Travel

Road Trip 2024: Part 1 | The Cottle House Andalusia Alabama

My husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last September…by going to a funeral in Florida.

On our way back home we began talking about how we had celebrated so few times over the years.  We came to the consensus that as we were not getting any younger, we should make the next 12 months about US, and try to do something fun every single month for the next 12 months.

He asked me what I would like to do, and I gave him a list (to be continued):

What is that old saying about the best laid plans?

About a week after we got home in September, my husband was hit by an 18 wheeler, on his way home from work!

Thank goodness, he was not injured (other than some soreness), but our car was in the shop for 3 months. So, our trip to Natchitoches was put on hold, and we didn’t make any plans for November or December {sigh}.

My husband was safe and sound, which was the most important thing, and I had our reservations for The Cottle House…

BUT DARN IT ALL, he got called away on a business trip.  ARRRGGGGGHHHHH. There was no way that I was going to give that trip up.  I had put down a non-refundable deposit, and who knows when I would be able to rebook, so my friend DeAnna saved the day and said that she would go with me and drive us there!

The Cottle House Pin / Road Trip 2024: Part 1 | The Cottle House Andalusia Alabama

Road Trip 2024: Part 1 | The Cottle House

Day One

We headed out of town mid morning on the 28th of February.  It was less than a 5 hour drive, but I’m glad that we left early.  The Cottle House is sort of out in the boonies, and I would not have wanted to try to find it the first time, in the dark.  We took our time on the drive. Stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs and get a snack.

Once we arrived, we unpacked the car, checked out our room, and wandered around to see the rest of the Bed & Breakfast.

The Cottle House

The Cottle House

Conveniently, Miss Brenda has lots of information about local restaurants (and some menus) on the table in the hallway, right as you walk in the door.

The Cottle House

We decided on Italian, and drove to Ofelia’s. It was a Wednesday evening, and we were there a little later in the evening, so it was quiet and we were seated and served right away. They offer really hearty portions, and everyone was very attentive. They brought our drinks out along with Garlic Bread for 2 (with dipping sauce). I had the Spaghetti with Meatballs and DeAnna had the Chicken Picatta. We were too full to even think about dessert.

It was drizzling when we got back to The Cottle House (and to be honest it was really getting cold), but we sat in the car for quite a while and just talked and laughed and talked and laughed.

The Cottle House

The Cottle House has three bedrooms in the main house, and a small cottage in the back.

The Cottage at The Cottle House
The Cottage at The Cottle House

We stayed in the Green Room, which has an ensuite bathroom.

The Cottle House Green Room
The Green Bedroom

The Red and Purple Rooms do not have ensuites, but they each have their own assigned bathroom.  The Red Room’s bathroom is at the end of the hallway, and features a lovely clawfoot tub.  We didn’t check out the facilities for the Purple Room, but it is directly across the hall from the Purple Room.

The Red Bathroom
The Red Bathroom
The Red Bedroom
The Red Bedroom
The Purple Bedroom
The Purple Bedroom

There is a lovely little sunroom across from the dining room, and the kitchen is directly behind the dining room.

There are no TV’s in the bedrooms, but there is one in the sunroom.

Sunroom at The Cottle House
The Sunroom
Dining Room at The Cottle House
The Dining Room
Kitchen in The Cottle House
What a View…I Could Stand There and Wash Dishes All Day!
Kitchen in The Cottle House
Kitchen in The Cottle House

I believe that there is a 2 night minimum stay.  A non-refundable deposit is required.  Breakfast is served on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.  Bookings are usually not accepted on Sunday nights. Be forewarned – there is no internet, so if you need access you will have to use the hotspot on your phone.

Bring your checkbook, as you might want to do some shopping while staying at The Cottle House.  Many of the furniture pieces, framed pictures. and decor items are for sale.

Day Two

Breakfast at The Cottle House

Breakfast begins at 8:00.  We were running a bit late and lo and behold, Miss Brenda knocked on our door to see if we were going to join the other 7 guests.  I just about wet my pants when I opened the door and saw her standing there!

Breakfast YUM!

