Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fatter, Happier?

Call it what you will, but the South sure does have it charms. I've always considered myself a quasi-Southerner--not only by birthright, but I spent my childhood summers in Georgia and Texas, birthplaces of my parents. Now that I live in Tennessee and Alabama, I feel the connection even more. Yes, it can be quite quirky, sometimes ignorant just like other places; but for the most part, it is absolutely charming, the folk sweet as sugar, and the food? Well, I don't need to tell you about the food, 'cause I know you know. ;-)

I found a new magazine last summer in Fairhope while perusing the racks at our little bookstore Page & Palette. A nicely dressed southern lady walked in and asked the cashier, in the sweetest Alabama drawl, if they had any "Garden & Guns" left. Of course, a conversation then ensued, as it always does in the south. When I heard that our little town had been written up in the above-mentioned magazine, my ears perked up. I hadn't even heard of the periodical before. Well, with Gun in the title, I wonder why! It was then that I began my search for it and finally found in back in Nashville. I'm sure every copy within 100 miles of the place had been grabbed up back in Fairhope! The article, Southern Dream Towns, indeed did mention Fairhope, Al, listed under the "Best Birding Town" title. You'll recognize, I'm sure, some of the familiar spots around town that normally show up in my blog from time to time.

"Perched high on the bluffs of Alabama’s Eastern Shore, the town of Fairhope sits squarely on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. Each spring and fall, the 240-mile-long birding extravaganza surrounding Mobile Bay attracts upwards of one million visitors of the wingless variety, hoping to get a glimpse at the hoards of migratory birds that use the bay as a rest stop on their routes to and from Mexico and beyond.When the flocks have passed, however, Fairhope does not fold up its wings. The town is known for its sweeping panoramic views of Mobile Bay, its old bluff cottages, its tree-lined avenues, and its explosion of flowers lining planters and windows of downtown shops. The town owns and operates eight greenhouses. Even the trash receptacles double as planters.
The area has long been a haven for artists and writers, and maintains a progressive, culturally vibrant climate year-round. The annual Arts & Crafts Festival in March is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the South. Each April, the Fairhope Yacht Club hosts the Dauphin Island Regatta, the largest one-day sailing regatta in the nation, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2008.

A Typical Day:

Start your day at Julwin’s Restaurant with a stick-to-your-ribs country breakfast. Then head to the Weeks Bay Nature Reserve and stroll on walkways through the marshlands, or try your hand casting for redfish and speckled trout. In late morning check out Page & Palette bookstore in the beautiful French Quarter, where you can eavesdrop on the ritualistic gathering of Fairhope’s intellectual and creative fringe. Panini Pete’s, just behind the bookstore, offers crepes, seared tuna salad, and European sandwiches, with a courtyard for a patio lunch. Spend your afternoon exploring more than two hundred boutiques, galleries, antiques stores, and eclectic shops in the tree-lined downtown. Stroll through the award-winning rose garden in the park along the waterfront. For dinner, try the Colony Grill’s salmon filet glazed with rum and maple syrup, with “angry” hot pepper flakes.

Plant Your Roots:

Fairhope was once called the best-kept secret on the Gulf Coast, but its secret is out, so home prices are up, though still lower than in many coastal towns. The flip side to higher home prices is low property taxes and no sales tax. Fairhope was founded on utopian principles as a single-tax colony, where resources are pooled for the benefit of the town (the latest fruits of this program are an Olympic-size swimming pool and a planned 43,000-square-foot library). You can buy historic waterfront homes for around $2 million or cottages for $500,000."
After reading several months of G&G, I decided that it was good enough to subscribe to. I think in fact, that it hardly ever mentions guns--a short story on hunting every now and again--so I truly enjoy it. This was my brother Jim's and my favorite issue to date! Chock full of places to hit.

There are indeed some fun articles each month. I liked this one entitled "Study Shows Southerners Fatter, Happier." How's that for big news? lol "Fried chicken recommended as an antidepressant!" Yessirrie doggie! Bring it on! (I wish!!)

Of course, I then went on to read more of the Big Bad Chef's recommendations and found a place right here in Nashville that, low and behold, I had not yet frequented. You can bet it's now on the list. Prince's chicken looks to die for. Yes, I've heard of it, but I guess I've just been avoiding it.

There are wonderful articles on saving our frogs,

old Southern roads, great for road trips,

and local fare, such as soft shell crabs,

and the enjoyment of a longer oyster season this year! (Not for me, yuk, but the hub sure is enjoying it!)

We have been enjoying the family from the North, the hub's parents, as they always seem to enjoy the South although would never admit to it back North. lol. We are heading deeper South tomorrow to show them our sweet Riverside. I look forward to it--only wish the drive wasn't so long. Oy.

Will try and stay in touch. I'm just bad bad bad these days!!

Cheers to the South!



Anonymous said...

Why would you ever mix guns with a garden??? Still sounds like a fun mag. XXOO ~ Aim

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I've never heard of that magazine (Garden & Guns)---but it looks intriguing. I may need to check that one out. Fairhope, AL does look like a wonderful little city/town... I'd love to check out their birding opportunities.

Have a great week---and enjoy the Hub's family. They will love Riverside.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A funny mag... Great food!

Cheers and have a wonderful week,


Linda said...

Interesting magazine. That's one thing I miss here-American magazines. Good thing there is the Internet.

Snap said...

I chuckled when I saw "Garden and Gun" -- the title itself is so southern. Yes sir! Love the post. Love oysters and frogs. Enjoy the visit. Have fun!

Pearl said...

Bring on the fried chicken!! The southerners were way ahead of their time in home remedies. I know I couldn't be happier when I am eating some country food.

Hope you are doing well.

Queenly Things said...

Cheers to the South and to Julwin's for breakfast!!! Oysters you say? Bring dem on!!!

Jeanie said...

Garden & Gun -- whoda thunk it? I have NEVER heard of that one!

paris parfait said...

Yes, I saw this magazine "Garden & Gun" last time I was in Savannah and commented on the title to my husband. I said, "Only in the South..." I am a Southerner and I do love the South, although I get frustrated with some of the more backward notions and politics. I am a bit worried about Tennessee ...still cannot believe they made it legal to carry a gun while consuming alcohol! That is a recipe for disaster.

robin-bird said...

is it legal to drive, carry carry a gun and eat jujubees all at the same time do you think? maybe it is in tennessee, here we draw the line at the jujubees and just stick with the granola bars, guns and driving as our preferred bad habit. now where did i come up with that comment i wonder? it sounds like word salad more than it does a legitimate comment on your blog. silly me :) anyways i am so dang glad you are having a great summer! and thank you for sneaking a comment in on my blog, you are such a dear. everything looks good, your mom, your new magazine subscription, bella, your new office....not the clams though, they look awful. ok enough of this foolishness. i miss you but wish you nothing but the happiest summer ever! i know you will be back. you are that kind of blogger. here for the long haul yessiree bella.

OXO loves!

John Ivey said...

You're one hell of a blogger my sister you are, and that's one fine post. Garden and Gun... only in the South!



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