Alabama Gulf Coast Winter Events

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the best place to come to prepare for the holidays!  If you are just needing a holiday getaway, or if you are trying to find something unique for everyone on your list the Alabama Gulf Coast has it all just waiting for you.  Below is a list of holiday activities including parades, tournaments, Christmas craft Bazaars, special shopping and Dining events, and Musicals of all sorts.  We are going to attempt to go to many of these so you can see all that our area has to offer for the holidays.  Keep an eye out on facebook and here on the blog for updates.  Don’t forget  if you need a special rate we have on e for you.  Call today to book your winter beach getaway!

 Nov. 16 – Season of Joy Light Show Premiere at The Wharf

Celebrate the season with SPECTRA, The Wharfs sound and light spectacular, each evening on Main Street. The immersive experience will spark the spirit of the holidays in the hearts of kids of all ages! Date: November 16, 2013 Time: 6:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: The Wharf Orange Beach, Alabama
Contact: 251-224-1000
Date/Time Details: Nightly at 6pm & 7pm Holiday hours may vary
Fees/Admission: FREE

Nov. 19 – Sip & Shop

Join us for an evening of shopping, refreshments, food & fun! Treat yourself with a glass of wine or a delicious meal and fabulous offers from participating merchants. Jump-start your holiday shopping at the Sip & Shop. Either way, don’t miss the fun at these Wharf locations: Seaside Shoes, Rejuvenations Med Spa, Isle of Bama Toys, Villaggio Grille, The Southern Grind Coffee House and Paradise Fruit Wines & Accessories. Grab a girlfriend and stop in at each spot as we roll out the red & green Christmas carpet for you. Plus, sign up to be registered to win a grand prize package that will make you, or someone on your ‘NICE’ list, smile!
Date: November 19, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Participating Merchants located at The Wharf in Orange Beach: Seaside Shoes, Rejuvenations Med Spa, Isle of Bama Toys, Villaggio Grille, The Southern Grind Coffee House and Paradise Fruit Wines & Accessories
Date/Time Details: Tuesday, November 19th from 5pm until 8pm or later!
Fees/Admission: Free to attend, visit each location for their special offers.

Nov. 22 – Jan 1 Holiday Skating

Monday – Friday 4PM – 10PM
Saturday & Sunday 10AM – 10PM
Hours vary during holiday season
Date: November 22, 2013
Location: The Wharf
Contact: 251.224.1000
Date/Time Details: Varies
Fees/Admission: $8 for 2 hour skate rental, including skates
$10 includes the above + Ferris Wheel ticket

Nov 29 – Jan 1 Coastal Christmas Holiday Season

WHAT IS COASTAL CHRISTMAS?  It’s a growing — and glowing — collection of existing
and new holiday events designed to showcase our Coastal Baldwin region as the perfect destination for holiday travel and shopping opportunities. Many businesses, local organizations and governmental entities have come together to bring you this new annual event series.
Date: November 29, 2013
Location: Alabama Gulf Coast towns

Nov. 29 – Dec 22 Pictures with Santa! at The Wharf

Please see below for 2013 schedule:
November 29 Friday 4-8
November 30 Saturday 12-8
December 1 Sunday 4-8
December 3 Tuesday TBA
December 5 Thursday 4-8
December 6 Friday 4-8
December 7 Saturday 12-8
December 8 Sunday 4-8
December 12 Thursday 4-8
December 13 Friday 4-8
December 14 Saturday 12-8
December 15 Sunday 4-8
December 19 Thursday 4-8
December 20 Friday 4-8
December 21 Saturday 12-8
December 22 Sunday 4-8
Date: November 29, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: The Wharf
Orange Beach, AL
Contact: 251.224.1000
Fees/Admission: $10 for photo and frame

Nov. 29 – Dec 31 Magic Christmas in Lights

The holiday tradition continues as Bellingrath Gardens and Home celebrates Magic Christmas in Lights. Stroll through over 3 million sparkling lights and over 950 displays throughout the 65 acre Garden estate. The Bellingrath Home is decorated in its holiday finery and poinsettias encompass the Gardens. Nightly choral performances are held on the South Terrace of the Bellingrath Home. A fun family event for everyone, guests can also have their photographs taken with Santa and find the perfect holiday gift can be found for that someone special in Bellingrath’s magnificently stocked Gift Shop.
Date: November 29, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Bellingrath Gardens and Home
12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road
Theodore, AL 36582
Contact: 800.247.8420 or 251.973.2217
Date/Time Details: Friday, November 29 through Tuesday, December 31. Nightly from 5PM to 9PM. Closed December 25th.
Fees/Admission: Magic Christmas in Lights Only: Adults (13 and older): $15.00; Children (Ages 5-12): $7.00 & Children 4 and Under: FreeMagic Christmas in Lights and Bellingrath Home Tour: Adults (13 and Older): $24.00; Children (Ages 5-12): $13.00
& Children 4 and under: Free

Nov. 30-Dec. 30 – “The Light Before Christmas”

on the IMAX giant screen / National Museum of Naval
Aviation / Noon / $8.75 / 850-453-2025

