We left our Florida condo early Saturday morning and headed north. It was nearly a 5 hour drive, but considering my over-consumption of Pineapple Willy hurricanes and mai thais the night before, it felt like an eternity.
When we were an hour or so from our destination, Jasper, AL, we made a pit stop at Peach Park. Peach Park is a produce market, gift shop, restaurant and ice cream parlor -- it's a fun, touristy stop for travelers like ourselves. While the rest of my family opted for fresh peaches and ice cream, I made my way to the hot food bar and ordered fried chicken strips and baked beans. After scarfing down the greasy grub I felt healed of my alcohol ailment.
When we arrived in Jasper, my longtime best friend, Erin, was waiting at my parent's park. She drove down from her new home in Bowling Green, KY to hang with the Streuli clan for a few days. My grandma and grandpa also made the trip all the way from Wisconsin.
That night we made ribs and chicken on the grill with potatoes, squash and watermelon. I tried to get a good photo, but my old iPhone failed me.
The next morning my mom and dad tag-teamed and made french toast with blueberries, Peach Park peaches, melted whipped cream (it was hot, even in the AM) and Wisconsin maple syrup.
The time spent in Jasper was super relaxing with a good sprinkling of exciting activities. On the first night one of the neighbors put on a one man show playing the guitar and singing familiar tunes. He was really good!
We also had a blast on Smith Lake, a huge lake with some amazing homes! Rumor has it, Courtney Cox, Patrick Swayze and Tim McGraw + Faith Hill all have homes on the lake. Along with the amazing homes, there were some cool rock formations and cliffs. My brother and brother-in-law both jumped off a super high ledge. Erin and I also tested the limits by doing some extreme tubing behind the boat. My arms were sore for at least 3 days after that activity.
One of my favorite Jasper activities was the Dip-Off. When I first heard we were having a Dip-Off I thought everyone was competing to put the largest dip of tobacco in their mouths -- I thought to myself, "that seems like a strange tradition, but I guess we gotta do what the locals do." Luckily, in this context, 'dip' was referring to the food, not the tobacco product.
My mom's entry was a cheese platter. Not exactly a dip, but hey, who doesn't love cheese? My dad made a spicy shrimp and cream cheese dip. It was fresh, perfectly spicy and very flavorful.
Erin and I made a spicy buffalo chicken dip with cream cheese, sour cream, shredded chicken, ranch seasoning, cheddar cheese, buffalo sauce and green onions. The neighbors made: a hot bean dip, a cold bean dip and a taco cheese ball.
All the dips were delicious and I can safely say that is the most cream cheese I've every had present in my body at one time.
During our time in Jasper we also went on a hike in an Alabama National Park with pretty waterfalls; ate at a Mexican restaurant that was strangely similar to a place we used to go to in Wisconsin; and shopped at a huge thrift shop where I found an awesome Green Bay Packer bucket hat.
Living the Jasper lifestyle was great. Fun, relaxation, good food, beautiful scenery, friendly folk...Ain't nothin' wrong with all that.
Coming up next: My mom and I spend a day in Birmingham, AL!