Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fairhope, the Fairest City of All


Yesterday I mentioned that if I couldn't live beachside, I might chose to live in Fairhope. Think I am not serious? I have already picked out my house and preparing for the next jubilee by pouring over seafood cookbooks. Yes, I am serious! This place is a Mayberry of sorts, only better!
I am back today with my second in a series of post in which I am taking you on a seaside excursion to some of my favorite places-all while staying on a budget! Yes, my friends! You can manage to save some dough while on vacation if you know where to shop, and can enjoy taking in the sights.
Buckle up and let me take you on a ride to a little town I know called Fairhope. Fairhope is located in Alabama in the nook of Mobile Bay. You can actually see the city of Mobile across the bay, but you will quickly find that Fairhope is a city in and of itself. Fairhope is a bustling, vibrant and livable Southern city that began over a hundred years ago when an adventurous group of people sought their personal utopia. And it still is just that, a utopia of charm and southern grace, where one will find that one of the best modes of transportation is a bicycle, dogs are welcome almost anywhere and where friendships are easily forged.
Speak to any of Fairhope's residents and you will quickly find out why people say they instantly felt at home in this city of 12,000 residents.
Fairhope has long been known for its lovely parks, rich with moss-draped live oaks, its sweeping panoramic views of Mobile Bay, and its charming and vital downtown where visitors and locals alike find reasons to shop, stroll, and dine.

Time it right and you just might be a part of one of the greatest Mardi Gras parades you will find. I love Mardi Gras in Fairhope because is it's family friendly celebration. No flashing in this town...except the smiles. But you might have to fight for a moonpie.

In the picturesque downtown, just up the hill from the bay, you'll find shops, boutiques, cafes, art galleries and gift shops galore. The flower-filled downtown (where even the trash receptacles double as planters!), is reminiscent of an Old World village, with its refined upscale atmosphere and its something for everyone composition.


If you're looking for that special gift or a treasured antique, you'll find the perfect shop in downtown Fairhope, but you will also find great shops selling almost anything else you might need, including children's toys, clothing for the whole family, pet supplies, books, art supplies, and gourmet foods, even hardware and everyday groceries.

One of my favorite shops to stop into when I am in town is Hertha's Consignment Shop. It is an upscale consignment boutique featuring Citizens of Humanity, Michael Stars, BCBG & Ellen Tracy. For very little you can look like a million on someone else's million! I found some great buys while there. For forty bucks I purchased a brand new pair of Sperry's, some heels, a skirt, and four tops.
Another must see store is A Fairhope Find. Inside you will find some beautiful antiques, but also fun quirky little finds that are very affordable. I've bought something here on almost all of my visits to Fairhope. This visit was no different, I purchased a watercolor print of St Augustine, another sentimental place to my heart. For the framed print I spent $6.00. I really considered buying some antique floral frogs to hold old postcards and photographs. I didn't but at $3.00-$10.00 each, I thought a good price.

My favorite Fairhope store, which I like to think is the heart of Fairhope is Page and Palette Bookstore.

Page & Palette is not only the Eastern Shore's home for author signings, but the most unique bookstore in town. In the heart of downtown Fairhope for over 35 years, this family owned and operated bookstore offers stationery, greeting cards, gifts, collectibles, tons of new and classic children's books and much much more.

Let me just stop right her and boast the children's department, who do an amazing job on children's programs. They do it up right. A couple years ago I took my resident pirate to a treasure hunt, that he still talks about.

Page and Palette also offers a sit down and read environment at their neighboring cafe "Latte' Da".

The employees of Page and Palette are ever helpful in helping you find that perfect beach read, many of which are autographed copies.
In speaking to one of the employees, I found out that one of my favorite authors, Jill Conner Browne, THE Queen of all Sweet Potato's, recently stopped by for a book signing.
It was funny because I was milling around the bookstore trying on some glasses and showing them to my mother, trying to decide which pair to get.
He looked at me and said, "You look like a Sweet Potato Queen!". I said, "Why thank you my darlin! I Would love to just be a BEE in her society!" And he went on to share that his best friend is married to the Queen, Jill herself.
I know, I am getting a bit sidetracked here, but let me tell you, this is the place to hang out. To see and be seen. It's a Must stop! LOVE the P&P!! Search the discount shelves for some great books. I found two forty dollar books at 40% off! I now have some of my mother's Day shopping done.

