Lick your lips for Shrimp Fest 2014!

Dubbed the “fruit of the sea” by Bubba Gump, shrimp can truly be served up just about any way you can think of – barbecued, boiled, sauteed, broiled, baked, fried, stir fried, in shrimp salad, along with potatoes and onions, on a burger, in a sandwich, and alongside almost any other dish. And at the 43rd Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, referred to as the Shrimp Fest by most, you’ll likely find all those varieties and more.

Art, music, and games are featured, along with a massive amount of shrimp, at this fun and family-friendly beach event. This year’s festival will be held October 9-12 and is presented by Zatarain’s (so you’ll definitely run across some Cajun flavors) on the gorgeous beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Best of all, Shrimp Fest is FREE to all! Just head to the public beach access (in Gulf Shores) at the intersection of Highway 59 and Highway 182 for some delicious flavors, live music, beautiful beach weather, and tons of fun!

Bringing in an estimated 250,000 people, Shrimp Fest is one of the biggest and best outdoor festivals in the country. More than 300 vendors will be on hand to showcase and sell their fantastic arts and crafts, fine art, clothing, accessories, and of course, shrimp!

No one is left out at the Shrimp Fest, with stages, vendors, and designated areas that will appeal to people from 1 to 100. Live music goes round the clock at the two stages, and the Children’s Activity Village offers art activities and games for kids. The Outdoor Village will appeal to the guys. It’s all about fishing, hunting, boating, and outdoor recreation. Others will enjoy the goods at the Retail Marketplace, the fine arts tents, and the arts and crafts exhibitors.

Want to do more than just look around? The 43rd Annual National Shrimp Festival will feature contests for all. Lace up your tennis shoes and take part in the 5K or 10K run on October 11, show off your skills at the Sand Sculpture Contest from 11 a.m – 5 p.m. on the same day, or sign up to be a vendor at next year’s show (the application process for 2014 is closed). Also, come out and support area schools and students as you listen to the most talented youths in Baldwin County, Alabama. The Shrimp Festival Idol Contest is back by popular demand (at the west stage) and will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Food & Drink
Saturday will feature the announcement of the 7th Annual Restaurant Challenge winners at 3:15 p.m. It’ll give you great ideas on where to eat while you’re in town! While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to resist trying the shrimp (and why would you want to?), there are lots of other options for those so inclined. Shrimp Fest vendors will have dessert, burgers, tacos, and more, so everyone can find something they love.

The Annual National Shrimp Festival doesn’t disappoint when it comes to great music, and this year’s festival is no exception. Everyone from The Sand Band and The Tip Tops to Meghan Linsey and Keith Anderson will be setting the stage for tons of fun. Check the lineup online to see a full list of performers and show times.

Parking is on a first come, first serve basis, and it will be crowded. It’s often smart to take advantage of the shuttle services. Shuttles are just $2/person/way, and they run from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. A list of pick up and drop off spots can be found online.

Because Gulf Shores is so busy during Shrimp Fest, Fort Morgan is the perfect place to stay. You’ll be just down the road from all the action, but you’ll be far enough away to avoid the worst of the traffic. Enjoy peaceful days on the beach in Fort Morgan before you head to the packed festival! When you don’t feel like hanging out at Shrimp Fest, you won’t be fighting crowds to relax on the beach. Check out our condos or beach houses for a great place to stay in Fort Morgan!

Home Away Groceries in Fort Morgan

Perhaps you are vacationing to Fort Morgan from somewhere in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, or even another part of Alabama. Maybe you are even coming from farther than that! Regardless, after a long car ride to arrive at your Fort Morgan condo or beach house, one of the last things that you will want to do is to stop by the grocery store to stock up on all of your supplies.

When you are staying at our Fort Morgan vacation rentals for an entire week (or more,) it can be surprising just how many groceries and items you will need. The Fort Morgan area doesn’t offer many options in the way of grocery stores, making this task even more tiring.

