Huntsville Family Adventure Day


Family Adventure Days began when my husband and I realized that while we were all together at home on the weekends, we weren’t actually tuning into each other as a family. With the temptations of video games, tv, and the internet at home, we decided to set aside one day each weekend that we are able to leave the house and get out and have some inexpensive fun together as a family. This began in September of 2009 and has been the best thing that ever happened to the Jordans!

We’ve had some odd days here in Alabama this month. Days that actually involve snow and even being snowed in. Recently we were snowed in for the first time in my life and they had to cancel school – for five whole days. On day two, Ricky learned to shovel snow. This usually grumpy-in-the-morning person was out there at seven a.m. (late for me, early for him) and had his car dug out and was leaving a cloud of dust by ten on his way to work.

“But you work on the computer. You don’t even have to go in. You just said hardly anyone would make it into the office today” was my argument as he cheerfully donned his coat and tried to explain how much more he could get done at the office. Well no duh, I could get a lot done if I had an office, too. I let that point go unspoken though, as I looked and noticed that my car had not been dug out.

So the kids and I stayed shut up home for a full week. We needed to get out in a bad way. We needed some fun together away from the house and the four walls that had contained the three of us for the majority of the week.

We have never looked forward to a Saturday family adventure more than this one!

For our family adventure, we ended up at a historic landmark in my hometown of Huntsville called Harrison Brother’s Hardware store. I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, as was my mother and her mother before her, but I’d never once stepped foot inside this store so I was well overdue.

The kids were kind of excited but promises of a hardware store didn’t seem to crank their tractor as much as they did mine. They just didn’t know what they were in for though!

Then we walked in…

This store is run by the Huntsville Historic Society (or a society with a name awfully close to that) and is sort of part museum/part old time general store. The product selection ranges anywhere from cast iron skillets to hand carved wooden spoons, to old timey toys and modern cookbooks.

No, they didn’t have mine. Of course my heart kinda sank a bit but then I got over it. You know what the good book says about prophets not being known in their hometown and such – not that I’m  a prophet, but there is some wisdom in there. But hey, the Huntsville Historic Society doesn’t know me from Adam anyway.

Okay, I’ve rambled enough, lets get back to the good stuff here. First of all, this store is NEAT!  It is right up my alley from start to finish and the kids really got into it. I’m glad it isn’t closer to my house because I could easily go there everyday and spend every penny I had!

Look at all of these beautiful handmade hats? Things like this, in neat displays, are all around the store.

It seems like everywhere you turn there is a new treasure to find.

The dishtowels caught my eye. I ended up buying one :).

This is this is their original safe. You can look into it and see all sorts of memorabilia from the old days. I wish I could give you an entire photographic tour of the store but there is so much to see I’m sure I’d leave out some of it.

You’ll just have to come to Alabama and visit it for yourself! ~grins~

This is the original elevator, now serving as a sort of museum setup.

This was our purchase for the day. The kids had a ball going through the old marble bin and each of them picked out a large and a small marble.

They were like little treasures to them.

I picked out a really neat dish towel.

I don’t think Ricky picked out anything but we went to one of his favorite places for lunch, a little diner in town called the Blue Plate Cafe.

They had a great selection of toys. Some of them were modern but they had many old fashioned and time tested favorites.

Did I mention I love this store?

I also love the look of delight on Katy Rose’s face!

This cat they are looking at isn’t real but he has been there for a few decades. He is motion activated and the kids just loved him, too!

I cannot believe I’ve lived in Huntsville all of my life and had never been to Harrison Brothers. This is a definite “Must Do Again” for our Family Adventure Day. We had a great time and the kids felt like they had stepped back in time!

The great thing is that it was free and in our hometown. It’s always fun to get out and explore things near you. This past summer we went to another local museum that I’d never been to. The Burritt Museum was fascinating and the kids had a ball! Click here to visit that post.

