Known as the Magic City, Birmingham, Ala., is the state's largest city. It did not exist during the Civil War but was instead formed out of three smaller towns in 1871 as a hub for iron and steel plants. It was named after one of Great Britan's major industrial cities. As an important business hub, Birmingham also offers a number of enticing restaurants and getaways for couples traveling from other cities in the South or for Birmingham residents.
With a menu that focuses on classic Tuscan cuisine, using Angus beef, seafood and veal to base its cooking, Bellini's has a dynamic reputation in the city. Chef Benard Tamburello is a second-generation Italian with training in Sicilian food, and the menu incorporates both of these tastes. Located at 6801 Cahaba Valley Rd. in the suburb of Hoover, Bellini's (ourbellinis.supportlocalflavor.com) is open for dinner Monday through Saturday and for lunch Tuesday through Friday, at the time of publication.
In the suburb of Mountain Brook Village, Daniel George (danielgeorgerestaurant.com) features a diverse menu that incorporates domestic game, Gulf Coast seafood, poultry and meats with local produce. The ambiance is intimate and quiet, with lighting designed to heighten your evening's romantic mood. The bar opens at 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and dinner is available from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. (10:00 p.m. on weekends), at the time of publication.
Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast
The first bed and breakfast founded in Birmingham, Cobb Lane (cobblanebandb.com) was built in 1898 on Nabob Hill by a local tax assessor. In 2005, the inn received the "Preservation Award of Excellence" from the Birmingham Historical Society, and it also appears in the National Registory of Historic Places. Each of the seven guestrooms has a different theme, but the entire house has a Victorian theme.
Blue Spring Manor
Down the road in Vincent, Blue Spring Manor (bluespringmanor.com) sits in the very end of the Appalachian Mountains. The owners converted an old barn so that it looks and feels like a mansion. There is plenty of room for bocce and croquet, and there is even a green to practice your putting and pitching. Hammocks and woods abound, giving you and your special someone a chance to lie down and relax or stroll for hours. There are eight different rooms, each with its own theme.
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