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December 24, 2009 10:55 AM   Subscribe

How to spend NYE in or around Montgomery, Alabama? What's the best way to celebrate the new year in or within a reasonable drive of Montgomery? Mrs. D and me are roadtripping through the south this holiday season and will be in Montgomery on Dec 31. My Lonely Planet describes Montgomery as the arm-pit of America (seriously, it says that) so I'm fearful. More detail and bonus credit questions inside.

Being in a different city (e.g. New Orleans) is not an option...however I'm willing to drive an hour or even two for something fun.

Us: Mid-thirties, first time in Alabama (coming down from Toronto, we'll also be in KY, TN, MS, LA on the ways down and back up). Culturepalooza (of high and low brow varieties) is good and we're probably and more into hipstery/alt/underground/regional stuff with live music vs. top-40 clubs, bars, etc. Outdoors are great too.

Bonus credit questions: Anything absolutely awesome happening in any of these other cities on these other dates that we should absolutely positively not miss at all?

Louisville - Dec 26
Memphis - Dec 26, 27
New Orleans - Dec 27, 28
Mobile - Dec 28, 29
Nashville - Jan 1, 2
posted by dismitree to Society & Culture (7 answers total)
My Lonely Planet describes Montgomery as the arm-pit of America (seriously, it says that) so I'm fearful.

Just curious -- where does it say that?
posted by jca at 11:17 AM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: JCA: In the LP Guidebook we're using. It's not in front of me right now...but those are their words not mine. Something like "M. is the arm-pit of America aside from its importance to the Civil Rights movement..."
posted by dismitree at 11:32 AM on December 24, 2009

Best answer: Visit Hank Williams' grave.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:18 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Birmingham will have more of a night life - Alabama symphony has a nice New Years event, Workplay is a nice venue, and there's been some mention of a Beatles cover band. Plus, its on the way to Nashville for you. If you want more recommendations for Birmingham - where to eat, what to see, feel free to mefi mail me.
posted by quodlibet at 12:58 PM on December 24, 2009

Maybe you wouldn't be so fearful and enjoy your trip more with a different guidebook that didn't say stupid things like that. ;)

Depending on what you are looking for, Birmingham would be your best bet as far as a nearby larger/metro city offerings.
posted by jca at 4:03 PM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: Pretty certain no one is reading here anymore, but in the event that someone at some time in the future is trying to figure out what to do in Montgomery over NYE, here's what we ended up doing:


Hank Williams Grave (thanks BOP!). Hank died on New Year's Day 1953 after playing his last concert in Montgomery the night before. Every year (apparently) people visit his grave site on NYE, and usher in the New Year with music. There were at least three guitars, two fiddles, a banjo, and a documentary film-maker there this year. We had a flask of bourbon and at midnight city-sponsored fireworks down at the football bowl made for a nice backdrop. We knew nothing about Hank before checking out the downtown museum earlier in the day, but we met some nice people and felt comfortable singing along with chorus of some of the songs after hearing them for the second or third time that night.


Sous la Terre Jazz Bar. The girl working the desk at the HW museum recommended it as the place to go after the cemetery. She said to look for the door next to the Chinese restaurant across the street, stairs leading downstairs. She warned also that it didn't get busy til late. She didn't lie. When we got there there was only about a dozen other people there. By the time we left a few hours later place was packed. Two musicians (keyboard, trumpet) played seemingly without taking any breaks. There were people in jeans and people in tuxes.

So yes, that's what I would do for NYE in Montgomery.
posted by dismitree at 3:09 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sounds like fun! Glad y'all enjoyed it. Turns out one of the performers that night at Hank's grave is my wife's Canadian friend, who now lives in Nashville. Heh. Buncha snowbirds.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:17 PM on January 4, 2010

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