Tag Archives: Alabama

Skywatch Friday – Alabama Edition

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We are back from our vacation to the gulf coast of Alabama (aka the “Redneck Riviera”). We had a great time as a family and will have lots of memories.

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Son always has a good time. He also carries a book with him wherever he goes. That’s a good habit to have.

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We cooked a couple shrimp dinners while we were there using fresh caught shrimp. We dined out on our balcony.

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For the first time we explored Gulf State Park on bike. It is a sprawling park with beaches, lakes ponds, miles of trails, and multiple access points from the surrounding community.

We had a lot of fun and got to do some active relaxing.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Bellingrath Gardens and Home

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The entire property is lush and provides lots of opportunities for photographs. I loved the greenhouse.

On our recent family vacation we decided to make a small detour and visit the Bellingrath Gardens and Home on the Fowl River near Mobile, Alabama. We were glad we did. It is a 65 acre garden and home built by an early Coca-Cola entrepreneur and his wife. When they died without children, the entire estate passed to a foundation entrusted with the 65 acre garden and home.

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I love reflections.

This is one of those places that I have heard about for quite a while and I had high expectations and they were surpassed. The grounds are immaculate and the landscaping design is superb, especially for those of us with a camera. The gardens are just packed with great visuals wherever you go.

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We stayed several hours and still did not see it all. I took over 130 photographs.s

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The place has been maintained well and one can tell from our conversations with the staff and guides that their’s is a labor of love.

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What a great courtyard with a the wrought iron fence on the balconty, big huge windows that open, a little fountain, and archways. And I love the brick.

We paid for a tour of the Bellingrath home and it is exquisite. It was built in the 1920’s and had several features that seemed ahead of its time. They didn’t have electricity at first, but the family anticipating it coming had the house prewired and included features you don’t see today such as automatic lights that come on when you open a closet.

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A shady area with comfortable chairs.

It really looks like a place where one could relax. Lots of quiet shady spots and courtyards.

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I am a sucker for flags and gas lights. REAL gas lights.

And as in the gardens, the house is surrounded by plants.

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The guide showed us where the Bellingrath’s cooks kept the cookies.

The kitchen was superb. They have kept it as it was when it was lived in. Two big ovens and ranges, two big dishwashers, a couple of giant refrigerators. We loved the light airy feeling of the place.

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This was my favorite room. Not the main dining room but another one. Again, big tall windows with great light.

If you want to visit, check out Bellingrath’s web site. Lots of great info on planning and what to see. Being a garden, they always have something going on.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – A Cloudy Day at the Beach

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Even the rainy overcast days at the beach are interesting with the big vistas. This particular day featured fast moving showers moving through the area. I suscribe to the “hear it, fear it, see it, flee it” school of lightning. So I am not going to venture out during a rainstorm but I’ll sure take photos of those that do.

I am fascinated how the water changes color with the sky. Sometimes the water is blue, other times green, and still others grey. We stayed at the beach for a week and had no reason to turn on the television even when it was rained.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Lifeguard Tower

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Orange Beach, Alabama

Why are lifeguard towers so darn cool? Most places I have been I have hardly ever see lifeguards in them. They are very beachy though like this example from our recent vacation to the Gulf Coast of Alabama. We had pretty good weather and great skies while we are there and a pretty good time.

Skywatch Friday

Life’s a Beach – In the Air, on the Ground, and in the Water

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Heather and Logan went on their parasailing adventure the other day. I didn’t go, the pics were taken by a boat hand.

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Up

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And then way up there!

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Before coming down for a little shark dip, and then the credit card went though and they went up again.

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While they were up there, I went to the beautiful Gulf State Park’s Backwoods Trail.

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And found some geocaches. No snakes, no bug bites (thanks DEET), but a few thorn scratches.

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Heather and I have taken several long beach walks along the Gulf underneath everchanging skies.

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And I have been crushing beers in the surf. That is what us guys do, we crush our beers. We have found some decent beer here finally. Alabama is a bigger beer wasteland than Oklahoma.

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And I found me a friend at the fishing pier at Gulf Shores. I’m not much of birdwatcher except for the big ones like this Brown Pelican.

Today, we are going on a Segway nature tour of the Gulf State Park. I’ll give you a report later.

Life’s a Beach – Birthday Edition

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Logan started his birthday on the beach, reading.

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It ended up raining and so the planned parasailing got put off for another day. We ended up doing a little shopping and running errands and such.

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He wanted dinner at Shipp’s Harbor, a nice restaurant that we all loved.

