Far enough from the minuses, close enough to the pluses. In a nutshell, that describes Tuscaloosa County and where it lies on the map of Alabama and the Southeast.
Tuscaloosa County is 50 miles from Birmingham; only 90 miles from Montgomery (the state capital); less than five hours from Atlanta, Jackson, Nashville, Mobile, the Florida panhandle and New Orleans; and a workday's drive to the northern and southern edges of the Southeast.
Traveling, of course, assumes you want to leave Tuscaloosa County - where gently rolling hills surround beautiful Lake Tuscaloosa and the mighty Black Warrior River and where the average temperature is about 64 degrees Fahrenheit and clear skies rule 210 days a year.
The City of Tuscaloosa (with the population of some 89,000 people) is the county seat and the fulcrum of activity in Tuscaloosa County. Neighboring Northport is home to some 23,000 people. Encircling these two larger cities are highly livable communities like Coker, Brookwood, Coaling, Lakeview, and Vance.
During the main academic year (when students at the University of Alabama and Stillman College call Tuscaloosa County home), the county's population grows by about 25,000.
A system of highways that provide easy access to other parts of the state and the region criss-cross the county. Interstate-20/59 runs from the northeast to the southwest by Tuscaloosa County, and U.S. Highways 11, 43, and 82 serve the area well - and are being upgraded. A limited accss highway from North Alabama through West Alabama and on to Mobile is in the works.
Highways & Road Systems
Tuscaloosa provides the “Tuscaloosa Trolley,” a scheduled, intercity bus passenger service. Greyhound provides service to the city, and charter buses are available. Several taxi services have fleets operating daily.
The Tuscaloosa Municipal Airport, Van deGraaff Field, has 6,500 foot runway that handles a lot of air freight and private air traffic. Commerical air service from seven major airlines is less than an hour away in Birmingham.
The Black Warrior River connects Tuscaloosa County with the Port of Mobile via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway; river traffic, of course, can go north to Tennessee, Mississippi, and Ohio. Parker Towing Company (with headquarters in Tuscaloosa) provides regional and local barge service, and the Oliver Lock and Dam provides facilities for up to an eight-barge tow.
Rail is a vital transportation link. Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern provide service to the county, and Amtrak offers passenger service on the Crescent Route - which links New York City and New Orleans.
Utilities & Energy
Alabama Power Company has a regional office in Tuscaloosa, and Alabama Gas Corporation staffs a district office. Local telephone service is provided primarily by AT&T, as well as competitive local and long distance service.
The Tuscaloosa News is the leading daily newspaper in Tuscaloosa County with the Northport Gazette serving Northport on a weekly basis. The Crimson White newspaper at the University of Alabama is also circulated on a regular basis throughout the week. Other major newspapers in the area include Birmingham and Montgomery newspapers, The New York Times, and USA Today.
Television cable services are provided primarily by Comcast Cable and Charter Cable in Tuscaloosa County. Tuscaloosa County is served by one local independent television station, WVUA23; and four major network affiliated stations including ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. Within the Tuscaloosa County area, there are numerous FM and AM radio stations along with public radio.