Nov. 30 – Kaiser Realty Coastal Half-Marathon and 5K Run

OB Sportsplex

Dec. 1 – Pictures With Santa

2 – 5 PM

Great for Christmas cards!
Date: December 1, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Cotton Bayou Beach Access in OB
Contact: Brady Haynes 205-213-9222
Date/Time Details: Saturday, December 1st
Fees/Admission: $20 donation (includes full image rights)

Dec. 1-7 – NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship 

OB Sportsplex

Dec. 2 – 5th Annual Luxury Wine Pairing

Sunset Cork Room / 6:30pm

Dec. 1 – Gulf State Park Coastal Christmas

Photos with Santa Claus, food, Christmas projects for the kids, Christmas Carols.
Date: December 1, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Gulf State Pavilion
Gulf Shores, AL
Date/Time Details: Sunday, December 1, 2013
6 pm – 9 pm

Dec. 3 – Orange Beach Tree Lighting at the Wharf

Join us as the City of Orange Beach hosts its Official Tree Lighting at the Wharf. This free event is open to all ages. Community groups will have hot chocolate, arts and crafts and cookie decorating booths. Santa will arriving on a fire truck!
Date: December 3, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Marlin Circle at the Wharf
Contact: Angela Bateman, City of Orange Beach, 251-981-6629
Date/Time Details: Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013/5:30-7pm
Fees/Admission: Free Event

Dec. 3 – A Christmas Musical Celebration starring Brian Gurl

Date: December 3, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Erie H. Meyer Civic Center
Date/Time Details: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Show begins at 7 p.m.
Fees/Admission: Free Admission – Tickets available by calling 251-968-1174 or at the Gulf Shores Activity Center Box Office (260 Clubhouse Drive).

Dec. 5 – Holiday Open House at K McElroy Salon

Enjoy refreshments, you can mingle with our guests, meet our team, take a tour of the salon and spa and get a head start on your holiday shopping!
Date: December 5, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: K McElroy Salon 2305 East 2nd St. Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Contact: (251) 968-3737
Date/Time Details: Thursday, December 5th 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Fees/Admission: No Admission

Dec. 5 – Classical Christmas Concert

Concert featuring Victor and Megan Andzulis, presented by the Marjorie Younce Snook Public Library.
Date: December 5, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Summerdale Municipal Complex
Contact: Yolanda Devine Johnson
Date/Time Details: Thursday, December 5th, 7:00pm

Dec. 6 – Light Up The Arts

Coastal Arts Center Open House: Hot Shop glass blowing; Clay Studio demo’s; whimsical lighted gallery exhibit; gift shop featuring glass, clay, jewelry and art; refreshments by Shipp’s Harbor Grill.
Date: December 6, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach 26389 Canal Road, Orange Beach
Contact: Art Center: 251-981-2787
Date/Time Details: 5:00 – 8:00
Fees/Admission: -0-

Dec. 6 – City of Gulf Shores Christmas Parade & Beach Celebration

The Gulf Shores Lighted Christmas Parade will feature lighted festive floats from around the region followed by a stunning lighting ceremony and celebration at the Gulf Shores Public Beach.
Bring the whole family to the picnic area at Gulf Place to have their picture taken with Santa & enjoy refreshments, crafts, a live nativity, and entertainment.
Free Admission.
Reserve your spot in the Gulf Shores Christmas Parade by following the link below & submitting an online application.
The Gulf Shores Christmas Parade & Beach Celebration is a part of the Coastal Christmas campaign.
Date: December 6, 2013
Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Gulf Shores Public Beach
Contact: Blake Phelps
Date/Time Details: December 6, 2013
4:00 p.m.
Fees/Admission: FREE

Dec. 6, 7, 8. 13, 14 & 15 – “Nuncrackers – The Nunsense Christmas Musical” / South Baldwin Community 


Theatre / $15-$18 /  968-6721 or

Dec. 6 – Mystical Order of Mirams 7th Annual Taste of the Island

Orange Beach Events Center, The Wharf / 6pm


Dec. 6 – Interactive Wines Dinner at The Beach Club

Coast Restaurant / 6:30pm


Dec. 7 – The Christmas Angel Breakfast

GSUMC Auditorium / 9am / Free / 968-2411 for reservations

Dec. 7 – Billy Claus at Lulu’s

967-LULU / Free

Dec. 7 – Annual Christmas Ornament Painting

You get to choose your own ornament, paint it, have cookies and coco, face painting, letters to Santa and get your picture taken in Santa’s photo booth! Reservations are not needed. We can’t wait to see you all again this Holiday Season *Photo booth brought to you by Flash Time Photo Booth
Date: December 7, 2013
Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: Life’s A Canas SanRoc Cay 27267 Perdido Beach Blvd, Suite C103 Orange Beach, AL 36561
Contact: John Grant Gordon (251) 981-7770
Date/Time Details: Saturday, December 7th 12:00pm-3:00pm

Dec. 8 – Dec 16 First Baptist Church Orange Beach Nativity Open House

The FBC family welcome our neighbors, friends, and visitor to share our love of Jesus and celebrate the season of His birth through the art of nativities. Over 75 nativities will be displayed for all to enjoy in a casual open house atmosphere.
Date: December 8, 2013
Location: First Baptist Church Orange Beach 4773 Bay Circle & Canal Road Orange Beach, AL 36561
Contact: Vivian Hanich
Date/Time Details: 12/8 – 12/16 9 AM – 3 PM daily
Fees/Admission: free


