Top 12 stories that Bama Buzz readers loved in 2021

Cheaha
The view from Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama. (Jacob Blankenship for the Bama Buzz)

2021 has been an incredibly eventful year for Alabama, with new developments, the COVID-19 pandemic, sports wins and losses and so much more. Before we leap into the New Year, we rounded up 12 of our most popular stories from 2021—keep reading to find out more!

12 — 8 Must-See Parks in Tuscaloosa, including The Riverwalk

Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa is home to so many beautiful parks, including Lake Nicol. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

In April, Bama Buzz author Libby Foster took us on a virtual tour of eight jaw-dropping parks in Tuscaloosa, including:

  • Lake Lurleen
  • Lake Nicol
  • Lake Harris
  • The Tuscaloosa Riverwalk
  • Van De Graff Park
  • University of Alabama Arboretum
  • Sokol Park
  • Hurricane Creek Park

Click here to read the article & learn more about these beautiful parks.

11 — 7 Mobile lunch spots with amazing outdoor dining options

Liv George
LoDa Bier Garten, Mobile AL. Photo by Liv George for The Bama Buzz.

Bama Buzz’er Liv George is our go-to expert for fun things to do on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. In April, she highlighted seven eclectic restaurants in Mobile with outdoor dining options—perfect for taking advantage of that coastal weather!

Click here to read the article and make plans for lunch in Mobile.

10 — Underdog Alabama takes a bite out of Georgia 

Alabama Football
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and Quarterback Bryce Young celebrate winning the 2021 SEC Championship Photo via Alabama Football — The University of Alabama Football Team Official Facebook page

For the highly-anticipated 2021 SEC Championship, the Bama Buzz published legendary sportswriter Kevin Scarbinsky‘s take on the Alabama Crimson Tide’s win over the top-ranked and undefeated Georgia Bulldogs in early December. Plus, Bama Buzz author Emily Kent was able to snap a few photos while at the game.

Click here to read Kevin Scarbinsky’s take on the 2021 SEC Championship.

9 — BREAKING: Alabama House passes bill permitting dogs at outdoor dining areas  

Rojo
Looking to bring your fur-ever friend to dine with you? With Bill 235, you can! Photo via Taylor Babington

In February, the Alabama House passed Bill 235—a bill that would allow pet owners to bring their pets to restaurants while dining outdoors! Under this bill, pet dogs may join their owners while dining outdoors under the following conditions:

  • Pet dog must be on a leash or in a carrier and under control of the owner at all times.
  • Owner of the pet dog is liable for any damages to the property of the food service establishment caused by the pet dog.
  • Pet dogs are not allowed on the any of the restaurant’s outdoor dining furniture.

And great news—later this year, Governor Ivey officially signed Bill 235 into law.

8 — Is it safe to overlap COVID and flu vaccines? Expert weighs in 

Covid
We went to the experts for the latest on vaccine info. Photo via Unsplash, CDC

This year, COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines have been top-of-mind for nearly everyone. But as flu season approached, many wondered if it was safe to mix a COVID-19 vaccine with the annual flu vaccine. So, Bama Buzz’er Madison Croxon spoke with Dr. Darrel Weaver, MD, a qualified expert at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, to answer some questions.

Click here to read the full interview with Dr. Darrel Weaver, MD.

7 — 7 things you’ve never done in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach during the holidays, but should right now

Mobile
The Wharf is gorgeous in lights. Photo via Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Spending the holidays on the coast is already a fun experience, but Bama Buzz author Patience Itson pulled together a list of 7 incredible activities you can do to make your trip even better, including:

  • Holiday Horse + Carriage Rides
  • Ice Skating
  • The Wharf North Pole Express
  • Photos with Santa
  • Black Friday Shopping
  • Holly Days on Main
  • Reelin’ in the New Year

Click here to read more about how you can celebrate the holidays on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

6 — New Zoo and Aquarium planned for North Alabama   

North Alabama Zoo Rendering
A rendering of the new zoo coming to North Alabama. Rendering via North Alabama Zoological Society, courtesy of Perry Becker Design & BRPH

If you know me, you know I love a good zoo. That’s why I was so excited to read Emily Kent‘s story about the new zoo coming to North Alabama! This project is the brainchild of the North Alabama Zoological Society (NALZS), a non-profit organization that has been working to bring a zoological park and aquarium to North Alabama.

Click here to read the full story about the zoo coming to North Alabama.

5 — 7 must-visit spots across beautiful Lake Martin, Alabama

Chucks On Lake Martin
Chucks at Lake Martin. Photo via Emilyn Hamn for the Bama Buzz 

With 880 miles of shoreline to visit, Lake Martin can be daunting to first-timers. Luckily, Bama Buzz’er Emilyn Hamn pulled together a handy list of seven must-visit spots on the largest man-made lake in Alabama, including:

  • Kowaliga Restaurant 
  • SpringHouse
  • Catherine’s Market
  • Chuck’s
  • Bluff’s Daiquiri Bar
  • The Social 
  • The Landing at Parker Creek

Click here to start planning your next trip to Lake Martin.

4 — 5 reasons to love downtown Fairhope (with pictures!) 

Streets Of Fairhope
Streets of Fairhope, photo via Liv George for The Bama Buzz.

Another entry from Liv George, this article highlights all the reasons to love Fairhope, an adorable little town situated in Baldwin County. This walkable, historic town is full of fun for the whole family—it even has its own French Quarter!

Click here to learn all the reasons to love downtown Fairhope.

3 — 5 surprises awaiting you at Gulf Shores [SLOTH ALERT] 

Gulf Shores
Celebrate life on the beach at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Photo via Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Did I mention that I love zoos? Yeah, I probably did. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is one of the big surprises awaiting you at Gulf Shores, with over 199 species and 31 subspecies—and, of course, sloths!

Click here to learn more about the big surprises you can find in Gulf Shores.

2 — BREAKING: Forever Wild votes to acquire 1,611 acre addition to Oak Mountain State Park

Forever Wild
King’s Chair at Oak Mountain State Park on January 3, 2021. Photo via Oak Mountain State Park Facebook page

In August, Bama Buzz author Pat Byington brought us some incredible news: the Forever Wild Board of Trustees voted to acquire 1,611 acres of forestland adjacent to Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama’s largest state park. This acquisition will both enlarge Oak Mountain State Park and protect the view from King’s Chair, a popular hiking destination.

Click here to learn more about what this acquisition means for Oak Mountain State Park.

1 — Alabama dog saves fawn in heroic rescue at Lake Martin

Fawn
The sweetest duo. Photo via Ralph Dorn/Facebook

Drumroll, please! The most popular story—by far—on the Bama Buzz this year? The story of the heroic rescue of a fawn by a dog at Lake Martin!

In June, Harley the Labrador Retriever went viral for his valiant rescue of a fawn which had become stranded in the middle of Lake Martin. According to the original Facebook post by Harley’s owner, Ralph Dorn, “I couldn’t find Harley this evening until I looked out on the lake. He was near the middle of the lake herding a little fawn back to the shore line. Not sure how the fawn got out there, but Harley obviously didn’t ask why, he just jumped into action.”

And the story gets better—Harley and the fawn have become fast friends!

Click here to read all about the rescue on Lake Martin.

What was your favorite story in Alabama this year? Tag us @thebamabuzz to let us know!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.

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