Montgomery, AL

As we looked at the map for a route to head toward New Orleans for our second Mardi Gras experience, we noted Montgomery was kind of on the way down from Atlanta. And then I stumbled upon possibly the greatest discovery of all time. The discovery is an island. Of goats. A goat island. Just outside of Montgomery.

Oh, and also the goats live in the abandoned set for Tim Burton’s movie Big Fish. Yes. They are movie star goats. Living on an island. Where Tim Burton filmed Big Fish. Outside of Montgomery.

And then we heard rumor that it is possible to camp on this island of movie star goats just outside of Montgomery.

Was there another choice? Other than the choice to drive Dyna to movie-star-goat-island-outside-of-Montgomery?


So upon leaving Atlanta we headed straight for goat island. Jake called the number for goat island, which is actually named Jackson Lake Island, as we drove towards Montgomery on a Wednesday afternoon in February. His call was answered by a gentleman named Bobby Bright, who we later learned is a ‘retired’ politician. Aka, he lost his re-election. He is the former mayor of Montgomery and a Democratic U.S. Congressman – no wonder he lost. He’s a Republican now, and no longer holds an office. He made sure Montgomery built a riverwalk, which we later found to be rather lovely. Anyways, Bobby wasn’t sure if he could fit us onto his goat island, but welcomed us to swing by so we could check it out. And if we couldn’t squeeze in, we could just “mosey along” according to Bobby. Upon arrival at the gate of the goats, Bobby, and Lynn (who Bobby gets to be married to and is a retired district court Judge), greeted us. They let us know that they usually would have no concern about fitting a rig our onto their island of goats – so long as we understood they are not a campground or an RV park. They are first and foremost a goat island. Ok, I made that line up. But the other lines are true. Anyways, the causeway looked about due to flood over, so they didn’t suggest us taking Dyna over onto the island. Bobby & Lynn’s son in law is the local weatherman, so Lynn has an ‘in’ when it comes to flooding on her island. So we stayed on the mainland – and not the goat island. But, Lynn let us know that if we hurried, we could probably walk over and visit the goat herd before the road flooded over. And Lynn offered us her kayaks in case we couldn’t get over there in time.

After wriggling Dyna into a bit of a tight space, we threw our levelers down, and headed over to see those movie star goats.

We made it! And they were glorious.

The movie set was pretty neat too.

The goats had a food buffet behind the movie set’s church and it was evident that the goats had been living inside the set houses. Because they are movie star goats. One goat was named Squat and she had a juvenile goat with her named Wee Squat. She was the goat that would try and eat your clothes.

During our few days at Jackson Lake Island we got a feel for why Tim Burton and crew chose the location for their film. He filmed there pre-goats, so that was not the draw. Jackson Lake Island is just a really moody place. We stayed for only 4 days and the appearance of the place changed several times. One day it was dark and brooding – the next it was sunny and warm.

As Lynn predicted it would, the causeway flooded over by our first evening on the property. But, our neighbor offered to let us use his kayaks if we wanted – and we did want. So, we got to visit the herd again.

Our neighbors on the mainland off of Jackson Island were some of the friendliest folks we’ve met in our travels. We met all of them – and chatted with several of them for hours on end about a gamut of topics. I ended up doing a lot more listening than sharing – sometimes you just have to listen to people from the South. It’s a whole different mindset – and I guess to start to try and understand it I just had to listen. With beer. Beer helps with that sometimes. (Spoiler: the Confederacy lives on in the hearts of many down here…)

Jake leveled up (that is code for ‘had a birthday’) while we were on goat island outside of Montgomery. We celebrated by wandering around Montgomery, eating macarons, and visiting Selma. Montgomery gave us a really nice day for exploring the city, eating Chris’ hotdogs and visiting Selma.

While in Selma we stumbled upon a woman speaking to a group of teenagers about her experience as a participant in Bloody Sunday. She was sassy as all get up and I fell in love with her upon first hearing her say “that’s a stupid question but I’m gonna answer it for you.” She shared a short, blunt recounting of her experience, then shared some ideas for what she has learned in the last 54 years – and gave suggestions for how we could all continue to repair our country. Brief summary of her suggestions: don’t ignore our history – and don’t pretend that it’s ‘all fine now’ – but also approach our struggles with a goal of understanding and friendship – and listen to each other. Ok, so that was a pretty terrible recap, but if you are ever near Selma I recommend visiting and maybe you will get to meet this sassy woman and she can tell you all about it!

We finished our day of celebrating Jake with barbecue and sweet tea at Lannie’s out in Selma- which was delicious.

We spent the remainder of our 4 days in the Montgomery area hanging out on the mainland overlooking goat island, watching the goats from our binoculars. We tried to hit a brewery one evening, but, Montgomery isn’t quite ‘there’ yet on the brewery scene. We somehow got tricked into a pizza place instead (??) Not the worst trick ever.

I could have lived amongst the goats for quite sometime. I love goats. (But I hate goat cheese!!!!!! Goat cheese tastes like goats smell you fools!!!!!) However, we were already missing Mardi Gras – so we decided to (carefully) back out of our campsite and ‘mosey along’. We’re gonna stop in Mobile for an evening to warm ourselves up for the full blast version of Carnival celebrations in New Orleans. So, on to Mobile we go. No, I didn’t steal a goat. (Goats smell. And goat cheese tastes like goats smell, fools.)

2 comments on Montgomery, AL

  • Lane

    Beer? Too bad you missed Birmingham. Craft beer mecca-in-the-making and numerous James Beard Award winners in our town. Maybe you two can find time to pass through one day.

    • Liz (author)

      Maybe we CAN! Thanks for the tip. We seem to get around!

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