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Considering its rural nature, public transportation is relatively good in Alabama. Daily Amtrak trains from New York and Atlanta to New Orleans stop at Anniston, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, while the line from Jacksonville to New Orleans passes through Mobile; Amtrak buses connect Birmingham and Mobile by way of Montgomery, and Greyhound serves the major towns and cities.
Information For Visitors To Alabama
Alabama's narrow share of the Gulf coastline is blessed with an abundance of fine white-sand beaches, laundered by clear blue waters. The coast veers sharply inward to the port city of Mobile, featuring hundreds of antebellum buildings in a tree-shaded center. Away from the water's edge, agriculture, dominated by pecan, peach and watermelon growing, flourishes on the gently sloping coastal plain.
Northern Alabama, on the trailing edges of the Appalachians, is brightened up by the mountain lakes, rivers and canyons of the Tennessee River Valley. The area's first white settlers were small farmers who had little in common with the big plantation owners further south, and attempted to dissociate from the Confederacy during the Civil War. Substantial postwar mineral finds led to an industrial boom that peaked in the early Thirties.
Southern Alabama - memorably depicted in Harper Lee's child's-eye view of racial conflict, To Kill a Mockingbird - still consists mostly of small, sleepy, God-fearing rural communities. Only state capital Montgomery, with a popu lation of just over 200,000, achieves metropolitan status. It lies in the heart of the Black Belt, originally named for the rich loamy soil, but these days more usually taken to refer to the region's ethnic make-up. Cotton was the major earner here until the boll weevil infestation of 1915. Now it has been supplanted (officially) by soybeans, corn and peanuts. (Information by Rough Guides Ltd.)
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