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Sunday, October 23, 2016

An Afternoon at Bellingrath

Since I had great success at the Mobile Genealogical and Historical Society, I now had a free afternoon.  I asked the librarians for a lunch recommendation expecting to find some place nearby but their recommendation was to "take the causeway out by the battleship."  Since I know that area, I took their advice and headed out to Battleship Park, home of the battleship Alabama.  I blogged about it previously back in 2012.

I had a great gumbo with super service at Ralph & Kacoo's just off the causeway.  More on that later.

One of the world's great gardens lies just south of Mobile on the western side of the bay at Theodore, Alabama.  Walter Bellingrath owned the local CocaCola bottling franchise in the days before air-conditioning.  (I admit to using Photoshop to patch up a few bullet holes in the sign - we are talking rural Alabama here.)

He built a "fish camp" on the Bay and his wife, Bess, built a garden.  I wouldn't pass through Mobile without stopping to check up on it.

We have always visited it in the spring when the Azaleas are at their peak so here was a chance to see the plants that require more time to develop.

I was surprised to see the Great Lawn looking very short and brown.  I had arrived in the midst of the annual re-seeding.

But the butterflies that had passed through Bloomington in early September appear to have arrived here on their migration and were enjoying the flowers on the periphery.

Our Minnesota and Wisconsin loons will also be arriving here soon to spend their winter on the Gulf.

The house and the waterfront were attractive as usual.  I skipped the interior tour this time.
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Two of the signature spots to visit are Mirror Lake

and the Gazebo Garden.

When I left, I drove down to Dauphin Island to see how it was doing in recovery from the hurricanes of a few years back.  The new bridge out to the island gives a nice view of the white sand beaches in this area.
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I had enjoyed the lunch at Ralph and Kacoo's so much that I returned for dinner.  After another helping of the Gumbo, I had the shrimp and grits (with Etouffee sauce).  Both the food and the service were outstanding.  Highly recommended when you are in the area.
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