Gulf Shores UMC Presents “Messiah” on Sunday, December 8, 2013
Written by: Louise Hawley
The stirring choruses of Handel’s “Messiah” will again launch the holiday season for the Gulf Shores community with a 2:30 PM performance on Sunday, December 8th by the Choral Society of Pensacola at the Gulf Shores United Methodist Church, 1900 Gulf Shores Parkway.
Under the baton of musical director Xiaolun Chen, featured soloists will include: Carla Connors, soprano; Wanda Brister, mezzo-soprano; Leo Day, tenor; and Patrick Jacobs, bass-baritone; along with the 60-member Choral Society singers. The performance will be accompanied by the Choral Society Orchestra, featuring members of the Pensacola Symphony.
Concert tickets may be purchased at the church office any weekday from 9AM to 4PM with reserved seating for $20 and general admission for $15. Call 251-968-2411 for more information or please view the church website at
Organized as the Pensacola Oratorio Society in the fall of 1935 for its first presentation of “Messiah,” 2013 marks the choral group’s 78th consecutive annual performance of this timeless masterpiece. Be a part of this moving experience; purchase your tickets today.
Date: December 8, 2013
Time: 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: GSUMC – Sanctuary
1900 Gulf Shores Parkway
Gulf Shores, AL
Contact: Church Office 251-968-2411
Date/Time Details: Sunday, December 8th
2:30 pm
Fees/Admission: General Admission: $15
Reserved Seating: $20

Dec. 12 – Coastal Christmas Stroll

Enjoy the wonderful facilities that the City of Orange Beach has to offer. Many City facilities including the Senior Center, Library, Wind and Water Learning Center and Coastal Arts Center will be holding Open House and many other fun activities.
Date: December 12, 2013
Time: 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: City of Orange Beach facilities
Contact: Carolyn Vines, City of Orange Beach Senior Center Coordinator, 251-981-3440
Date/Time Details: Thursday, Dec 12, 2013/4:30-7pm.
Fees/Admission: Free Event

Dec. 12 – City of Gulf Shores Christmas Open House

The City of Gulf Shores hosts its annual Christmas Open House on Thursday, December 12.
Free Admission. For more information contact the Special Events Division at 251-968-1172.
Christmas Open House is a part of the Coastal Christmas campaign.
Date: December 12, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Erie Meyer Civic Center, David L. Bodenhamer Center, Thomas B. Norton Public Library, Gulf Shores Museum, South Baldwin Community Theater
Contact: Blake Phelps
Date/Time Details: December 12, 2013/6:00 p.m.
Fees/Admission: FREE


Dec. 14 – 28th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade

Parade begins at Lulu’s and proceeds east on the Intracoastal Waterway to Zeke’s Marina / 5:30pm-8:30pm.

Dec. 13-14 – USSSA Fall Alabama State Baseball Tournament

OB Sportsplex

Dec. 15 – SanRoc Cay’s Rockin’ Christmas Open House

SanRoc Cay / 1pm-6pm

Dec. 19-21 – Gulf Shores High School Basketball Christmas Invitational Tournament

Gulf Shores High School

Dec. 21 – Breakfast with Santa

Erie Meyer Civic Center / 8am-10:30am / $4; 3 and under free

Dec. 31 – Noon Year’s Eve Party 

Lulu’s 10am-? / Free / Countdown at noon with kid-friendly fireworks and beach ball drop. Many activities are available for the children.

Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve Bash

The Wharf / 7pm-11pm

Jan. 1 – Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip 


Alabama Coastal Farmers and Fisherman’s Market

I am so excited to introduce you to the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fisherman’s Market. On one of our many weekend explorations of our area my husband and I visited the new Farmers and Fisherman’s Market. This market is located in Foley, on county road 20. If you turn east on County Road 20 this market is located about 2 miles down and just behind Wolf Bay Lodge. This trip was actually a surprise from my husband, I love farmers markets!!! So this was a fantastic surprise. When we arrived I was completely taken aback. This new market practically sparkled it was so new and clean.

The market is set up in stall form. The farmers and other vendors can literally back their trucks up to their stall set up a table and place their produce out for sale. We saw everything from beautiful locally grown in season veggies. These included tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, collard greens, green beans, bell peppers, apples, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, satsumas, and hot peppers of all sorts.
We got a few squash, and some mini pumpkins. This produce is fresh from the farm just picked the day before or even that morning. The market requires this last minute picking process to bring only the freshest produce to you and your table. Local plants are also everywhere you look. We have produce farmers and we have just plant farmers that simply grow flowering plants or even fruit and vegetable plants to resell. You had dozens of beautiful choices if you are looking for something special for the nature lover in your family.

This Farmers Market is not just a farmers market alone. It is also a Fisherman’s Market as well. This means that some of our best local fishermen bring their daily catch in for you to pick up and enjoy. Local fresh caught fish of seasonal favorites, crab, and of course SHRIMP!!! Shrimp is a delicacy in
this area and you can of course get some of the best here at the Farmers and Fisherman’s Market. This day There were only two vendors at the market but from what I understand there are typically a few more. These vendors have local markets in the area and we can vouch for the freshness of their catch.

Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fisherman’s Market just doesn’t do this market justice. This market also has some beautiful art vendors. The day we visited there were two beautiful jewelry vendors. One made product from old silver ware pieces. Mr. Quinley’s designs are unique and made with love.
Each piece is made by hand and weather it is pounded flat cut short or twisted into a creature this jeweler is sure to please the lady in your life. There are even great key rings for that special guy in your life or even a new driver.
He makes traditional rings, bracelets, and also does two piece bracelets and monogrammed bracelets. Some of my favorites were the one made out of flattened serving pieces and they were made to mimic some of our beautiful sea life. This jewelry can be found at the Southern Bling stall.

The Mari Mae Collection was just a few stalls down and included handmade jewelry and quilts. The quilts were lovely and came in a variety of colors and sizes. She had everything from full bed size quilts to small table toppers and even hot pads. She also had handmade seashell jewelry.

This was probably my favorite booth. They shells were locally found and strung with brilliantly selected beads to make truly one of a kind pieces. I can’t wait to peruse her jewelry more and get some gifts for friends.

The pottery vendor is a booth set up by Joe & Louise Verhoestra. They make the famous hurricane crosses that we have sold in our office for years. She has some lovely platters, and statues butterflies, angels and sea life and of course some great items to show pride in your favorite team. I love the fish bone chimes, and the hurricane crosses have been a favorite for years. This is another great place to do some great holiday shopping while in town.
The Farmers and Fisherman’s Market is turning into a one stop shop.

You can’t miss the homemade bath products by Martha Lundy. She specializes in hand made soaps, bath salts, sugar scrubs, hair products, lotions, candles, even some jelly. She uses all natural ingredients to make her environmentally safe and wonderful smelling products. If you are trying to avoid using sulfates and all of the harmful things that many of our soaps put in the environment and even on our skin, Ms. Lundy’s products are absolutely something you need to try. I used her stick lotion just once on my elbows and they are still so soft. Great gift ideas for everyone in the family and so much more are available at Farmers and Fisherman’s Market.

Finally, on our way out we came across baked goods. Actually more than baked goods! Full meals were available. There were several vendors that offered breads, cookies, cakes, as well as soups, and sandwiches. The friendly ladies at SHMILY (See, How, Much, I, Love, You) Tree Bakery Café had a huge variety of baked treats for you to take on to your condo or just enjoy lunch while you were there. These ladies even cater special events and make wedding cakes!

Our sourdough bread was a wonderful treat with soup at home later that evening. Another great more than a Farmers Market find.
The visit to the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fisherman’s Market is one that I will absolutely repeat. IN fact my husband and I are intending to make a weekly or maybe bi-monthly visit. We will be buying fresh local veggies, fruit, baked goods, bread, and fish, for our table in the future. We are so excited about this fantastic new resource in our area. I will keep you up to date as the market expands to add a Meat Market and Hydroponics farm and local furniture maker in 2014.

They have even loftier goals for 2016 of a kitchen and canning facilities, local farmer’s table restaurant, and retail produce shop. Oh and for those of you looking for a beautiful rustic wedding venue. They will soon be able to offer the farmers market as a wedding venue as well. Be sure to add the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fisherman’s Market as a stop on your list of places to visit in the area. We’ll see you soon!

Elberta German Sausage Festival Fall 2014

Another fantastic reason to visit the beach during the fall each year, on top of the no crowds and perfect weather, is all of the festivals. It seems there is a new one every weekend somewhere in the community. This year I am making an effort to go to as many as possible! My wonderful husband has agreed to suffer through them with me even though he is not a fan of big crowds. He does love German Sausage so I try to pick the day or time for each festival that is the least crowded.

For the Elberta German Sausage Festival we found the earlier the better is best to go. The Festival actually started at 8 AM. I probably could have talked my husband into breakfast German sausage but we chose to sleep in a bit that Saturday. We made it to Elberta by 10:30 AM or so. Elberta is a small town like you see in the movies with a pretty main street and a children’s park. This town is one of two between Foley and the Florida state line. The town is maybe 10 minutes from Foley, to the east toward Florida on State Hwy 98. This means it is about 45 minutes to an hour from Fort Morgan. It is totally worth every minute of the drive though.

Just a few notes; bring cash, and walking shoes, (I suggest closed toes shoes for maneuvering in the crowd because of the loose dirt everywhere.) You may have to pay to park you can find a few parking spots here and there that are not paid, we chose the Post Office. It was just a couple of blocks walk down to the festival grounds. If you have kids pay to park close because traffic progressively worsens throughout the day. They did have an option this year to pay for sausage with a debit or credit card. This was the extra-long line to wait for your wonderful sausage. The sausages were $5 each and the same no matter if you bought a large number.

