Southern Elegance at Turn-of-the-Century Victorian Mansion
Alabama's 44,000-acre Lake Martin was created in 1926, thanks to a massive dam built by the Alabama Power Company. At the time, it was one of the largest manmade lakes in the world, its wooded shoreline stretching for more than 700 miles. Today, the body of water and its hometown, Alexander City, attract a steady stream of boaters, fishers, swimmers, and hikers. The Mistletoe Bough Bed and Breakfast, housed in an Alexander City home constructed in 1895, predates the lake by about 30 years. Renovations have restored the Queen Anne mansion to its original beauty, evident in features such as a wraparound veranda, a two-story gabled turret, and lush landscaping.
Inside, high-ceilinged common rooms share the downstairs area with a homey kitchen, where the inn's hostess, Joann, crafts hot breakfasts in the morning and tasty desserts at night. A staircase leads to the colorful guest rooms, each of which shows off a unique look. Rich, dark wooden furnishings, including a four-poster bed, grace the Sunshine suite, whose large bay windows overlook the gardens. Nanny’s room suggests the comforts of childhood via canary-yellow walls, a colorful quilted bedspread, a teddy bear, and an adult-size bassinet. French doors open onto a private second-floor porch outfitted with a pair of rocking chairs.
Alexander City, Alabama: Quaint Southern Town on Shores of Lake Martin
Home to some 15,000 residents, the town of Alexander City—"Alex City" to locals—lies about halfway between Birmingham and Montgomery. The town's diminutive size and proximity to Lake Martin and Horseshoe Bend National Park make it a prime locale for appreciating the outdoors in peace and quiet. A good place to start is a fishing or canoeing trip on the lake. For thrills, there's always Chimney Rock, a cliff popular with daredevils who can be seen climbing its face and jumping from its summit into the lake. Those seeking a crowd can make the 35-minute drive to Auburn University to catch an NCAA pinochle tournament or travel into Montgomery, home of a lively blues, jazz, and country-music scene.