Lounging on the Lake

This sleepy North Alabama hamlet lures those in search of a restful weekend.
Tanner Latham

Many folks sneak off to Guntersville because the community wraps itself around one of the state's prettiest patches of fresh water--Lake Guntersville. However, the city of roughly 7,600 holds a few shopping and dining surprises that could have easily been plucked from much more urban areas such as Birmingham (65 miles southwest) and Huntsville (45 miles northwest). You're here for the lake, though, and its calming qualities will ease you through this relaxing weekend.

Friday--Getting a Feel for The Place
Upon arrival, drive down Gunter Avenue, the town's main drag, and stop for a late lunch at Covington's Café & Catering. This quaint eatery with the atmosphere of a tearoom serves up an excellent chicken salad sandwich on a croissant ($5.25).

While you're in the area, discover The Rock House Flowers, Gardens and Gifts, a unique home and garden shop. Because it was built as a residence in 1926, the current owners have utilized the space as it was intended, arranging the shop to seem as if you are walking into someone's home. In addition to antiques and decor items, The Rock House also carries cut flowers and plants.

Guntersville offers a few lodging options, and your best bet is the Hampton Inn on U.S. 431. Rates start at $89 a night, with check-in at 3 p.m.; (256) 582-4176.

For dinner, make reservations at Bistro La Luna ([256] 582-0930), located in Covenant Cove, a lodge and marina down on the water. We liked the Seafood al' a Campoli ($20) with sautéed lump crabmeat, shrimp, and scallops tossed in a wine sauce with angel hair pasta.

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