Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Walking in Mountain Brook


Tucked over behind Red Mountain just outside downtown Birmingham, is an area known as Mountain Brook. It’s a prestigious place to live, with stately old homes and an ambience like no other in this city. This real estate is probably the priciest in the city. There is old money and new in Mountain Brook and it’s a beautiful place to take a walk on a fair Sunday afternoon. I’ve wanted to do a post for awhile on Mountain Brook and we were just there last weekend, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the views, so I thought it was a good time to show you at least a glimpse of Mountain Brook.


Jemison Park is there on the main road going into Mountain Brook and it’s a beautiful area with a winding creek and lots of woods and trees. You’ll always see dog owners out at any given time in this lovely park, taking advantage of the beauty surrounding them.


The homes are so lovely too and there is an assortment of styles and architecture sprinkled throughout Mountain Brook. It’s one of the most desirable places to live in Birmingham and I’m sure you can understand why from these pics.


Some of the trees are labeled for identification on the walking trail lining the creek.


It’s winter, but still the creek is a peaceful place to be.


A very fuzzy shot of one of the stately homes flanking this main road.


A stone bridge crosses over the creek.


Looking up the brick driveway of another gorgeous old home.


I can just imagine the inside is just as pretty as the outside.



Not sure what this water wheel is all about, but my hubby remembers it was here when he was growing up as a child in another area of Mountain Brook. They lived in a small cottage home here when he was just a small boy and he remembers it all fondly. Happily, this area has not changed much in 40 years.






A unique set up for foot traffic crossing the creek, this takes me back to growing up and spending time walking across rocks whenever I got the chance to play in any creek.




The daffodils are peeking out now, announcing that Spring is just around the corner.


And some of my favorite flowers, Lenton Rose always are sure bloomers this time of year.



These nandina berries stood out against the brown of the trees.










And that’s a stroll through Mountain Brook. Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of this highly treasured area of Birmingham. There are 3 villages in Mountain Brook, which is a whole other post, but they are quaint and charming places to shop and eat, very much like you would imagine in England. In fact, Mountain Brook, is modeled after English villages, which I found out after we moved here.

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52 friends stopped by:

kathi said...

Oh, I love Mountain Brook too!
I've been lost there numerous times when I was trying to get somewhere else - The DMV for example... I didn't mind at all
thanks to the gorgeous scenery
and amazing mansions! Wouldn't you just LOVE going inside one of these homes?! I would!

Becky K. said...

Moutain Brook looks like a great place to spend a few hours...or live...if you were one of the owners of those homes. Nice!

Paula said...

I loved seeing pictures of the beautiful homes in this area.

Tammy518 said...

Oh, what a beautiful place! Thanks for taking us along on your walk. I love older, stately homes like that.

Leigh said...

Thats a great post, Rhoda. I grew up in the Ham and am familair with the area. My brother and sis in law still use that trail on their lunch breaks from work to run. Its a beautiful trek.
The "water wheel" is actually called Shades Creek Mill House. Built in 1926, the Old Mill remains a symbol of the City of Mountain Brook and is depicted in the city's official seal.
I found this info online about the house: The Old Mill or Old Mill House is a 1926 replica of Perryman's Mill built by the Jemison Companies to promote the newly-developed residential suburb of Mountain Brook. It is located on the foundations of the earlier grist mill, on the bank of Shades Creek at 2780 Mountain Brook Parkway.
Cool! The house was actually designed by landscape architect William H. Kessler and was originally operated as a tea room by Frances Bomar, with hitching posts for horses outside. That should say how long it's been there. I can imagine families traveling that very same trail, albeit horseback long ago!! The tea room closed during the Great Depression and repeated attempts to re-launch it afterwards were unsuccessful. The house was sold and converted into a residence.The building features oak clapboarding and hand-split wood roof shakes on the exterior. Pegged floors and a stone fireplace highlight the interior. The modest front door is connected to Mountain Brook Parkway by a wooden bridge which spans between stone piers built into the waterway. The wooden waterwheel turns when the creek is high enough to fill the sluice.
Rhoda, that house is still in use! Can you imagine how neat it must look from the inside? I would LOVE to go inside, as I am a huge history buff, especially when it relates to areas I am familair with. There is a great book on the market right now called "The history of Birmingham". It can be found at bookstores and even walgreens. It is a paperback but it is larger in size. A great read and full of history of the Magic City.

