suppliers to sell a variety of local and organic groceries in a shop and [online market. Alongside shelves of free-range eggs, hand-packaged creamed honey fills spoons with sun-hued sweetness that hints at the open air of nearby farms. The selection of fruits and veggies varies with the seasons, and the store’s staff regularly assembles produce boxes sourced from farms eschewing hormones, antibiotics, fertilizers, and upturned rakes left out for slapstick acts. The cultivators include Moore Farms, where Will and Laurie Moore let a love for heirloom and native strains of plant life thrive.
Crestwood Coffee Company cordially invites café connoisseurs to indulge in classic bean juice ($2.05 for a medium), a creamy mocha ($4.50 for a medium), or a frappe ($4 for a medium) while throwing cool fruit smoothies ($3.75 for a medium) into baby volcanoes. Pair potables with bakery bites such as freshly made muffins ($2.25), scones ($2.25), cinnamon rolls ($2.25), and seasonal cobblers ($4). Or, build some missing blocks of your food pyramid with a crisp apple-nut salad ($7). House specialties include homemade, mustardy chicken salad (served à la carte or on whole-wheat bread, $7) and the CCC BLT, loaded with thick peppered bacon, lettuce, and vine-ripened tomatoes ($6). Crestwood Coffee's lunchtime eats are often prepared with local ingredients.
Owner Tomek Wrzesien set out to create his own gallery in the renovated office space that now houses Urban Standard, but he soon drew inspiration from the café culture of his native Poland and instead met the neighborhood's need for eclectic deli fare, freshly baked goods, and boutique beverages. Breakfast offers a variety of old-world eats in addition to down-home staples such as creamy grits with sausage and cheese ($3). Share a stylish luncheon of salads, sandwiches, or grilled paninis with fancy-pants ingredients such as truffle oil, balsamic jam, and homemade pimento cheese. Carnivores can sink canines into Tomek's Polish Street Sandwich, a cavalcade of cured meats and cheese on ciabatta (half $5.50, whole $8.75), whereas vegetarians can rustle up a grilled marinated-tofu sandwich ($7.50) with a small roasted-fennel and goat-cheese salad ($4.50). If a whole meal seems too daunting, sophisticated snackers can adjust their pince-nez while sampling from a list of baked goods that would make Marie Antoinette blush.