Thanks so much for visiting our travel blog. We hope that you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we're enjoying living them. Let us know what you think - leave a comment or two.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fairhope Arts Festival

Today's activities were organized around eating - what else? Actually, the Lutheran church in Fairhope was hosting a German Sausage Dinner, complete with sauerkraut and German potato salad. Randy saw the flier up at the clubhouse and that was it; we had to go. Fairhope's annual (55th, mind you!) Arts & Crafts Festival was also in full swing, so we took a look around after we ate.

Earlier this week while in Fairhope for dulcimer practice, Pat and I had seen some of the art that was going to be displayed around town. We were particularly drawn to the various pelicans that had been painted and mounted on what was supposed to be pier pylons. They were as varied as your imagination can wonder. I love pelicans! I fell in love with them when we were in Florida a couple of years ago. I just think they are the coolest. Anyway, that's where I was headed today - to find some of the pelicans.

You have to understand - this festival is a major deal in Fairhope. It's a juried event, so you have big deal artists, sculptors, crafters, etc., participating. And it takes up the entire downtown area. We're talking a two mile square of nothing but booths! So, we walked around a little, but after yesterday's hike, Dick & Pat weren't as into walking around town.
Well, I just wanted to get pictures of a few pelicans and I would be happy. There were several more that I didn't get. So, that's what we did. Here are my two favorite pelicans. The other ones are on our Webshots site. Have fun!

Next week looks to be another quiet week. Not much planned. I'll be continuing with my dulcimer lesson and practices and I'm sure Randy will be at washing the rig, if the weather permits.

Take care of one another. Until the next time . . .

Mobile Historic Homes Tour

Okay, so you need a little money to live in one of these homes, what's the big deal??? :) Yesterday, with Dick & Pat, we toured 8 homes and 3 churches in one of the historic districts of Mobile. One of the neat things on the tour was that at each of the homes there were young women, seniors from local high schools, dressed in period costumes, to greet us.

Most of the homes were just gorgeous, decorated by interior designers and lived in by some "beautiful people." Actually, many of the owners were at home during our tour, and that was kinda cool to meet them. I was certainly impressed that they would agree to have so many strangers tromping through their home. I had not realized that these homes would be lived in; I guess I figured they were museums or something. Shows what I know. Anyway, here are the pictures of the houses and churches, with many more pictures of their interiors and gardens on our Webshots website. Enjoy!

Before we began the actual home tour, we went to the Oakleigh, home of the Historic Mobile Preservation Society.
Oakleigh was founded in 1833 by James Roper with a Spanish land grant. Its name comes from the magnificent trees are the property. The home's style, decor, and gardens reflect the antebellum life in Mobile.

Our first stop on the home tour
was 159 Michigan Avenue, which was built in 1907. It is currently owned by a professional photographer and ballerina. Both were at home and very gracious. This house had been built in one location and moved to its present location in 1956.

Next, we went to the first church on our tour, St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church.
It was built in 1925. However, the parish had been established in 1920, just a few months after the Catholic Church had declared Joan of Arc a saint. As with most older churches, the sanctuary was just beautiful, with many stained glass windows.

Our next home was one of the smaller ones on the tour,
but no less impressive. It was built in 1915. We met one of the owners and she seemed so thrilled to have us all in her home. It was very inviting and warm. One of its neat characteristics was that its staircase went up one flight to a platform, then you could either turn to the left (if coming from the foyer) to go up stairs or go straight through and down to the back of the house. Kinda neat.

Just a block down from our third stop,
was the next home which was built in 1905. This house was just gorgeous and its gardens were, too. It has a huge wraparound porch where you could just move around during the day to stay in the shade. Again, the owners were home and welcomed us as if we were old friends. How nice!

Our last stop for the morning was the second church on the tour.
All Saints Episcopal Church was founded in 1909, having evolved from a union of 26 members from 3 different 19th century churches. Again, walking into the sanctuary was a retreat from the noise of the world outside. This church had a double pipe organ - at least that's what it looked like to me as there were pipes on either side of the altar area. More stained glass windows lined both sides of the sanctuary, depicting the life of Christ. Why is it we feel the presence of God so much inside a church? He's everywhere we are, right? Gotta work on that.

After walking all over Mobile - not really, but tell that to our knees - we stopped for a quick lunch and rest. Then, it was on to the afternoon part of the tour and 4 more homes and 1 more church.

The first home in the afternoon was a mansion - at least that's what its name inferred.
It was the Tacon-Tissington-Barfield Mansion, built in 1901 and considered by many to be the best example of Victorian architecture in Mobile. The first thing you notice upon entering this home is the gorgeous staircase to the right. The woodwork in this home is just beautiful.

We went to the last church on the tour next.
Government Street United Methodist Church, also known as "The Beehive," has a history dating back to 1819. But, the current building's construction began in 1906 and completed in 1917. It has two beyond-beautiful stained glass domed ceilings and the front of the building is ornate in its baroque details. Very impressive. Inside, it is a small sanctuary with yet another pipe organ! This church was nicknamed "The Beehive" because of its congregation's activity - swarming out into the community. Hey, I don't make this stuff up!!

Our next three stops were houses just a block away from one another - two of them across the street from each other. That was great news for our legs!

Augusta Street was built in 1872
and upon entering we were greeted by the one of owners of the house. She actually introduced herself to us, the first owner to do so, which was very nice. This house also has a beautiful front porch on, complete with a swing! When we went outside in the back of the house, we met her husband as well. This backyard, as we found in many of the homes, was so well done that it could easily have passed for part of the living space in the home.

We then went across the street to the smallest house on the tour,
and my least favorite. It was built in 1869, so it was next to the oldest on the tour, and was actually a nice house, but the owner had filled it way past capacity, in my humble opinion. But, as most of you know, decorating is not my strongest suit! The cool thing at this house was that it had a koi pond in its gardens!

Lastly, we came to Twelve Oaks.
Built in 1867-68, it is the oldest home on the tour and is currently undergoing a major renovation/restoration. At the moment, due to the construction, the owners are not living in it. The house as it stands today is not as large as it was originally built, having been moved to a new lot in the 1930s, so a large rear wing was removed and placed on a separate lot. Didn't see that part of the house.

That ends our tour. Hope you enjoyed it! Please be sure to take a look at the pictures on Webshots, I have to say that, as gorgeous as all of these homes are, I have no desire to live in any of them. They are fun to tour, but I'll take my little trailer any day. Of course, that's easy to say since there's no way we could ever have afforded any of these homes!! But, I'm still happy as can be in our RV. Hey, that rhymes! Aren't I somethin'! :)

Take care. Going to Fairhope to the Arts Festival & the local Lutheran Church's annual German Sausage Dinner. Randy's pick, not mine! More pictures to come!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ever been to a Flatulence Fest????

Well, we participated in our first Flatulence Fest! Actually, it was a bean recipe cook-off. Lots of us in the part cooked our favorite bean dish and then folks in the park walked around tasting all of the dishes, finally voting for their favorite one. I brought bean dip and chips. And I got 7 votes!! Granted that was half of the votes the winners got, but still . . . I was very happy about that. Many people came over to get a taste because others had told them how good it was. I know, I know, it's not a gourmet recipe, but heck, people liked it so what else matters!! It was a fun night with Red Dog JAM ending the evening with a short concert.

Here are a couple of pictures you might get a kick out of. In the chefs picture, I'm on the front row, sitting down at the far end of the row. The rest are self-explanatory, I hope.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Gulf Shores Zoo & Saying Good-Bye

What fun we had yesterday at the Gulf Shores Zoo. This is a very small zoo, easily walked in an hour or so. It had all the animals I like to see without having to slog through many that I don't want to see. When you first walk into the zoo, through the gift shop of course, the first thing you see is the Ring Tail Lemur Island. These are the cutest animals! And one of them had just given birth the day before to twins! I have a picture of her at our Webshots site. You can just barely see the baby sticking his head out around her belly. The mother carries the babies around as they cling to her stomach. The site address is:

We were treated to a short show during which we were taught a little about the Maccaw parrot, Bearded Dragon Lizard,
Albino King Snake, Albino Ferret, and a Chinchilla. We were allowed to pet or touch each of these. I was amazed at how soft the king snake was!! I would love to have skin that soft. He was very pretty, too. And, if any of you are looking for a great pet for one of your grandkids, kids or yourself, apparently the Bearded Dragon Lizard is a good one. Doesn't eat much, grow too big or bite. Just thought I'd share.

One of the Black Leopards housed at this zoo was donated by Jack Hanna, the animal guy we all know from TV. Her name is Katrina.

One of the best scenes was in the Black Mane Lion area. There was a female and a male and they were very frisky; playing with one another, batting each other. Totally reminded me of a couple of kittens at play. So cool.

Just as we were leaving, a couple of ducks came up to a fence near the lions' cage where we were standing. All of a sudden, the duck poked his beak through the fence posts and began pecking and trying to bite Randy's leg!
The duck was squawking and going after Randy's foot, leg, anything he could get close to. It was very funny. All in all, a very nice day at the zoo.

We had to say good-bye to Darrell & Judy today.
They are leaving for Florida in the morning. They are going to Dade City to join in a Habitat for Humanity build. It's their first time at a build and they are pretty excited. Darrell & Judy were our next door neighbors. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and look forward to catching up with them via e-mail and on the road in the future. Darrell keeps a website of their travels. Take a look at it sometime. The site address is: I think you'll enjoy it.

That's about it for now. Tomorrow is going to be another fun day! We've got church in the morning, then I've got dulcimer practice in the afternoon. Tomorrow evening the park is hosting a "Flatulence Festival" at which many of us will share our various bean dishes. Everyone will pay $3/person for the privilege of tasting any and all dishes. The proceeds will go to the local volunteer fire department. Do we know how to have fun, or what!?!?!?!!

Take care of each other. Until the next time . . .

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Learning the Dulcimer!

One of the big things in this park is playing the dulcimer. This instrument is the only one that originated in America - specifically in the Appalachian region. Many of the women in the park play and have corralled me into doing so as well! I must say, it is very enjoyable even though my fingers don't always do what I want them to.

Today we had a workshop led by Red Dog Jam, a couple named Jack and Mary (hence JAM) who are very skilled in this genre of music and instruments.
They play festivals, hold workshops and just love playing for the pure enjoyment of it. Of course, I was totally overwhelmed by it, this being only the third time I've played with others. I've practiced a bit, but am still far from being able to keep up with a group. I am going to take a few lessons this month and join in a group once a week. Should be fun!

We're going to the Gulf Shores Zoo tomorrow with a group from the park. I believe I've told you about this zoo before - it's the one that has the distinction of being the only zoo in the nation to have had to evacuate their animals twice due to hurricanes. And they didn't lose one animal! Animal Planet did a series on the zoo a couple of years ago and called it, "The Little Zoo That Could."

We've been enjoying the beautiful, sunny, 70 degree weather this past week. It's going to be a little cooler over the next few days, only in the 60s! Poor us, I know! :) It's great to be able to get and do some things.

Take care. Please keep in touch. Until the next time . . .