Going our separate ways…

…but only for a day 🙂 No, it’s not what you might think.  We just decided to kill two birds with one stone by pursuing our different interests one beautiful day.  To add some variety to our island living, we checked out things that we missed last time we were here. The choices were flowers and gardens or a warship – guess which of us did which activity?  Steve dropped me off at the Bellingrath Home and Gardens so I could spend my day with the flowers, then he headed up to Mobile to check out the USS Alabama warship and USS Drum submarine.

The USS Alabama on display in Mobile, AL

The USS Alabama on display in Mobile, AL

Steve wrote about his experience:

We have visited several warships during our travels, but I still enjoy them and am always fascinated by the complexity of these vessels that were built over 70 years ago. Considering the technology available at that time, it’s pretty amazing how they were able to navigate, communicate and accurately fire their huge guns while underway on the pitching ocean waves.  The USS Alabama was loaded with weaponry of all sizes and pointing in all directions, to handle anything that could be thrown at it.

USS Alabama

This ship is loaded with weaponry – large and small – from one end to the other

16-inch gun turrets

Inside one of the 16-inch gun turrets

The submarine USS Drum is also on display in Mobile, right next to the Alabama. Whenever I tour one of these old submarines, I’m amazed that dozens of men could live in such a small and claustrophobic place for weeks on end.  Submarine duty was obviously very difficult back in those days.

USS Drum

The USS Drum on display in Mobile, AL

Engine room of the USS Drum

Engine room of the USS Drum

Torpedo room of the USS Drum

Torpedo room of the USS Drum

Now it’s my turn to tell about my own excursion…

In the early 1900’s, an overworked rich person was advised by his doctor to “learn how to play”, so he bought an abandoned fishing camp on the Fowl River.  Walter and Bessie Bellingrath converted the camp into a country estate.  Over the years, Mrs. Bellingrath beautified the property with flowers, and hired a local architect to help her transform it into a formal rose garden and conservatory.  In April 1932, the Bellingraths placed an ad in the Mobile newspapers inviting locals to see the spring flowers.  Thousands of people took them up on their invitation, and the Bellingrath Gardens was born.

Bellingrath Gardens

Bellingrath Gardens

I just wanted to enjoy the flowers and all the beauty of nature on a sunny day, so I decided to forego the home tour and instead spent lots of time wandering through the gardens.  They were expansive, and it took me about two hours to smell the flowers and enjoy all of the beautiful colors.  The price for this tour was $12.50 per person.

Bellingrath Gardens

The roses were not in bloom yet, and in a matter of days the Azaleas would be an additional explosion of color.  A variety of other flowers, like the Tulips (my personal favorite) and Hydrangeas were already in bloom, and the 65-acre garden was in full spring blossom.

wpid23934-2014-03-27-AL-1230852.jpg

Azalea

Bellingrath Gardens

Tulips

At the end of the day over wine and a dinner of steamed Blue Crab claws, we shared our experiences and photos.

Blue Crab Claws

Tasty steamed Blue Crab claws

We both agreed it was a wonderful day to be apart for a while, and a great way to spend some “alone time”.

 

Next up:  Enjoying the Sunset Capital of Alabama