Lazy Mom Leslie said...

What a great area! I love all the pictures. The ones you take looking up the driveways crack me up. I always wonder what the homeowner would think if they saw you standing at the end of their driveway peeking up at their house! I am glad you do it though, I love seeing other areas of the country.

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures they are wonderful, love the water wheel.


Anonymous said...

Rhoda, that was wonderful! Thank you for that, I too love to walk by old houses and imagine what they must look like inside. Love the water wheel and the sweet little creek, love creeks, I grew up near one and will always love them. Hugs ~cindy s~

Robin's Nesting Place said...

My husband is a Samford graduate and we lived in the area near the school. Mountain Brook is a lovely area. I can't believe I never saw the grist mill.

Arlynn said...

Being from the South, I've been lucky enough to visit Mountain Brook - what a dream! It made me want to pick up & move there right away. So lovely, enjoy the nice weather while it lasts : )

Coffee with Cathy said...

Rhoda -- I was going to say that my 'Ham friends say that the water wheel is part of the original mill, but Leigh beat me to it and added some wonderful details, too. This is a lovely, lovely area and a true Birmingham gem. Love your photos. Now let's talk about all the great Mountain Brook shopping and eating -- I so want a Continental Bakery croissant right now!

Robin @ My Blessed Nest said...

Good morning, Rhoda! I have always loved driving through Mtn. Brook to look at the houses...if you go through there at night, you can get glimpses of the interiors, too! :) When we lived in Irondale and my kids went to school in Vestavia, I would frequently change my route to see new Mtn. Brook scenery!! And, they have the best yard sales!!

Kimberly said...

I really like your idea of posting these beautiful homes; I'll have to do a similar walk through of the pretty districts around me.

I LOVE that foot bridge across the creek. I have always loved playing on rocks in and around water, so that little bridge makes me feel like a kid...I want to walk over it right now!

Lazy Mom Amanda said...

I had a friend that used to live in Birmingham and its such a pretty, hilly place. I was realized surprised how beautiful it was!

Steph said...

Such beautiful houses!
Thanks for sharing!

KMfamily ;-) said...

those realy are some beautiful homes!! Lovely, Lovely town!!
And thanks for the pictures of those bright colorful flowers. Here in Philly its still a dismal winter. so those were realy nice to feast my eyes on(Cant wait to get out in the garden)

Bo said...

Hi Ms. Rhoda...I loved seeing these stately old homes...the setting they're in is gorgeous. I hope the people who live in those wonderful old homes are leading happy lives and appreciate all that they never know???
;-) Bo

Steph said...

Great tour! Those homes are amazing. So much history.

Anonymous said...


Kathy :)

Crystal said...

I grew up in B'ham and after church on Sundays my family would sometimes drive through Mt Brook to look at the beautiful homes. You brought back a lot of memories for me with this post. :-)

Bonnie said...

I loved the "tour" of Mt. Brooke. We are thinking of taking the train from Picayune to Birmingham - a fun trip to do with the kids. Hopfully we can find Mt. Brooke and take time to look, eat and shop. Thanks

springrose said...

So beautiful! I love old houses, the older the better for me, especially if they are well taken care of! One more reason for my hubby and I to take a trip back east!! I have never seen those roses you put in the post, they are beautiful. Do they only grow in your climate? I would love to see pictures of the village and cottages! It makes me think of Little Women!

Lady Katherine said...

I have been to Birmingham, so many times, but one night tired of the motel we rode up to the Mt Brook, is was lovley at night. I did not get to see the mill. Its so wonderful. thanks for the tour.

Jen said...

what a nice area. i truly enjoyed this...the walk was nice too.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Beautiful area - Thanks for the tour. I love the older, established neighborhoods like that.

Linda said...

Mountain Brook is absolutely beautiful. The houses are gorgeous, but the nature is like being on a vacation. Thanks for the trip. Linda

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Rhoda! Thanks so much for sharing those lovely pictures! Glad y'all had a fun day!

Anonymous said...

I love going through Mountain Brook on the way to the zoo or to the Botanical Gardens..what I love most about it,at this time of year your pictures can't show...all the shade that Mountain Brook has! I would love to live on property like that!

