"Sam & Mira" with Bubbie at Bellingrath Gardens
Jag let me sleep in. He set the clock pretty late: 6.30 a.m.!!! Breakfast was at 9, so there was plenty of time for a leisurely shower. The bathtub is an old-fashioned claw-foot type. They are pretty, but very deep. When you have short legs, it is darned hard to get in and out of them. My legs are so short I have to shorten the clothes I buy at the short shop! Not fair, folks! Before we took off on our day of exploration, I spent a few minutes by the wonderful swimming pool at the inn. It was very inviting. I hoped we would have the time for a short swim in the evening. We didn't.
We decided to spend several hours at beautiful Bellingrath Gardens.
It reminds me a bit of The Huntington in San Marino, California, one of the most beautiful properties of the gilded age in this country. The family made its considerable fortune by becoming the distributor for Coca Cola in the state of Alabama. Oddly enough, the gardens were built before the house - the exact opposite of all other magnificent mansions. We did not tour the house itself. Let’s face it: after Biltmore in Asheville, NC, what is there to compare?
Mermaid Fountain at Bellingrath Gardens
The gardens consist of several different themed areas, including a rose garden, a conservatory (which is very hot inside), a butterfly garden, an Oriental garden, pretty fountains and natural artesian springs, a small lake and a very few pieces of statuary. All has been arranged over many acres. I especially enjoyed the butterfly garden.
The flowers were many shades of purple and yellow and there were plenty of the beautiful insects flitting around. Also on the same plants were big bumblebees. They were all very busy gathering pollen. Walking around the gardens, the humidity really got to me. Water and salty pretzels came to my rescue once again. I am enjoying my visit to The South, but I am also counting the days until I get back to the dry air of the Far West.
Butterfly tastes honeysuckle flower at Bellingrath Gardens
We next drove to Dauphin Island, hoping to catch a ferry to enable us to make a circle tour around huge Mobile Bay. From the mainland, one crosses an incredible bridge. Jag called it the Roller Coaster Bridge because of its steep rise to permit ships to pass under. We tried to take photos, but I am not sure they will look good.
Unfortunately, because we were unaware of the schedule, we missed the 3.30 pm ferry. The next one would not sail until 5 pm - much too late and too long to wait as well. Instead, we went over to see the Battleship Alabama, pride and joy of the city of Mobile. We did not tour the ship itself - they wanted $12 per person to do so. As it was getting late, we would not have gotten our money’s worth. Rather we took a look at a humongous B-52 bomber parked out front. There are a few other war planes there as well, plus tanks and other artillery. They even have a very large submarine, the USS Drum, up on blocks (it has far too many holes in it to place in the water -- glug, glug, glug …). That B-52 is so huge it has retractable wheels on its wings as well as on the fuselage. We next visited the monuments honoring Korean War soldiers from the area killed in action, plus the countries who fought alongside the Americans.
Jag rides the lion
There is also a double monument for Viet Nam losses and for the people killed while serving on the USS Alabama. The memorials were very tastefully done. I am glad we were able to pay our respects.
View from highest point on the Roller Coaster Bridge to Dauphin Island
We went for dinner to another place recommended by our inn host: Wintzell’s Oyster House in downtown Mobile. We ordered flounder with Bernaise sauce. Delicious. It is a very lively place with colorful sayings all over the walls. Our waitress was very nice. She suggested ordering the flounder when we could not make up our minds from the big menu.
We returned to our B&B early. We will go to the Carnival Museum tomorrow morning, then leave for New Orleans. This visit to Mobile should have been longer. But who knew it would be so interesting? It certainly wasn’t me …