A visit to Opelika, Alabama (pronounced |ˌoʊ pəˈlaɪ kə|) … hmm, not sure if that helps much… but anyway, this town is charming, for real.
We met RC and Michael when we were in Austin for SXSW. Cool dudes making cool stuff. Since we now have the luxury of being able to stop anywhere on a whim, we decided to cruise through their very cute hometown in Opelika, AL for a visit on our way to Georgia.
Lucky for us, one of the most charming (and I mean charming to the fullest extent of the word) festivals was going on that very same weekend. But first, we stopped by RC’s home and studio – which was full of his amazing paintings/stencil artwork, along with the awesome leather work by Michael of Loyal Stricklin. It’s always so inspiring to see the workspace, process and behind-the-scenes of an artist’s studio. I wish I took photos of their historic home with high ceilings, an entry way art wall gallery, and their workshops. Anyway, you should definitely check these guys out.
After a delicious dinner and fun night out with RC, Michael and their friends, we were just falling in love with this little southern town.
The next day was The Heart of Waverly Bluegrass Festival – the name gives you a taste of just how magical this festival was. Deep down a back country rural road, mingled with trees was this little hidden gem. String lights strewn across the trees, a permanent wooden stage set on the lawn, delicious local food (including chicken gizzards and fried catfish tacos), really, really nice people … oh, and of course bluegrass!
It was truly was unlike anything we’ve ever been to before – and these are the moments we were hoping to find along our journey – stumbling upon and discovering the many secret corners of America.
“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” – Wendell Berry