All Blog Entries by Matt Curtis

Found 229 blog entries published by Matt Curtis.

Alabama the Beautiful certainly lives up to that moniker, but like much of the Southeast, its scenic wonders can take a little searching out. Unexpectedly, one person has done more than any other to show me the often hidden beauty of my own home state, an engineer from just outside Philadelphia, aka my wife Bridget. In my years working in New Orleans, she moved here after graduating from school Boston to work at Redstone. By the time I returned here and met her, she’d hiked and ran and seen places I’d not even heard of, I’m ashamed to admit. (What can I say? I spent my youth playing video games and basketball.)

I’m proud to have seen more and more of Alabama’s natural and historic places with and because of my yankee wife, and Rocket City Local will be

Alabama the Beautiful certainly lives up to that moniker, but like much of the Southeast, its scenic wonders can take a little searching out. Unexpectedly, one person has done more than any other to show me the often hidden beauty of my own home state, an engineer from just outside Philadelphia, aka my wife Bridget. In my years working in New Orleans, she moved here after graduating from school Boston to work at Redstone. By the time I returned here and met her, she’d hiked and ran and seen places I’d not even heard of, I’m ashamed to admit. (What can I say? I spent my youth playing video games and basketball.)

I’m proud to have seen more and more of Alabama’s natural and historic places with and because of my yankee wife, and Rocket City Local will be

118 Views, 0 Comments

Hays Nature Preserve in Owens Cross Roads is a family and dog friendly, multi-use parkland among hardwood forest on the Flint River. With wide, well worn trails, plenty of shade, creeks, swamps, playspaces for kids, and numerous other chances to get your outdoor therapy, Hays is one of most undeveloped and wild parks in north Alabama.

The link provided on the HNP Facebook page is down, but there’s good info on the preserve to be found at: www.huntsvilleal.gov/environment/green-team/nature-preserves/hays-nature-preserve/hays-nature-preserve-trail-description. 

A quick read of that page will make your visit more rewarding and informative. There’s a lot to see, including an education center, a labryinthine wildflower garden, limestone cave, beaver

Hays Nature Preserve in Owens Cross Roads is a family and dog friendly, multi-use parkland among hardwood forest on the Flint River. With wide, well worn trails, plenty of shade, creeks, swamps, playspaces for kids, and numerous other chances to get your outdoor therapy, Hays is one of most undeveloped and wild parks in north Alabama.

The link provided on the HNP Facebook page is down, but there’s good info on the preserve to be found at: www.huntsvilleal.gov/environment/green-team/nature-preserves/hays-nature-preserve/hays-nature-preserve-trail-description. 

A quick read of that page will make your visit more rewarding and informative. There’s a lot to see, including an education center, a labryinthine wildflower garden, limestone cave, beaver

212 Views, 0 Comments

Bored of the Usual?

Looking for some fun free activities in the Huntsville and Madison area that don’t include the usual trip to the mall? Interested in doing something educational that doesn’t cost big bucks? If it’s rainy outside, try the skating rink. But when the weather cooperates, try these outdoor activities that don’t cost anything but time.

Nature Preserves 

The Madison County Land Trust boasts several lovely nature preserves with lots of hiking trails:

  • Harvest Square Nature Preserve has two fishing ponds that are available to anyone with a valid fishing license.
  • Matthew’s Nature Preserve is not open at present but can be reserved in advanced for those brave souls who are interested in primitive camping.  Call (256) 534-5263 for

Bored of the Usual?

Looking for some fun free activities in the Huntsville and Madison area that don’t include the usual trip to the mall? Interested in doing something educational that doesn’t cost big bucks? If it’s rainy outside, try the skating rink. But when the weather cooperates, try these outdoor activities that don’t cost anything but time.

Nature Preserves 

The Madison County Land Trust boasts several lovely nature preserves with lots of hiking trails:

  • Harvest Square Nature Preserve has two fishing ponds that are available to anyone with a valid fishing license.
  • Matthew’s Nature Preserve is not open at present but can be reserved in advanced for those brave souls who are interested in primitive camping.  Call (256) 534-5263 for
216 Views, 0 Comments

Last week I wrote about the why and how of selling your unwanted stuff and looked at a few places to do so in the Rocket City.

If you need to take things a step further this spring and get some professional assistance cleaning your home, whether it’s just once or on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, look no further than MaidPro of Huntsville!

MaidPro hires the best cleaning professionals they can find to perform their 49 point checklist for a thoroughly immaculate home. “We don't just make the beds, we also clean underneath them. We'll vacuum, polish, and scrub our way through your house until everything is cleaned just the way you want it.”

If you’ve just got one problematic room or two, MaidPro can customize a visit to suit you. They

Last week I wrote about the why and how of selling your unwanted stuff and looked at a few places to do so in the Rocket City.

If you need to take things a step further this spring and get some professional assistance cleaning your home, whether it’s just once or on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, look no further than MaidPro of Huntsville!

MaidPro hires the best cleaning professionals they can find to perform their 49 point checklist for a thoroughly immaculate home. “We don't just make the beds, we also clean underneath them. We'll vacuum, polish, and scrub our way through your house until everything is cleaned just the way you want it.”

If you’ve just got one problematic room or two, MaidPro can customize a visit to suit you. They

238 Views, 0 Comments

A Fun Place to van Gogh!

Pinot’s Palette offers a creative twist to the traditional night out on the town.  At Pinot’s Palette, groups or individuals grab drinks, mingle, and then sit down in front of blank canvasses to create une peinture (a painting) from with acrylic paint.  Ç'est Magnifique!

How to get your Caravaggio vibe on!

Last night, I tried Pinot’s Palette for the first time.  Our energetic and enthusiastic instructor, Kate, and her assistants led us, step-by-step, to turn our canvasses into backgrounds of lovely, swirling colors.  By night’s end, we each had a painting of Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower) against a snowy backdrop.

I went by myself, but most of the other étudiants en art (art students) came with a group or as a

A Fun Place to van Gogh!

Pinot’s Palette offers a creative twist to the traditional night out on the town.  At Pinot’s Palette, groups or individuals grab drinks, mingle, and then sit down in front of blank canvasses to create une peinture (a painting) from with acrylic paint.  Ç'est Magnifique!

How to get your Caravaggio vibe on!

Last night, I tried Pinot’s Palette for the first time.  Our energetic and enthusiastic instructor, Kate, and her assistants led us, step-by-step, to turn our canvasses into backgrounds of lovely, swirling colors.  By night’s end, we each had a painting of Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower) against a snowy backdrop.

I went by myself, but most of the other étudiants en art (art students) came with a group or as a

240 Views, 0 Comments

The Christmas and New Year holidays are finally behind us, and hopefully you have been able to get all your holiday décor packed back up and stowed away in the basement or attic.  For many, this leaves your home feeling a little empty or drab.  The New Year is the perfect time to give your home some attention and spruce up your décor.

Your home is your living space and should be decorated to your unique style. My home is extremely unique since it is made from 1800s logs from TN and re-constructed in Madison County, AL in the 1970s. Rocket City is very lucky to have a plethora of unique shops that can help you furnish your home with distinctive décor that will be aesthetically pleasing while showing characteristics of your personal style.

While 

The Christmas and New Year holidays are finally behind us, and hopefully you have been able to get all your holiday décor packed back up and stowed away in the basement or attic.  For many, this leaves your home feeling a little empty or drab.  The New Year is the perfect time to give your home some attention and spruce up your décor.

Your home is your living space and should be decorated to your unique style. My home is extremely unique since it is made from 1800s logs from TN and re-constructed in Madison County, AL in the 1970s. Rocket City is very lucky to have a plethora of unique shops that can help you furnish your home with distinctive décor that will be aesthetically pleasing while showing characteristics of your personal style.

While 

232 Views, 0 Comments

Letting go of things can be tough. I know there’s the book about “Does it bring you joy?”, but I tend to ask, is it particularly beautiful, particularly useful, or both? If it’s none of those, it’s gotta go.

Spring is a prime time to start thinking about clearing out things that are no longer particularly beautiful or useful in your home... but perhaps might spark joy in someone else's home? It is also great to make a little cash on the things you let go. Spring is around the corner and it’ll soon be time to open windows, air out the house, and maybe toss or sell a few things that are only collecting dust and creating work for you anyway.

My wife and I have recently used the Facebook “marketplace” to great effect to sell a dog kennel, set of

Letting go of things can be tough. I know there’s the book about “Does it bring you joy?”, but I tend to ask, is it particularly beautiful, particularly useful, or both? If it’s none of those, it’s gotta go.

