Monday, May 11, 2015

Fun in Fairhope ~ my column from Sunday's paper

It’s been years since we’ve been to Mobile, but on Sunday evening as we drove toward the city on our way to Fairhope, I realized that it has grown and is more beautiful than I remembered.

We crossed under the giant steel arches of the bridge over the Mobile River just after sunset. The water off to the west looked like an expensive rose-colored carpet.

Just after the bridge, we took Interstate 165 eastward toward Prichard and then connected with I-10 toward the exit to Fairhope.

The moon, which was one day away from being full, had just vaulted over the horizon in the east, and its reflection on the ink-black water of Mobile Bay looked like a highway paved with diamonds. I wanted to pull to the edge of Interstate 10 and snap a picture, but Jilda has major heartburn issues…especially when I try to do something stupid, so I took a mental picture and drove on.

This week was our 41st wedding anniversary, and we chose to celebrate it in Fairhope because we spent a lot of time there in the early years of our marriage.

We decided to stay at the Hampton Inn in Fairhope. It’s an older hotel nestled in the community across the street from the Fairhope Museum of Natural History. The hotel is like the ones on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Our room had a balcony with blooming amber and yellow pansies in the window box.

The front of the Hampton was lined with angled poles with flags that danced and popped in the breeze. Early the next morning, we drank coffee on the balcony and watched Fairhope come alive.

Later, we arranged to meet a friend we hadn’t seen in 30 years. He suggested we have lunch at the Windmill Market, which was within walking distance of our hotel. It felt homey, and you could tell the locals lunched there.

It had a selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches. We chose a table outside. The sun was warm, but a gentle breeze flapped the canvas awning making the air perfect for conversation.

On the way back to the hotel, we stepped into the Fairhope Fly Shop. At the back near the tying supplies, the owner Spencer Johnson sat on a stool. He looked like the Buddha in suspendered shorts with a lime green pastel shirt.

We talked about fishing in the Fairhope area, and then he asked Jilda if she went fly-fishing with me. When she said no, he looked surprised. He promptly gave her a casting lesson right there in the fly shop. It was a delightful afternoon.

Being that far south and not going to the beach would be sinful, so we drove to Gulf Shores and spent some time at the ocean. Before leaving, we ran over to the Florida line and bought a lottery ticket.

When it came time to head home, we both felt a tinge of sadness, but as we crossed over I-10 heading north toward I-65, Jilda smiled and said, “If we hit the Powerball, we’re buying a cottage in Fairhope.” That sounded like a plan to me.


  1. Good luck winning the lottery. Someone needs to win, and it might as well be you, right?

  2. I hope you get to buy that cottage Rick... I'm sure you would both enjoy inmensely ;-)

  3. Sounds like a plan!

    This year I will be married 41 years...23, 13 and 5. Still counts.

  4. A wonderful account of an enjoyed get-away.

  5. Anonymous12:38 AM

    Bud & I celebrated our 60th anniversary this year--it CAN be done if you like each other!!

  6. Sounds like a great place and a wonderful trip for an anniversary celebration !


  7. Let us know when you buy that cottage for Jilda, Rick. Good luck.

  8. You seem to have such beautiful times every day. It is so wonderful to read. Let's hope you win

  9. Happy Anniversary! So you crossed into Florida to buy a lottery ticket, but you couldn't continue to Jacksonville to meet Janie Junebug.


  10. Happy anniversary to you and Jilda.
    What a stunning photo of the bridge. Thank you for sharing your lovely view with us.
    I get on I-10 a lot. It runs very near where I live.
    One day, I hope to take it from Jacksonville, as far west as it will take us.
    Quite a drive.....but lovely.
    Sending you both smiles,

  11. I would love to win Powerball but it isn't going to happen, why because I don't play Powerball..............and can't win it if you're not in it.............


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