We stayed at Shady Acres Campground, a peaceful, no-frills campground in a neighborhood a short drive from downtown Mobile. We appreciated that we were able to cobble together a decent run from our front door, through the cemetery on the main drag and down a couple residential streets–that’s often not the case in campground life.
To get ourselves oriented, we started with a self guided architecture tour of downtown, centered along Dauphin Street. Dusk was setting in and it was fun to see the city lighting up and preparing for Saturday night. Lots of people were already out on the main streets, and bars and restaurants had their doors and windows open to the activity.
The next afternoon, we wandered through the Oakleigh Garden Historic District, with its lovely homes in a variety of architectural styles. We walked past, but didn’t have time to tour the grand, old, carefully preserved Oakleigh Historic House, and ended up at Cream & Sugar Cafe for coffee and a treat to go.
Mobile is full of museums celebrating art, history, and culture; unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to visit any, and to us, these architectural or historical walks are a quick and easy way to get a feel for a city, its people, and its past.
During our downtown architecture walk we were able to scout out restaurants, and decided on Chuck’s Fish, despite a long wait. We ate delicious fish, mostly in raw format, at the bar, with the tall doors open to the warm evening, and drank local Fairhope Brewing beer, which I’ll say more about later.
On our way to have a post-dinner drink, we passed the bustling A&M Peanut Shop and as we are nuts for nuts, we took away bags of spiced pecans, salted cashews, and decadent turtle clusters. We snacked on them for days (except the turtles which didn’t survive long) and they were wonderful.
I read in a Mobile publication reference to king cake pops with no instructions on how to find them, so my mission before we left town was to locate a king cake pop. What luck: our final stop in Mobile was the cute Cream & Sugar Cafe in the Oakleigh neighborhood, and we brought two king cake balls (they were cinnamon king cake balls to be precise, but beggars can’t be choosers) back to the Airstream to obsess over. I could have eaten twenty, they were SO good.
On the Chuck’s Fish bartender’s recommendation, we had a nightcap at Haberdasher, and were not disappointed with our creative cocktails or the dark, intimate interior. The bartender also recommended Alchemy, but as we had to drive back to the campground, we called it quits after one drink.
Fieldtrip to Fairhope
On a family member’s recommendation, we spent a few hours on day 2 in Fairhope, an upscale town on the coast a half-hour drive from Mobile. The little crossroads of a downtown has boutiques and restaurants and we window shopped with Bugsy but weren’t compelled go in any of them. We were hoping to have a waterfront cocktail and snack after exploring downtown, but the only place we found on the water was a restaurant on Fairhope Municipal Pier, and the pier is not dog friendly. The adjacent park reaching up the hillside from the pier was a lovely spot to relax for a bit while googling where we could stop on the way back to Mobile and have a water view.
We had one more stop to make before leaving Fairhope: Fairhope Brewing Company. It has a dog-friendly patio and good beer, and as it was the only business we actually patronized in Fairhope, we can say it is our favorite establishment in town.
On the way home to Mobile, in a quest to kick back on the waterfront, we stopped for drink and fried stuff at Bluegill. It was open-air and festive, but not really waterfront, although you can walk over to a railing and look at some dark water which may contain alligators. We wouldn’t recommend making a special trip there, although I see on their website now that they have fish taco Fridays, so there’s that!