Spring is a prime time to start thinking about clearing out things that are no longer particularly beautiful or useful in your home... but perhaps might spark joy in someone else's home? It is also great to make a little cash on the things you let go. Spring is around the corner and it’ll soon be time to open windows, air out the house, and maybe toss or sell a few things that are only collecting dust and creating work for you anyway.

My wife and I have recently used the Facebook “marketplace” to great effect to sell a dog kennel, set of

136 Views, 0 Comments

The citizens of Huntsville, especially people with children, are extremely fortunate to have the Space and Rocket Center. They consistently incorporate world-renowned exhibits and activities from museums and other institutions into their facilities. This allows children and families in the Rocket City opportunities that are more or less exclusive (in regards to their frequency and overall consistency) to Huntsville. It’s quite a feat to successfully merge fun and educational experiences, and that is something that the USSRC does very well. Spark!Lab is a perfect example.

What is the Spark!Lab?

Created by the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and InnovationSpark!Lab is where technology, engineering, and fun become

The citizens of Huntsville, especially people with children, are extremely fortunate to have the Space and Rocket Center. They consistently incorporate world-renowned exhibits and activities from museums and other institutions into their facilities. This allows children and families in the Rocket City opportunities that are more or less exclusive (in regards to their frequency and overall consistency) to Huntsville. It’s quite a feat to successfully merge fun and educational experiences, and that is something that the USSRC does very well. Spark!Lab is a perfect example.

What is the Spark!Lab?

Created by the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and InnovationSpark!Lab is where technology, engineering, and fun become

107 Views, 0 Comments

Dallas based Global sports entertainment company TopGolf now has a location in Huntsville, at the site of the old Madison Square Mall. Hit balls at a climate-controlled driving range, catch the big game, and enjoy food and drink at the new Rocket City outpost of the London-born chain, which operates 44 venues in the United States and United Kingdom (including another in Birmingham).

There are 72 hitting bays, event and meeting spaces available, full service restaurant and bars, free WiFi, hundreds of HDTVs, and a firepit (always a magnet for me). TopGolf offers competitive league and training programs for kids and adults.

TopGolf U Classes are available for groups of up to six. They’re taught by certified instructors and available as single classes

Dallas based Global sports entertainment company TopGolf now has a location in Huntsville, at the site of the old Madison Square Mall. Hit balls at a climate-controlled driving range, catch the big game, and enjoy food and drink at the new Rocket City outpost of the London-born chain, which operates 44 venues in the United States and United Kingdom (including another in Birmingham).

There are 72 hitting bays, event and meeting spaces available, full service restaurant and bars, free WiFi, hundreds of HDTVs, and a firepit (always a magnet for me). TopGolf offers competitive league and training programs for kids and adults.

TopGolf U Classes are available for groups of up to six. They’re taught by certified instructors and available as single classes

167 Views, 0 Comments

The Search for Quality Pet Care

My friend Michelle was in a quandary.  Her family was driving to west Texas to visit family during the holiday, and she needed someone local to care for her high-maintenance fur baby, Rip.

Rip is not an easy pet.  Old age is his main issue.  He’s prone to getting sick and must be given pet meds and shots.  Michelle has boarded him before, but they only took him outside twice for bathroom breaks.  So, Rip was not happy at the kennel—and honestly…who can blame poor Rip? Michelle was at her wit’s end.  It’s not easy to find quality pet care.  Especially at Christmas!

The Solution: Pet Au Pair Extraordinaire & Petz Pack

I wish I’d known about Pet Au Pair Extraordinaire and Petz Pack when Michelle was asking for

The Search for Quality Pet Care

My friend Michelle was in a quandary.  Her family was driving to west Texas to visit family during the holiday, and she needed someone local to care for her high-maintenance fur baby, Rip.

Rip is not an easy pet.  Old age is his main issue.  He’s prone to getting sick and must be given pet meds and shots.  Michelle has boarded him before, but they only took him outside twice for bathroom breaks.  So, Rip was not happy at the kennel—and honestly…who can blame poor Rip? Michelle was at her wit’s end.  It’s not easy to find quality pet care.  Especially at Christmas!

The Solution: Pet Au Pair Extraordinaire & Petz Pack

I wish I’d known about Pet Au Pair Extraordinaire and Petz Pack when Michelle was asking for

152 Views, 0 Comments