The favorite local cuisine is fresh seafood brought in from the surrounding Gulf waters to neighboring fishing villages. Oysters, shrimp and crab are the delicacies most frequently ordered in the small cafes and restaurants in the area, often complemented by delicious fresh vegetables grown on Baldwin County's lush farmlands. At the right time, you just might find yourself lucky to get into a jubilee!

One last stop on our Fairhope tour is B&B Pecan's. The owner told me that is the "Flag is blowing, they're open!" You should hope for some wind, because this place is the place for a real treat.

If you are lucky you will get to meet resident welcome waggoner, Annie, the Jack Russel Terrier.

Annie is real good to point out her recommended favorites, though she mostly favored her stuffed toy. The staff at B&B are great to answer any questions, should Annie become preoccupied.

My mother and I made it our business to seek out the best pecans and treats that we could find.
While my mother stocked up on shelled pecans..

I made it my mission to sample some of the best homemade goodies this side of momma's own kitchen.

This for blogger posting purposes only. Ah, the things I do to get a story. With loot in hand, I made the determination that the best of the best is the Pecan Praline. I am still missing that sweet love of a confection.
A close runner up was the Cheese Straws, I am from the south, ya know. The peanut brittle is also good. I bought Big Daddy some divinity, he really seemed to enjoy. If you come to Fairhope, you MUST make a pecan stop at the B&B. You will not be sorry.
If you like discovering the quaint and distinctive, then you will enjoy Fairhope, the perfect place to visit or to call home. You just might find me there one of these days....in my little house on Pecan Street. See you there, neighbor!

Fairhope Web Cam
Don't Miss:
Hertha's Second Edition
Address: 330 Fairhope Ave,36532, Fairhope,AL,
Telephone: (251) 928-4866Fax: (251) 990-7404
A Fairhope Find (Antique Store)
Address:52 S. Section Street,36532, Fairhope,AL,
Contact:Telephone: (251) 929-2928
Julwins Restaurant (listed on the 100 places to eat before you die-and I have mind you)
A great little meat and three-Lunches are very reasonably priced.
Telephone: 251-928-9372
Andrees Wine, Cheese & Things ( you should know by now I seek these kinds of places out!)
Telephone: 251.928.8863
Old Bay Steamer (Recommended by Southern Living magazine.)
Address:105 S. Section Street,36532, Fairhope,AL,
Contact:Telephone: 251-928-5714
B & B Pecan Co
www.pecangifts.com
16151 Greeno RdFairhope, AL 36532(251) 928-9031

16 comments:

Cynthia said...

Boy, I am so ready to go, now I just have to talk hubby into taking a southern excursion this summer. Cindy

Mari said...

Another place for me to visit!

jennypilgrim said...

Oh I love Fairhope too! I love to eat at the little sandwich shop, can't remember the name. It is very small and they treat you just like family. They have homemade cakes that are wonderful!

One of the girls I used to work with married and moved to Fairhope. We were all jealous! When we go to Mobile or Gulf Shores for a conference, we always go to see her!

Leigh of said...

Cynthia& Mari- I highly recommend. You will throughly enjoy it. There is also a place between Magnolia SPrings and Fairhope, along Mobile Bay, called Point Clear. There is a wonderful hotel there, you need to look it up....
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ptlal-grand-hotel-marriott-resort-golf-club-and-spa/

It would be a nice place to stay, in addition to the B&B in Magnolia Springs and the many in Fairhope.

Jennypilgrim- Wow! That's a cinderella story, huh, to move to a place like that! If I were you Iwould be planning trips all the time (smile). There are so many good places to eat. I wonder if it is Panninies on the French uarter of Fairhope? Or Andre's Wine and Cheese Shop? That is a great place for lunch.

Robyn said...

