When we were trying to figure out how to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we knew we wanted to make it an adventure! However, due to the travel restrictions at the time (no thank you, COVID), we had to stay “close” to home. But it didn’t stop us from improvising! Alex told me the morning of our anniversary to wear something cute and let’s go somewhere we’ve never been! I was up for ANYTHING because anywhere outside of the house sounded like an adventure… Am I right? Alex secretly planned a visit to Magnolia Springs and Fairhope, Alabama, and take us back to our Charleston, SC mini-moon. So thoughtful because the trees instantly transformed me back to June 2019 just hours after getting married.
I didn’t know that Magnolia Springs and Fairhope, Alabama were featured in Southern Living for their beautiful southern charm! After visiting, I TOTALLY understand why! When I think about Alabama, I immediately think of rural farmland, but really, there is so much to explore! Especially along the Gulf Coast! Because this was an impromptu trip, we only got a little taste of what this area is all about, and we cannot wait to go back!
What to do in Magnolia Springs
What do you need to know about Magnolia Springs, Alabama? Well, it’s pretty small! Haha! But I found it so fascinating that mail is delivered by BOAT to the homes that live along the river. Pretty unique! The town is worth driving through because of the charming homes, the pretty trees (magnolias and mossy oaks), and the river.
There are a few things to do around town, especially if you love nature and southern charm! First, we drove along Oak Street to see the infamous street with the southern trees and homes. We also detoured several different times around the side streets to check out other little hidden gems too. 🙂
After we drove around, we parked behind Jesse’s Restaurant and wandered down to the river and also did a short nature walk that takes you to an old spring (across the main road from the restaurant).
We still had time to waste before our 3 p.m. reservation, so we drove to the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog and Kurt G. Wintermeyer Nature Trail. It’s dog friendly (sorry, Ollie for leaving you at home!) with plenty of activity steps before a yummy meal at Jesse’s! The main trail took us through a field of pitcher flowers and out to the river where we got to see thousands of little fish swim under the dock. Check it out below!!
Before you visit, don’t forget to make a reservation at Jesse’s Restaurant because it’s a top choice in the area!!! Despite the limited menu (thanks, COVID for taking steak off the menu!), we had a DELICIOUS meal (alfredo linguini + risotto for a late lunch and turtle cake as an anniversary treat!)! They are known for their steaks so be sure to come with an appetite for juicy steak since we weren’t able to!
What to do in Fairhope
Fun fact we learned from the Fairhope locals for those who are familiar with 30A — Fairhope inspired the town architecture of one of the 30A towns! No wonder I loved this little coastal town so much. 😉 Haha!
Oh, man … Now that we had a small glimpse of Fairhope, we want to go back and stay here!!! There was so much to see, and we didn’t leave enough time for this city … Or come early enough to enjoy some of the best little shops in the area, like Panini Petes (famously known for their New Orleans beignets)!
Some of our favorite things we did while we visited were wandering down the streets around the French Quarter, hanging out at the Page & Pallet bookstore while drinking beer (Alex), chatting with locals, enjoying an afternoon drink at Mr. Gene’s Beans Coffee & Sweets (we were too full for their famous “Fairhope Float” <= SO MAKE ROOM FOR THIS or their ice cream when you visit!), getting lost driving around the side streets/coastline, and walking down the Fairhope pier towards sunset! The downtown area is absolutely the place to be and apparently, the restaurants are amazing! If you decide you need more time in this awesome coastal town stay at Grand Hotel Resort & Spa, Key West Inn, or Holiday Inn Express Fairhope!
And just before getting home… We stopped by a random river to document the sunset!
These two adorable towns showcased some beautiful southern charm and reminded us of Jekyll Island, Georgia! Come visit and see for yourself!
I really wanted to recommend “Where the Crawdads Sing” just because of the way Kya’s dad says “Alabamee” in the book. HAHA! But I recommend this southern book, Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton, for your adventure!!