Everyone waited patiently for us.  When we arrived in the sun room, Miss Gantt offered a blessing, then shuffled us into the adorable kitchen.  We had:

  • Cream Cheese Grits
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Sausage
  • Fried Pies (apple)
  • Her FAMOUS Biscuits
  • Gravy
  • Butter | Jams | Jellies
  • Choice of Juices
  • Coffee

She pulled up a chair and chatted with us while we ate.  She had us introduce ourselves. She asked if any of us had cooking questions.  She also encouraged us to have 2nds. Let me tell you, I could have easily eaten every single fried pie, but I controlled myself and just had one.

After we finished eating, she said that she was going to get business out of the way. She passed out little canvas “bags” – one for each room. The balance was written on each bag.  We placed our payment inside (cash or check), and them passed them back down the table.  Then we raced back to our rooms, and brought back our cookbooks. (She also has some available for sale).  We all chit-chatted while she signed each book.

Brenda Gantt Signing My Cookbooks
Signing my Cookbooks!

Once business was out of the way, things got really fun!!!

She passed out hand drawn maps of Andalusia, and told us to get out our pens or pencils so that we could take notes. She spent a good hour showing us all the things to do while in town.  She told us what to be sure to eat at different restaurants, and what was sold at what shops…all the while having us take notes. Interspersed between telling us about what to do and where to go in town, she told stories about how she and her husband, George, acquired The Cottle House, and about her family, and her teaching career.

Miss Brenda and Her Map

To finish off the morning, she took the time to take photos with each of us individually and in groups.

Me and Brenda Gantt

DeAnna and Miss Brenda Gantt

Shopping in Andalusia

After breakfast we headed out for the day. Our first stop was at Meredith’s Miracles.  It’s run by regular and part-time volunteers.  The proceeds from the sale of the donated items are used for non-medical financial assistance (such as travel expenses) for families in 27 counties in Alabama, with children who have had medical emergencies.

Then we headed across the street to the Bargain Barn.  This thrift shop is also run by volunteers.  All proceeds from their sales goes to feeding the needy in the area.

The last stop before a schedule massage for DeAnna, was at the 3 Notch Emporium-2.  We loved this place.  So many unique items.  Antiques, hand-made clothing, used items, toys, furniture and sooooo many hand-made jewelry pieces.  I purchased several sets of earrings, most at less than $5 each.  DeAnna found a like new rocker glider with a glider footrest.  LOL, you should have seen us trying to get that rocker into the backseat of her compact car!!!!

After DeAnna’s massage (check off one item on her bucket list) at Andalusia Massage & Bodywork, we had a late lunch/early dinner at The Crow’s Nest.  It was cold and damp, so we sat right next to the electric wall heater.  We had a lovely chat with one of the employees (I’m thinking she may have been the owner, but I’m not sure).  DeAnna had a BBQ Pork Plate.  I ordered a Crow’s Baked “Tator” and the Fried Dill Pickles.  I got the large size so that I could share since DeAnna had never had fried pickles before. We spilt a dish of Chocolate Delite (a mixture of chocolate pudding, brownies, and whipped cream) for dessert. Everything was FABULOUS.

DeAnna Eating Fried Pickles at The Crow's Nest
Late Lunch at The Crow’s Nest – DeAnna having Fried Pickles for the First Time!

Once again, when we got back to The Cottle House, we sat in the car and talked and talked and talked, before heading in for the night.

Check in time at The Cottle House is 2 PM.  Last person to get in for the night locks the front door. There is the most wonderful wrap-around porch, where you can sit and talk, play a board game, or eat a snack.

Porch at The Cottle House

View from the Wrap Around Porch at The Cottle House

Check out time is 10 AM.  We were the last to leave (but we where ready to go on time).  We visited for quite some time with Miss Brenda’s right hand “woman”, Miss Gloria.  Oh, she is an absolute delight.  Just precious.  If she hadn’t been trying to get her chores finished, so she could head out of town to visit her daughter, we would have liked to have taken her to lunch, and spend the afternoon chatting with her.  We tried to convince her to let us help her out so she could leave even sooner, but she wouldn’t hear of it.  She blessed us for a safe journey, and off we went.

