Sweet Home Alabama…In a Good Way!

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Just as I suspected…Mobile Alabama is full of upbeat people who have a great city to show off. I knew it and laughed when I was met with derision in the cafe when I told people my next destination. They’d start singing “Sweet Home Alabama,” and mocking my choice of a trip.

But hey…today we toured a gorgeous old plantation called Bellingrath Gardens, where a rich local who owned the first Coke bottling plant decided to build a beautiful old house that he had his wife stock with priceless antiques. The grounds are stunning, even in this early time of year.

Then we got a chance to see the city’s downtown arts center. Dauphin Street is lined with wrought iron balconies and wonderful beaux arts buildings. There is a cathedral that looks out on a grassy square, and the city’s neighborhoods are full of ‘pocket parks,’ one dedicated to the English, another to the Spanish. Oakley, Church Street East, they are both full of streets with huge sagging limbs of live oaks, spanish moss flowing off of them with stately clapboard mini-mansions and Creole Cottages. I love the shady lanes and the way the houses are so close to each other. The architecture has definitely been a highlight here.
People are pumped up because the unemployment rate is still at 5.5% and there are huge developments like a contract to build navy ships, a potential contract to build airforce tanker planes and a definite commitment to a new steel plant that will employ 2600. It’s all good news here in this sleepy state we don’t think about much up north.

Sweet Home Alabama indeed!