Books & CDs

100 Things to Do in Birmingham Before You Die
Renegade Squirrels & Other Nut Cases

100 Things to Do in Birmingham Before You Die

100 Things book coverBirmingham was founded on the fire of the steel mills that shaped the city. Now, the flame burns brightest in hot new entertainment districts and cool new downtown bars, restaurants and music venues. The vibrant city turned the prosperity of its industrial past into a lively theater district, a nationally recognized culinary scene, and one of the finest regional art museums in the nation. From elegant opera performances to hysterical spoofs, from rock n' roll to Colonial songbooks, from fine bronze to folk  - the broad art scene spans from tradition to total surprise.

As a brash young city, Birmingham attracted a colorful cast of characters, a quirkiness still found in the remarkable culture, unique to what is called The Magic City. Experience Birmingham from the eyes of a native, Verna Gates, a travel writer and tour guide for fellow journalists. 100 Things to Do in Birmingham Before You Die takes you to the iconic restaurants and historic settings along with new surprises and hidden jewels only known to the few, but now shared with you through this carefully curated list.

Meet Verna at a book signing event: Verna Gates

  • When: Sat, October 7, 2pm - 4pm
    Where: Books-A-Million, 1624 Gadsden Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35235, USA
  • When: Thu, October 12, 5pm - 7pm
    Where: Crestwood Coffee Shop, 5512 Crestwood Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35212
  • When: Sun, October 15, 12pm - 2pm
    Where: Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens, 331 Cotton Ave SW, Birmingham, AL 35211
    Description: Join me at the Bi-centennial celebration at Arlington Antebellum Home and Museum. Look for me in the gift shop!
  • When: Fri, October 20, 10:30am - 12:30pm
    Where: Bob Sykes Barbeque Inc, 1724 9th Ave N, Bessemer, AL 35020
  • When: Sat, October 21, 9am - 10am
    Where: The Market at Pepper Place, 2829 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
    Description: Chef Wade Reich will be demonstrating his cooking while I sign books - Join us!
  • When: Sun, November 5, 1pm - 3pm
    Where: Barnes & Noble, 201 Summit Blvd #100, Birmingham, AL 35243

Visit my Calendar Page for a listing of all Book Signings.


Did you know? Find out in 100 Things to Do in Birmingham Before You Die!

  • Birmingham lives up to its Magic City moniker. With a rich culture and fascinating history, from a Wild West town to Civil Rights to a modern renaissance, the Magic City never fails to intrigue, challenge and entertain.
  • Birmingham has two connections to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. One was a famous madam; the other is a historic home.
  • Visit the park that saved the city and saw the only Civil War action in the area.
  • Birmingham has the largest collection of two things, one that is breakable and one that can break 100: the largest collection of Wedgewood outside of England and the world's largest collection of motorcycles.
  • The largest cast iron statue in the world peers at us from Red Mountain. Vulcan is also the second largest statue in the U.S.
  • Alabama is home to more dinosaur bones than any state east of the Mississippi.
  • Speaking of old, Birmingham is home to the nation's oldest baseball stadium.
  • One obscure Birmingham poet became a hero in Japan.
  • A Birmingham high school fed the jazz movement. A legendary music teacher graduated musicians who left high school to join national bandleaders.
  • The real Whistle Stop Café of movie fame still serves fried green tomatoes here.
  • What does a man do who leaves Paris and London after 21 years in the food business? Open a gas station – and make smokin' good food in the back.
  • One of the oldest family businesses in America will still sell you an engagement ring.
  • Teed off? Relax at one of the best golf trails in the country.
  • Or maybe you need a new direction? Oak Mountain is one of the best places for Orienteering. And for mountain biking.
  • Alabama and Auburn have a rival college rivalry. It's the nation's largest predominately African American event.
  • Canoe one of the most biodiverse rivers in the world. Hint: a flower grows right in the middle of it.
  • Alabama is in the top five in biodiversity among the states. Find rare and beautiful things in our expansive green spaces. And in Aldridge Gardens, where one man spread our bounty of hydrangeas to the world.
  • Go to the best party you've ever been to at one of the last, great juke joints.
  • Or, go Colonial. Alabama is ground zero for Sacred Harp Singing and people come from all over the world to crowd into the tiny, wooden churches keeping the tradition.
  • Watch the Veteran's Parade, which started in Birmingham.

Renegade Squirrels & Other Nut Cases

Listen to a sample audio track of the title story Renegade Squirrels from Verna Gates Renegade Squirrels & Other Nut Cases in MP3 Format.

Purchase the Verna Gates Renegade Squirrels & Other Nut Cases CD for $13.95 (includes shipping charges) through PayPal using your VISA, Mastercard, AMEX or Discover Card.

So maybe the squirrels in your back yard aren't sporting tattoos and smoking Camel cigarettes, but sometimes it does feel like the varmints in your life are getting the better of you. Suffer no more as you share the laughter with humorist Verna Gates!

Verna GatesA life-long storyteller, Verna has been spinning yarns professionally for fifteen years. She is recognized for her distinctive Southern storytelling by being named "One of Alabama's Unforgettable Faces" by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and "An Alabama Treasure" by the Huntsville Times.

By beating out notorious coon hunters and fishermen, Verna has captured the distinctive title of "Biggest Liar in Alabama", awarded by the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard at their annual Labor Day Liar's Contest. And if you can hear her award-winning tales, true and tall, then you can see the real difference!

Listen to a sample audio track of the title story Renegade Squirrels from Verna Gates Renegade Squirrels & Other Nut Cases in MP3 Format.

Purchase the Verna Gates Renegade Squirrels & Other Nut Cases CD for $13.95 (includes shipping charges) through PayPal using your VISA, Mastercard, AMEX or Discover Card.

What Folks Are Saying

Verna loves hearing your reactions to her CD. Please email or write Verna with your own stories. Please include your town.

From Savannah:
"We are enjoying listening to the stories from the CD. We can identify with the one about the squirrels as we had a battle going on for a couple of months with a squirrel family that had taken up residence in our den." -Bob and Dianne
From Birmingham:
"Thank you so much for making a CD for adults and children. My six-year-old daughter loves it and it is something we can enjoy with her. It isn't silly like so many kid things and there is nothing to embarrass us. It is a rare find." -Tim
From Tahiti:
"OH MY GOD!!!! I started listening to your CD this morning, you are f*%@ing hilarious! I can't wait to share it with my Mom, she'll love it. Great chatting yesterday - you always put a bright, shiny smile on my face!" Best, Jonathan

Copyright © 2017 Verna Gates