Once we got to the grounds we realized the festival was set up in the park and town square. To the west they were grilling the sausage filling the air with the most amazing scent. It made our stomach growl just smelling it. To the north side of the square the other food vendors were set up. Blooming onions, Funnel Cakes, Italian Ice, Cotton Candy, and lemonade to just name a few of the things you can add to your sausage meal. The vendors were near the middle of the square with all sorts of arts and crafts. In the very center were live musicians playing in the gazebo while people danced around it in the park. It was very fun and all I could do not to grab my husband and dance too.

We did a little exploring prior to getting our sausages and explored some of the vendor booths. There was everything from a booth with unique cell phone covers, to bird feeders and lamps made from recycled glassware, homemade baby quilts, and anything an Alabama Fan could want. One of my favorite booths was an artist who made unique creations from old car license plates from across the country. They were so unique and colorful! There were also some local politicians out campaigning, and local wildlife conservation groups and local food and honey. It was everything you would think a small town festival would be.

We ran in to a couple of people we knew as we explored the booths of hand-made jewelry, wind chimes and knitted and crocheted scarves. At this point we decided to stop and wait in the sausage line. We waited about 10 minutes and slowly moved toward the open window where the wonderful people of Elberta put together each person’s sausage order individually. She asked us how many we wanted and if we wanted them to go or with sour kraut. A sweet local with a smile for us and the camera!

We enjoyed out Sausage dogs each with our chosen condiments from the condiment station. Then we walked through and enjoyed the rest of the vendors and got a couple of Christmas presents. Just before we headed home we got a Funnel Cake. My husband had never had one before so this was a special treat for him. Over all this was such a fun day for the two of us.

It was a lot like we were dating again. My recommendation is if there is a festival, especially if it is a German Sausage Festival. This is, “a do not miss” amazing fall festival. See you soon.

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!

Sassy Bass, A Fantastic Fort Morgan Resturant!

Working and living in Fort Morgan, Alabama there are few restaurant options for us to enjoy on those don’t want to cook days.  Just this year we got a brand new option.  Sassy Bass is a Cajun inspired Seafood restaurant.  This restaurant took the place of the long lived Tequila’s Mexican restaurant.

Sassy Bass is colorful in decor and atmosphere. The friendly staff is working hard to make locals feel at home in their vacationer friendly place.  Large tables for big families and groups cover one end of the restaurant while a place for local musicians and weekly jam sessions are just at the other end of the bar.   I mentioned there menu has a Cajun inspiration.  This does not mean everything is spicy, it full of flavor and there are some great sauces and wonderful smoked and bar-b-que dishes that will take us back again and again.  One of my new favorites is Fishin’ Dip at Sassy Bass.  This is served as an appetizer but could easily be a meal for one or for a couple if you add a salad. I shared it with Alex and my husband and it is wonderful.

Fishin’ Dip is a smoked fish with a wonderful creamy sauce served with crackers.  The dip has to be smoke with pork because it absolutely has that smoked pork flavor that cannot be mistaken.

We ordered a variety menu items.  I ordered the Sassy Grill, A huge portion of grilled white fish, with a sweet chili sauce, served with scalloped potatoes, and corn off the cob sautéed, and a side salad.  The meal was absolutely wonderful everything was cooked exceptionally.  The meal was enough for two easily.  I took home a box of leftovers.  My husband had a Butcher Shop Burger with bacon and cheese and tons of French fries.    He loved it and he also said it was more than he should have should have eaten but it was so good he didn’t want to stop.  Alex had Pulled Pork Quesadillas also with a side of fries.  She said it was her new favorite.

As you can see they have a huge variety of food choices and some lovely drinks, and desserts.  I am looking forward to going back during one of their Jam sessions and enjoying music by local artists.  Be sure to stop by and enjoy a great new restaurant in the area.  Tell them the staff at Sunset Properties sent you.   See you soon!!!!




Beach Wedding Ideas and Suggestions!!!

Okay Ladies, get out your note pad, break out your dream board!  We are going to give you some beautiful and unique beach wedding ideas and suggestions.  These are things that if you start early enough you will have plenty of time to gather these cute ideas for your wedding. 

Suggestion #1 – Plan your wedding for a week day.  Most houses rent from Saturday to Saturday during the spring and summer so if you are planning your beach wedding for that time of year a mid-week wedding or Friday night wedding is the most cost effective way to go.  It will cost you a pretty penny to add just one or two extra nights to have a Saturday wedding. 

 Suggestion #2 – Have a wedding planner in the area.  It is so difficult to plan a wedding from a distance.  It is great to have someone in the area that can make sure your venue and all of your wedding details are progressing as they should while you are north of the shore. 

Suggestion # 3 – You are coming to the beach a simple beach theme is completely appropriate.  You have beautiful surroundings that do not need lots of embellishment.  Save money on decor and use it for your honeymoon!

Suggestion # 4 – Have a rain and bad weather alternative.  We just had a very minor tropical storm come through this area.  We always plan for the worst but hope for the best.  Unfortunately the wedding that was supposed to be over the weekend had to be shifted and all the out of town guests moved their reservations to another time because of the threat of a storm.  Often we truly do not know how bad a storm will be until the last minute.  So have a plan ready so everyone coming knows what will happen, just in case.

