Visit the Historic Bridges of Blount County and More

Look out at Palisades Park at Blount County.

Northeast of Birmingham is Blount County, Alabama.  With a state park, a scenic county park, three historic covered bridges, and quaint communities, this a serene setting for a weekend getaway.  When planning our trip to Rickwood Caverns, I started researching the area and looking for local attractions and restaurants.  My research paid big dividends on our fall camping trip.  Here are some tips and ideas for making the most of your time here!

Rickwood Caverns

Parks and Camping

If you like to camp, Rickwood Caverns has a small developed campground offering excellent facilities.  The cave tour at the park is worth the trip alone.  The tour was very educational, and one of the best park tours that I have done in a while.  Don't skip this!

A stay at Rickwood Caverns will allow you to explore Blount County at your leisure.  I recommend staying here as part of your trip.  Blount County has enough to do that you will want to spend a couple of days.

Plus, Rickwood Caverns has an Olympic size pool that is fed from the deep waters of the cave.  There are hiking trails and a seasonal Christmas tour.  No matter what time of year you visit, this park will have plenty of activities.

Picnic area at Palisades Park.

Venture outside of the park, and explore neighboring Palisades Park.  This park is a county facility that is part of the Blount County Parks and recreation.  While there are no camping sites there, this park does have hiking trails and rock climbing.  We had our family reunion there in July in one of the lodges.  The meeting and group facilities are clean and well maintained.

The views are worth the drive into the park.  There are plenty of outdoor picnic tables and a nice playground for children.  This would make an excellent stop while out touring the covered bridges of Blount County.

Historic Covered Bridges

I read about the covered bridges in Blount County and planned for us to visit each of the three.  From Rickwood Caverns, there is about 30 minutes of driving time or so to the first one.  Slow down, sit back and enjoy the drive going to each one.  Many of the roads are narrow and wind through the countryside.  The drive is lined with country churches, produce stands and plenty of scenery to make this relaxing.  Set the mood with some bluegrass music.  We listened to Bluegrass Junction (channel 63) on Sirius as we traveled through the backroads.  I created a Google Map of the Blount County Bridges if you would like to use it to travel to each one.  I've labeled the map in order of our visit traveling from Rickwood Caverns where we camped.

Swann Covered Bridge in Blount County.  This is the county's highest and longest covered bridges.

Swann Covered bridge is the longest and highest of the bridges.  I'll admit that it was rather scary driving across the first one.  The bridges are narrow and one lane.  You can pull over on one side of this bridge and walk down to the water underneath.  This was a fun start to our tour.

Underneath the Swann Bridge is a waterfront area that you could also choose to have a picnic or just enjoy the waters underneath.  We parked along the side of the side to take in the scenery.  The views are beautiful at this location and shouldn't be rushed.  Take your time on the covered bridge tour and enjoy the simple beauty of each one.  Its a step back in time that was fun to experience.

View at Swann Covered Bridge in Blount County

Horton Mill Bridge in Blount County, Alabama.

Next, we traveled to Horton Bridge.  There was a local gentleman starting across as we were about to enter this bridge.  He was towing a little trailer with lawn equipment on the back of his truck.  It was apparent that locals still use these bridges for day to day tasks.  And each bridge was well maintained for travel.  And these little things made it a fun day trip for us.

Easley Covered Bridge in Blount County, Alabama.

The final bridge that we visited was the Easley Bridge.  It was both the oldest and shortest of the bridges.  We actually got out and walked across this bridge to take some photographs.

The Easley Bridge is close to the town of Oneonta.  We planned our route so that we could go into town and have lunch before going back to our campsite for the cave tour at Rickwood Caverns that day.  Oneota has cute shops along the main downtown area.

Lunch at Miller's in Oneonta, Alabama.

The cold plate at Millers Soda Shop in Oneonta, Alabama.

Visit the County Seat - Oneonta

We had lunch at Miller's Drug Store.  I had a cold plate featuring chicken salad, broccoli salad, pasta salad, and ambrosia.  This is a nice sampling of several salads.  The chicken salad was excellent and well seasoned.  The ambrosia was a jello and cool whip concoction that was reminiscent of childhood memories.  Its that sweet "salad" blue-haired ladies would bring to luncheons. The pasta salad and broccoli salad could be skipped.  So, I would recommend asking for the chicken salad and ambrosia.  It was plenty on its own.

My husband thought the fried green BLT was good.  The children's meals were plenty and cheap.  My son is always happy with chicken tenders and french fries.  It's a good family friendly option.  They also offer a selection of desserts.  We didn't try anything sweet, but it is worth considering based on other reviews.

While we were waiting for lunch, I walked around with our son to visit some of the shops.  The Pink Porch Market has a selection of both vintage and farmhouse decorative items.  I picked up a set of jello molds that reminded me of my grandmother's kitchen.  Stop in this shop and maybe grab a souvenir from your visit.  I don't think that souvenirs always have to be branded with the place you visited.  I will always think about my trip to Blount County when I see these jello molds hanging in my kitchen.

Copper jello molds purchased in Oneonta, Alabama.

Special Events

If you are looking for just the right time to visit Blount County, there is a Covered Bridge Festival in October each year.  Rickwood Caverns also does a special Christmas decorated tour of the cave.  Plus, summer offers swimming in the large cave water-filled pool at Rickwood Caverns.  No matter what time of year you explore this quaint county, you can drive the countryside and take in the views and scenery that make it a lovely spot to relax and refresh.  We loved Blount County and plan to visit again next year.

You can read my review of Rickwood Caverns and also find out about the campfire apples we enjoyed on my blog.  Until next time...

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