Luckily, there is another option! Don’t stress over perishable produce, packing coolers full of ice for a car ride, or cramming more items into your already packed vehicle. Check out Home Away Groceries, a grocery delivery service that can have all of your items delivered and waiting in your condo or beach house rental upon your arrival!

Home Away Groceries knows that you value your time on vacation – that’s why you are taking one in the first place. Spending your valuable hours walking through the grocery store aisles, standing in checkout lines, and making those trips up the stairs with groceries is no way to kick off your vacation. When you choose to do your shopping with Home Away Groceries, all of the hard work will be done for you!

So how does this work? Visit their website to browse the grocery categories, select the quantity of what you need, and simply add the items to your shopping cart. Proceed to checkout, provide them with contact and delivery information, and that’s it! Home Away Groceries will contact the property manager to arrange entry into your Fort Morgan condo or set up a delivery time that works best for your schedule. It’s just that simple!

Home Away Groceries in Fort Morgan features a variety of fresh produce, meats, pastas, breakfast items, and baking supplies for all that you need on your beach vacation. They even offer sections for paper products, baby supplies, and personal products such as shampoo and soap. Practically everything that you could find in your grocery store back home can be ordered online at Home Away Groceries in Fort Morgan.

In addition to items that can be purchased separately, Home Away Groceries features several pre-made meals and packages that make the ordering process even easier. Purchase their Easy Lunch package to have everything from bread and sandwich meat to chips, cookies, and drinks delivered right to your Fort Morgan condo. One of everyone’s favorite items is their Low Country Boil, serving up to eight people for a seafood meal that will make it truly feel as if you have arrived at the beach.

Home Away Groceries in Fort Morgan requests that orders be placed 72 hours before your arrival date and will deliver and stock your vacation rental the morning or day of your arrival. A nominal delivery fee will be placed on top of your order – a small price to pay for peace of mind and the added convenience. Their user-friendly website and easy check out ensures that there is no hassle with your ordering process.

Check out the variety and selection of Home Away Groceries in Fort Morgan by visiting their website.

Birding in Fort Morgan

Birding, also known as bird watching, is the observation of birds in their natural habitats. Birding can be done with the naked eye, through a pair of binoculars, even though the powerful lens of a camera. The town and historic sites in Fort Morgan, Alabama, have been designated as one of the “One Hundred Globally Important Bird Areas,” being the site of annual migration routes from everything from hummingbirds to bald eagles!

While the beautiful beaches of Fort Morgan offer many guests all that they could ask for, the wildlife in the area is one of the most impressive features. Birding is a seasonal venture, particularly spectacular in the spring and fall, however, migrations take place all year-round. The unique peninsula of Fort Morgan is the first landfall and last departure point for thousands of migrating birds!

Bird banding has become quite a venture in Fort Morgan, Alabama. Bird banding entails capturing large numbers of migrating birds and harmlessly placing a band around their leg as a way to track and monitor population levels as well as the condition of the birds. Bird banding allows researchers to gain crucial insight into the effects that variables such as temperature, storms, and other weather conditions have on these migrating animals.

Bird banding gathers a remarkable crew of trained and dedicated volunteers to capture and release these animals, and it is quite a sight to see! Bird banding in Fort Morgan is open to the public, inviting one and all to come check out this unique and impressive adventure. The bird banding takes place over the course of a little over one week’s time, both in April and in October.

Fort Morgan, Alabama, is also home to several sites on the Alabama Costal Birding Trail. Considered to be a birder’s paradise, the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail spans over two counties and was developed during the late 1990s as a way to offer bird enthusiasts a way to enjoy the incredible diversity that this area has to offer. Each loop that the trail offers features different ecological regions, and the one in Fort Morgan features five different sites for your recreational use!

The Fort Morgan birding loop starts AL 180, which runs until the end of the peninsula. The majority of the Fort Morgan birding trail is nestled in Fort Morgan Historic State Park. Serious birding enthusiasts can pick up a checklist at the museum in preparation for the wonderful wildlife activity they are about to witness!

