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Time now for lunch at The Irondale Café, the Original Whistle Stop Café of Fried Green Tomatoes fame. People come from all over the world for the restaurant s Hollywood connection and for a good Southern meal of country fried steak, succotash, okra, cornbread, turnip greens, fried green tomatoes, banana pudding or black bottom pie and sweet tea.

Then learn about a whole new concept in cookies the bite-size cookie at Bud s Best Cookies. Watch as the wire-cut and rotary cookies roll off the lines at a rate of 3,500 a minute.

Time for some grown-up touring at breweries and wineries in the area. The Alabama Wine Trail includes three locations on the outskirts of Birmingham: Ozan Vineyards and Winery, Vizzini Farms Winery and Morgan Creek Vineyards. These wineries welcome group tours to sample their bold muscadine and delicate peach wines, all made from local fruit. New breweries in the Birmingham area give groups a delightful assortment of flavors to sample on tours of their facilities. Among the breweries are Good People Brewing, Avondale Brewing and Cahaba Brewing Company.

If the group has saved room for supper, try the fresh Gulf oysters and Athenian snapper at The Fish Market. This Birmingham eatery is a good example of the Greek immigrant influence on Birmingham s rocketing dining scene.


Start the morning with a tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The institute documents the rise of the Civil Rights Movement and the succession of events it bore around the nation: the 1955 arrest of Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus; James Meredith s 1962 admission to the University of Mississippi; the violence in 1963 in the streets and churches of Birmingham.

Across the street is Birmingham s most famous Civil Rights landmark, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The church and the city drew worldwide attention on September 15, 1963, when Denice McNair, 11, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson, all 14, were killed in a Ku Klux Klan bombing there. The tour includes an optional video that addresses the bombing.

Adjacent to the institute and the church is historic Kelly Ingram Park. The park served as a congregating area for demonstrations in the early 1960s, including the ones in which police dogs and fire hoses were turned on marchers by Birmingham police. Sculptures throughout the park depict the events of 1963. At the park entrance is a newly-installed, life-size sculpture that captures the spirited nature of the young girls killed when the bomb detonated.

Birmingham s Civil Rights District also includes the nearby Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and Carver Theatre for the Performing Arts. The museum honors jazz greats with ties to the state of Alabama, showcasing the accomplishments of the likes of Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra. Just down the street is the Eddie Kendricks Memorial Park, honoring Birmingham native and Temptations lead singer Eddie Kendricks. The Kendricks statue captures for eternity the magic moves of his Motown music.

Other suggested places of interest along the Civil Rights tour are Miles College and Bethel Baptist Church. Opened in 1908 to provide training for African-American teachers and ministers, Miles continues to offer degrees in liberal