Getting out with your kids doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but the time spent is priceless above all else.


And now, I’d like to introduce you to our sponsor of this post, who has put together five AMAZING Gift packages, each worth over $100!

I have always loved HearthSong and every one of their sister companies (Plow and Hearth is my favorite catalog to drool over). Our new friends at

Hearthsong are generously offering FIVE complete sets of everything you see below.

That means five people will win one of everything here!

Each set is over $100 value.

They include:

Connectagons – open ended construction with multi colored wooden disks.

(I want a set of these SO BAD! I am gonna have to order me some. I *may* let the kids play with them, too ~winks~)

Treehouse PlaysetThis wooden Treehouse Play Set has 360° of beautifully illustrated details – like flowers, leaves, birds – and comes with 2 dolls, a tree “stump” dining set, campfire, animals, swing, ladder and working crane. Kids simply put the slotted pieces together and spend hours telling stories and acting out treehouse adventures.

(Okay, I really want one of these, too! I can just imagine my grandchildren playing with it someday)

Qwirkle – If you like Scrabble® and adore dominoes, you’ll love Qwirkle, a game of strategy based on color and shape rather than letters, so both readers and non-readers can play. Winner of both Parents’ Choice ® and Mensa awards, it’s a game that makes you think, laugh, and applaud.

(you don’t even have to read to play this? How cool!)

Dinner Games – Everyone looks forward to family meals with these collections of 51 quick and easy games, created especially for playing at the table while you eat – no game board needed! Just pick any card and discover delicious riddles, fun conversation starters, thought-provoking questions, memory games, and so much more. Great for car trips too!

(Y’all know I love road trips with the kids, right? I think they made this game for me)

Deluxe Pick Up Sticks – A game of coordination and mental skill, Pick Up Sticks is something that everyone can enjoy – and this deluxe family set offers larger-than-life fun! Made of high quality Italian wood. Comes in a drawstring cotton bag for storage.

(My brother always beat me at this. I bet if I practiced….)

I’m so excited to host such a wonderful and enriching giveaway and I know you will enjoy getting to know Hearthsong, too!

This contest is closed. Special thanks to everyone who entered!

Congratulations to the following winners:

  • Kim (
  • Shirley D Moore
  • Holly at Southern Seven
  • Donna Guerrero
  • Wendy Waldaiz

I’m about to contact all of the winners by email with instructions on how to claim their prize. Thank you again!

This contest ends Saturday, January 29th at midnight. All five winners will be drawn from the comments below and announced on this post and on the Southern Plate Facebook Page sometime on Sunday, January 30th.


Disclaimer: I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions contained herein are my own because I have so many opinions that I certainly don’t have time to keep up with anyone else’s anyhow. I can’t drink cold stuff without a straw and this past weekend I discovered that peanut butter mixed with cream cheese is pretty stinking awesome on a piece of wheat bread. Oh, and if I’m ever elected president I’m going to make watching Little House On The Prairie part of our public education requirements. I’m all done disclaiming now :)


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  1. Mindy Jeffers says

    My favorite childhood toy would have to be a “group” item – my books! Growing up the youngest on a Georgia dairy farm, I often found myself alone; my parents both worked and my older brother and sister had what they commonly referred to as “lives of their own.” I was watched after by my beloved grandmother and consider those days among my most cherished memories. In the summers, or when I was out of school, we would do the work first – cleaning, cooking, washing clothes on a wringer, hanging them on a line, sprinkling them, IRONING them, gardening, and sewing – and then every afternoon, we’d both look forward to reading. Grandma loved to get a good book and settle down for a couple of hours to read before it was time to start supper. I followed suit, and lost my little country girl self in a world of knights and ladies, giant peaches, and prairie houses. When I wasn’t reading, I was writing – poems, short stories, “books.” Now, I try daily to pass on this true blessing and joy to high school students as an English teacher. Those cherished childhood “toys” have come full circle.

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