DeAnna and Miss Gloria
DeAnna and Miss Gloria

View from the Porch at The Cottle House

Arbor at the Front of The Cottle House

Porch at The Cottle House

The Porch at The Cottle House

Our first stop after checking out, was the Andalusia Farmer’s Cooperative, Inc.  I lost track of how long we stayed there.  It didn’t matter that it was cold and raining.  We wandered through the shop – inside and out.  We ended up getting seeds (they sell them both in packets and loose, so you can buy them “by the pound”, or any other increment that you want), and pots of Lemon Thyme, Tomatoes, Rosemary, Mint, and Pet Grass.  At this point the car was really getting FULL!

We made another trip around the Town Square, so that we could take some shots of the Court House.  When we pulled into a parking spot there was the cutest young couple coming down the steps.  Oh my gosh, they looked to be about 14 years old, but they had to have been legal age, because they had just gotten married.  They were precious.  We offered to take picture of them with their phone, and we slipped them $20 bucks to go eat lunch.  How fun! I didn’t ask them for permission to share their faces, so I’ve covered them up…but here is the happy couple.

Covington County Courthouse and The Happy Couple
Covington County Courthouse and The Happy Newlyweds
Rainy Day in Andalusia
This was what the weather was like just about all day on Friday!

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Sweet South Market.  Oh my word, if that car hadn’t already been full, I would have filled it then and there.  They had to most beautiful ferns and hydrangeas. The also had all kinds of handmade items, fresh produce, loads and loads of tee-shirts, lotions and potions, candles, baked goods…and any flavor milkshake you can imagine.  I splurged and got a Peach Milkshake with Whipped Cream. I got to spend some time love’n on one of the resident cats, and talking with the employees and one of the co-owners.

Sweet South Market
Sweet South Market

Everywhere went stopped, we told them that Miss Brenda had sent us.  I think she has been the best advertising for Andalusia! Everyone knows who she is, and many have stories to tell about her.  They go to church with her, they grew up with her children, she taught them in school. One of the employees stayed at The Cottle House with her Little Family when they moved to Andalusia when her husband became of of the pastors at Bethany Baptist.  A co-owner was a student of Miss Brenda’s when she taught Science at the local Elementary School.  I asked her if she was good teacher, and if she ruled with an Iron Thumb and a Warm Heart.  She said that my perspective was spot on. I believe that she is one of the kindest person that I’ve ever met, but she does not suffer fools, and is a savvy business woman!

We left Andalusia, very glad that we had visited.  This was, for me, a once in a lifetime event.

Want Miss Brenda Gantts newest cookbook?  You can only get one via pre-order from Hoffmann Media Store – LIVE EACH LITTLE MOMENT Y’ALL

If you would like to stay at The Cottle House (or at her daughter Hannah’s Lake House), you can request pricing an availability, by Texting 334-343-6192

It’s Gonna Be Good Y’all!

Brenda Gantt’s Cottle House

Cooking with Brenda Gantt on YouTube

Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook

Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Road Trip 2024: Part 1 | The Cottle House Andalusia Alabama

  • Oh my gosh, I am glad your husband was okay after being hit! How scary!

    It looks like a fun road trip. The breakfast looks delish.

    Reply
  • What a nice a place to visit. The place that you stayed at sounds awesome.

    Reply
  • It looks like a fun trip! But sheesh, sounds like some seriously rough life circumstances! I hope your husband is fully healed!

    Reply
  • Wow, The Cottle House Andalusia looks so charming and unique! The location and history behind it seem fascinating. Such an interesting place to stay and explore the area.

    Reply
  • I love all the photos! This seems like such a lovely place to stay, I would never want to leave.

    Reply
  • the Cottle House looks and sounds amazing! I am now tempted to book a trip there. Here is wishing that you get to the rest of the things on your list done with your husband

    Reply
  • The Cottle house looks and sounds wonderful. this is on my wish list for future trips. But I would love to visit there someday.

    Reply
  • I love road trips but am so sorry to ehar about your husband. I hope all is well and it looks like you made the most out of it! I love love love a good road trip and its my favorite way to travel when possible.

    Reply
  • This sounds like a fun trip. Too bad you didn’t get to go with your husband. I’m sure it would have been a fun adventure. I don’t have a spouse and I’d have to travel alone. Maybe one day, right now money is too tight to do it.

    Reply
  • The Cottle House looks cozy. I love visiting places like that. And I’ve never been to Alabama, yet so that would be an exciting road trip to do.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *