Saturday, April 16, 2016

Why Mobile?

Why would we want to go to Mobile, Alabama? Well, I was not entirely sure, except that Sharon, logistics manager extraordinaire, said it was stop over here or drive a long ways from New Orleans to Birmingham. So we set ourselves up to stop here. Good decision.

If you are going to rate cities of 200,000 for charm you could take our town, Fremont, California as a baseline zero and then put Mobile at the other end of the scale. It is big enough to be interesting and small enough to be . . . well . . . charming.

The people are charming, the women are lovely, as is the older architecture. The modern architecture less so. Oh and they have picturesque staircases, as you will see. So here you go.

The Fort Condé neighborhood where we stayed is currently undergoing renovation. The buildings to the left are in process.

My advice? When you are down here, drop your preconceptions and let the South work it’s magic on you.
One of the restored buildings and what in the name of space travel, you my ask, is behind it?

The Fort Condé Inn, most highly recommended, especially for its breakfasts
I'm not sure what these tswo downtown towers are trying to say, but I wish they wouldn't

If I have one knock on Mobile it is that they have not managed their modern building very well. This replica of the original 18th century fort

The fort about to be attacked by a Transformer??
This is Mobile's government building. The picture does not do it justice. It is far uglier and more looming in person.

The Condé-Charlotte Museum operated by the Colonial Dames of Alabama
Docent Marie and Sharon ponder the folding table

The servants' staircase in the courtyard of the Condé-Charlotte.

Docent Ann, who used to manage the property, holds forth upstairs

Another staircase, because I liked it

See above.

Scenes from downtown

In truth, the historic downtown is struggling a bit and there are empty buildings. This storefront is used to showcase high school art installations. Is that cool or what?

So we followed this young couple for several blocks totally in awe of her gown. I asked and she posed. Junior-Senior High School Ball.
Dinner was at Felix’s Fish Camp where excess is an art.

One final observation as we move from the Mississippi Delta, New Orleans, the Gulf Coast into the heart of the South: in reading and discussing this trip with people, we have been advised to talk to people when you are in the South. We have done it and the results have been remarkable. Two examples from yesterday, alone. At lunch we chatted with our young server and she told us of her favorite Gulf spot, Seaside, Florida. When we return to the Gulf it will be on the list. At dinner we were chatting with our waiter. When we got up to leave, the folks at the table beside us said, “We heard that you are going to Birmingham next. Be sure to . . . . ” We will. For those of you who know Sharon, even she has dropped her customary shyness and become downright chatty with strangers.

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