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When Jenny and I moved to Florence, Ala., a few years ago, we spent the first night in a hotel while waiting for the movers to deliver our belongings.
We didn’t know much about the town, but in our hotel room, we found a guide outlining things to see and do, and local restaurants to try.
And it was chock-full of other information—famous people from the area, local legends and myths, and, of course, about the lions. Lions in Florence, Ala.?
That’s right. Two lions, Leo and Una, live in a large habitat on the local university campus, right next to the school president’s house.
It turned out that the guide, a classy-looking magazine, was published each summer by the local newspaper and distributed through hotels, restaurants, shops, the tourism/convention office and the Chamber of Commerce.
Now, here at the Gazette, we’ve decided New Albany and Union County deserves their own tourism guide.
This week, “Explore,” the official New Albany Gazette tourism guide to the area, is being distributed to area hotels, restaurants and the like so visitors will have an opportunity to know more about our community.
We encourage visitors to take a copy, so we’ve printed lots to insure we’ll have plenty of copies available until the second edition comes out next summer.
But we knew you would want your own copy of the magazine, too, so “Explore” is included in your Gazette today.
Inside you’ll find a variety of stories. We don’t have any lions in New Albany, but you will be greeted by a large tiger when you visit the Union County Heritage Museum. Don’t believe me? His picture is on page 33.
And there’s an extensive piece, “Hitting the Faulkner Trail,” about William Faulkner and his connections to the area. Did you know Faulkner’s father was shot in the hand in a drugstore where Vainisi’s Restaurant is now located?
When it turns a little cooler, you may want to take our walking tour of historic downtown New Albany (page 36). You may discover a thing or two you didn’t know about our downtown.
There’s still more inside. I didn’t know, for instance, that barbecue was invented in north Mississippi by the Chickasaw Nation or that Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark visited Union County. That and more are in the Myths and Legends section on page 70.
And toward the back of the magazine is a community calendar of events for the next 12 months.
We hope that you like the community’s first comprehensive tourism guide. The news staff of the Gazette, led by Managing Editor David Johnson, worked hard to produce it. And Jill Smith, director of the Union County Heritage Museum, was an invaluable resource for stories, historical material and photographs.
We also would like to acknowledge the 48 advertisers who stepped forward to make this magazine, which will be provided without charge to visitors, possible. They’ve made an investment in moving their community forward.
Let us know what you think of “Explore.” All of us at the Gazette are striving to serve you with quality and integrity and meet our community’s needs.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at email@example.com.