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It is in a marina. I love marinas. Looking at the different kinds of boats and seeing if I can tell which ones get used and which ones never get taken out.

We went to see a movie, “The Fate of the Furious”, part of the Fast and Furious franchise. It had some great scenes filmed in Havana with old cars and such. It also had a luscious Charlize Theron as a bad girl trying to steal nuclear launch codes. She commandeers a bunch of cars to go into driverless mode to attack the convoy that has the launch codes. Great scene.

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We also had birthday cake of course.

And so a great day was had by all.

Y’all Namaste’ – Life is a Beach – Redneck Riviera Edition

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Our first full day on the beach. Yoga!!! we didn’t join, we didn’t have the tops for it.

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We went on a family walk. We are going to celebrate his 19th while on this trip.  He is a regular beach bum. We used to go to South Padre Island for our vacations. Lots of Hispanic people would be there with their music on boom boxes. He’d really shake his diapered booty to rhythm, the young girls really loved dancing with him. He doesn’t really like reminiscing about stuff like that.

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Here’s Heather busting some moves.

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He’ll aways be our baby boy, even though he towers over both of us.

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Heather needed another bathing suit so we first we tried a beach place, and then this high end place with this fish fountain.

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And some nice condos right on the water.

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Later we went back to the condo, and with the kid walked down to our favorite beach bar, Florabama, right on the Alabama-Florida line. Quite a place this is, several different bars, inside and outside, we ate lunch and had a bushwhacker and headed back to the condo. Too many people.

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We got back and I took my little waterproof camera out in water. A wave happened by and knocked my prescription sunglasses off my face and into the water. I felt them hit my leg but I couldn’t find them. The way the current was going, they are probably washed up in Cuba by now. Oh well.

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We grilled burgers, and had dinner al fresco on the balcony.

A good time is being had by all. Today, the kid and his mom are going parasailing. I’m going to get some clip on sunglasses from Walgreens, geocaching, and have a beer at the marina where the parasailing is, and read some.

Namaste’ Yall

Skywatch Friday – Vacation Skies

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We are on vacation right now. We left early on Thursday and made a long drive to Mobile, Alabama. It was a gut buster but worth it. Our plan was to leave early from Mobile and get through the tunnel going to the east side of the bay. Sometimes, if you wait until the afternoon, the traffic backs up for hours. The plan worked. We got to Mobile, we got up and zipped through the tunnel with no wait. It was like getting a bonus day of vacation.

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What did we do with our bonus day. We made a side trip to Fairhope, a little town on the east side of Mobile, Bay. I had never heard of it but Heather said lets go, so we went. What a great side trip that was. It has a very nice old town with lots and lots of interesting cafes, shops, and galleries. We checked out an independent bookstore, Page & Pallette. What a great, not so little store, and the people who work there are READERS!! They have a huge “Staff Recommends” section and they know about those books and most of the other books in the store also. They have lots of books by regional authors. So we spent a lot of money on books, and ever dime was well spent.

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We took the scenic route cross country from Fairhope to Gulf Shores to our traditional first meal spot, Lulu’s. Lulu’s sits right on the intercoastal canal. I love watching the boats of all kinds, and barges and kayaks and everything else going up and down the waterway but we had something special.

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A seaplane landed right in front of us. They pulled up to Lulu’s dock and went and had lunch. What a Jimmy Buffett thing to do (no, it wasn’t him). By the way Lulu is Jimmy Buffett’s sister.

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So we got to our condo, got unpacked and ran out to the beach. Logan loves the beach. He is a regular beach bum. Shoot, we all are. Sorry about the tilted shot. I’m writing this post out on the balcony and I am not doing much editing.

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To balance things out, here is a pic off the back side of the condo last night. It is tilted the other way, so on average, it all balances out.

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And here is the view this morning. More to come!

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World Tuesday – Clear Sailing

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Sailboat chilling on Wolf Bay, Alabama

Well we did Christmas. I love Christmas and we had a nice quiet one at the house with our small family including my Mother-in-Law. We exchanged gifts and cards and had a nice meal and texted/facebook messaged our other family in Idaho, Colorado, and western Oklahoma.

Now I am ready to be done with it. Sure, leave the lights and tree up for a few days but it is time to go outside for a little while and get the head screwed on straight. I’m taking a week off and although we have errands and stuff to do I plan to get a few runs and hikes in and take a bunch of photos.

How about you? You done with Christmas also? (I know, I know, it is technically still Christmas while I post this but I am about to come out of my skin.)

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday