Small Town We Love: Mooresville, Alabama
A real-life living museum.
Why We'd Move There
History reigns supreme in this postcard-size town. As a matter of fact, the entire town, all 0.1 mile and six streets of it, is included on the National Register of Historic Places. White picket fences frame tree-shaded streets and buildings where Presidents have slept. Visiting here is like stepping back into a time of gracious plenty, where city noise is the rustling of oaks and congestion is the growth of moss on clapboard cottages.
Though there's a larger city on either side of this Tennessee River town (Huntsville to the east, Decatur to the west), no one seems eager to leave. In fact, the mayor, Margaret-Anne Crumlish, is the third generation of her family to take the seat and the seventh consecutive generation to live in Mooresville.
Related: Dining in Birmingham
The Perfect Day
Start at JaVa.Mooresville on North Street, where Jack McReynolds, the unofficial town record keeper, serves lattes, lemonades, and apple pies. Then lace up your walking shoes for a guided tour (256/355-2683) with a resident. Stops includethe Stagecoach Inn and Tavern, where town council meetings are still held, and the post office, the oldest one in continuous use in Alabama. Stop over at 1818 Farms (1818farms.com) to buy organic eggs, lavender linen spray, and goat's milk bath bubbles. And don't even think about leaving town without visiting Lyla's Little House (lylaslittlehouseal.com), where Mrs. Lyla Peebles sells her candies, cheese straws, and homemade ice cream along with vintage dishware. On Fridays in summer, join Bonnie Richardson as she hosts margarita nights on the porch of her home, Cedar Lane.
Local To Know
Sixth-generation resident Woody Peebles has lived on the same street for 64 years. You'll find him in the Peebles House on North Street, where he lives with wife Lyla. The two went on their first date 30 years ago on a Tuesday, and by supper on Friday, Woody had proposed. Now they act as the town's party planners, hosting events at The Dance Hall (256/353-8723).
The 1839 brick church on Lauderdale Street has a wooden hand pointing toward heaven atop the steeple. It was carved by Bonnie Richardson's "Pa," who worried that people wouldn't know which way to heaven.