Utopia. That word came to mind as my husband and I entered the quaint town of Fairhope, Alabama, which sits on the bluffs overlooking Mobile Bay. Of course, it’s spring in the South and the weather was perfect for cruising in our little Mini-Cooper with the top down. But oh, the colorful flowers and the huge old oaks and magnolias. It looked as if spring had fallen out of the sky and landed in some sort of fairy forest. I fell in love and immediately though I should set a book there. I have ideas.
But Fairhope did began as a kind of utopia. Settled by the first Single-Tax colonists (who worked on the Henry George theory of no taxes other than a single land tax), the town began on the bluffs in 1894. Someone stated they had a fair hope of being a success and that’s how the town got its name. Soon this eclectic community was filled with a lot of creative free thinkers. Today, that same spirit is still strong. Artist, writers and craftsmen flock to Fairhope and some don’t leave. Today, the city has around 16,000 residents and a renaissance of sorts has brought it back from a slum in the seventies. We walked along streets that reminded me of New Orleans or maybe an old European city. With lots of art galleries and shops, cafes and restaurants, and some sort of festival or event just about every weekend, Fairhope was all that I hoped for and more. This postcard shows some of the beautiful flowers.
We walked out on the Municipal Pier and enjoyed the breeze off of the bay. We were told some of the rambling old homes along the bay have been in the family for generations. I can understand why.
We also drove through Point Clear, which is on the Mobile Bay and is famous for having wonderful views of he sunset. We had to leave before the sun went down but we stopped in Gulf Shores and had an appetizer and bread pudding at the famous Lulu’s. Owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister, it’s one of my favorite spots. Okay, I had one mojito there, too. Those gulf breezes demand a refreshing beverage! While we were there, this barge slid by. That tugboat had a big job to do.
Alabama is a lovely state. Fairhope is a friendly town full of southern hospitality. We enjoyed our day of meandering and I learned a lot about an area not far from us. Now I have an idea for a book, too. So nothing was wasted.
Where do you like to go when you have a day to meander and explore? Do you like road trips?