Here we are heading into the Orange Beach / Gulf Shores Alabama area.
We liked the Alabama coast... Gulf Shores in particular... and Gulf State Park even more specifically. We liked it MUCH better than the Grayton Beach Florida area. Don’t get me wrong, Grayton Beach has a GREAT state park... the area surrounding it was just too much.
Gulf Shores, Alabama, is still touristy and is still somewhere that should probably be avoided in the middle of the summer season.
But it is a very nice... much lower key area than the Florida Pan-handle was. The food was a little better, and prices were more affordable.
The folks were friendly and everyone had a slow soft southern accent. The gal at walmart said “how y’all doin’ today?’ when I got in her line. Then when I was all checked out she said ’Y’all have a nice day now Love.’ She might have been Amber’s age. I went back to her the next time I was in the store just because I wanted to hear her say it again. She did.
By leaving Florida behind, we left most of the yuppie snowbirds behind and found the real snowbirds. You glance around the park and you see license plates that say.... Michigan, Wisconsin, MIchigan, Minnesota, Michigan. These folks are here for most of the winter... although a few go from here towards Arizona.
Heck, while in Alabama we think we have met more people from Michigan than we did while we were in Sidnaw. There was even an advertisement in one of the local event papers where someone was offering to make Pasties to order...
(sing the next line to the Rice-a-Roni commercial music)
“Tasty Pasties... the Upper Peninsula’s treat.”
Gulf State Park is a big state park with almost 500 campsites & rentable cabins. They have a golf course and a nature center and trails. Lots of bike paths, a couple lakes, and a huge pier.
The sand is like sugar. Wide open, white, clean beaches. The Gulf of Mexico is pretty mellow and peaceful to watch. Just like Florida though there are still no dogs allowed on the beach. BASTARDS! Don’t they know who Queen Delta is!?
Shrimp shrimp shrimp (think Bubba and Forrest) and batter fried stuff.. most any kind of stuff... including alligator... first time I have seen it on the menu down here. I am pleased to say we did finally have some good fried green tomatoes at a small pub called the Pink Pony which is RIGHT on the beach.
We liked it so much we went 3 times! Of course the view, the fact that it was the best deal in town for meals and cocktails had nothing to do with our returning so often. The green tomatoes are still not the best I have had... but at least they are getting better.
We still dream about the Shrimp and Grits we had at The River Room in Georgetown, South Carolina.
But, not to fear... we are heading into Mississippi and then Louisiana... Cajun and creole country so we are looking forward to that. See if I we can find a little zydeco music somewhere... I imagine we won't have trouble finding any music in New Orleans.
The only bummer about Alabama was we were there right in the middle of a nasty cold snap. A fellow David spoke to in the park who winters here every year said last year it was 70 degrees this time of year. Not this year... the upper temperature has been like 35 degrees! It is beautiful and clear and crisp... and really too cold to enjoy being outside as the sharp breezes drop the temp into the 20s or even teens and it blows right through you.
We parked our trailer right on the shore of Middle Lake, and can look across the lake from our window to the gulf shoreline.
However, we did not really get to hit the bike paths, nor did David get to golf here at the park. It is cold enough that it really would take the joy out of doing any of those things so we have done a lot of reading and watching PBS while here... Oh yeah.... and lots of Crimson Tide football and beautiful sunrises.