Travel Adventures


Today we went on a Dolphin cruise on one of the intra-coastal bays called Arnica. The cruise guaranteed dolphin sightings and we wondered just a little how they could make that claim.

We arrived at the marina where the boats were kept and there was a good group waiting. It became obvious that they were going to take out two different boats even though they might have been able to put everyone on a single one.

Then it became obvious why.

Once they were out on the bay the boats pulled next to each other and started motoring along together. This process caused a huge wave to form between the back of the boats and apparently dolphins love that stuff. Soon we had as many as four dolphins (including a new born) that traveled with the boats and took turns jumping out of the wave created by the boats. It was like they were surfing and we were providing the surf.

The boats broke away and went their separate ways and we had a nice cruise. Then they turned and eventually ended up running next to each other again and the dolphins did the same thing as we returned to the marina. We were told that the owner accidentally discovered years ago that the dolphins like this technique so he built his cruise business around it.

We enjoyed seeing the area from a different perspective and can see why people love the water here in the Gulf Shores area.

2013-03-23 Festival of Flowers – Mobile, Alabama

To celebrate the early spring time in Alabama we decided to invest an hour drive around the bay to Mobile, Alabama and enjoy the annual Festival of Flowers held on the grounds of Providence Hospital. It is considered to be the largest flower show on the entire Gulf Coast. The day was fraught with the occasional rain downpour but the festival was held in a huge tent complex. It consisted of many tents which were all connected and kept us high and dry. Being from the north it was still a surprise to see how early spring arrives in the south.

Fairhope,Alabama — utopia on the bay

Fairhope, Alabama – Perfectly placed along Mobile Bay, Fairhope is known as the jewel of the Eastern Shore. Fairhope boasts a charming flower filled downtown shopping district, filled with art galleries, restaurants and over 80 unique shops. Fairhope is also home to an abundance of public art and miles of public bay front parks with walking trails and a pier that extends over the water nearly a mile. –

About 30 minutes from our campground, along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, is the town of Fairhope, Alabama. It is known for its history as an art colony and a place that is not your run-of-the-mill small Alabama town.

This past weekend was their 61st annual Arts and Crafts Festival. We were told it was something to see and worth the trip. The weather was a glorious 72 degrees with lots of sun.

We found the Godzilla of street festivals!!!

Every street in the downtown area was lined with booth after booth of arts and crafts. Some of them we had seen at the Orange Beach Art Festival the previous week. Other booths had some of the most unique wares for sale that we’ve ever seen. We walked and walked only to find another street we had not been down lined with more booths.

The festival itself was great, but we also noticed there were numerous antique or art-related stores. Galleries, boutiques and cafes seemed to be everywhere. We plan on going back to spend some more time there before we return to Indiana.

To gain some insight about the town you can read an article HERE by Rick Bragg that describes the unique quality of Fairhope, Alabama.

2012 January___Central Florida

We stayed at Lake Griffin State Park north of Orlando for a couple of weeks. We enjoyed getting a close-up of the types of plants and animals that are part of this state.

Live Oaks and Resurrection Ferns

There are words that are interesting and have many meanings to people. One of the words is “live”. When a person is alive they show evidence of not being dead (duh)!!!  We get our term “living” from it.

Another term is “resurrection”. This word has religious meaning but can also refer to seasons of your life when you have turned a corner or discovered something new about yourself or experienced a renewed relationship.

Here in Florida they have a tree they call a Live Oak. Coming from the north I assumed an oak is an oak. These trees however do have some distinct characteristics and the park we were camped had the 5th largest Live Oak in the state. Up close it was pretty impressive.

As we walked through the woods we saw resurrection ferns. It grows on trees but is not a parasite – it gets its nutrients from the air.  During the dry times it goes into a dormant stage and is brown, but with just a little rain the fern turns completely green literally overnight.

Coastal Empire

You’ve heard special names for places or regions within the United States. Examples include Seattle being called the Emerald City, Buckeyes in Ohio, Tar Heels for South Carolina, Yoopers and Trolls in Michigan, Metroplex for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and the all encompassing Gulf Coast states.

We’ve now been introduced to a new phrase for the Georgia coastal region. They refer to their area as the “Coastal Empire”. If you search Google  for “Coastal Empire” you get dozens of companies and organizations that have that term nested into their names. The newscasters and weather reporters seem to use it about every other sentence.

The interesting thing  is that there seems to be no particular reason or event that has caused this name to come into being. They are “Coastal” but I’m not sure you would classify them as an “Empire”. One Internet source suggested that the word “Empire” came into being because Georgia has Atlanta which has been the largest city in the south on the East side of the Mississippi for most of our history.

Whatever the reason…it makes visiting this area of Georgia feel very exotic indeed.

May the Force be with you, Luke.

2011 & 2012____South Georgia Coastal

Here are some pics of our time near Brunswick, St. Marys and the Cumberland Sound in Georgia.

2011 December___Biltmore Estate

We took the day off and traveled to Asheville, N.C. and visited the Biltmore estate.