Mobile, Alabama, where the skies are so blue, except for when we visit. We had a little rainy weather, but it didn't put a damper on our exploration of historic Mobile. Highlights of our trip included a private tour through Mobile's Mardi Gras history, exploring the USS Alabama, and being transformed into shellfishermen by Captain Skip on his Sailaway nature tour. All of these adventures, along with some delicious seafood, made our trip one to remember.
We took to the road in the wee morning hours, approximately 2:00 AM. From Murfreesboro, our trip took about 6 hours, not bad when you're splitting the distance between two drivers. We pulled into Mobile around 9:30, which was perfect because we had planned a 10:00 visit to Visitation Monastery. The Visitation Nuns are known for their delicious heavenly hash chocolate, and I'm not one to pass on any chocolate, especially the heavenly kind. Visitation Monastery was a great first stop for our Mobile journey. The Monastery was founded in 1833, and visitors are allowed to explore the chapel and grounds. We were the first visitors of the day, so when we entered the chapel, lights were still off. We entered by the light of the sun beaming through panes of multicolored glass. The whole cathedral was illuminated in red, yellow, green, and blue, and it was beautifully serene. At one point Gina looked at me and said, "This is so calming". I said, "I know, it's so peaceful". Immediately after the words left our lips, a nun fired up a vacuum cleaner. We had a good laugh at that. One thing I would never laugh at is the Visitation Nun's chocolate, unless it was laughter of pure joy. The nun's candy kitchen has been running since 1957, and their chocolates are superbly delicious.
Our first day in Mobile was eventful. After leaving the Mission Monastery, we headed to a small town called Fairhope to do some exploring and get a bite to eat on the pier. We had read some great reviews on a restaurant called Shux and couldn't wait to get our first taste of fresh seafood. The weather was putting on a show for us as we arrived. The wind was powerfully stirring up the waves, which is always a sight for those of us who live landlocked lives. Due to the weather, we had the restaurant mostly to ourselves, so we took a seat by the window to watch the water dance. The food at Shux was great! We started off with some of the most delicious fried pickles I've ever had, and then we opted to share a fried seafood platter. It was enough food for an army, and by the end we were so stuffed that you could've rolled us down the pier. The storm was still raging when we finished eating, so we decided to make a move to the bar. We got a few beers, and then Gina made an interesting discovery. She found a bloody mary oyster shot on the menu. The shot was basically a bloody mary, but the bottom of the glass held a prize, a huge oyster. I was intrigued by her discovery, so we both decided that I should try one. We apparently weren't talking clearly when we ordered, because we ended up with two of the bloody devils instead of one. Judging from Gina's disgusted expression, I assumed I would get them both, but when all the waiting staff gathered around us to watch, Gina felt obligated to man up. Gina has a problem with slimy food textures, so I was proud of her for attempting the shot. I actually enjoyed the shot quite a bit. It is pretty salty, but if you like bloody marys and oysters, then it's not so bad. Gina, on the other hand, was having some major difficulty getting the shot down. The face she was making was priceless, and I honestly thought she might throw up. To her credit, she did get most of it down. Feeling stuffed, we ventured down to the end of the pier. It was still stormy, but the seagulls were out in abundance, and we entertained ourselves by tossing them our leftover shrimp. Seagulls have impressive beak to eye coordination. Those birds catch everything! I truly enjoyed our lunch at Shux, so if you are ever in the area, give them a try.
After our meal at Shux, we made our way to Meaher State Park to set up camp. The weather had calmed down significantly, so pitching the tent wasn't difficult. Since we were still a bit worn down from the drive, we decided to take a nap before heading back into Fairhope for some perusing and dinner. Fairhope is a nice little scenic town with lots of colorful shops and restaurants. It was Thursday, so most of the shops were closing early, but we did some window shopping and started our search for a place to eat. There was no shortage of places to choose from. We opted for a place with live music called Old Bay Steamers. We drank some Fairhope Amber beer and shared a deliciously spicy chicken quesadilla. We also made a few friends at the bar watching the NFL draft. One was even a Titans fan! The bartender was a big Star Wars fan, and he was actually building a stormtrooper suit behind the bar. He and his buddies were planning on going out to bars dressed in cosplay. I wish we could've seen that! We could call it BAR WARS, or THE EMPIRE DRINKS JACK, or something like that. All in all, our first day on the coast of Alabama was a blast!
For more info to the places we visited check out these links: