A Not-Too-Far Getaway That Won't Bust Your Gas Budget (or...What I did on my summer vacation)

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Crescent City Living LLC Licensed LA RE Commission

I love selling West Bank real estate...I really do.

But my favorite thing in the entire world is the beach.  I loooooove the beach.  I love to spend the day lying on a towel on the sand with a good trashy murder mystery paperback and an ice chest full of Diet Coke, listening to the waves roll in.  I've been lucky enough to lay on beaches in Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and the Dominican Republic. 

Sadly, an out of the country excursion just wasn't meant to be this year.  Instead, we packed the car with kids, Grandma, towels, sunscreen and trashy murder mystery paperbacks and in less than a full tank of gas made the quick and easy 3 1/2 hour drive to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a week of rest and relaxation. 

 

                  

 

It's hard to unplug from the work world and at first I was not happy that the $100 wireless card for my laptop would not work at the end of the peninsula we were on.  But, after the initial withdrawal symptoms from not being able to access blog posts, feed readers and email passed, I was able to sit back and just enjoy the natural beauty of this part of the United States. 

 

We've stayed in condos in Gulf Shores before (hasn't everyone from New Orleans?) but this  year we had an entire beach house to call our own for 8 full days.   Even the beach itself was mostly private which was great because we set up chairs, towels and umbrellas at the beginning of our stay and didn't have to worry about lugging everything back and forth each evening.  The house was completely furnished, right down to a BBQ pit to cook burgers and hot dogs on and the local grocery store had a great selection of fresh watermelons that we iced down and shared with the kids in the house next door.  Most of the week was spent doing a whole lot of nothing.  Reading...sunbathing...scouring the shore for shells...taking flashlights to the water's edge in the evening to find crabs...trying to identify all of the stars in the night sky...playing rummy until the wee hours of the morning and sleeping in the next day.

 

\

 

We did manage to squeeze in a little history lesson as well.   Only 4 miles down the road from the beach house was Fort Morgan, a Civil War fort that was at the center of the Battle of Mobile Bay and was used off and on through World War II.  Some restoration work is ongoing to the site, but it is open for tours daily for the low admission price of only $5 per adult.  We walked through the fort and around the grounds, with a great view of both Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  The tunnels in the fort are covered in salt deposits from the gulf water, resulting in a strange looking white substance that appears to be leeching from the brick arches.

 

 

 

Of course, to keep the little ones happy we had to spend a day at Waterville USA, a Gulf Shores  water and amusement park with both a water play area for smaller children and several different water slides for the bigger kids.  Where were these great water parks when I was a kid?  Grandma got her observer wrist band since she wouldn't go on any of the slides and we staked a claim on a group of lounge chairs in the shade.  It was the perfect place to sit back and relax with frozen lemonade and watch all of the kids enjoying the day.  If you go, plan to spend the day.  Tickets are $29.95 per person plus tax, so you'll want to get your money's worth!

 

 

Our timing for the trip was perfect, since the storm clouds were rolling in on the morning we were leaving.   Driving home with a car full of luggage and all of the shopping bags from the outlet mall was probably not my husband's idea of the perfect Father's Day, but we'll make it up to him with that new bimini top for his fishing boat that he has had his eye on all year. 

While I was a little hesitant about doing an extended family and friends vacation, it turned out perfectly.  So perfectly that we are already talking about "next time".  To me, that's the mark of a truly successful vacation.  I hope your family has a chance to get away this summer too!

 

 

  


When buying or selling a home on the West Bank of New Orleans or relocating to the New Orleans West Bank, you deserve local expertise and advice. Lisa Heindel provides full time, professional real estate services to buyers, sellers and military transferees in Algiers, Algiers Point, Belle Chasse, Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, Marrero, Westwego and more.

 

 West Bank Living

Here's the disclaimer part:  The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author, but you are free to share yours in the comments.  All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Copyright 2008.  Lisa Heindel, All rights reserved.

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Rainer
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Judi Morgan
RETIRED - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX Real Estate

Lisa, take your time, we're here waiting patiently!   :)  

Jun 17, 2008 02:11 PM #11
Rainmaker
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Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Lisa,

My favorite vacations are relaxing on the beach too.  We used to vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This year, I think it will be a lake vacation in Door County Wisconsin.

Sounds like you had a nice relaxing time.  Sometimes it is good to unplug.

Jun 17, 2008 02:23 PM #12
Rainmaker
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Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Lisa I am a big fan of the beach myself! The pictures look great...I bet you had an awesome time. It sure is nice to take a break from Real Estate from time to time :)

Jun 18, 2008 12:41 AM #13
Rainmaker
413,093
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Judi, thanks :)

Rebecca, I've never been to the Outer Banks, but I hear it's beautiful...be sure to take pictures to share if you get to the lake this year since I've never been to WI either!

