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Magnolia Springs brings history to lifecomment (0)

March 8, 2012

By Judy Bates

The tiny community of Magnolia Springs snuggles its oak-lined streets against the banks of the gentle Magnolia River.  Roughly 15 miles from either Fairhope or Gulf Shores, this spot has to be one of the best-kept secrets in Alabama.  

That is why Winston Groom could pen “Forrest Gump” unhindered here; and Fannie Flagg could work on “Fried Green Tomatoes.” And it’s also why legendary University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant enjoyed slipping off to Magnolia Springs for some fishing and relaxation.

One bed and breakfast graces the town, Magnolia Springs B&B (www.MagnoliaSprings.com), a striking century-old mansion that’s been featured in Southern Living as well as on Bob Vila’s “Restore America” program. For information, call 1-800-965-7321.

A stroll down the quiet virtually traffic-free streets allows for glimpses of pier-mounted mailboxes dotting the waterfront, and if your timing is right, you’ll see the mail boat making its deliveries along the river. 

No need for directions to Jesse’s Restaurant (www.JessesRestaurant.com) — the town’s too small to get lost in. Specialties include mouthwatering crab cakes with a spectacular remoulade sauce and lots more seafood dishes.

A great scenic drive is County Road 49 toward Bon Secour, where you can visit Fishermen Baptist Church (www.FOMM.org), with its international ministry and outreach to fishermen.

  • Hot air ballooning — Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Co. offers 3-hour flights, www.GulfViewBallooning.com; 251-970-3598. The 8th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival (www.GulfCoastBalloonFestival.com) is June 15–17.
  • The Bird of Paradise (www.866MustFly.com), a 1928 biplane, whisks passengers upward in an exhilarating open cockpit flight, 1-866-MUST-FLY.
  • Dolphin watching — take a cruise on the Southern Rose; narrative trips and dinner cruises by reservation,  www.SouthernRoseDolphinTrips.com; 251-981-7673.
  • Magnolia Springs Golf (www.MagnoliaSpringsGolf.com) on CR-49 offers nine 3-par holes and a pocket-pleasing play-all-day rate plus, children 9 and under play for free with an adult. Shoppers will appreciate the bargains at Foley’s massive outlet center on Highway 59.

Save on accommodations by renting directly from owners at Vacation Rentals By Owner, www.VRBO.com and on www.CyberRentals.com.

Request more information about the area from the Alabama Gulf Coast CVB, 1-800-745-SAND, www.GulfShores.com; and Foley CVB, www.FoleyCVB.com; 1-877-25-FOLEY. 

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