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.



Bellingrath Gardens


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”.



  1. Good job, Steve! Great photos of the ship. I think I would have definitely chosen this option too. 🙂 Mona, your pics are really lovely too, my favourite being the pink hydrangeas. I’ve never eaten crab claws. Is there much meat in them? 😕

  2. We took a tour of the USS Alabama and loved it. Our tour guide was awesome! It was a slow day, so he took Paul below where they fire the big missiles. Paul said it was great.

    We haven’t visited the Garden yet. It is on my list….Paul not so much. It looks fantastic. Can’t wait to go. Thanks for the stunning photos.

  3. Hmmm….flowers and gardens or warship….I’m going with YOU, MonaLiza! But Steve’s day also sounded interesting. I’ll bet I know where you got those crab claws!

  4. This was a great idea…a blog for John and for me!! John would have really enjoyed the ship and sub, while I know I would have loved the gardens. The flowers are beautiful. Too bad the azaleas weren’t out yet. They are out here in GA and many homes are surrounded by them. Sounds like you both had a great day. At least you could share your day for a change.

  5. Those gardens are lovely and would have been my choice as well. Terry would have opted for the warships. I guess it might be a guy thing. 🙂

    The azalea are in bloom everywhere in GA and SC. Tulips happen to be one of my favorites as well. They always remind me of my mother.

    • Our excursions were really a guy and girl thing and I don’t want to see another warship. With tulips as my all time fave flower, seeing it in its splendor in Holland is in my bucket list.

      • I am right there with you. My mother always had a huge tulip garden, and growing up in the midwest sometimes peeked out while there was still snow on the ground. This was a sure sign of spring to us kids. 🙂

  6. A nice way of killing two birds with one stone … so to speak. Spring colors … a favorite time of the year for me.

  7. Beautiful gardens! Sounds like a great thing to do once in awhile, going your own way and enjoying what each likes! Glad to see it was only for a day!

  8. I always love the tulips, I remember spring when we lived in Atlanta when all the “mansions” had huge tulip gardens. Interesting contrast to the ship and submarine. Good call on your part.

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