Since moving to the central Alabama area seven years ago I have learned at least one important thing about the folks who live here. They go to the beach. They not only go to the beach, they know Gulf Shores and Orange Beach like the back of their hands. I’ve never mentioned a trip to the beach without receiving recommendations for places to stay, to eat and fun things to do.
If everyone in the area doesn’t own a condo at the beach, they have a relative or at least a friend who does. While this has so far failed to get a free stay on the beach, I have gotten lots of good suggestions for enjoying my visits to the coast.
One trip a year just isn’t enough for most central Alabamians. Two seems to be the minimum and why not? It is a short drive and the roads are good. The gas prices are; well it is a short trip. While you could do a long weekend, most seem to spend at least a week soaking up the sun and walking on the white sandy beaches.
When you reach a certain age, and I won’t suggest what that age may be since it is different for everyone, the late night and more boisterous entertainment lose a certain charm. Drinking beer after midnight at the Flora Bama comes with greater consequences and a much longer recovery time. So I am left with visiting museums, eating at different restaurants, and walking along the beach. There is also shopping, which is entertainment for me and generally a drag for my husband. Some also spend a great deal of time collecting seashells.
You see these people walking on the beach looking toward their feet and quickly understand they are searching for a rare Sand Dollar or some equally sought after shell. You might wonder just why the fascination with seashells? Certainly they can be beautiful, but just what do you do with them once you return home.
After many years of collecting seashells along the Gulf of Mexico’s beautiful beaches from Sanibel to Orange Beach, what to do with the shells remained a question in my mind. Sure you can put some in a vase on top of the sand that didn’t spill in your car. Relatives and friends fail to appreciate shells as birthday gifts, especially after the first one. You can display one or two on your buffet or an end table, but that could leave enough shells to pave your driveway.
Why did you collect shells would be a reasonable question and the answer is equally simple: just for the love of seashells. Over the years I have learned how to identify hundred of seashells. But it had come to pass that I had a virtual plethora of shells in my home.
Alabamians, along with other coast visitors, often buy a variety of items decorated with seashells. Many of them made in China. Why not bring some of the coast home? Why not make beautiful handcrafted shell items right here in central Alabama? And that is what I do.
So friends, if you see me on the beach carrying a recyclable bag and looking at my feet, you’ll know that I’m collecting seashells for future projects.