Monday, June 25

Postcards from Lower Alabama

Greetings from LA!
Ahem... that's Lower Alabama - southern Alabama, along the Gulf Coast - for those of you who aren't from around these parts.

Coastal Florida and Alabama are known for their snow-white sand beaches. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach do not disappoint.
Gulf Shores, AL
The locals have a sense of humor, and life here revolves around the Gulf of Mexico. So it's no surprise that the free newspaper "Mullet Wrapper" is named for how it gets used... What self-respecting angler would waste money on newspaper to wrap fresh-caught fish when this one is free?
The local free newspaper: Mullet Wrapper
Lower Alabama boasts Lambert's Cafe, home of the "throwed rolls." (No, that is not a typo.) Lambert's employees serve bread by throwing it to customers, and owners coined the "throwed rolls" tagline.

Be prepared for a raucous dinner, complete with birthday and anniversary announcements over the PA and servers who play practical jokes on customers, including faux pitchers of iced tea that get "dumped" on unsuspecting victims. (Not that I would know from experience...)
Lambert's employees getting ready to throw rolls at customers
Lambert's is also home of heart attacks served on plates. I ordered "hog jowls" - thinking it was the most adventuresome item on the menu. When served, my plate appeared to hold 2 pounds of bacon, surrounded by a sea of side dishes. A single plate could feed an entire basketball team (and give them all high cholesterol) or could satisfy one hungry runner after a marathon...
Heart attack on a plate
But don't let the cholesterol fool you.

Fresh produce is easy to find in Lower Alabama. Farm stands dot the roadsides. Summer brings fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, squash, watermelon, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. In the hour drive between Pensacola, FL and Foley, AL we passed at least half a dozen roadside stands (and stopped at one to stock up on corn and squash).
Farm stand on Highway 59 near Foley, AL
Lower Alabama also has its share of beachfront bars that double as live-music venues. The Hangout is one of the most famous. Hubby and I whiled away a few hours sipping cocktails and listening to live music at the outdoor stage. The Hangout's motto is "be nice or go home" and the relaxed beach attitude could soothe even the most stress-addled brain.
The Hangout
Other local favorites include Flora-Bama (the very first stop Hubby and I made when we moved to Florida) and LuLu's Homeport (which hosted the 2011 Gulf Shores Half after-party).

On the running front, I must admit that I did no running on this trip. That said, I have run the beautiful and scenic Gulf Shores Half Marathon around Shelby Lakes in Gulf State Park.

In addition to some fantastic races, Lower Alabama is also home to a couple of active running groups, including the Orange Beach Running Club and LA Fleet Feet. The Fleet Feet group meets (conveniently) at The Hangout every Tuesday night for a 3-6 mile run.

Where have your travels taken you recently?


  1. I've been to Richmond, Va and Charlotte, NC because of coaching a summer traveling lacrosse team. It's been fun but being home this past weekend was amazing. I believe they call LA 'the Redneck Riviera' because of that white sand don't they? Hahaha.

  2. I have heard of Lamberts, I think I saw it on the travel channel or something. Hog jowls does sound kind of wild to order. Looks like a great vacation!

  3. That sounds like a wonderful trip. And sometimes you do need to take a break from a routine (exercise or otherwise)- to appreciate it when you get back to it, I think! (that's my excuse. *ahem*) :)

  4. Gulf Shores is actually on my list of places to visit! Looks like it was a nice one. This summer, I may have trips to Chicago and Kodiak, AK coming up (work stuff). Hoping both trips come through!


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