Bill, it wasn't a completely voluntary break, but once I started to relax, I hated to come back to work.  Isn't that always the case??

Jun 18, 2008 01:30 PM #14
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Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Lisa - I am enjoying my memories of your pictures!  When I visited my kids and grandkids in Ocean Springs, MS last December, we did a day trip there.  Ist stop was Morgan Fort where my camera batteries went dead after one picture of the cannons.  So thank you!

I am sending this post to my daughter, we didn't make it to the water park, it was December, so maybe they will go again.

Thanks!

Jun 18, 2008 05:42 PM #15
Rainmaker
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Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Lisa, Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation.  Glad you were able to get away and enjoy.  Thanks for sharing with us.

 

Jun 19, 2008 10:11 AM #16
Rainmaker
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Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Virginia, did you enjoy Fort Morgan?  The kids complained about going, but then had a great time exploring while we were there.  And then, there is always the museum gift shop :)

Gary, it truly was wonderful.  That peaceful sound of the waves on the sand...it makes me want to stay forever!  Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

Jun 19, 2008 02:47 PM #17
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Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
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Lisa - Fort Morgan is so creepy - ghosts everywhere! :)  Yes, I love it, been there several times.  My husband always tells the kids that he was raised poor, they had no furniture and had to eat dirt, etc.  So while we were down there in the prison, my daughter (who was about 6) said, 'is this what your house was like, Daddy?'

Who told you that I spent a small fortune in the gift shop for stocking stuffers for my kids and grandkids?

Jun 19, 2008 03:56 PM #18
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C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Hello Lisa -- what a lovely set of photographs to compliment such an interesting post! Sounds like an excellent place to vacation in. My hubby and the kids absolutely adore the beach, while I, on the other hand, am a snow bunny. :) Go figure... Enjoyed your post (and all the comments as well).  Have a lovely evening. Regards, C.

Jun 20, 2008 09:50 AM #19
Rainmaker
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Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Virginia, LOL!!!

Carolyn, thanks for stopping by...I love to take pictures and sometimes just write posts to use them :)

Jun 20, 2008 11:46 AM #20
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Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

Yeah, I have often wondered where were all of the water parks when I was growing up as well? SO unfair. But I love the pics of your  vacation. It looks fabulous. I love reading and the beach as well, my hubby gets antsy to soon and always want to leave before me.

Have a great weekend.

Jun 20, 2008 12:16 PM #21
Rainmaker
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Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Terrie, my hubby HATES the sand.  It's amazing - he can hang out in a pool all day (provided there is a swim up bar, of course) but won't set foot on the beach and complains about sand the whole time we are there!  The good part of that is that he doesn't mind taking me shopping so he can get away from it :)

Jun 20, 2008 12:58 PM #22
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Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
Retired

I wondered why your face wasn't popping up on my blog roll lately.  As odd as it sounds for someone living in Alaska, Kathy and I love nothing better than being at the beach or (personally) on the ocean.  My folks used to have a house in Gulfport waaay back when dirt was new.  Man I miss those days. Good to see you back!

PS.  You took some excellent pictures!

Jun 20, 2008 09:25 PM #23
Rainer
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Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

LISA - Sounds like a really fun trip.  We're planning on doing something similar with the extended family this summer for the first time ever.

Jun 20, 2008 10:36 PM #24
Rainmaker
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Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

Lisa, Everyone needs a vacation from email and the computer.  Hope you enjoyed yours.  the vacation sounded very fun!

Jun 20, 2008 11:45 PM #25
Rainmaker
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Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Jesse, thanks for the welcome home :)  The beach is absolutely my favorite place to be...every time we go I'm sooooo tempted to buy a house and just stay, but the hubby tends to put the kabosh on it :(

Adam, I wasn't sure how we would all fare for so many days together, but it was wonderful and there weren't any squabbles at all!

Judy, we had a great time.  Back to work now, though!

Jun 21, 2008 06:03 AM #26
Rainmaker
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Jeremy Blanton
Myrtle Beach Homes Blog - Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com

Yes, I am vacationing, but I am also blogging.  Wife is busy showing off the baby and going to ladies tea parties...so that means lots of free time for me...which means lots of sleep, and lots of blogging!

Jun 25, 2008 02:07 AM #27
Rainmaker
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Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Jeremy, I think you are officially an AR Addict :)

Jun 25, 2008 03:20 AM #28
Rainmaker
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Pam Jank
Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro

Lisa, Wow! great vacation and photos.  And re the laptop... your are supposed to gothere to get AWAY from work and or technology!

Pam

Jul 18, 2008 08:06 AM #29
Rainmaker
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Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Pam, what can I say...I'm a blogging addict :)

Jul 18, 2008 03:51 PM #30
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