Monday, June 24, 2013

Fun at the Beach

To me, there is nothing better than spending a relaxing vacation at the beach.  That's what I got to do last week.  I spent five days at the beach with my hubby's family.  If you are thinking about taking a vacation to the beach, I thought I'd share with you all of the highs and lows of the week.  Plus, I thought I'd share a few pictures of the places that we visited, where we ate, etc.  I know I am a planner, so maybe this post will be useful to you.  By the way, most of the headers have the links to the restaurants and places.  If you click on the header, it will take you to the website for that place, so you can check it out yourself.

Before we even left, we ran to Walmart and grabbed a few things and put together buckets for my twin nieces.  We filled them up with a lot of little things that they could use at the pool, the beach, or in the car.  I started them probably two months before we even left.  Oh, and if you compare things like I do,  Walmart towels are cuter than Target this year.  Crazy, but true fact.  Here are the towels we grabbed.  I bet you can't guess which ones are mine!

Alright, so my hubby and I left on Tuesday morning.  We had to drive to my parents to drop off our little Bella first.  She was a little anxious, but she did great.  Here's a picture of Bella with my niece (a.k.a. her new best friend).

Once we dropped her off, I worked on blogging while we were driving.  I found a cool little gadget at Best Buy that allowed me to plug my laptop into the cigarette lighter so my laptop worked the entire way to to the beach.  It also helps that I had wifi on my phone.  I swear, my car was a mini office.

We got to Ft. Morgan, Alabama around 4:00.  If you are unfamiliar with Ft. Morgan (I was) it is around  15 miles from Gulf Shores, Alabama.  The one thing our entire family has agreed on is we want to stay on the beach next year and either in Gulf Shores or Panama City.  Ft. Morgan was nice, but we weren't right on the beach, so we had to drive to go to the beach.  That made it more difficult to run in and out of the place, especially with toddlers.  We also had to drive more to get places which wasn't too big of a deal, but it meant most nights we were leaving around 3:45 or 4:00 for dinner.

Now, here is a list of the places we ate.  We all had different opinions on what we liked the most, so I will tell you what tasted great and what we could have skipped food-wise.  Oh, and here are pictures of some of the t-shirts I collected during our trip.  I am a t-shirt kind of girl in the summer, so I loved getting a few new ones to add to my collection.

Restaurant #1 - Gulf Island Grill
My hubby and I ate there the first night.  He got a chicken sandwich and I got a pound and a half of crab legs.  My meal was incredible.  It came with a piece of corn, a potato, and the crab legs.  I didn't leave anything on my plate.  He didn't care for his chicken sandwich.  So, if you are going for seafood, this is a great place.  It was kind of nice because we got there around 6:00 and it wasn't crowded yet.  By the time we left, it was packed.


Restaurant #2 - Lamberts (Home of the Throwed Roll)

I ate at Lamberts when I was in high school and loved it.  Everyone had been wanting to go, so we went Wednesday night.  It was good, but know you don't go here for seafood.  This is a restaurant you visit for the experience.  Most of the food is also fried, so be prepared for that.  The best part is they literally throw rolls.  You raise your hand and they chunk a hot roll across the room to you.  Then, they have paper towels on the tables.  They come around with pots of different sides like fried okra and give you a scoop on the paper towel.  As my meal, I got fried pork chops and my hubby got country fried steak.  Both of us loved our meals, but only ate maybe 1/3 of it.  By the time we had eaten rolls, okra, etc. we didn't have much room for our actual dinner.  Oh, and be on the look out for tricks :)  Our waiter pulled two on us and they were hilarious.  One involved a fake tea pitcher.  Make sure to take cash or have a check ready.  They DO NOT take credit cards (there is a machine up front if you need cash).

Restaurant #3 - Tacky Jacks II
We ate lunch here on Thursday.  The waitress was great and we all agreed that the sweet tea here was the best.  Some of the things we ate were fried crab claws, fried gator bites, fried oysters, fried fish... are you seeing a trend?  Everything I tried here was wonderful, but I have discovered I don't like fried foods in the summer when it's hot.  My favorite thing I tried here was the fried gator bites.  They were great and tasted a lot like fried chicken.

Restaurant #4 - Lulu's at Homeport Marina
This restaurant is really neat, especially if you have kids.  They have all sorts of neat things to do (a ropes course, sand piles, volleyball court).  Plus, it is owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister Lucy Buffett.  My hubby and I tried to go Tuesday night and it was packed.  What we did is went ahead and bought a shirt and went back for lunch on Friday.  Lulu's opens at 11:00, so if you get there right at 11:00 there isn't a wait.  We got chips with salsa and queso for an appetizer. The salsa was incredible (not hot and definitely fresh).  I also ordered a Virgin mango colada that was pretty good.  Then, for lunch I got a Cheeseburger in Paradise with cheddar cheese and pineapple added to it.  I loved my burger, but didn't care for my fries.  Of course, my hubby LOVED the fries.  To me, the food was good, but was similar to burgers you usually get.  However, I'd definitely go back because Lulu's is more about the experience and some more t-shirts.

