Hank Williams Museum

Hank Williams Museum (Tom Uhlenbrock, MCT)

Stretching from Andalusia north to Birmingham are 180 Alabama miles that likely should be traveled by serious country music fans. It's the Hank Williams Trail, established by the state in 2006 to mark major events in the country legend's short life and career with his Drifting Cowboys.

The trail generally follows U.S. Highway 31, which the singer/songwriter traveled, and newer Interstate Highway 65.

At the south end, in Andalusia, travelers will find Pirate Graphics at 120 E. Three Notch St., but in 1944 it was John Wright's auto garage, where Williams married Miss Audrey Sheppard, the positive and pained inspiration for so many songs.

Half an hour north is Georgiana, where Williams and his mother lived from 1930 to 1934. Williams met a black street singer there named Rufus "Tee-Tot" Payne, who taught him to play guitar. The Hank Williams Sr. Boyhood Home & Museum (127 Rose St.) displays one of his guitars, photos, records, clothing and more. The museum also hosts the annual Hank Williams Festival with music and food June 6-7. (Info: 334-376-2396, hankmuseum.com.)

That's not the only museum. Go on to Montgomery, where Williams lived in 1937-48 and where his career began, and you'll find the Hank Williams Museum (118 Commerce St.). It displays 17 of his Nudie suits, many awards and the 1952 Cadillac in which he died en route to a show in Ohio. (Info: 334-262-3600, thehankwilliamsmuseum.net.)

The list of significant spots extends to Birmingham and the Redmont Hotel (2101 Fifth Ave.), where Williams spent his last night, Dec. 31, 1952.

For a guide to the trail, phone 800-252-2262 or visit tinyurl.com/hanktrail.