Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Exploring the Coast Along Mobile Bay

Yesterday, July 2, 2012, we hopped into the Jeep and drove east to the Mobile, Alabama area. We stopped at a Visitor Center and got some information about this area. Bellingrath Gardens and House was our first stop as we traveled down the western shore of Mobile Bay. Walter, a Coca-Cola bottler, and Bessie Bellingrath were the owners and establishers of this beautiful piece of property. It is located along the Fowl River, a brackish water tributary of Mobile Bay. The Bellingrath's did not have any children so prior to Mr. Bellingrath's death in 1955 a foundation was set up to oversee the gardens and house as a permanent memorial to his wife who had died in 1943. Walking about the gardens is a self guided tour but the house is a scheduled guided tour. The gardens are planted 4 times throughout the year. The gardens as we saw them had plantings of coleus, impatients, hydranges and other bright summer flowers.

The rose garden was in full bloom.

Huge Live Oak trees and Magnolia trees are growing throughout the property as well as flowering Crepe Myrtles.

The 15 room house that was completed in 1935 still houses Mrs. Bellingrath's collections of furniture, silver, porcelain and crystal.

Picture taking is not allowed in the house. Some additions to the property since the death of the owners are the Asian-American Garden and the Exxon Mobil Bayou Boardwalk. Despite the very hot, upper 90's, temperature and high humidity it was worth the several hours that we spent on this beautiful property. We decided at this point to eat a late lunch/early dinner and return to Biloxi. We ate at a restaurant, Pelican Reef- Tom had a grouper dinner and I had a filet of Trigger fish stuffed with crab stuffing with a shrimp sauce over it. Both of us enjoyed this food. Today, the 3rd of July, we started out at the farmers market in Biloxi. Lots of produce but expensive. Watermelons were $5-$6 and bananas $.60/pound. (Walmart has watermelons for $3.45 and bananas for $.55/pound). I did buy some fresh figs something I have never eaten. After the market we then took off for the eastern shore area of Mobile. This area was much heavier with traffic than the traffic on the western shore since this is the route most use to get down to the beaches of the Gulf Shores. There are many towns along the way. We stopped in Fairhope, a town known for its art and antique shops. We continued southward with stop and go traffic through the town of Foley and onto the Gulf Shores where we turned toward the east across a narrow strip of land that separates Mobile Bay from the Gulf. A ferry had to be taken to Dauphin Island and then we could travel up the western shore to Biloxi.

We ate a early dinner on Dauphin Island at Barnacle Bill's. Their special which we both had was "Royal Reds", a large, red shrimp that are in the deeper parts of the bay only at certain times during the season. The shrimp are boiled and served with drawn butter, boiled potatoes, corn on the cob and cole slaw.

These shrimp had a sweet taste very similar to lobster. Returning to the motorhome we had a thunderstorm followed by popping of firecrackers.