Top 10 Things We're Thankful For Right Now


Top 10 Things We're Thankful For Right Now

Tis the season of gratitude in Auburn-Opelika

We're counting down the Top 10 Things we have to be thankful for in AO this season, including the lobster roll you need to eat right now, wooded walks in the fall weather, and a spirit that's (still) not afraid.


1) NOT cooking your Thanksgiving Feast

Nobody wants to be cooped up in the kitchen for three days straight when you could let the talented chefs at Ariccia Cucina, the Marriott, The Hound, Bow & Arrow, or Acre prepare a Thanksgiving meal for you! Here's what the pros are cooking and quick-access links so you can stay ahead of this crazy foodie holiday.

  • Acre (to go): Thanksgiving items are precooked and picked up cold, with reheating instructions included. Turkey and cornbread dressing, Cheez-it mac and cheese, strawberry and walnut salad, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, pimento cheese tray, and family-style peanut butter pie. 
  • Ariccia Cucina (dine-in, to go): Dine-in brunch featuring a kale apple salad, butternut squash soup, carved fried turkey, and spiced sweet potato cake. To go items include the kale and apple salad, carved fried turkey, spiced sweet potato cake, pumpkin cheesecake, bourbon pecan pie, and cinnamon apple crumb cake.
  • Bow & Arrow (to go): Smoked turkey, bone-in Boston butt, hashbrown casserole, mac and cheese, green beans, Memaws éclair, and pecan pie.
  • The Hound (to go): A traditional Thanksgiving feast with brined and roasted whole turkey with giblet gravy, cornbread and sausage dressing, homemade jellied cranberry sauce, yeast rolls, and bread pudding bites with bourbon caramel & chocolate "crack," or a classic pumpkin pie with spiced whipped cream. Check out the non-traditional menu, too, or mix it up with a la carte options. 
  • Lucy's (to go): Roasted turkey, Brussel sprout and quinoa salad, candied sweet potatoes, plus a la carte options like bourbon pecan tarts and brandied potato sweet pie.
  • The Marriott Resort (dine-in): A selection of salads, carving station for ham and prime rib, turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato white chocolate bread pudding, double chocolate brownie, and pecan pie with whiskey sauce.


2) Football, Fans, and Feathers

Football in the South is full of tradition, and ours is one of the best. It is one of the most iconic moments in all of college football: Jordan-Hare’s crowd rumbling in unison as a rare eagle is released to free-fly in circles around the stadium, eventually landing mid-field on its leathery pseudo-prey. But birds need practice, too, and our eagles' keepers, the Southeastern Raptor Center, allow fans to attend. It is a ticketed event featuring eagles and other birds of prey flying over the crowd in a gameday-esque presentation. It's practice for our famous birds and awesome to see up-close and personal. This year, the Raptor Center has shows on Fridays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. during home game weekends. There are only 50 spots and tickets are $8.


3) Spirits at John Emerald Distillery

It's beginning to look a lot like cocktails! Get in the holiday spirit (or get ready for conversations about the election with your family) by sipping on a specialty drink at John Emerald Distillery. Fun fact: JED's whiskey is the first legal whiskey distilled in Alabama since Prohibition. For over 100 years, whiskey poured from illegal stills in the woods of the South. In 2015, John Emerald Distilling Company of Opelika, Alabama, began distilling a distinctive whiskey that can truly be called Alabama Whiskey. The spirit is not bourbon, it’s not corn or scotch. It’s a distinctive style of whiskey distilled and bottled only in Alabama.


4) Cozy nooks and good books at Well Red

As the weather gets colder, we are thankful for a warm cup of coffee and a cozy place to relax. Well Red's chai latte will have you tasting the Christmas spirit. Don’t forget to grab one of their incredible freshly made desserts prepared in-house every day. If it’s after dark or you want that warm and fuzzy no matter the temps, forgo the coffee and select a glass of wine from their extensive list.


5) The lobster roll at Café 123

Long-time local fave and Best Bites member Cafe 123 in historic downtown Opelika is now serving lunch! And oh what a lunch it is. Featuring fresh seafood po boys, salads, and decadent splurges like lobster mac & cheese, the lunch we've all been needing for years is finally here. The lobster roll is our hands-down fave with wild caught claw meat and a tangy lemon aioli served atop crusty, buttery goodness.


6) Walking Trails at the Kreher Preserve

A peaceful walk in the woods is never better than in the cooling temps and the changing leaves. Visit the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center for their weekly guided walks or just enjoy your own company any time you're feeling the need for a little room to breathe. I mean, it's 2020. We get it. 


7) Pineapple Milkshakes at Mrs. Story's Dairy Bar

An Auburn-Opelika tradition since 1952, the pineapple milkshake makes us feel like kids again, when calories weren’t a thing, and our biggest worry was a knee scrape from the fall off our Huffy. Still in its original location on Pepperell Parkway, the owners of this 50s style walkup are the third generation of the Story family to serve the freshest “fast” food in the area. 


8) Amsterdam Patio

Twinkling café lights, fluttering fall leaves, and amazing food – what’s not to love about dining on the patio at Amsterdam Café? Featuring award-winning dishes like the Crab Cake and Avocado Sandwich (as seen in 100 Dishes to Eat Before you Die), an engaged staff, and a safe outdoor space to enjoy a meal with friends or coworkers, Amsterdam’s patio is our go-to spot. As the days grow shorter, the patio’s ambiance turns romantic at sundown with string lights and relaxing music ideal for first dates and special occasions. 


9) Frolicking with fur babies

Auburn’s Kiesel Park has tons of places for pups to play off-leash. Hiking trails, ponds, an enclosed play space, and wide-open room to run means they get some fresh air and you get to walk off all those holiday treats.


10) Snow Much Fun in Opelika

Christmas is coming, and that's snow joke! Just in time for the end of your turkey leftovers, Opelika's Snow Much Fun Extravaganza is the area's official kickoff to the holiday season. Featuring a tree lighting, reverse parade, Santa, and snow (obviously!), this family friendly event is a great way to usher in the season safely. 




Don't miss out on what's happening in Auburn-Opelika! 
Sign up for our e-newsletter here.