If storms are in the area during the springtime migration, many guests get to witness awe-inspiring “fallouts” of migratory birds. The animals retreat to the peninsula to take refuge, in numbers and types greater than what are normally seen. Spring is one of the best times to view colorful neo-tropical birds – photographers flock to the area during this time to capture these spectacular animals on film.

The season of fall brings the neo-tropical birds back to Fort Morgan, and in addition, hundreds of migrating hawks! During this time you can view everything from red-tailed to sharp-shinned hawks. Winter brings many water birds and sparrows to the area, including chipping sparrows and white pelicans. Summer is considered to be the “slow” season of birding in this area, but can bring sandwich terns and rock pigeons to the area.

Birding in Fort Morgan is a popular activity that draws many tourists to the area. Since there are few hotels in the area, many visitors choose to stay in our lovely beach condos and houses right along the Fort Morgan beaches. Migration season is an excellent reason to enjoy a beach vacation to Fort Morgan, Alabama!

Sunburns at the Fort Morgan Beach

When you’re basking on the beaches of Fort Morgan, Alabama, time can pass rather quickly. The delightful combination of sun, sand, and lapping waves make it easy to tilt your head back for a nap or sunbath. This time without clocks, schedules, or to do lists allows you to truly relax and forget every single one of your worries and cares.

Unfortunately, the sunshine on the beach can quickly turn your skin red. As the rays reflect off of the sandy beaches, you get more sunshine than you would sitting by your pool back at home. For some, this means days of a Fort Morgan beach vacation with red noses, itchy arms, and sweltering skin.

Luckily, sunburn is easily avoidable and can be prevented if you take proactive measures when your vacation begins. For some, the sunburn has already set in and they are left wondering how they will manage the rest of their vacation with uncomfortable red skin. We have years of experience dealing with sunburn – how to avoid it and how to treat it. Check out our helpful tips below to keep yourself cool, safe, and comfortable on your vacation to Fort Morgan!

To Prevent Sunburn in Fort Morgan

Let’s start with the time of day – one of the best ways to avoid a sunburn is to stay out of the strongest sunlight. The hours of 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon are when the sun’s rays are strongest. Bring along your own shade, such as tents and EZ-Shades, to protect your skin while you lounge on the beach.

The type of clothing you wear will greatly affect your sun exposure. If you aren’t working on your tan, cover up with lightweight and light-colored clothes. Some clothes even offer sun protection built in, which is great for both children and adults. Protect your face and neck with a wide brimmed hat – one of the first areas to begin to burn! Remember to protect your eyes with sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection.

Of course, sunscreen is one of the best ways to avoid a sunburn. Select a type that touts at least SPF 15 protection and always check the expiration date of those bottles that have been sitting in your beach bag since last summer! Apply before heading to the beach and remember to reapply frequently, especially after swimming or toweling off.

To Treat Sunburn in Fort Morgan

Of course, lotion with aloe is one of the best ways to treat sunburn. Lotion with soy also helps to soothe achy, sunburned skin. The thick gel from the aloe vera plant quickly reduces the sting and redness. You can also apply cool compresses – soak a washcloth in cool water and place in the refrigerator for about five minutes. Place the compress on your skin and enjoy the relief.

Soaking in a bathtub full of cool water can also provide relief, but don’t soak for too long! Avoid using soap that can dry out your skin and opt to soak in a bath of baking soda, oatmeal, or even tea…yes, tea! Add several bags of Earl Grey tea to a pot of simmering water, let steep, and allow the tea to cool. Add to your bath for a homemade remedy.

If your sunburn is very bad, consider taking ibuprofen to help alleviate the aches. Your skin is burned, so be sure to drink a lot of water to help ward off any dehydration. Your skin needs plenty of water to help repair the burn and keep you cool and comfortable.

Fall Bird Banding 2013 Fort Morgan

Just for all you nature lovers! I wanted to give a recap of our experience at the 2013 fall Bird Banding. About 2 weeks ago Alex and I woke up very early and made our way toward Fort Morgan to see all the happenings at this year’s bird banding session. We got out of the car on the cool October morning and headed across Fort Morgan road into a secret little clearing just to the west of an old brick path.

