Coming from the Georgia side down through the misty clouds of early morning from the heights of the southern portion of Lookout Mountain, one gets glimpses of the sprawling Lake Guntersville and the old town of Scottsboro, Alabama. Though this little community is slightly off the beaten path, it has much to offer the traveling public!
Probably the most famous business in Scottsboro is the Unclaimed Baggage Center, which was begun in 1970 by Doyle Owens with a great idea, a borrowed pick-up truck and a $300 loan. He bought a load of unclaimed baggage that he sold on old card tables in a rented house with the help of his wife and two sons, thus becoming the only lost luggage store in the USA.
By developing working relationships with airlines and other transportation companies…and being featured in numerous newspaper and magazine stories, this center of unclaimed luggage began to draw in curious visitors from all over the world! Doyle’s son Bryan bought the business from his Dad in 1995 and has expanded it into a building that covers a city block. It is now one of the top tourist attractions in Alabama drawing annually more than a million lookers and buyers from all 50 states and 40 foreign countries.
For the history buffs, the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center was opened in 1985 as both a historical and cultural museum exhibiting customs, traditions and art from the local area. It has three exhibit areas: The ante-bellum “Brown-Proctor House,” the pioneer village named “Sagetown,” and the “Little Courthouse. The complete tour, however, takes visitors back 12,000 years to the first Indians who inhabited this part of Alabama. Visitors learn about various tribes that were in the area when the first explorers passed through all the way to the time when the first settlers arrived.
If you find yourself in Scottsboro at the lunch hour, I suggest a visit to Carlile’s Restaurant for a taste of their famous tomato pie that won the statewide cook-off in 2005. Just a glance at the inside or outside of this eatery with its no-frills vinyl tablecloths and simple exterior, you would be deceived. An extensive menu of Southern food, including fried kosher pickles, barbecue, a variety of steaks plus the Thursday night seafood buffet has people coming from as far away as Chattanooga and Atlanta.
The real gem of the Scottsboro area is Goose Pond Colony located right on Lake Guntersville and complete with two demanding and beautiful 18-hole golf courses, a full-service marina, a beach, lodge, lakeside cottages, waterfront campground, meeting facilities, scenic walking trail and a famous restaurant. The Docks was featured in Rand McNally’s Editor’s Picks of places to eat in the South and offers an eclectic menu that would satisfy a wide variety of tastes from seafood to steaks and lighter choices for the children. Add to all of this Lake Guntersville, which is known as one of the Souths most fantastic fishing holes for largemouth black bass, and there are many reasons to visit the picturesque Goose Pond Colony!
Though Scottsboro is certainly not the high point on most national travel magazines, this quiet Alabama community has lots of hidden treasures. For more information, check these web sites: www.jacksoncountychamber.com or www.goosepond.org.