Downtown Madison makes for a fun afternoon near the Rocket City. Main Street, a  perfectly compact and quaint little strip alongside the train tracks, is anchored by Old Black Bear Brewing Company, and has a lineup of shops familiar to a small town lover: a cafe and a restaurant, a salon, a boutique, keepsake and antique shops, a sweets shop, and a fitness studio, among other tenants like an attorney’s office and artist studio. It’s a diverse group of businesses. Between retail therapy and a bite to eat, it can make for a fun afternoon close to Huntsville, all tucked away in the middle of Madison in under a tenth of a mile’s walk, if that.


Main Street Cafe has a menu that looks a little fancier than their name might suggest, some good outdoor seating for summer, and offers a chicken dish I’m quite keen to try, named after our good neighbors to the East: Georgia Chicken has peaches and pecan sauce with garlic mashed potatoes. I’m interested.

Not sure what it is about a Reuben sandwich, but it seems to be one of those things that’s there on the menu anytime I’m somewhere thinking “This is cute.” You can get one at Main Street Cafe to fuel your antique hunt, or just to get lunch out of the way so you can go try the homemade fudge at Sallie’s Whistlestop Sweet Shop.

Main Street also features other places of interest, like Jacklyn’s Keepsakes, J’s Salon on Main and Noble Passage Interiors.

To pass through Madison on either Highway 72 or I-565/Madison Blvd., one could easily consider Madison lacking in a healthy small business culture, as box stores dominate the thoroughfares. But there’s Main Street, now bolstered in untold measures by the presence of a popular taproom in Old Black Bear, and its medley of shops tucked away so cozy it’s easy to forget it’s all there, if you even realized it to start with.

Support small businesses in Madison and check out the local merchants downtown by the train tracks!

By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos.

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