Continuing on our journey through historical sites and areas of Bluff Park, let's make a stop on Shades Crest Road. Here on the crest, visitors can enjoy shopping at quaint shops or grab a bite at local restaurants.
As one of the best views in the area, this site is leaps and bounds above the rest. Located on the Crest is a site called Lover's Leap. It's a large set of limestone boulders that jut out over the valley.
In 2001, the area was revitalized and now visitors can take a picnic and walk right on the historical site. The history behind this site is an interesting one. One of Alabama's first legislators, Thomas W. Farrar came to the site and camped for several days with his new bride on what he then called Sunset Rock. The Farrar's were on their way from their New Orleans' wedding to their new home in Elyton. It is here where he carved the first four lines of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage", a poem by Lord Byron.
"To sit on the rocks, to muse o'er flood an fell, to slowly trace the forest's shady scene where things that own not man's dominion dwell, and mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been." - Thomas W. Farrar 1827
Farrar later founded and served as Grand Master of the first Masonic Lodge in Alabama. In the early 30s, the inscribed rock was removed and presented to the Masonic Lodge in Elyton, which is named after Farrar. In 1935, the site was donated to the public. Residents Thomas W. Martin and George B. Ward gave a replica of the carving to the site, which is now protected by a new wrought iron fence that was erected in 2004.
Today visitors can check out other inscriptions that come from past visitors who left their own carvings on the rocks. Two carvings pictured here: show couple's initials and the dates 1955 and 1940. There are many carving like these that date to the present day.
Although the Farrar's did not take a leap off the rocks, one legend that centers on the second set of boulders does. The rocks to the right of Lover's leap, just under a local eatery, center on an old Creek Indian legend. It tells of an Indian brave who, tired of the love of a tribal princess, stabbed her on the rock and then jumped with her in his arms out of his regret for killing her.
Tragic leaps aside, this is a wonderful place in Bluff Park to take a quick lunch and enjoy the view or to take a picnic with your special someone for a romantic afternoon. The blooms of spring and warm weather are worth a few snapshots as well. For people who participate in Geocaching or Nacicache, just plug in coordinates N 33 degrees 24.722' W 086 degrees 51.457 to your GPS and find a hidden cache around the area. For more information on Geocaching, click here for the caching notes
(This site gives information on the longitude and latitude of the site and some hints to finding the cache without signing up)
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=825a7324-1774-4a64-9da5-c7284fff1a41 (This site requires you to join geocaching.com to view the location information on the cache... or any other cache. If you like geocaching, this could be fun! There are many hidden caches in Bluff Park. You can search by area code 35226)
All photographs by Heather ©2007 All Rights Reserved Heather /bluffparkal.org