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Autumn at Alabama Gulf Shores

As much fun as the annual National Shrimp Festival is, the run-up to the event is great for another type of entertainment: people- and process-watching. With the festival still a future event, preparation in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach goes at a steady but manageable pace. Vendor tents begin to appear one by one along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Signs go up. Souvenirs are unpacked. And businesses get a little extra sprucing up. But when the festival is just a week away, well, things go into overdrive. The tents that were steadily going up before begin to spring forth like mushrooms after a summer rain. Lists get checked; logistics get checked; sound systems get checked. It's almost like watching a favorite film on fast-forward. The best part is getting to be an observer for the warm-up and a beneficiary of all that hard work. Thinking about all the wonderful food that is going to be at the 37th annual National Shrimp Festival has put me in the mood for some shrimp. I grabbed a bag of Alabama Gulf Coast shrimp brought home from a recent trip to Gulf Shore and Orange Beach out of the freezer. (It's so great to be able to stop at a local market and get shrimp cooked to order and packed to travel!) Once my shrimp, about 14 to 16 ounces, thawed, I added a bit of Old Bay seasoning, then finely diced the shrimp. I put about half on a plate, then topped that with an 8-ounce block of cream cheese that had been brought to room temperature. I added the rest of the shrimp, then topped it all with cocktail sauce (also brought back from the Alabama Gulf Coast). I served my Shrimply Delightful Dip with crackers and crudite. What a hit!  (Sep 30, 2008 | post #2)

Entertainment

Autumn at Alabama Gulf Shores

A few years back, we took a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast and opted to stay in Gulf State Park. We had a beautiful cabin, and we could see a lake. We had brought along some fishing gear, so we strolled out to see what we could find. We were stunned to learn that the lake is home to both saltwater and freshwater species. How does that happen? There's an article under the "Fishing " tab at www.thebeachiscall ing.org that explains it. Follow the link to "What's Biting" and you'll find the story of the "Mystery Lake." An editor's note explains it this way: "One of the most amazing bodies of water anywhere, Lake Shelby is the closest freshwater lake to salt water. Lake Shelby consists of three spring-fed lakes but also has had an intrusion of saltwater throughout its history. When waves from hurricanes wash over the Alabama Gulf Coast, they often deposit speckled trout, redfish, white trout and flounder into the lake. When the storms subside, and the lake returns to its natural boundaries, Lake Shelby then will home good numbers of both freshwater and saltwater fish." Lots of people book charters to go out into the Gulf in hopes of hooking a monster marlin, but we had a miniature version of that on our trip.  (Sep 30, 2008 | post #1)

Arlington, MA

Autumn at Alabama Gulf Shores

A few years back, we took a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast and opted to stay in Gulf State Park. We had a beautiful cabin, and we could see a lake. We had brought along some fishing gear, so we strolled out to see what we could find. We were stunned to learn that the lake is home to both saltwater and freshwater species. How does that happen? There's an article under the "Fishing " tab at www.thebeachiscall ing.org that explains it. Follow the link to "What's Biting" and you'll find the story of the "Mystery Lake." An editor's note explains it this way: "One of the most amazing bodies of water anywhere, Lake Shelby is the closest freshwater lake to salt water. Lake Shelby consists of three spring-fed lakes but also has had an intrusion of saltwater throughout its history. When waves from hurricanes wash over the Alabama Gulf Coast, they often deposit speckled trout, redfish, white trout and flounder into the lake. When the storms subside, and the lake returns to its natural boundaries, Lake Shelby then will home good numbers of both freshwater and saltwater fish." Lots of people book charters to go out into the Gulf in hopes of hooking a monster marlin, but we had a miniature version of that on our trip.  (Sep 30, 2008 | post #1)

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Where are YOU headed?

I'm heading to Gulf Shores, AL, for some Fall fun. The beaches in the fall are one of the area’s best kept secrets, The beaches themselves are sandy white and lovely, with a vast array of activities to suit any beachlover’s tastes. It’s a treat to visit the coast of Alabama, and the fall makes for a perfect time. The heat of summer has burned away but the days are still warm. Ocean temperatures are steady at about 68 degrees, and it’s just perfect for swimming and being outdoors. Where are YOU headed for Fall travel?  (Sep 22, 2008 | post #1)