As I mentioned yesterday, I came down to the Gulf Shores for a speech and I have decided to stay a couple days to explore this unique area. I am staying at The Lodge at Gulf Shores Park a unique property that I will be discussing later on the travel blog. I wanted to start with some pictures taken at dawn during a long walk down the beach running along the Gulf Shores Park. We had a heavy storm come through last night and the birds were out getting their breakfast. This is also a major sea turtle nesting area so you are given stickers to go over your phone lights (Baby sea turtles can confuse cellphone lights of the moon and head in the wrong direction). The beauty and sense of natural power of this place is overwhelming particularly on an abandoned beach at dawn.
To get to Gulf Shores, we flew in Pensacola (one of my sons, Jack, is with me on this trip). It is about 45 minutes to the Gulf Shore.
Notably, you pass over the Perdido Pass Bridge. It was built in 1962 and the State of Florida did not want to pay for the bridge along the state border. So it ceded to the State of Alabama two miles of beach front land in return for the construction of the bridge. Bad deal for Florida in hindsight.
However, Florida almost lost all of the pandhandle. In 1869, Alabama governor, David Lewis, offered to buy the whole panhandle for $1 million from where the bridge is located to the Apalachicola River. Florida came close to selling because it saw no real value in beach areas. Panhandle residents even voted and by a 2-1 margin favored going to Alabama. An 1870 Florida map even shows the legend: “Territory west of the Apalachicola proposed to be ceded to Alabama.”
However, the final vote stalled in the Florida legislature. It was passed in the House but the Senate balked and the measure died.
There are wonderful parks in this area as well as some of the most interesting bars and restaurants that you could ask for. Then there are the beaches of soft sand and warm Gulf waters. We have already seen sea turtles and sharks (a fitting experience on “Shark Week”). Outside of the Lodge near shore is a sand bar and a pier that are favorite feeding areas of sharks. It is a dream for anyone who loves eco-tourism.
Here a some pictures from dawn on the Panhandle.