Susan said...

Thanks for the tour of such a gorgeous area. I love the trees and creeks. Beautiful homes surrounded by beautiful nature...what more could you want?

HeathahLee said...

LOVED Those pictures! That looks like a gorgeous area to live in. The pictures of the creek reminded me of Piney Creek in the Ozarks, where my Daddy used to have a cabin. He sold it a few years ago and I still mourn for it! Those pictures made me think of the peaceful winter vacations we took up there. Thank you!

Michelle said...

Oh my! Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of Mountain Brook. It was one of my favorite areas and the water mill house was my dream house as a child. I was just talkin' to my kids about it last week and then I see photos on your blog. I took 3 of my kids to Alabama in October and we drove through Mountain Brook.

Jennifer said...

we were among the dog-walkers on the Jemison Park trail on Sunday afternoon. I try to do it at least once every weekend, and usually add in a little neighborhood tour while I'm there. beautiful area!

Kelli@SassySouthernMom said...

Thanks Rhoda for sharing!! I love the older homes, and how the yards are full of mature trees which makes for some beautiful shade gardens. The surroundings look peaceful.Have a great day!!

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Hi Rhoda! Cant wait to see your new look! Did you get my email?

mary beth said...

Thanks for sharing..Im new to your blog and love it! I am so jealous that you have daffodils already! We wont see any for another month or so! Loved taking the walking tour with you!

Blondie's Journal said...


Mountain Brook looks like a beautiful place to live or visit. The homes are just beautiful! To live in one and look out at all that beauty...

Thanks for a great OW post!


Tara said...

What a lovely area, thanks for sharing!

justabeachkat said...

Birmingham really is a lovely city, especially the Mountain Brook area. Lots of wonderful (yet pricey) places to shop and eat too. Great photos.


Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Rhoda,
That is certainly a beautiful area! I enjoyed the walking tour.

Now can I count those steps on my pedometer? LOL

Lady Dorothy said...

The homes are beautiful, but those daffodils are breath-taking. I do love me some daffodils!!

jidgede said...

thanks for the tour, i loved it and i LOVE your blog......a west tn 60 year old grandmother!!!

Daisy Cottage said...

Gorgeous Rhoda!!
Absolutely beautiful!
You know how much I love B'ham!


justabeachkat said...

Stop by...I've tagged you with an award/meme.


Carolina Mama said...

Rhonda thanks for sharing Mountain Brook's beauty and your Valentine's Dinner. So fun.

Jessica said...

Gosh that was beautiful!! Thanks, I seriously feel better now, I've been feeling isolated out here in the Arizona desert. I need to travel more, my time will come when the kids are older I guess. you are one lucky lady to have such gorgeous surroundings. :)

Helen said...

Thank you so much for this lovely tour ... it's always a treat to visit a part of our country I haven't seen before ~ and such a pretty place I might add.

Omah's Helping Hands said...

Thanks for the stroll! Loved the atmosphere. What a beautiful place and the homes, wow! I love the country and all the trees. It seems that even though there are many stately homes, they still take good care in preserving the wilderness. So peaceful looking. Will have to make sure we go there when we travel out that way.

Sherry said...

Wow! That's quite nice. I especially love the water wheel and the foot "path" across the creek.

Anita said...

Such a wonderful group of homes in a country type lucky to live there...among nature.


B.R. said...

Very nice piece! I live in Mt. Brook and you focused on the main trail in our trail system, but we have an oft overlooked trail with real Civil War history as well.

Off of Stone River Road, it's a half mile trail that connects to the back side of the golf course from the Stone River entrance.

On this trail are the remains of the old Irondale Furnace which was destroyed by the Union army in 1864. The furnace was designed and built by W.S. McElwain...the namesake for McElwain School, Church, etc. Thanks for featuring our beautiful neighborhood on your site!

B.R. said...

I meant to include that the Irondale Furnace trail follows directly along Furnace Creek until it connects to Shades Creek. A very beautiful, quiet and peaceful walk. If you go, make sure you keep on the trail past the furnace ruins. It gets smaller but is very pretty as it winds along the creek and through the woods. Enjoy!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Thank you B.R. for that handy information. We'll have to check out the other trail sometime. You sure live in a beautiful neighorhood! Thank you for stopping by.