TRAVEL TIPS FOR VISITING MONTGOMERY, USA
There are no direct flights to Montgomery from the UK. There are daily connections from Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte, and Washington, DC on American Airlines, while Delta offers a connection from Atlanta. It is also within driving distance of larger Southern cities, such as Nashville (4 hours) and Atlanta (2.5 hours).
UK citizens, as well as those from Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa for visits of less than 90 days, but they do need an Electron System for Travel Authorization (ETSA), which must be obtained before flying. See www.cbp.gov/ travel/international-visitors/esta
Currency: The currency in America is the dollar (USD, symbol $) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime) and 25 cents (a quarter).
ATMs: Can be widely found and debit cards are widely accepted for transactions.
Credit cards: All major cards are accepted. The US does not have the level of chip-and-pin or contactless cards that most EU nations do, so be prepared to sign for receipts.
While there is a bus service in the city, as well as taxis and Uber, hiring a car is highly recommended, and there are branches of all the international agencies, such as Alamo and Budget, in the city.
Although some of the main civil rights sites are downtown, a car will provide more flexibility and ease in exploring other parts of the city and the surrounding countryside, and making a day-trip to Selma or other parts of the state much easier.
Time difference: GMT - 6
Water: Tap water is safe to drink in America, although bottled water is readily available.
Tipping: Waiting staff in restaurants expect tips of up to 20%, in bars somewhat less. Hotel porters and housekeeping staff appreciate at least a couple of dollars a night.
Electrical Current/Plugs: Electrical current is 110 volts AC and plugs are standard American two or three round pins.
Insurance: In view of the high cost of medical care in the United States, anyone visiting from overseas should take out reasonably comprehensive travel insurance. No vaccinations are required.
Montgomery, like much of the Southern United
States, is known for its hospitality, friendliness, and food, so make sure to sample all three at local restaurants.
The first stop is to try a biscuit, a Southern breakfast staple that is like a savoury scone, and traditionally covered with sausage and gravy, though today biscuits come with all manner of fillings. Cahawba House (31 S Court Street) has an extensive breakfast menu: try a biscuit with fried chicken and pimento cheese. You won’t be sorry.
Other places specialising in local food include the excellent Central (219 Coosa Street), which is located downtown. One of its signature dishes is the Fett Sow Fries – basically, pork fried like french fries. Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds. Further afield, about a 10-minute drive from downtown, Vintage Year (405 Cloverdale Road) offers seasonal Southern food, while its sister Vintage Cafe (416 Cloverdale), housed in an elegant mid-century former bank building, offers coffee and lighter fare.
i USEFUL INFORMATION
There are plenty of stops for people interested in the civil rights history of the city, and opening hours and information about tours can be found on the following websites: Dexter Avenue King Baptist Church and the Dexter Parsonage Museum: www.dexterkingmemorial.org/ tours/ Rosa Parks Museum: www.troy. edu/student-life-resources/artsculture/rosa-parks-museum/index. html Freedom Rides Museum: www. ahc.alabama.gov/properties/ freedomrides/freedomrides.aspx Alabama State Capitol: www. ahc.alabama.gov/alabamastate-capitol.aspx
The Monument at the Peace and Justice Memorial Center: www.eji.org
In addition, Montgomery has an impressive art museum, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts ( www.
mmfa.org), with both regional and national works, including paintings by Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent. It is located in a large park at One Museum Drive, about a 20-minute drive from downtown. Nearby is the Alabama Shakespeare Festival theatre (One Festival Drive), which is one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the world, staging a number of works by the English playwright, as well as other productions, throughout the year. More information can be found at: www.asf.net
There is another small museum in a house in the elegant Cloverdale area of the city dedicated to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, who lived there from 1931-32. The ground floor has a small exhibition about the couple – Zelda grew up in Montgomery – and rooms in the house are available to rent through AirB&B ( www.airbnb.co.uk/s/ The-Scott-and-Zelda-FitzgeraldMuseum--Montgomery--AL)
“Eachperson mustlivetheir lifeasamodelfor others” Rosa Parks