Once in the clearing the humming of constant activity catches your attention. A small army of volunteers are traveling back and forth from the bird banding tent, covered with scales, measuring tools and reference books to unseen locations.
Every volunteer made their way to a table just inside the tent occupied by at least 2 workers. The volunteers each had small bags attached to a belt or apron around their waist. Each mesh bag held a bird. These bags were hung on a sort of Lazy Susan stand until it was its turn. Once the bird in the bag made it to its turn it was carefully removed from its bag, weighed measured, its sex and age is determined, and it is given a special band for its leg.

This bird is then handed off to one of the experts who teach the crowd about that type of bird and bird banding in general. Then one visitor is allowed to release the bird back in to the wild. This entire process takes just a few minutes. This valuable information is used to track migration patterns, lifespan, and health of the population of each type of bird that is banded.

To me the most exciting part was seeing these beautiful creatures up close. I had the opportunity to release a juvenile ruby throat-ed hummingbird after it received its band. This tiny bird was brilliantly colored and weighed something similar to a dry tea bad in my hand. His emerald green feathers had a shiny quality to them and he was so young that he had only a single red feather on his throat so far. More mature males have red throats that sparkle like a ruby as they zip from one place to another.

As we were taught before this little jewel was placed in my hand it takes a huge number of these uniquely labeled bands to even weigh an ounce. Once our new found education was complete the head Bird Bander, Mr. Sargent, asked me if I wanted to let him go. He carefully placed the tiny bird in my hand and his little warm body rested in the center of my palm and I could feel his little heart beat. He rested for just a moment in my hand watching all the spectators. His rest was just long enough for Alex to snap a picture and then he was suddenly hovering over my palm. The next moment a little green flash shot off toward Fort Morgan.

This special little bird is just one of half a dozen that we watched released that morning. This particular humming bird will continue to eat in Fort Morgan and gain weight before he travels in one non-stop flight to South America for the winter. Many of the birds we saw being banded are fairly local residents. They do not travel south for the winter but stay in the area and enjoy the mild Fort Morgan weather. They Bird Banding team was excited to see the increase in the population for these finely feathered friends.

If you are visiting Fort Morgan during the first two weeks of October be sure o take a morning and witness the Bird Banding in Fort Morgan. This is a great event to bring your child to or that nature lover in your life. If you are interested in learning more about Fort Morgan bird banding visit Mr. Sargent’s Humming Bird site. You and your family can enjoy the next bird banding in the spring of 2014. We always offer special rates for folks coming to enjoy this special event. Give us a call when you are ready to book your spot for the spring. See you there!

May’s Vacation Specials!!!

It is May and we have some specials for you!!!!  We don’t usually talk about specials here so you know this one is REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!


Karen pulled me aside a couple of days ago and said I want to give a great special to our loyal guests.  From now until the 25Th of May we can do 2 nights in a one bedroom for $189.00, a two bedroom is $289.00 and a three bedroom is $389.00  TOTAL!!!!!!

So don’t wait around too long May is almost gone!  Give us a call and book today!  Thank you, loyal guests, we wouldn’t be here without you!!!  See you soon guys.

New BIG house for big family fun, Sun Down!!!!

This home is located in Ft. Morgan only 18 miles West of Gulf Shores. It offers the complete Island experience. Enjoy the tranquility of the ocean with awesome views from one of several decks.  Warm tropical colors, comfy seating and beds for your large family, is sure to encourage all sorts of family fun.  Take a look around this beautiful home!
Sundown photos The home has 3250 Sq. Ft. with three levels which provide plenty of space for family and friends to gather. The large, open floor plan allows plenty of space for everyone to eat play and relax together comfortably. Head off to the nearby historic Ft. Morgan for a very interesting day in the lives of the solders that served in the Civil War. You can also explore the beach; watch the dolphins play or head across the street to Gulf Shores Marina for fresh seafood a cold drink and the most beautiful sunset in the world. The vacation your family spends in this home will be the one everyone remembers for years to come. This house rents only Saturday to Saturday  during the Summer and Spring…..if you are looking for a Fall or Winter you need a shorter stay please call 888-877-9270 or email!

