Our Neighbor to the North

By on 2 August, 2017 in Brandie Johnson, Fun with 1 Comment

I think my last blog post pretty well established how much I like Montgomery. But, sometimes, I like to change it up. Which is why, as I mentioned in my previous post, I am writing about things to do in cities within driving distance of Montgomery. A couple of Saturdays ago my husband, David, and I went on a little adventure to downtown Prattville. We took the whole “getting ready” thing slow, it was a Saturday after all. So, two hours after peeling ourselves from our comfy bed, we were backing out of the driveway.

Prattville is just a quick 20-minute drive up the interstate, the perfect amount of time to catch up on celebrity gossip on my phone and mock comment on my husband’s driving skills.

As we pulled into a parking spot in downtown I heard a familiar jingle growing ever louder. It was an ice cream truck! I practically levitated out of the car. David quickly followed suit. He approached me and said, while cautiously patting my shoulder, “after we eat real food.” I sighed deeply and agreed. The disappointment, however, dissipated immediately upon walking into Fox’s Pizza Den; nothing, nothing, is higher on my list of favorite foods than a pepperoni pizza.

Fox’s is located in a beautiful old building with pictures of foxes all along the exposed brick walls. A chalk board sign advertises the day’s special while another one encourages you to try “The Big One Challenge.” You, and two friends, have 52 minutes to eat a 30-inch, 52-slice, three-topping pizza. I’ve seen this pizza in real life, it’s something to behold. David and some friends ordered it for a guys night once, the thing was so big it had to ride in the trunk. We actually had to turn it side-ways to get it in the house and it took up an entire card table. The pizza has to be ordered twenty-four hours in advance (they likely need to notify extra employees to come in to help carry the thing out of the kitchen), otherwise David and I probably would’ve attempted the challenge, just the two of us. We’re bad influences on each other. Instead we settled on a large pizza. The plan was to order a pizza big enough to have slices leftover to take home. That plan didn’t come to fruition.

After taking a quick breather (we had just eaten ten slices of pizza together) we emerged from the den and began a leisurely (again, ten slices of pizza) stroll through downtown. Downtown Prattville is small enough you could probably walk the perimeter in less than an hour. But it packs a lot of charm into the limited acreage. “Behind” downtown there’s an old cotton mill and a dam. David tried to climb up some old stone steps near the dam, steps that had a sign clearly saying “no trespassing,” but he abandoned the effort when I told him I wouldn’t bail him out if he got arrested.

In an effort to keep David out of trouble, and to avoid searing in the sun, I led him over to a small shaded garden with a fountain in the middle. There we saw locks on the iron railing separating the garden from the river— in which a pair of gentleman fished— created by the dam; Prattville’s own little version of the Pont des Arts, Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, and Pont de l’Archevêché bridges in Paris. There were also several delightfully painted little rocks hide among the landscaping. According to alabamanews.net, Caroline LaMothe decided to hide painted rocks and encourage people to go rock hunting as a way to get people moving. When you find a rock, you take a picture of it, post it to a local “rock hunting” group, and re-hide the rock. There are buckets of unpainted rocks sitting in front of some businesses downtown so you can paint your own and hide it.

Having sufficiently cooled off in the shade, we walked over to Quality Comix. David is a big comic book fan and I’m a big fan of movies and tv shows based on comic books, so this place was nirvana, plus it was airconditioned. Like Fox’s, Quality Comix is located in an old building with exposed brick, original hardwood floors, and the coolest green fireplace. David found about half a dozen comics which he showed to me while making puppy dog eyes (his birthday is coming up). And admittedly, I squealed and skipped a little as I found Hulk action figures and a Dr. Strange coffee mug. Believe when I tell you, you could spend all day in this place. And not just because of the free air conditioning. However, we had to leave before we spent all of our money.

By this point it had been about half an hour since we ate so it seemed a good time to go into this cute shop we passed on our way to the comic store. As we walked into Candy Corner we were greeted by the owners, two very nice women, who explained how the shop worked. Basically, you take a bag and fill it with any candy that is not prepackaged. They weigh the bag and you pay by the pound. One of the ladies offered me and David free samples (strawberry cheesecake Jelly Beans and cream sickle Gummy Bears). David declined the Gummy Bear but loved the Jelly Bean. Personally, I could’ve eaten about three handfuls of both. David found these plastic cups called “Decade Cups” which were filled with candy from a particular decade. It was fun to see all the candies I ate as a kid in the ’90s. There were also jaw breakers so big that one of the owners said people often mistake them for bath bombs (what a time to be alive). Yet again, we could have stayed here for hours, filling bags with pounds of candy. But, considering we had eaten so much pizza, David and I decided we didn’t need too much candy, so we each picked out one treat. Then we spotted a rather bizarre candy called “Smarties Squeeze Candy,” and we couldn’t resist. Like I said, we’re bad influences on each other. (In case you’re wondering, it was weird.) As we were checking-out, we struck up a conversation about the painted rocks and the owners asked if we would be willing to hide the shop’s rocks as we continued on our adventure. We willingly, and gladly, obliged.

We kind of skirted the rock hiding rules, we actually took pictures of the rocks in the hiding places we picked.I’ll give you a hint about one of them. We hid it in Wilderness Park, also known as Bamboo Park. The park was dedicated in 1982 and hosts a lot of bamboo trees. Right in the middle of Prattville. Who would’ve thought? It’s a neat place to explore and there’s ample shade, so you can even visit in the dead of an Alabama summer. Just pack your bug spray. Lots of bug spray. Otherwise, as we Alabamians say, the mosquitos just might carry you away.

When you visit Prattville (and after reading this post, I know you will), visit Wilderness Park and try to find the rock we hid. If you don’t find that one, look around the streets of downtown, we hid two more there. If you find one, return it to Candy Corner for a discount on your purchase! And while you’re there, ask the wonderful ladies there about other “must see” places in Prattville. Make sure you at least visit Fox’s. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Until next time, go forth and find some rocks.

Brandie Bradshaw Johnson is the managing partner of The NewSouth Bookstore in downtown Montgomery. In her downtime she enjoys: reading books, crocheting, cuddling with her two dogs, hanging out with her best friend/husband, David, and watching The Golden Girls.

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  1. Mo says:

    Fox’s is good but next time you are in Pville you should try the pizza at the Pasta Mill that is also downtown. It is thin crust and is the best in Montgomery or Prattville in my opinion.

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