I love Fairhope!!! It's so beautiful this time of year!

Valarie Lea said...

I love love love Fairhope!!! If you move down ther, you better have an extra room, cause I will be coming to visit often!

Shannon said...

It looks beautiful there!

CHEF TROLL said...

This place is a finalist for the Beard award for best American Restaurant. You should write a review of it. Also you should:

1) Lose the loud music thingy.

2) Play MM again.

3) Switch allegiance from Bama to the Mighty Fighting Gators. CHOMP!

I'm full of advice!

http://www.highlandsbarandgrill.com/chef.html

jennifer said...

It really is a neat town. I like the pier too!

And I should have known you were a fan of the Sweet Potato Queens. So will we make plans now to attend the next parade? Pajamas and Pearls?? :D One day...

I love the Christmas store in Fairhope. AND I am going to look for the pecan store soon too.

Zinnia said...

I love your glasses; I see you as a future member of the Red Hat Society. I love to read about your trips!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Of course you are a fan of the sweet potato queens... because you are fabulous!
I'm passing on an award. Come see!

Leigh of said...

Robyn, I just love Fairhope too. It's a place that just reminds me not to rush life.



Valarie Lea- You just come right on, There's plates and places, beds and friendly faces.

Shannon-It is!

Dear CHEF TROLL , I am going to have to check out this Beard award for best American Restaurant. I might have to write a review of it.
Troll... Lose the loud music thingy? Hey, simmer down, yoru getting all grumpy and all. JUst click the mute button on the right. I tried to put it near the top for you and Keetha.
Play MM again? I will. I just have been in a winter stooper I think. I promise. I will be back. I miss all my old friends over there. Tell Aunty Belle hello. And Sweet Jane Aire, and GYpsey.....I really do need to come and visit.
Switch allegiance from Bama to the Mighty Fighting Gators? NEVER!!! Roll Tide ROLL! This girl bleeds crimpson. "I'm full of advice!" But of course. You are the troll! and I heart you.

jennifer It really is a neat town. I like the pier too! There is a nice little eatery there too. Listed on the 100 places as well. Great views.
And yes, mam! Lets go to the parade! I just needed some queens to roll with me. Grab your glasses and put your hair in a bee ive. I will grab Charnita and we will go!

Zinnia Thanks for the pcompliment on my glasses. I am not sure about the Red Hat Society. I have always said that I wouldnt join that group. Nothing against them, but I think I will make my own group.Leigh's Back in Black? You need to go traveling with me. I spoke to Studly yesterday. We need to get together soon.
March 24, 2009 8:51 PM

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe- I just adore you!
... because you are fabulous! I appreciate the award and yoru friendship. You are wonderful!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

How good of you to sample your way through those treats for the sake of the blog. Ahhh...the things we have to force ourselves to do...;-)

I think I could be quite content in Fairhope.

justabeachkat said...

I've had so much fun this afternoon reading all your posts I've missed while I was away. Gosh, I can not believe how many I've missed. Girl, you have been busy busy...almost as busy as me! I won't comment on every single post, but I wanted to on this one because Fairhope is one of my favorite places to visit. What a darling little town. I try to drive over at least once a year. I've never been to Magnolia Springs, but it sounds like another place I would love. How great that you got to hook up with Jennifer.

Hugs!
Kat

Lindsey said...

We love Fairhope too! Precious little city close enough to the beach!!! We should form our very own Sweet Potato Queen group! I'm in;)

montyrl said...

Leigh,
I stumbled across your blog this morning in a general blog search on "Fairhope, AL" and I want to bookmark it permanently! I live and work in the Columbus, OH area and am developing a serious case of Gulf Coast Fever this morning. I too am lusting to become a Fairhope citizen. I want to live in a sunny small town, go sailing every weekend, root for the Crimson tide in a sports bar not swamped in Ohio State Buckeye fans, send my son to a school that still believes in America and get Dauphin Island sand in my deck shoes! Your blog has brought it all into a clear perspective in a fun and informative way. I'm hooking into your state of mind- keep up the great blog and thanks from this Fairhope wannabe!