Grinder's Switch Winery sits atop a 110-acre estate flourishing with vineyards that produce a variety of palate-pleasing wines. Inside a hand-built log cabin set against a backdrop of efflorescent countryside, Grinder's tasting room welcomes sophisticated sippers to sample such wizened grape juices as the 2009 Pearl—a sweet wine derived from niagara grapes ($10.93)—and the Blondy ($12.75), which boasts aromatic scents of apricot and peach. Swirling fragrances of golden apple tickle the noses of Honeysuckle Rose ($13.67) drinkers, while the lightly-oaked 2009 chardonnay ($13.67) proffers a finish as crisp as dollar bills made out of Granny Smith apples.
Violet vidalia onions tumble into deep wooden bins alongside brown bulbs of sweet potatoes, heads of lettuce, bell peppers, and tomatoes still wet with dew. Owner and general manager Margaret Wood fills The Grove Farmers Market & Bistro with a locally sourced spread of produce, but her mission to support Alabama farmers goes beyond retail. Wood has embraced European food concepts by putting a market and farm-fresh bistro under one roof and topping that roof with a satin beret. Head chef Thad Gerrell sifts through the same organic produce brought in daily to create rustic dishes seasoned with gourmet olive oil, grapeseed oil, sea salts, and raw sugars. Seasonally fresh herbs elevate traditional gyros, souvlaki, and cholesterol-free pastas, many of which are available as take 'n' bake for home preparation.
Whether retooling the body's hormone levels or removing tiny impurities from its pores, there's no treatment too big or small for the staff at Solutions Wellness. On the spa side of things, hair-removal expert and aesthetician Cassee Young uses wax to eradicate unwanted fuzz and save her clients from the burden of regular shaving. For solutions of a more medical nature, advanced practice nurse Cristina Moore helms a clinical team that specializes in bioequivalent-hormone replacement therapy and medical weight-loss strategies.
While awaiting treatment, guests can relax and enjoy a warm or cool beverage in the welcoming reception area, whose golden walls are accented by red- and orange-toned prints and bright-red leather chairs.
Dr. Derek Renfroe draws from his award-winning experience at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and from his years spent as an active-duty dentist in the U.S. Army to protect and enhance smiles inside a new, contemporary office setting. Preventative and general treatments come in the form of checkups, cleanings, fillings, and dental implants. Cosmetic services improve the look of toothy grins with porcelain veneers, teeth-whitening treatments, and strategically placed mirrors. Warm yellow tones cloak the modern office, where TVs rest beside cushy treatment chairs, and sleek white furniture reflects off a meticulously shined floor.:
Kernels excavated from the finest stalks in North Alabama transform into gourmet flavored popcorn at What's Popp'N's old-fashioned snack shop. Sample more than 50 flavors varying from original to bacon and cheese to red cinnamon, then opt for a larger helping in sizes sold by the ounce or in three sizes ranging from teaser to large. Premium savory varieties ($0.90–$6) pair the popped corn with the zesty taste of pizza, loaded baked potato, or ranch, and candied flavors ($1.15–$6.25) such as spicy chocolate, green apple, and banana make for a snack as sweet and airy as Willy Wonka's best throw pillows. Football fans can also assemble flavor combinations by using the colored popcorn to represent their favorite pro or college team, or pick amongst preassembled team blends such as orange and blueberry (Auburn Tigers) or cinnamon and sweet corn (Alabama Crimson Tide).
In 1925, Early’s Honey Stand set up under a sprawling shade tree alongside Highway 31—one of the main roads on the journey to Florida. Tempted by signs emblazoned with the words "Honey," "Bacon," and "Sausage," travelers would pull their cars over to browse the country store. There, local honey, sweet sorghum, slow-smoked sausages, and country hams promised customers a tasty souvenir of the south—if only they could resist polishing the purchases off before the end of their road trip.
When the construction of the interstate and the invention of hovercrafts rerouted drivers away from the shop, loyal customers were still possessed by gnawing cravings for the stand's rustic fare. They began phoning in orders and sitting patiently by mailboxes until their delectable deliveries arrived. Today, Early’s Honey Stand remains one of the largest mail-order companies in the south. They’ve bundled their ever-expanding inventory of old-fashioned jams, baking mixes, cheeses, and condiments into shipments for presidents, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, and every Looney Tunes character with a southern accent.