Summer in the City

There’s no place like home.

by Christopher Confero

It’s common that the summer season provides ample time to escape our home life and jet set to somewhere exotic or new. For me, 2013 has proven to be just that. I’ve worked in and traveled to New Orleans, London, Atlanta, Miami and Asheville, and it’s only July! New York and Greece are still on the list. Throughout my adventures, sometimes people look down at the fact that I boast Birmingham as home. When anyone says an unkind word, I wrinkle my brow, cock my head and go into defense mode immediately! I’m proud to rest my head in the Magic City; she’s been good to me, and I’m going to defend her.

I always refer to Birmingham as a “big small town” but that doesn’t take anything away from a long list of why I always love returning. Many of our restaurateurs are consistent James-Beard Award nominees and winners. Hell, usually Frank Stitt has more than one in the ranks. We have notable medical facilities that are on the forefront of research that changes lives all around the world. We have world-class art and theatre from the Birmingham Museum of Art and Red Mountain Theatre Company. Add those to a long list of attractions and programs that come to life throughout the summer months, and now we indeed have something to brag about!

As I’m finding my voice in this article and sharing with you each month about my life, I’ve began to get great feedback from the readership. People say how they enjoy hearing my view on local life. It’s a given that I can throw a good party, but folks want to know more than that. So this month, as summer is in full swing, I want to share with you my ultimate bucket list of things you must do in Birmingham this season!

1. Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Outdoor Summer Concert Series at Railroad Park—Sadly, this one you’ve already missed. From the operatic music of Verdi to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” this amazing musical offering will have to go on next summer’s calendar.

2. Alabama Theatre’s Summer Film Series—The Alabama Theatre is such a hidden gem to our area. Each year they share with us classic movies from years past. Be sure to check out the schedule and find your favorite film.

3. Art on the Rocks—This is Birmingham Museum of Art›s ninth season of Art on the Rocks, a sundown series filled with live music, creative expression, themed beverages, and specialty foods. This season will showcase local artists, musicians, dancers, actors, and designers whose performances are inspired by works in the museum’s world-class collection.

4. Float down the Cahaba—The Cahaba River is a major asset to Alabama. Much of the Cahaba’s main channel is wild, beautiful, and very popular for canoeing, fishing and swimming. Canoe and boat launches are accessible from downtown Birmingham and many suburban and rural communities. I suggest the overnight camping trip to soak up all that nature has to offer!

5. Birmingham Barons—The Birmingham Barons played their first game in their new ballpark, Regions Field, this spring. The 8,500 seat facility in the heart of downtown is the crown jewel of Birmingham’s newly developed Parkside District. Take advantage of such a world–class facility right in our own back yard!

I’ve now shared with you some of my favorite summer activities. As I travel, I always count down the days to when I’ll be back in my own bed. It’s even my ritual that when I return from my travel the first place I go is to Olexa’s Café in Mountain Brook Village for some tomato-basil soup. It’s so warm and comforting! So try a few of my suggestions or find some activities of your own. Why do you love Birmingham, and why do you call it home? Instead of traveling abroad so much this summer, spend time in your own back yard. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

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