Alabama's I-22 Region
36 hours in the I-22 Region
There’s magic coursing through the towns, the people, and the nature of Alabama’s Lamar, Fayette, Marion and Winston counties. The hardworking people who call this region home find joy in each other and the beautiful moments they create in a place where it’s easy to feel like you belong. A place where culture is inspired by rural charm.
The makers, artists and musicians of Alabama’s I-22 Region are built on tradition. Tradition is hand-crafted by 10th generation potters who are using the last known standing mule-powered pug mill in the U.S. Tradition is painted in mud by Jimmy Lee Sudduth, an imaginative artist that believed in creating art with materials the Earth gave him. Tradition is sung through the harmonies of country, gospel, and blues music.
The artists, musicians, and makers of Alabama’s I-22 region are genuine, hard-working people who are inspired by nature and the welcoming community around them. If you love history, art, and anything you can call“one-of-a-kind,” this is the place for you.
View over 4000 pieces of art in six different folk-art galleries at The Fayette Art Museum. Fayette, Alabama, was put on the tourist map when National Geographic flagged the museum as a regional attraction in 1999. The Fayette Art Museum often puts on events for all ages, so be sure to check that out when planning a trip. Initially housed in Fayette City Hall, the museum is now located in Fayette Civic Center, originally the Fayette Grammar School, built in the 1930’s and restored in 1982. Look for paintings by Jimmy Lee Sudduth who used colorful paints known as “sweet mud” from a mixture of backyard clay, wild plants and sugary soft drinks. Be sure to snap a selfie at the Tribute to Jimmie Lee Sudduth Mural and use #SweetHomeMurals to stamp your passport on The Alabama Mural Trail. You may also pass by the Frog Level Festival Mural and the Town of Glen Allen Mural while in this area.
Be sure to visit Alabama Sunshine and watch local people using locally grown peppers to produce tasty gourmet products in Fayette, Alabama. Visit Alabama Sunshine’s website for products and recipes to enjoy your wares in your home and wow your guests!
If you want something on the sweeter side, grab a bottle of Fayette’s own Golden Eagle Syrup to take home with you to remember your I-22 adventures. Golden Eagle Syrup was created in 1928 and has been a favorite of generations of families since then. Still produced in Fayette, Alabama, Golden Eagle Syrup offers enjoyable and affordable syrup unlike any other. Golden Eagle Syrup isn’t just limited to pancakes and waffles; recipes for pecan pie, beans, barbecue sauce, caramel corn and cookies are listed on the website as well. Snap a selfie with the Golden Eagle Syrup Company Mural and use #sweethomemurals when posting.
Before leaving Fayette, be sure to stop at Ron’s Pottery to take home pottery, sculptures, and encaustic crayon drawings made from raw materials into items of beauty.
As we head to Lamar County, home of famed Alabama folk potter Jerry Brown and Muscle Shoals musician Dan Penn, let’s check another stop off the Alabama Mural List and visit the Welcome to Vernon Mural. Are you hungry for lunch; grab a bite where the locals go at Todd’s Smokehouse in Vernon with a wonderful family atmosphere. The burger and onion rings come highly recommended, but if you are looking for a lighter side there is a large variety of salads as well.
The clay-rich terrain in this region attracts potters. Alabama’s most famous folk potter, Jerry Brown was born in Sulligent and his workshop and storefront is located in nearby Hamilton in Marion County. Brown’s old-world craftmanship won him loyal fans as well as prestigious Alabama Folk Heritage and National Heritage awards. Which is your favorite “ugly jug”? If you love history, if you love art, and if you love something “different,” you’ve come to the right place at Brown Pottery & Sons. Sita spell. Watch tenth-generation potter Jeff Wilburn turn pieces of pottery and take a tour. In 1992, Jerry Brown was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship and currently has five pieces of pottery on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2003, the Jerry Brown Arts Festival was created and has been recognized as a Top 20 event in the Southeastern U.S.
If you are looking for something beautiful yet unique and 100 percent organic, Missy Miles’ Organic Vessels Studio & Gallery in Hamilton is the place for you. Miles, the reigning and multi-time “Gourd Queen” as selected by the Alabama Gourd Society, has diverse pieces of art which will make you exclaim, “I can’t believe that’s a gourd!” Nestled away in a beautiful private studio west of Hamilton (and only a couple of miles from Jerry Brown Pottery), this gem is a perfect trip for groups of art
enthusiasts who want to add something “new” and “different” to their collection. If she doesn’t have what you want “in stock,” she will be glad to create that special, custom-made piece just for you!
How are you doing checking off those murals with a selfie? This area has 12 murals –can you find them all? Be sure to check out The Alabama Mural Trail and mark all 12 of the murals in Marion County off your list using #SweetHomeMurals.
After a long day we suggest you overnight in the pet-friendly Holiday Inn in Guin just minutes from downtown. Grille 22, located on the property serves breakfast and dinner daily and has nightly drink specials as well as in-room dining six nights a week; closed on Sunday evenings.
After breakfast from Grille 22 we suggest you head to the Wood Studio in Arleywhere all of the pieces, which use Southern hardwoods, are sanded, turned, and varnished. The owners explain, “A lot of woodworkers use exotic woods from South America and ignore our own woods like sassafras, ash, cherry, oak, walnut, and maple; that’s a wonderful range of native materials they’re missing.” Wood Studio finds its raw material in demolished buildings and salvaged trees; once the wood arrives at the shop, it’s stacked and air-dried. Air drying takes a couple of years, but nearly everything they do takes more time. There’s a lot of preparation, knowledge, and skill that goes into preparing the wood so that the end product is going to hold together for 100 to 200 years. Check out all their wares here.
While in the area take advantage of getting to check off one of the 100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die, and stop by the original Guthrie’s that was opened in Haleyville, Alabama, in 1965 by Hal Guthrie. The restaurant originally served a full menu of Southern food, but in 1978 it was changed to focus primarily on chicken fingers.
Belk Kountry Kitchen
6885 HWY 96
Fayette, AL 35555
Breakfast or lunch (Burgers/sweet tea)
4031 Hwy 278
Sulligent, AL 35586
(Thursday –Sunday 4 pm –until)
Oh! Bryans Family Steakhouse
390 Rock Cliff Road
Hamilton, AL 35570
31695 Highway 278
Addison, AL 35540
Dragon Inn and Suites
2448 Temple Ave N
Fayette, AL 35555
Country Squire Motel
4555 HWY 278
Sulligent, AL 35586
2249 Co. Rd. 870
Crane Hill, AL 35053