The Break Down:
Fly Into | Pensacola International Airport
Stay | Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Play | Downtown Fairhope
Eat | Grand Steakhouse; Shux on the Pier
Drink | Bucky’s Birdcage Lounge; Sunset Pointe
Sun | Orange Beach
I’m definitely a woman who enjoys being outdoors; hiking, camping, rock climbing, zip lining – I’m a natural bucolic thrill seeker. But my duality is that I love laying on a soft, 420-count Egyptian Cotton sheet set, a crisp, smooth glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and sunset sail through the ocean. And guess what? Fairhope, Alabama – with it’s secret southern charm, perfectly fulfills and exceeds my dual wanderlust.
I was told to keep it a secret, I can understand why it’s residents would want to keep it’s southern waterfront-goodness to themselves. I mean imagine a luxe beach/fishing town, with gorgeous pre-war stately homes, antique and boutique shops galore, huge, Southern Live Oaks that seemingly touch the skyline, all against the backdrop of an ocean basin who’s water rivals Miami’s. Okay, I think I’ve painted enough of a picture.
My boyfriend (from herein, “B”) and I headed down to Fairhope, AL for a fishing trip – one of his favorite pastimes, for the weekend. Of course I was excited to immerse myself in something he loves so much, but my Katniss, apocalyptic-nature-woman interest was peaked just as much at the prospect of catching, and then eating our food! Omg.
We flew into the Pensacola International Airport. His long time friend picked us up from the airport and we set off to Fairhope. Along the way we stopped off at a dope restaurant called The Fish House – where I had great “Fish House Punch,” and shrimp and grits. We proceeded to our hotel, the historical and bucolic Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa. This hotel deserves a post of it’s own — but I won’t. The quick is that it was built in 1847 and after many iterations of itself became the grand, luxury, 405-suite, bay front resort that it is today. We settled in, grabbed drinks, and got ready for the next day of fishing to come.
B’s friend set us up with an amazing two-day adventure, the first – fishing inshore with an awesome angler named Captain Skylar Beagle. We left at about 5:00am, set out from the pier at our hotel, and went about 8 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. We caught tons and tons (and by we, I mean, my man, who just happens to be an amazingly dope, and skilled fishermen) Spotted Sea Trout (I caught at least four of these particular joints), Tripletail, Atlantic Spanish Mackerel, and a huge Redfish (which we threw back because I was advised that it would be a big bloody mess inside, when it weighs in at over 30 pounds).
After coming to Skylar’s rustic and beautiful crafted dock in Week’s Bay so that he could fillet and wash the best cuts of the fish for us, we headed back to the hotel. Dinner at the Grand Steakhouse with B’s friends consisted of a delicious fried Red Snapper, dirty rice and beans. Yum! The next day we fished offshore with Captain Joey, caught a huge Red Snapper and grouper, and then stopped at Tacky Jack’s for the BEST spiked milkshake I’ve ever had, they called it, “Tacky Jack’s Famous Bushwacker.”
That night, we feasted on the fish we’d caught the day before, brussel sprouts, cheese grits (which I’ll definitely post a recipe for soon,) carrot cake, and more. Needless to say, the southern hospitality and warmth at the dinner table made my heart smile – and I mean that in the sappiest way possible.
Fairhope, with it’s charming people, fishing prowess, warm countenance, turquoise waters, unique boutiques, and unbelievably good food is definitely one of the South’s best kept secrets. It’s a must visit — just don’t tell the folks there, I told ya’ so.