Why not hang around when you have a comfortable and interesting place to be?!#% That’s what we decided about the Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. So, we moved out of our short term spot, #474, into a monthly spot, #262. It’s obvious here that there’s a good-sized group of snowbirds. On our drives through we see many Midwest license plates; Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan are plentiful. Although, there’s also no lack of folks from Canada, Tennessee, Missouri, etc. We’re only a few roads away from our first spot, but the differences in our new neighborhood are obvious. From day one, about a week ago, we noticed that people wave at each other, stop on their walks or cross the road from one parking spot to another to visit. A brief conversation with a few of our fellow winter residents informed us that there are many who come here year after year, making friends, acquiring repeat parking spots and living alongside one another while they escape the cold. It’s not too surprising since one can reserve a spot for $475 a month, inclusive of electric.
But, why here for us? First, we’re also dodging the weather. As it turns out we’re missing the horrendous blizzard that’s going on up north right now. Indianapolis is frozen in, with temps in the teens and at least a foot of snow and ice. Hang on, you guys, it will be over soon! Since just about the entire country is experiencing the cold snap, staying here in the colder than normal conditions for a brief time, 40s in the day and 20s at night, was acceptable. We’ve been a little less active for a while, waiting for nicer weather. But meanwhile, we got comfortable. We’ve started by searching out local restaurants in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. The shrimp, seafood gumbo, fried pickles, fried meatloaf and even the Tasso in my omelet, all were excellent. Some of those restaurants, for the record, are: Wintzells, Zen, The Hangout, GooRoo’s Grill, Mikee’s Seafood and Brick & Spoon. (Especially for my cousins who plan a vacation in Gulf Shores this year.)
While we’ve had a little down time with cooler temps, there’s been no lack of ways to entertain ourselves. Besides sampling our share of local food, there’s football games, reading, walks in the park and on the beach, cooking, movies, Book TV, writing blogs, crocheting, jewelry-making, family history and of course, the Internet in general. I’ll let you guess which of those activities are assigned to each, or both, of us. Walking on the beach isn’t quite as much fun in cooler temps, but some of us still do. Here’s a glimpse of the folks by the ocean in December, warmly-dressed families, one metal-detecting guy and a lone surfer in his wet suit at the right.
For instance, since we’re in the middle of seafood heaven, we (both of us) tried our hand at cooking our own seafood gumbo with the fresh shrimp, crab and scallops from Blalock’s Seafood Market. And learned about file powder (accent over the e in file), the sassafras leaves seasoning that most people in these parts use in their gumbo that adds a nice distinctive flavor. The recipe was judged a success by the two of us. Also, Jerry’s got a new toy – his Nexus 7 tablet – that he’s putting to the test every day with his surfing, streaming and inquiries. So far, this new technological addition is fitting in well. His iPad is being neglected for a faster, lighter-weight, smaller-screened friend. Here’s a photo on the left that he slyly snapped on his new tablet while I was completely unaware! The only complaint I’ve heard is that there’s no Flash Player, so one of the sites he reads won’t load. But there’s probably a fix on the way for that ~ surely~
What now? Well, since the temperature is moving on up, we’re planning to have a few day excursions into the areas surrounding us. Then, we’ll meander over to Florida. Hope everyone is staying safe and warm. Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels.