On road trip through Alabama, I simply had to stop by Scottsboro Alabama which is in North Alabama. Why? I had heard of Scottsboro AL from my parents-in-law who had visited the Unclaimed Baggage Store Alabama. Along with the mecca to shopping that is Unclaimed Baggage, Scottsboro has plenty of other attractions. Among the other things to do in Scottsboro Alabama are such as charming Scottsboro restaurants, the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Jackson County Park. With its location close to Huntsville Alabama, Scottsboro Alabama is a great family-friendly day trip which includes great shopping, restaurants, historical sites and water based activities.
- 1 About Scottsboro Alabama
- 2 Unclaimed Baggage Scottsboro
- 3 More Things to Do in Scottsboro AL
- 4 Natural Attractions Near Scottsboro Alabama
About Scottsboro Alabama
Located in Northeast Alabama, Scottsboro Alabama is only 30 miles from each of Georgia and Tennessee. The area was originally Cherokee lands but the Native Americans got chased away by white settlers in the early 19th century. Scottsboro Alabama was incorporated in 1860 and has had its ups and downs since then.
Prior to the arrival of the Scottsboro AL lost luggage center, the biggest thing to happen in town was the Scottsboro Boys civil rights case. Now, there’s plenty of things to do in Scottsboro Alabama mostly for outdoors lovers.
Unclaimed Baggage Scottsboro
Since 1970 the Unclaimed Baggage Store Alabama is the final destination for much of the country’s lost luggage. Hopefully, they begin Phase 2 of their lives with new owners. Unclaimed Baggage is THE tourist attraction among the things to do in Scottsboro AL.
Unclaimed Baggage Scottsboro buys lost luggage in bulk. Owners of lost luggage have 90 days to get their bags back. After that, the airlines can sell the luggage and that is when Unclaimed Baggage Scottsboro steps in. What’s in the 40,000 s.f. of the store is very much dependent on what gets lost/unclaimed.
There are giant hangars of merchandise for men, women and children at the Unclaimed Baggage Store Alabama. Clothes are definitely the majority of stuff. As is the usual stuff you take on vacation – jewellery, hats and shoes. The electronic department is small but great – headphones, iPads, laptops and cameras. There is a wide variety of stuff that people forget in the back of the seat pocket – books, sunglasses and e-readers. And, of course, you do have a selection of luggage for sale.
Prices tend to be 20% off the suggested manufacturer’s retail price so items are good value. I was told about a Rolex watch they sold recently (worth $64,000 but sold for $26,000). I purchased a super cheap small camera (Lumix) that has been great as a backup to my iPhone camera. It’s one of those places where you could browse for hours and wind up buying stuff just because the prices are so good.
Unclaimed Baggage hours are open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM. On Saturday Unclaimed Baggage hours are longer from 8 AM to 7 PM. The Scottsboro AL Lost Luggage store is located at 509 W. Willow Street.
More Things to Do in Scottsboro AL
The Unclaimed Baggage Store Alabama is definitely the biggest thing in town but there are plenty of more things to do in Scottsboro AL.
Historic Downtown Scottsboro AL
Historic downtown Scottsboro Al is fairly compact. Along with a few restaurants and stores, there is the court house where the initial Scottsboro Boys trial occurred. If you are looking for things to do in Scottsboro Alabama, here you get small town Southern life.
Lucky for visitors to the Unclaimed Baggage Store Alabama, the in-store restaurant Cups Cafe is an excellent option for sustenance for a shopping marathon. It serves Starbucks as well as sandwiches.
Cups Cafe is also known for its Chicken Salad which seems to be a favourite sandwich filler for Alabama. The chicken salad appears in the list for 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama
Cups Cafe is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch.
Payne’s Soda Shop is one of the restaurants in Scottsboro AL downtown. You will think you have stepped back in time to the 1950’s. Paynes itself has been in business since 1869 when it started as a pharmacy. It’s a cute place for lemonade, sandwiches and ice cream. I’ve weaned myself off Diet Coke (over a painful 3 month period) so I couldn’t try their peanut Coke specialty which apparently is amazing.
Payne’s Soda Shop is located at 101 E. Laurel Street, Scottsboro 35768.
And, of course Scottsboro restaurants have to have their fair share of Southern barbecue! All of 50 Taters Comfort Food (1497 County Park Road), Tate’s Take Out BBQ (103 West Stewart Road), Holy Smokes BBQ (108 Tupelo Turnpike) and KC’s BBQ (2300 County Park Road) came highly recommended.
I chose KC’s BBQ among the Scottsboro AL restaurants with barbecue simply for the beautiful location. The menu is massive! I had the usual meat and three sides option. You can sit in the air-conditioned restaurant or the screened-in porch which looks out over Lake Guntersville. KC’s BBQ is open 7 days a week.
Scottsboro Boys Museum
The Scottsboro Boys Museum documents one of the most important Civil Rights cases in US history which lead to two very important US Supreme Court cases defending the rights of people on trial in the USA.
The story started out innocently enough with people free riding on trains as they searched for work during the Great Depression. On a train from Chattanooga Tennessee in 1931 though, a fight broke out between black and white freeriders while the train was going through Alabama.
When the police arrived, 9 black teenagers (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were accused of raping two white women and promptly taken to the nearest county jail in Scottsboro. The boys protested their innocence but no one listened. The Scottsboro sheriff had to call in the National Guard to prevent the townspeople from lynching the boys.
In the Jim Crow South, being accused of raping a white woman was pretty much the death knell for a black man (a la To Kill A Mockingbird). The Scottsboro trial outcome for the initial trial in Scottsboro sentenced all of them except the 13 year old to death.
Liberal activist lawyers from the North got a stay of execution pending an appeal. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the USA which granted the boys a retrial. It became enshrined in law that people accused of crimes were entitled to adequate legal representation.
Round 2. The retrials went to Decatur Alabama. One of the white women recanted her accusation that she had been raped. AND, there medical evidence no rape had happened. What’s the point of facts when racism is at play though? The Scottsboro trial outcome for Round 2 was that an all-white jury sentenced the Scottsboro Boys to death again.
The Judge set aside the verdict and a new round of appeals began. The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Scottsboro boys on the grounds that the boys had a right to a jury of their peers (including both black and white jurors).
The Scottsboro trial outcome was finally decided. In the interim though the Scottsboro Boys had spent years in prison while all the legal wrangling occurred. Eventually they were all released and pardoned.
The Scottsboro Boys Museum was opened in 2010 and has random opening hours. Call ahead to make sure it is open but it is one of the worthwhile things to do in Scottsboro.
Jackson County Park
Jackson County Park is located on the shores of Lake Guntersville, Alabama’s largest lake. In terms of things to do near Scottsboro AL, you can’t beat the thousands of acres available for boating, fishing and watersport activities. Lake Guntersville was created by a dam of the Tennessee River in 1938 to protect the area against flooding and to provide hydroelectricity.
You can rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards as well as motorboats. KC’s BBQ is the onsite restaurant.
For family fun, Jackson Park has easy walking trails as well as a children’s playground. The fishing is considered excellent at Lake Guntersville.
Natural Attractions Near Scottsboro Alabama
In addition to Lake Guntersville, near Scottsboro Alabama there are some other nature related activities for outdoors lovers. If you love exploring nature, you will be set for things to do near Scottsboro AL.
Cathedral Caverns has huge rock formations and is a pleasant break in the summer from the Alabama heat and humidity. The Walls of Jericho is known as the Grand Canyon of the South. The biblical name comes from a 19th century preacher because you know… Alabama.
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