Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Birthday America!

Here's to fireworks, cookouts, pool time and maybe even a slice of watermelon. It is one of everyone's favorite holidays, it's the Fourth of July, Independence Day, America's Birthday! This week the City of Auburn and Opelika are gearing up for a fun weekend to celebrate the birth of our nation. Below are some ideas to get you red, white and blue ready.


Firework Celebrations:


AUBURN
The City of Auburn will host their Annual Fourth of July Celebration on July 4 at Duck Samford Stadium. Gates open at 6 p.m. with live music beginning at 7 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and the whole family and enjoy delicious food from local vendors, door prizes and giveaways. The fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. The celebration is free to the public and is sponsored by Briggs & Stratton.



Parking will be available at the lot off of E. University Drive, next to the Old Duck Fields. The parking lot off of Airport Road, between Bo Cavin Fields and the New Duck Fields, will be closed to the public to accommodate the fireworks shoot site. For more information, please visit www.auburnalabama.org/parks.

OPELIKA
The City of Opelika will host their 63rd Annual Freedom Celebration on July 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Opelika High School track. There will be inflatable games, hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn, activities for the whole family and entertainment by Route 66. The free event is sponsored by The Orthopedic Clinic and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.opelika.org/opr.


 

Buy Fruits & Veggies:

 
Don't forget to stock up on your fresh fruits and veggies, especially the watermelon, at your local farmer's market!
 
Opelika Mainstreet Farmer's Market- The market begins at 3 p.m. every Tuesday at the Opelika Courthouse Square. Come walk around the square and find fresh, local produce ranging from heirloom tomatoes to collard greens. You may even find some fresh bread, homemade ice cream or local honey. Depending on the year's crop, the market may continue through September or until produce is depleted. Check www.opelikamainstreet.org for further updates about the end date.
 
 
The Market at Ag Heritage Park- The market is an open-air farmers' market held each Thursday from 3-6 p.m. during the spring and summer growing season at Ag Heritage Park on the Auburn University Campus. The market offers locally produced fruits, vegetables, honey, ornamental plants, herbs, cut flowers, stone-ground grains, eggs, goat cheeses, goat milk soaps, baked and canned goods, and Alabama-roasted coffee. In addition, it often features the work of local artisans, educational booths, and musical entertainment. It's open to the public and will run through August 27.
 
 


 


Don't have plans for the Fourth? There is still plenty to do in Auburn and Opelika during a holiday weekend. Be sure to check out our website, www.aotourism.com, for a complete list of events, restaurants, music and nightlife options and of course shopping. We hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!

This week in Auburn/Opelika:

June 30: Opelika Mainstreet Farmers Market at 3 p.m.
June 30: Summer Swing Concert Series at the Municipal Park at 7 p.m.
July 2: The Market at Ag Heritage Park from 3-6 p.m.
July 3-8: USTA National Intersectional Team Tennis
July 3: 63rd Annual Opelika Freedom Celebration at 6:30 p.m.
July 3: First Fridays "Shop Late, Eat Local" in downtown Opelika.
July 4: Auburn's Fourth of July Celebration at 6 p.m. at Duck Samford Stadium



Monday, June 22, 2015

Auburn/Opelika Best Bites Part 1

Summertime is a perfect time for exploring your surroundings. Whether you have been here for four days or 40 years, there is always something new to discover. If you are like me, food is always on the top of my priority list and our area has some of the best food that you will find (we might be biased). We have so many, that it was hard to put them all in one post. Get ready for your mouth to water as we break down some of Auburn and Opelika's Best Bites in Part 1 of this exploration of cuisine.

The Hound



The Hound, a family owned restaurant, brings the outdoors to life in downtown Auburn and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Owners Matthew Poirier and Jana (Caruthers) Poirier successfully and tastefully combined the feel of a hunting lodge with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. From the entry doors, to the barnwood, bar, tables and chandeliers, all were Alabama reclaimed, milled, designed and hand crafted by the Caruthers-Poirier clan. Moving on from their awesome decor, their menu is second to none and is sure to excite your taste buds. Menu items include meatloaf, craft beer braised chicken, 1/2 lb. bacon BLT, wild-game sausage, their Big Fat 16 oz Steak, thick cut bone-in Berkshire chop, home-spun vanilla bean ice cream, and bread pudding with a bourbon caramel sauce, and that is just the beginning. Don't miss this Auburn classic next time you are visiting or just need a night out. For more information, please visit www.thehound-auburn.com. Reservations are accepted for parties of 10 or more.

Personal Favorite:

Appetizer: Mama Sue's Pepper Jelly, homemade jalapeno pepper jelly with house cream cheese and crackers.
Entree: Veggie Lasagna, wine stewed mushrooms, onion, spinach, feta, mozzarella, and house made basil tomato sauce.
Dessert: Bread Pudding, with caramel, bourbon sauce... speaks for itself.
Drink of choice: With 28 beers on tap, good luck choosing just one.

Located at 124 Tichenor Avenue in Auburn, AL.

Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m.- 12 a.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m
Saturday: 11 a.m.- 2 a.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Ma Fia's Ristorante & Pizzeria

 


 
"Eat well, laugh often, love much." Ma Fia's Ristorante & Pizzaria wants you to take this Italian saying to heart. Ma Fia's prepares handmade Italian dishes prepared in a relaxing, Italian setting. Their specialties include a variety of fresh fish, seafood, meats and pizzas cooked in their one of a kind pizza oven. Their dough is made from scratch daily and rests for 48 hours to ensure a one of a kind taste. With San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy, their sauce will make you want to say, "Buon appetito!"Their menu also features unique Italian specialties such as Seafood Limoncello, Linguini a la Vodka, Wild Mushroom Ravioli, and classics such as Meat Lasagna, Fettucini Alfredo and Shrimp Scampi. Offering just the right mix of flavor and hospitality, I am sure you will feel as though you are dining on the streets Venice. For more information, please visit www.mafiasitalian.com.
 

Personal Favorite:

Appetizer: Grilled Scallops, grilled crostini, proscuitto, blueberry gastrique.
Entree: Wild Mushroom Ravioli, prosciutto, gorgonzola, red onion and basil.
Pizza of Choice: Margherita, san marzano tomato sauce, roma tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basic and olive oil.
Dessert: Cheese Cake Flan, cream cheese pastry with sugar tuile.
Drink of choice: They have a wide variety of both red and white wines, but I prefer a Chardonnay with my Wild Mushroom Ravioli.
 
Located at 811 South Railroad Avenue in Opelika, AL.
 
Hours:
Sunday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
 

Hamilton's on Magnolia

 

If you wish to dine and bask in the beautiful Auburn scenery, then Hamilton's on Magnolia is the place for you! Located one block from Toomer's corner, Hamilton's offers an intimate and casual neighborhood atmosphere and is perfect for all kinds of occasions. Whether it is a business meeting, or a party or family event, they are ready to accommodate you. Appetizers, salads and sandwiches are available throughout the day, but the chefs also prepare entrees daily and are as creatively presented as they are prepared. The menu consists of beef, pork, fish and chicken and is sure to satisfy any palate. The patio is a always a great option to relax and re-fuel after a busy day of shopping and exploring downtown Auburn. With live music on Mondays and daily drink specials, Hamilton's has quickly become a hometown favorite, and we can't wait for you to experience why! For more information, please visit www.hamiltonsonmagnolia.com.

Personal Favorite:

Appetizer: Hummus, garbanzo beans, roasted garlic and tahini blended together and served with pita, banana peppers, green olives and pickled red onions.
Entree: Shrimp & Grits, Hamilton's specialty with sauteed with Capps' sausage and bell peppers, tossed in a crystal cream sauce served over cheese grits.
Dessert: Irish Creme Brule, rich custard, Bailey's Irish Creme, vanilla sugar, whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Drink of Choice: Hocus Pocus, muddles strawberries, Hypnotiq, Malibu Rum and Pineapple Juice

Located at 174 East Magnolia Avenue in Auburn, AL.

Hours:
Monday-Tuesday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Cafe 123

 


Located in an authentic 50s soda fountain, Cafe 123 is a fine dining restaurant serving southern and continental cuisine with a hip, vintage atmosphere. Take it from me, you DO NOT want to miss out on this one of a kind dining experience. The menu features hand-cut ribeyes and filets, sushi-grade tuna, and a selection of Chef's specials and fresh cataches. Some local favorites include Beer-Battered Asparagus with Lemon Aioli, classic tableside Ceasar for two and Chef Eron Bass' Beef Tenderloin Napoleon. Wine dinners and other special events will keep you coming back again and again. For more information, please visit www.cafeonetwentythree.com. Reservations are recommended.

Personal Favorite:

Appetizer: Fried Green Tomatoes, thick sliced green tomatoes fried to golden, accompanied with a horseradish and parmesan sauce.
Entree: Barbeque Bourbon Salmon, farm-raised Chilean salmon, seared with a barbeque bourbon glaze, served over Oakview Farms creamy stone-ground grits and sauteed spinach, finished with creme fraiche and scallions.
Dessert: Their dessert menu is always changing, but everything I have ever had has been fabulous.
Drink of Choice: Cafe 123 has an exceptional wine list. There is something for everyone!

Located at 123 South Eighth Street in Opelika, AL.

Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: 6-9 p.m.

Those are just a few of our amazing dining options in the Auburn/Opelika area. Stay tuned for Part 2 in a few weeks! For more information, please visit www.aotourism.com!

This week in Auburn/Opelika:

June 22-23: Camp War Eagle at Auburn University
June 22-26: Summer Ecology Camp, Explorers at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center
June 23: Opelika Mainstreet Farmers Market from 3-6 p.m.
June 23: Summer Swing Concert series at the Municipal Park in Opelika
June 25: The Market at Ag Heritage Park from 3-6 p.m.
June 25-26: Camp War Eagle at Auburn University
June 27: A Day in Clay at the Dean Road Ceramics Studio

For additional information on all events in the Auburn/Opelika area, please visit www.aotourism.com!



 

 
 

 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tis' the season!

Tis' the season for flowers, pictures, diamonds and vows. It is wedding season if you didn't catch my hints and the Auburn-Opelika area would love to provide the backdrop to your perfect day. There are a wide variety of venues in the Auburn-Opelika area that are not only excellent wedding venues, but can also serve your business for meetings, conferences and much more. Below are just a few options, but be sure to check out www.aotourism.com for a complete list of wedding and meeting venues.


The Hotel at Auburn University

Calling all Auburn fans! If you are like me, you live, breathe and cherish everything that is Auburn. If this is you, our first venue will satisfy your craving for everything Auburn. The Hotel at Auburn University is ideal with downtown Auburn being a short walk up the street and Auburn University surrounding the property. They have 22,000 square feet of newly renovated event space that can be customized to your specifications. They also have a partnership with Samford Hall that will allow you to have your ceremony on Samford lawn in front of one of the most iconic buildings in Auburn. For more information, please call (334) 821-8200.

 
 

Auburn-Opelika Marriott at Grand National

The Marriott at Grand National is located on the beautiful Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Marriott Certified Wedding Planners are trained to help plan your perfect day. After completing demanding coursework, each Marriott Certified Wedding Planner is qualified to coordinate weddings of all types, including ethnic and military weddings. They are ready to execute every aspect of your wedding including setting an event budget, deciding on a menu, arranging table settings, finding florists, photographers, a band and other entertainment for the big day. Not to mention, they are centrally located between Auburn and Opelika. For more information, please call (334) 741-9292.
 
 
 

Moore's Mill Club

Nothing says scenery like the rolling hills of a golf course, and Moore's Mill Club offers just that, but mixes in classic, southern elegance. The Pavilion is their largest event space, and extends to a patio and The Lawn, where ceremonies are typically held. The space sits adjacent to the clubhouse and the 18th hole. It is enclosed in the winter with clear, wooden paneled siding, which is removed in the spring and summer months. The pavilion is a popular space used for receptions, seated dinners and functions for large groups. The Lawn sits overlooking the 18th hole and is easily transformed into your ideal outdoor ceremony. For more information, please call (334) 826-3744.
 
             
                                              

The Bottling Plant Event Center

Located in historic downtown Opelika, The Bottling Plant Event Center offers an elegant, yet rustic feel for your wedding or event. The venue is housed in the former Coca-Cola building, and can accommodate functions from 6 to 1,500 people. The center retains much of the building's original charm and character by having a unique warehouse atmosphere with added modern amenities for clients to reserve various areas for meetings or special events. With three ballrooms, two meeting rooms, a roof top terrace, courtyard area, bridal suite and pre-function areas, you are sure to plan one amazing event. For more information, please call (334) 705-5466.


 


Other Wedding Venue Options:


Those are just some of the many options available in the Auburn-Opelika area, but it doesn't stop there! We feel that that the Auburn-Opelika area has something to fulfill any vision. For more information about any of the venues below, please visit www.aotourism.com.
  • Auburn Arena, (334) 844-9839
  • Fountain View Mansion, (334) 466-2120
  • Greystone Mansion, (334) 705-0173
  • Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, (334) 821-9921
  • Lazenby Farms, (334) 745-0552
  • The Reserve at Oak Bowery, (334) 744-0605
  • Saugahatchee County Club, (334) 749-3441
  • Water Oak Manor, (334) 821-2506

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. We are here to help you with anything we can to make your special day everything you want it to be and more. Don't forget that the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau will be happy to provide you with brochures on the area to help your guests navigate, explore and enjoy our area!

 

This week in Auburn-Opelika:

June 8-12: Summer Ecology Camp, Hunger Games at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center
June 11-12: Camp War Eagle at Auburn University
June 11: Float-N-Movie featuring The Lego Movie at Samford Pool
June 12: Bronwynne Brent in Concert at Sundilla from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
June 12: A Pop-Up SummerNight in downtown Auburn