As published in The Florida Villager
It’s a secret. You would never think of running away to Mobile Bay for a romantic interlude but trust me when I tell you, upon your return, you will have many words to describe your visit and disappointing won’t be one of them. Take an early flight into Mobile and head straight to Moe’s Original BBQ; a true Southern soul food experience complete with a game of corn hole while you wait for their famous pulled pork sandwich. A word of caution, you cannot eat just one piece of their cornbread.
From there, let Craig Roberts give you the best and funniest tour of historic Mobile. This is not your run of the mill tour and guaranteed by the end, you will be asking him to meet you at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club for a pint. Situated in one of Mobile’s most historic areas, Callaghan’s offers great live music and awesome burgers.
No romantic getaway is complete without a spa treatment (or two). Pamper yourselves at the Battle House Renaissance, which boasts a top-notch spa. After leaving your kinks and stress on the table, head over to Wintzell’s Oyster House; a fun happening place where Miss Pinky will tell you that their seafood gumbo is so good, “It’ll make you slap your momma.” Their oysters come every which way but Sunday and their signature libation, Dragon Drink, will make you wonder how you never made it to Mobile before now.
Last stop for the day, Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, lies 29 minutes out of Mobile in Fairhope. Built in 1847, it is a AAA Four Diamond Award hotel that just oozes Southern hospitality. Once checked in, grab a drink and settle in one of their oversized wicker chairs by the fire-pit and take in the moon over Mobile Bay. Good night, sweet dreams.
Saturday is a new day for exploring. There are so many activities to choose from. You can join up with Two Wheel Tours and pedal through historic Mobile, tour the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park or visit Gulf Quest, an interactive maritime museum. Not to be missed is the two-hour tour of the Lower Delta with Five Rivers Delta Safaris. They also will take you out on a guided canoe or kayak tour if you are more actively inclined.
Leave some time at the end of your day to walk around the quaint town of Fairhope and duck inside a few antique shops and art galleries. Back at the hotel, a very intimate evening awaits as you are led to a private arbor to dine a deux. This is the ultimate in romance and can be arranged by the staff at the Marriott Grand.
Sleeping in on Sunday can wait until you are back home. Starting your last day with brunch at the hotel is an absolute must. Sitting by the big bay windows and looking out across the sparkling water makes you wish for one more day. Word of caution #2: the bread pudding will set you back a size. Not to worry about indulging in all that fabulous food because you will be spending the remaining hours walking around Bellingrath Gardens. There is so much quiet and solitude on this 65-acre estate garden. One area of the estate is more beautiful than the other; the water features, the chapel, pathways, the home itself, the beauty of the blooms and the flower draped wooden bridge transports you back to a more genteel time.
Alas, as they say, “All good things must end”, but your stay in Mobile Bay will leave you with some very special memories. Shh……. it’s our secret.