Suggestion # 5 – You are coming to the beach, the more laid back you can be and plan for everything the smoother everything will go.  People are coming to see you get married but they are also coming for a beach getaway.

wedding tote
wedding tote


Okay now for the fun stuff some ideas!!!!  I’ve seen the trend go the way of more somber colors in the last year or two.  Lots of tan, taupe, beige and gold or silver with an accent color of coral, blue or green.  We do see the colors in nature reflected in weddings often!

Wedding Papers
Wedding Papers

Such as in photos you will see the bride used a natural canvas color with tan, gold and navy blue accents.  All of her things had an antique feel.  She even included mismatched antique china for her reception meal.  Honey bees were particularly special to her and the groom as he is a beekeeper. Bees, and honey had a starring role in thank you gifts and on all invites, and programs.  She also tied in antique linens and ribbons, and buttons.  The flower girl wore a dress with hundreds of flowing ribbons that fit right in. 

Wedding Thank You Gifts
Wedding Thank You Gifts

In the natural canvas and tan tote that was a take home gift for guests a couple of personalized bottles of water.  Honey flavored and bee themed and specialty chocolates.  Guest also took home cozies that were navy blue with the Bride and Grooms gold monogram with Honey bee included.  Also, small paint brushes were included to brush the beach sand off of the visitor’s feet. 

wedding napkins
wedding napkins

Even the napkins were an antique floral pattern monogrammed in navy with the Bride and Grooms initials.  Off white and tan lace made an appearance in any available decoration and attached to any paper given to a guest.  One of the ideas we had never heard of was a “wine box.”  This was a beautiful wooden box that the bride and groom put a letter in each and a bottle of their favorite wine.  This box was sealed by the bride and groom with a gold nail each and hammered in by a gold hammer.  This only to be opened by the bride and groom if they think they are ready to not be married at some point.  It was an antique Wedding welcome gifts 2beach wedding and one of the loveliest we have seen.  As I mentioned with a little planning and time all of the simple things she used would be easy to collect and put together to make a truly unique beach wedding.

Tropical Storm Karen!!!

We have taken lots of calls today and spoken with lots of vacationers who are supposed to come in this weekend.  Everyone is concerned about the storm and if the can make it down for the weekend.  Truly we just do not know at this point.

We will know more tomorrow and I will update everyone at this time.  For now we are happy to move your reservation if you would like!  However we are asking everyone to wait to make any BIG decisions until we know more tomorrow.  Below is what the city is telling us, and the current weather here is very rainy and overcast.  But tomorrow it could be sunshine again!!!  Please give us a call if you have any questions!!!  See you soon.

Sunshine ahead
Sunshine ahead

October 3, 2013

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism would like to provide our industry partners with the following, verified information:
Like all of the northern Gulf Coast, our area is currently under a Hurricane Watch. This means hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.The low pressure system in the southern Gulf of Mexico was upgraded to Tropical Storm Karen at 8 am this morning.Karen is expected to bring tropical storm force conditions to a portion of the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday evening.The watch area extends from Louisiana through the Florida panhandle. As with most systems, the path is not certain, and updates will be provided as they are available.


Sat view of TS Karen
Sat view of TS Karen


Creativity Reigns on Rainy Days at the Beach with Life’s A Canvas

We have had LOTS of rain this year.  We have also had lots of requests for things to do at the beach when it rains.  Alex and I found a fantastic way to be creative, and spend an afternoon or evening making a one of a kind souvenir with your family! 

Some of the many painting options
Some of the many painting options

Recently, several members of the Sunset Properties staff took a group painting class.  You have probably heard of these classes.  You go as a group and everyone paints the same picture with direction from the staff and typically you have a glass of wine or something. 

There is a fantastic place in Orange Beach with a family friendly painting that is perfect for kiddos and couples alike.  If you and the children need something to do on a rainy day why not paint a great beach painting or a tropical fish painting, or maybe even a favorite part of the beach.  The fantastic staff at Life’s A Canvas, will help you and your children create a beautiful picture that you couldn’t find at a souvenir shop.  The best part of this experience is you get family time and you make something memorable from your vacation. 

Our next painting!
Our next painting!

This all may sound very intimidating, but it is not!  You are painting a picture with direction from helpful teachers.  They tell you what colors to use, where to start and take you step by step through the picture.  They even tell you how to mix colors and what paint brushes to use when.  It is an amazing feeling to walk in and have a blank canvas and walk out with a beautiful picture that you painted.

lac painting start
step 1 Anchor’s Away
lac panoramic
Anchor’s Away class at Life’s a Canvas finishing up!

Alex and I tried our hand at painting recently and had a great time, and came home with a masterpiece, at least to us!  The class was on Wednesday evening.  Wednesday’s are their “Unwind Wednesday’s”!  During these classes the Tiki Bar is open if you are interested in purchasing an adult beverage.  I had a Black Cherry soda, so drinking is certainly not required!  This class is full of local regulars and they played the newest radio hits while you paint.  This night was a mix of kind of club music and popular pop songs.  Other nights they play a more laid back selection. While children are always welcome the staff does recommend maybe choosing another night for a more kid friendly experience.  The artists who come to paint Wednesday, come to unwind from their week. 

lac step 2
Step 2 Anchor’s Away

We both chose a beverage and the class started shortly after that.  The artist began giving directions on how to mix colors and exactly where to start on the canvas.  As we walked through the steps of the painting it began to appear.  We were in a room of about 20 women and everyone was having a great time.  Between steps we took a little break to allow for dry time.  During this dry time we had a chance to look at all of the beautiful art for sale and jewelry that they had throughout the shop.  If you are looking for some great unique jewelry this is the place to shop.  We shortly jumped back into the painting.  The entire night everyone in walked around and encouraged everyone else about their painting.  It was a wonderfully encouraging experience with great music and lots of laughter and fun. 

LAC step 3
Anchor’s Away step 3
lac showing off our final product
Anchor’s Away Finished Product

If it is rainy while you are here do not miss this opportunity to paint with your family or friends!  I think you should work it in to your schedule rain or shine because it is such a unique experience!  What a perfect way to capture your memories at the beach.  Take a few hours and paint them yourself.  Classes start at $35 a person and this includes all of your supplies and a canvas.  Life’s a Canvas is open daily at 10 am until 9 pm.  You are welcome to bring whatever food and nonalcoholic beverage you would like.  Or if you need catering suggestions give them a call.  They do book classes and special parties and if you book a party they will give you a little bit of a price break.  The best part to me is you can bring the kiddos and they can paint too.  If kids are under 12 it is only $30 and again this includes all of your paint and supplies.  There are special days set aside as family days for painting, typically Sunday starting at 2. 

Life’s A Canvas is a don’t miss while you are here!  Be sure to leave a couple of hours open to create!

Tacky Jack’s 2 Fun and Food Where They Treat You Like A Local

I have to say I went in to this blog with hesitation.  We are beginning to visit our local restaurants and give you a review of the local fare.  My past experience with our closest local restaurant had been far from stellar.  So, I simply stopped going.  It had been almost 3 year since I had stepped through the doors of Tacky Jack’s 2 and I thought it was time to give it another try. Tacky Jack's Kiss the Fish

Alex and I gave them a call and set up lunch with Richard and the staff.  As we walked up the colorful stairs and heading to the little indoor dining room, I had fond memories flash in my head of a Sunset on the outdoor deck when it was brand new.  Alex and were greeted at the door by Christie and Mel with smiling faces letting us know we could sit any where we wanted.

We grabbed a seat near the bar and were joined by Richard the manager and took a look at the menu.  Not too much had changed since I had been in last.  It is still a colorful place with friendly staff and very casual dining.  The menu is simple burger and seafood.  Some of the favorites on the menu are Crab Claws or Mexican Garbage for an appetizer.  You can get those crab claws steamed or fried, both are wonderful!  Beware the Mexican Garbage is big enough for a crowd.  If it’s just two of you this could be your entire meal.  We chose to have some gumbo as it is also a favorite on the menu and a side salad.  The gumbo is tomato based and has a great flavor with plenty of little shrimp for the seafood lover.  The salad was simply a little garden salad with tomatoes and croutons; you get your choice of dressings.  Either is a great addition to your meal especially if you are extra hungry. Tacky Jack's Inside

For our lunch we tried to cover the spectrum, Alex is not a seafood eater and I am so I had fish tacos with Chips and salsa, and Alex had a Bacon Cheese Burger with fries.  The food was out very quickly but while we waited we chatted with Richard, and we talked about this past summer.  He said they had record crowds and a great summer over all.  Their goal is to make each hungry person happy and full before they leave.  He said with the small indoor space this can be a little tricky because they simply cannot seat everyone in the cool Air conditioned comfort of the restaurant.  He was so glad they added the outdoor dining area, which is nice to sit out and enjoy the sunset.  But in the heat of the summer it is just hot sometimes.  After being on the beach all day people are not always super excited about eating in the heat.  Once they get their yummy food everyone seems to settle in to the cool breeze on the deck and enjoy the view. Tacky Jack's Salad and Gumbo

Our food arrived about that time and everything looked great and smelled wonderful.  Alex’s bacon cheese burger was beautiful and I was a bit jealous.  But them my tacos showed up.  The tacos and chips and salsa were a fantastic portion and were cooked perfect.  I chose to have the fish blackened, but you can have it grilled or fired.  My only complaint was the salsa wasn’t spicy enough for me, but I LOVE SPICY!  Alex’s burger was huge; we could have split it and had plenty of food.  Truthfully, we could have split my tacos as well and I did share taco’s, gumbo and dessert with my husband!!! Tacky Jacks Bacon Cheese burger

While we ate we talked about Tacky Jacks down below.  There is a fantastic little beach bar that opens at 3 each day.  They’ll make any drink you request but we highly recommend you try the Bushwacker.  It is a local favorite and we think you’ll love it especially on those hot summer afternoons.  Year around there is the funniest Karaoke you will find anywhere.  The locals will entertain you and the vacationers will amaze you with their singing abilities.   Be sure to take an evening and join the fun.

Tacky Jack's Fish Taco'sWe finished off our meal with yummy desserts, Alex had Peanut Butter Pie, and I enjoyed Key Lime Pie.  Both are wonderful and certainly meet that sweet craving if you have room for dessert.  There is also the choice of a brownie pie is chocolate is more your thing.