Restaurant #5 - Oyster House
We got to the Oyster House a little before 5:00 and the wait was already an hour.  The neat thing is it is on a boardwalk, so you can walk around and shop while you are waiting.  We took full advantage of that.  I got a t-shirt here and a few Archie comic books (by this point of the summer, I can't focus long enough to read more than that).  Once we got in the restaurant, we thought this would be the best yet.  The salad bar was huge and the place was packed.  My hubby ordered a burger and cheese bites as an appetizer.  My brother-in-law got a chicken sandwich.  My sister-in-law and I went all out and got two pounds of crab legs with the salad bar.  She also added onto her meal the World Famous cheese grits.

Most of the food was great, but I have to tell you guys, the crab legs were terrible.  I had crab legs three days before that were incredible, so I knew something wasn't right.  I tried my best not to say anything, but they were overcooked.  Typically, crab meat is white with some red.  I took a piece home to take a picture to show you guys.  Our crab meat was brown.  My sister-in-law said something, so they brought us some more.  The ones they brought us wouldn't even crack.  They were like rubber.  The waitress and manager were very sweet, so we didn't say anything else.  I moved mine around so it would look like I ate them.  Everyone with me agreed that everything was good except the crab claws, so if you go there, skip those and you should be fine.

Now, for some of our activities.  Before I list those, I have to apologize.  We wimped out and never went to play putt-putt.  We decided after the Oyster House we wanted to go swimming instead, so we didn't test putt-putt out, but we did see a lot of places that looked great!

Activity 1 - Fort Morgan
If you aren't a beach or pool girl and you want to learn on your trip, this was a neat little place to go.  I was the whiny one on this trip because if I'm going to be hot, I want to be on the beach or next to a pool.  The fort was pretty neat though.  They have a guy that gives the tour or you can walk around on your own.  You can see old cannons, living quarters, and obviously the fort.  They also have a small museum where you can see photographs, artifacts, and buy t-shirts.

Activity 2 - Alvin's Island
Is a beach trip complete if you don't go to Alvin's Island?  My hubby and I got my nieces and nephews gifts from here.  One of the things we got was a football that doesn't absorb water.  We discovered how important that was on Day 1.  I also took a picture of my sister-in-law playing with the mustache


Activity 3 - The Pier
You have to pay to go on this pier, but it's the longest one in the gulf, so to us it was worth it.  There were tons of people fishing on it when we went.  There's a restaurant at the beginning of the pier.  Here's one of the pictures we took.  It's definitely something to experience at least once, but I'd be okay with not going again.



Activity 4 - Krispy Kreme Donuts 
Hot sign was on!  That is all.



Activity 5 - Tanger Outlets
We did this on the last day of our trip.  By then, most of us needed a little break from the sun.  I ended up loading up on school clothes.  It isn't a secret that I love Talbots, The Loft, and Polo.  I got a ton from The Loft and Polo, so I skipped Talbots on this trip.  I bought two or three of these shirts from The Loft last summer and immediately wished I had gotten more.  My favorite thing about them is they are thin (perfect for August recesses) and you can gain/lose weight and they will fit you a little longer than most shirts.  As you can see, I love color.  They had most of these shirts in 10 to 20 different colors and patterns.  Plus, they are cheaper than they are at the stores.  I got several Polo shirts because I always like the fact I can throw those on when I don't have any other options.  Polo also had the shirts with the little ties for under $20.  I grabbed two of those.  I turned the pink one sideways so you could see the sleeve.   I also got a few other things like the Georgia t-shirt, but thought I'd post my shirts since those stores are in most states (I think).




Alright, sorry for the long post.  Hope this helps!  Off to create and update.

9 comments:

  1. Great restaurant review...I agree, sometimes food at a 'destination' is overrated. Sounds like you had a fun time and got some great clothes, too!

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    1. Thanks :) Some of the places were pretty amazing, but it was funny that my favorites weren't the ones that I would have picked to be the best.

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  2. My family goes to Gulf Shores every summer! We rent a house in Kiva Dunes which is very close to Fort Morgan! We also go to LuLu's multiple times on our trips. It's a tradition! We used to go to Destin, but have gone to Gulf Shores ever since discovering it was just as nice, about 6 years ago! LOVE IT!

    Ps-I'm your newest follower! :)

    Carly
    First Grade Fabulosity

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    1. I think we are going to Gulf Shores or Panama City next year :) I LOVE Gulf Shores. It's not quite as crowded as Panama City. I definitely want to be on the beach next go around though :) We will definitely have to talk before my next trip.

      Thanks for following me :)

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  3. My brother's family is in Gulf Shores this week. They go every summer. We spent last summer at Navarre Beach in Florida. It's very low-key.
    I'm glad you like seafood...haha

    Deniece

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    1. I LOVE seafood :) I know exactly where Navarre Beach is :) It's funny, we came back and now I have three or four more friends that are down there.

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  4. Thanks for sharing the highlights of your vacation. Living in Louisiana my entire life, we vacation on the Gulf Coast every year. Gulf Shores was my family's favorite since I was little, but now that I have my own little family we have found that our favorite destination is Fort Walton/Destin, FL. We always stay at an amazing place called Waterscape. It is directly on the beach (which is a must since we have kids). Just figured I'd share in case you want to check it out.
    -Mo
    More Than Math by Mo

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    1. I love Ft. Walton and Destin :) I will definitely be checking it out :) I know we are planning on moving on the water next year, especially since it is easier with my nieces :) Thanks for telling me the name of the place :)

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  5. Your sister in law looks hilarious. ..and beautiful. Love you...great blog-Jennifer

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