January is the time when you’ll find the absolute lowest prices on remaining fall/winter merchandise as well as any items left from the previous spring/summer. With tons of items to clear out and tons more coming in for the new season, discounts are at their deepest, which means you could get in a nice day trip or weekend getaway and bring home some bargains in the process.
Within a short drive of Birmingham, you’ll find these three great places to stretch your dollars while enjoying a new spot to visit:
Douglasville, GA – from Birmingham, about two hours via I-20. Home of Arbor Place Mall, Douglasville is loaded with familiar shopping venues like Dillard’s, J. C. Penney, Macy’s, Gap, etc., but on a scale that can only be described as humongous; the mall is clearly visible from I-20.
Only five miles away on Fairburn Road is a personal favorite: Beall’s Outlet, the sister store to the Birmingham area’s Burke’s Outlets where discounts reach up to 95 percent off the already discounted prices. With a little diligence, it’s possible to walk out with several brand new items at prices lower than used thrift store merchandise. And no worries: even if you’re already home and change your mind about a purchase, items bought at Beall’s can be exchanged or returned to Burke’s Outlets.
Douglasville puts you around a half hour from Atlanta where there are tons of free attractions, like the Georgia State Capitol, the Governor's Mansion and the Federal Reserve Bank's Visitors Center and Monetary Museum.
Etowah, TN – from Birmingham, less than 3.5 hours via I-59: Situated about an hour from Chattanooga, Etowah basically consists of a few blocks along Hwy. 411 with “mom 'n' pop” outlet stores with everything from groceries to furniture; antique stores; and a couple of nice gift and home decor shops. If you like “junkin',” this is your town.
There’s also a 50’s style ice cream shop on 411 plus the Farmhouse Restaurant on Ohio Avenue where you’ll find superb home cooking at reasonable prices. The L&N Depot/Railroad Museum on Tennessee Avenue is housed in an 18-room Victorian beauty and serves as the area info center, an art museum and the railroad museum. It’s also the starting point for train excursions; for more info, phone (423) 263-7840 or 263-2228.
Five miles south on 411 you’ll find the community of Delano with an Amish settlement that includes a store and farmers market open to the public. A few miles farther south is Benton Shooters Supply, a 25,000 square foot hunters’ and fishermen’s paradise.
Welcome Valley Village in Benton consists of 17 private acres with five modern log cabins right on the beautiful Ocoee River, hiking trails, a fishing/tubing dock and more – all at very reasonable rates. Look for discount coupons on www.ChattanoogaFun.com.
Crossville, TN – from Birmingham, less than four hours via I-59. The golfing capital of Tennessee, Crossville’s bargain spots include the Crossville Outlet Center with Vanity Fair, Bass, Black and Decker and other familiar names. There are also a number of consignment and thrift shops around town.
Fall Creek Falls State Park and Cumberland Mountain State Park are nearby and absolutely gorgeous. And at Cumberland Mountain you can get it on their Sunday buffet that is nothing short of fabulous. The Cumberland County Playhouse puts on Broadway style productions and other performances, all with top quality sets and artists.