Long drives are a good medicine

By BECKY J. BEALL/Pelham Community Column

Long drives (or short ones, for that matter) are ideal for relaxing when no destination is in mind. And, these days it remains one of the small things folks can do to keep adequate social distance, as well as free themselves from the confines of home for a time. Pelham has some lovely back roads that hold memories for many residents and others that perhaps just resonate with good times of yesteryear. Clearing your mind is easy when the views are so captivating.

Pelham’s popular tree tunnel that runs along Oak Mountain State Park Road has just enough winding curves and gorgeous trees (green throughout summertime with changing hues in late September to early November) to make you feel like you’re driving along some lonesome road fit for a country song. Take the road into Oak Mountain State Park for more scenic routes or drive through, turn around and come back through in the other direction.

The front entrance to Chandalar is brimming with Bradford Pear Tree blossoms in March of each year, but with Alabama’s random weather patterns, buds could come out as early as late February. The drive through that entrance is a popular spot for many locals and you’ll find folks stopping for a picnic at Carroll Park just to enjoy the view as well.

Highway 11 from Pelham to Chelsea rarely disappoints with a two-lane drive passing lakes, railroad tracks, old homesteads and new developments. There’s a myriad of places to “take a dirt road” and see what’s off the beaten path.

It’s hard to not mention the drive from Weatherly’s entrance off of Highway 11 all the way past Ballantrae Golf Course. Beautiful, lush landscaping, Scottish-inspired features and, of course, a stunning golf course are all part of the topography making Pelham diverse and attractive.

A definite mention is in order for the short, but lovely, ride around Indian Lake Drive with sweet views of the lake. Folks in the neighborhood are friendly and usually offer a front porch wave to those just passing through.

No matter where, everyone seems to have a favorite local spot to go for a drive. Where is yours?