Don’t miss out on breakfast at Tacky Jacks 2.  The Farmers Omelet is big enough to feed two at least and maybe three.  The waffles are my favorite!  This is the perfect place to stop and get a last beautiful view before you go.  They open at 8 AM and breakfast is until 10:30.  Tacky Jacks Key Lime Pie

I am happy to send vacationers over to Tacky Jacks 2 for a meal and to enjoy a fun time at the bar.  I have no doubt they will be treated like the local family and have some great food and have a fun time!  Be sure to stop by when if you get a chance and don’t for get to enjoy the UNBEATABLE sunset view from the patio dining area.






42nd Annual National Shrimp Festival

Dates & Timesshrimp

Oct 10, 2013 – Oct 13, 2013


Main Public Beach, Gulf Shores
AL Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, 3150 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542


Savor fresh from the gulf seafood at the 42nd Annual National Shrimp Festival during this four-day event that attracts over 300,000 people. This year the festival will play host to more than 80 hours of musical entertainment featuring a lineup of national, regional and local acts. There will be musical acts to please all palates, including Blues, Motown, Southern Rock, Jazz, Zydeco and Country. The music begins at 10 a.m. each day and runs through 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Food is another highlight of the festival with 50 local and regional vendors lining the boardwalk at the public beach with mouth watering delights. Due to the generous sponsors, Zatarains’s, Organized Seafood Association of Alabama, Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission and Wind Creek Casino, 200 pounds of shrimp per day will be prepared by some of the area’s best chefs of their award-winning recipes and given away for people to sample at different tasting times that will be posted on the outside of the sponsor tent.

New activities this year include: “Outdoor World” and “Shrimp Festival Idol”. Outdoor World will feature fishing, boating, hunting and other outdoor vendors and activities. Shrimp Festival Idol will be an “American Idol” type competition where high school singers from seven local schools will compete in elimination rounds to find out who will become Shrimp Festival Idol. Scholarships will be awarded to the top three contestants.

Families can enter the annual sand sculpture contest on Saturday, Oct. 12th. Kids can take part in a myriad of activities in the newly relocated Children’s Activity Village, including face-painting, karaoke and much more.kid shrimp

Runner and walkers can enter the 10K and 5K races to help work off some of the great food at the festival. All net proceeds of the Run will be donated to Coastal Baldwin Education Enrichment, benefiting the local Gulf Shores & Orange Beach public schools. Entry Fees are $20 by Sept 30: $25 by Oct 12.

Art lovers will have almost 200 booths of fine art and arts and crafts vendors from which to choose. Car lovers will have a chance to preview many of the new 2014 Chevrolet models that will be on display.
Admission: Free to public.


42nd Annual National Shrimp Festival – Entertainment Line-Up


*Times and stage location TBA* Line-up is subject to change

East Stage Sponsor Wind Creek Casino
West Stage Sponsor Organized Seafood Association

Thursday, October 10th
10:00-11:30am Lisa Christian
11:45-1:15pm Jim St. James
1:30-3:00pm Midnight Confessions
3:30-5:30pm Stephen & Les
6:00-7:30pm Sand Band
8:00-10:00pm The Tip Tops

10:00-12:00pm Elaine Petty–Smokin’ Elvis’
12:30-2:30pm Top Hat & Jackie
3:00-5:00pm Willie Sugarcapps
5:30-7:30pm Tony Goulas
8:00-10:00pm Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster

Friday, October 11th
10:00-11:30am Ryan Conner
11:45-1:00pm Vic Saul
1:30-3:30pm Lee Yankie & the Hellz Yeah
4:00-6:00pm Maggie Koerner
6:30-8:00pm Voodoo Bayou
8:30-10:00pm Blackjack Billy

10:00-11:30am Will Kimbrough
11:45-1:30pm Long Lost Friend
2:00-3:30pm Laura Lynn Danley & Justin Patterson
4:00-6:00pm Sugarcane Jane
6:30-8:00pm Ryan Balthrop & Friends
8:30-10:00pm Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster

Saturday, October 12th
10:00-11:30am John Cook/ Cowboy Johnson
11:45-1:30pm Brent Burns
2:00-3:30pm Jason Abel Project
4:00-5:30pm Varlet
6:00-7:30pm Jason Justice & Hung Jury
8:00-10:00pm Voodoo Bayou

10:00-12:00pm Shrimp Fest Idol Contest
12:15-1:30pm The Beach Billy’s
1:45-3:15pm Betsy Badwater
3:45-5:30pm Jim “Dawg” Parks Band
6:00-8:00pm Spyn Reset
8:30-10:00pm Everclear

Sunday, October 13th
10:00-11:30am Karen Reynolds
11:45-1:00pm Greg Fells
1:15-3:00pm Lea Anne Creswell
3:30-5:00pm Adam Holt Band

9:00-10:00am Liberty Church Worship Service
10:00-11:30am Burning Cypress
11:45-1:00pm Kyle and Karl
1:15-3:00pm Shiny Objects
3:30-5:00pm Andy Smith Band