Bird Banding in Ft. Morgan

Each Spring and Fall Ft. Morgan has thousands of visitors I’m not talking about vacationers, I’m talking about the feathered kind. It is time again for our friends from the HBSG (Hummer / Bird Study Group) are here tagging and studying our feathered friends again.

The birds that they tag each Spring fly across the Gulf of Mexico north from Central America and Mexico. The often fly 20 hours or more to make it to Fort Morgan, which is for many of the birds the first land they see after traveling. The HBSG stretches extremely fine nets between trees to catch the birds as they land. Once a bird is trapped in the net a member of of HBSG carefully frees the bird and transports it to the tagging station. at the tagging station the bird is identified, weighed, measured, and banded. Each band has a number specific to that bird that will not be duplicated. Some of the birds the hummers especially are given a chance to refuel from a special sugar water mixture. Then these birds are released, to go on their way.

The members of the HBSG study for years to learn about the birds they will band and measure, then they continue their education with years of training on how to handle and properly gather data from the birds. The valuable information that this group gathers provides information on migration and population patterns for birds of all types. If you are in Fort Morgan, Alabama bird banding is not to be missed. The banding takes place just near the entrance of the fort grounds. To watch the banding and maybe even let a bird go, there is a $5 entrance fee for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children. We wanted to say a special thanks to Our friend Ellen who shared some pictures with us this year. She has volunteered with the HBSG for several years and stays with Sunset while shes here. Apparently this beautiful woodpecker let everyone know he was very unhappy by pecking anyone who came near.

Sunset’s Princesses Run for a Cause

Tara, Katie, Karen and Gwen from our Sunset Properties staff ran in the Disney Princess half marathon this past February 28th. We try as a staff to support different charities and causes that benefit our local community. This race was a little different for us though. We traveled to Walt Disney World to participate in the Disney Princess half marathon in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Not only was this race extremely fun but it supported a cause that is very close to our hearts. We ran this race in honor of a condo owners son Mark Henderson who beat lymphoma and in memory of Clint Bobe who we lost in 06 from lymphoma. We had a wonderful time, and it was great to get away with just the girls to celebrate life and have fun outside of the office. We are hoping to make this an annual trip!

Tara, Katie, Karen, and Gwen
Tara, Katie, Karen, and Gwen


Sunset Properties first house with it’s own POOL!!!!

We wanted to introduce our first house with a pool to you! Welcome “Dreams Come True” to our rental line up! This four bedroom three and a half bath home is located on South Boykin Court, about 2 blocks from the Dunes Community. Located on the Ft. Morgan peninsula, this beautiful home is also only 20 yards away from the sugar white sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. You will also enjoy your very own private pool. How cool is that!! This home has 3 decks all with ocean views. You can cook all that wonderful seafood in the large well stocked kitchen. This kitchen will come with everything you need and then some to prepare amazing meals with your family. You can seat six comfortably at the dining room. For additional seating 5 more can eat at the breakfast bar that separates the kitchen and dining room. Relax with your family and a good movie or a board game in the plush living room. After a fun family evening you can grab a hot shower or relax in the Jacuzzi tub before you head off to a restful sleep in one of the peaceful bedrooms. The master bedroom has a wonderful King size bed to add to your comfort. There are two bedrooms with queen beds and the forth bedroom has two sets of bunk beds for your little sand crabs If you have a few extra people there is a sleeper sofa with a special mattress to insure your comfort. In the master bedroom there is also an over-sized chair that lets out into a twin bed. There are TV’s and DVD players, with Direct TV throughout the home. Who could ask for anything more in a vacation home? Don’t miss out on this piece of paradise!!!!  Call to book today.