Welcome to “My Perfect Birmingham Saturday,” a column where About Town asks Birmingham residents from different walks of life how they would spend a Saturday in the Magic City if they had it their way (and COVID notwithstanding). Our first Saturday was planned by Amy Jackson, president of the Junior League of Birmingham, whose Saturdays typically don’t look like this – she’s usually checking off items on her ever-growing Junior League to-do list.
“As you can imagine, much of my Saturday is taken with answering emails, scheduling, and planning while drinking my coffee in bed and beyond,” she says. “[The Junior League] is a huge part of my every day.”
But, she says, the ideal Saturday would have to include Pepper Place Market, an art show, and apple fritters at Vino alongside her family – husband Steve and their three children – and her ever-present coffee.
“I love Birmingham, and I love that my 26-, 25-, and 23-year-olds have finally opened their eyes to what there is here,” she says. “What a fabulous place to live.”
My husband, Steve, brings me extra hot coffee in bed every single day, so the perfect Saturday mornings always start with coffee in the biggest mug he can find.
Our middle child, Tatum, and I pick up our oldest, Tully, on our way to Pepper Place Market. We leave Steve and Roxy, our beloved rescue chocolate Lab, at home with our youngest child, Yates, who is still asleep.
At Pepper Place, we admire all the dogs, look at all the pottery and jewelry, and people watch as we take our first two laps. The first is to try to focus, and the second is to hone in. We walk over to the Red Cat for an omelet (easy on the cheese) and more coffee. We sit in the cozy, quiet corner church pew where we have the best people-watching view – we’ve had some great mother-daughter talks in that corner. We take a final lap around Pepper Place and purchase ciabatta, sourdough, tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. We also buy cucumbers and bell peppers for Roxy (treats!). We drop Tully off as she’s got her own day planned with friends or she's headed back to bed (as an ICU nurse she works long days). Tatum and I head home with all the purchases and pick up Steve. Tatum’s also headed out with friends, or she needs to study more for the bar exam, so she stays behind with Roxy and Yates, who are now napping together on the sofa. That's progress.
Off to the art show Steve and I go – hopefully Magic City Art Connection as it’s our favorite, and we have been longtime supporters. We stroll around once soaking it all in, but the second is serious – we ask questions, visualize exactly where each potential purchase will hang in our home, and text Yates asking him to take measurements for specific spaces (he never answers). If we agree, we make our purchase and we high-five each other all the way home. We celebrate with tomatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil on toasted sourdough, and we place our newest art purchase. We need to study it more before we commit to actually nailing it into the walls. That will come in time.
Yates and Roxy, who both wake up when they smell food, join us for a walk at the Irondale Furnace where Roxy can run off leash in the shade and sniff everything. She tires easily as she's 13, but this is her absolute favorite place. Yates and Steve help her in and out of the car while I always take too many photos.
Later in the day, if I didn't get the morning to myself, I don the earbuds and head off on a solo walk. There have been a few times I thought I'd have to call for a ride home as I traveled too far, but I always make it back. As an introverted extrovert, I need and enjoy this time for me. I walk from Crestline to Mountain Brook Village.
The perfect ending to a long, busy day is dinner with Steve and our children. If I'm not cooking (which I usually am), we love Vino on a special night (I always get the Grouper Bowl with apple fritters to go) or Jack Brown's on a casual one (the hamburger and sweet potato fries). If we can make it to Avondale Brewing Company for a concert, that's a great ending to a Saturday in Birmingham. As long as Mom and Dad are buying the tickets, we can usually get some takers! Birmingham is a great place to raise a family, but I love that our children have settled here.
– As told to Rachel Burchfield