1. It’s basically summer. (Right now.)
Check your calendar. Is it winter where you are? Because in Alabama, that season doesn’t exist. It gets cold for two weeks in February maybe, but in a place where anything below about 60 degrees is considered “arctic tundra” on the thermostat setting, you’ve got to really take the southern understanding of cold weather with a grain of salt.
And on those cold days? Yeah, it’s still going to heat up to about 70 or 80. That’s summer for almost every other state. So come on down, bring your grill, plastic furniture, and lawn flamingos. Barbeque in December!
2. There’s a little bit of everything down here.
We’ve got mountains, wetlands, forests, beaches, and caves all in one state.
While the midlands (Montgomery, etc.) can be a bit bland from a scenic perspective, you’re just a daytrip away from just about any kind of wilderness you want to explore. Not much for landscapes and outdoor adventure? No problem! You’re bound to find a ton of Civil War and Civil Rights history to explore if you take a look around.
3. Even if people don’t like you, they’ll be nice about it.
Southern hospitality is a thing, even when people don’t want it to be a thing. It’s like a switch none of us can turn off. So we’ll be polite to you, even if we don’t really care much for your company.
4. The food is better down here.
Say what you will about a home-cooked meal. In Alabama, that’s probably the best meal you’ll eat all day. Sure, all the old restaurant chains are around, but you can get that anywhere, anytime in Middle America. Home-cooked meals are a southern delicacy. Where else are you going to get grits and hush puppies, with a side of fried green tomatoes and sausage smothered in homemade country gravy (not that instant-gravy shit)?
Note: “Better” doesn’t mean “healthier.” We cook things in a deep fryer, most of the time. If you’re trying to avoid a heart attack, you might want to limit your intake. Alabamians have a number of ways (butter) to make things taste great (grease), and we’ll find something (BBQ) that suits your needs perfectly.
5. Cheap digs and old style lodging.
The cost of living in Alabama is lower compared to other states. Rack that up to being a flyover state, if you like, but the southern heartland isn’t known for soaring prices on real estate.
You’ll find great deals on lodging in cities and urban areas, and many enterprising real estate owners have realized the huge benefits of renovating older-style homes and buildings. So sure, the outside of the building might be that 1800-style brick masonry with a scorch mark on the side from a centuries-old fire, but the inside might be a beautiful loft with refinished wood flooring and a vaulted ceiling with a skylight (seen it!) — all for a very low price.
6. Football is king.
What’s on TV? Football. When? Yes.
College football is the king of sports down here. Alabama is home to two major college teams, as well as the Iron Bowl — which pits those two teams against one another every year. Aside from hunting, it’s all anyone can talk about down here. Almost everyone watches the big game. Work and life schedules shift and revolve around catching the biggest sporting events of the year, and how the sport is played is ingrained in every child who ever attended Alabama public school.
7. We might have a job opening for you soon.
Whether you agree with the current political climate or not, Alabama is a die-hard Republican state, and campaign promises that discuss lost manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt also apply to the deep south. Alabama has a strong manufacturing base, but it’s likely to grow in the coming years if major manufacturing returns to the US.
So if you’re looking for a job, keep a steady eye on it. Alabama tries to be as friendly to industrial manufacturing as it can, and it’s gotten some decent deals out of that partnership.
8. If you’re looking for iced, sweet tea, we know how to do that for you.
Sweet tea is, well, sweet. But you’ve got to balance it the right way. The right amount of sugar, the right type of tea, the right Mason jar to put it in. It’s a fine art and one that many Alabamians have down to, well, a tee. Be sure to tell your host if you prefer ice or lemon, or if you just want sweet tea straight from the fridge.
9. Smaller crowds.
There are spectacularly crowded places in the world. Manhattan. The LA 405. Basically all of Atlanta at rush hour.
Alabama has a very limited amount of those crowded spaces. Sure, you’ll still get some traffic jams if there’s a wreck. Rush hour around the city isn’t fun, but it’s bearable. The biggest traffic danger you’ll get caught up in most weeks is the church parking lot around 11:30 on Sunday morning. Everybody has to get out of the parking lot to catch the game! But don’t worry. Nobody’s leaning on the horn or revving the engine. We’re just too polite for that sort of thing after Sunday service.
10. Strong fields in higher education.
I’m not going to advocate for Alabama public schools. They need some work. But Alabama higher education has some pretty good perks. The strong football programs at Alabama and Auburn mean that the schools have funding for some great programs in science, business, and engineering. UAB has one of the best medical programs in the nation. You’ll find strong masters and doctoral programs around, as well, even at smaller institutions.
While some of the private institutions can really elevate the price, you’ll likely find the best programs at the major, public universities and can factor appropriately for cost. So if you’re looking to gain a degree or advance your education, Alabama can help you with that.
Featured image: Rob Briscoe