Columbus Ships Arrive in America Again

During this holiday time of year, many of us are busy looking forward to a new beginning with the arrival of 2010. But between December 23 and January 3, you have a unique opportunity to enjoy an amazing glimpse of the past.

Replicas of two of Christopher Columbus' ships visit Pensacola, Florida over the holidays.

Replicas of two of Christopher Columbus' ships visit Pensacola, Florida over the holidays.

No, we’re not going back to the mid-1800s to find Scrooge’s Ghost of Christmas Past. This event has nothing to do with the holidays, other than coincidental timing. And we’re going back much further than the Victorian era.

Replicas of the Nina and the Pinta—yes, two of the ships used by Christopher Columbus—will be docked in Pensacola, with a knowledgeable and passionate staff eager to answer questions.

The Nina, Columbus’ favorite of his three famous ships, exists in replica form as the only floating museum of its kind. The Pinta replica was built with a few modern amenities and is available for private parties and charters. Both are a type of ship called a caravel, which was commonly used as a trading vessel. And both were recently handcrafted using old-fashioned tools but without the benefit of an actual blueprint from their day.

Since February, these two ships have been making their way around the U.S., and Palafox Harbor in Pensacola is their last stop before the crew returns home for a much-deserved break. With an appearance lasting only a few days, you’ll want to plan now for your opportunity to learn about the ships, Columbus, and life during the Age of Discovery.

Walk-aboard, self-guided tours are just $7 for adults, $5 for children, and free for ages 4 and younger. For more information, call 787-672-2152, or visit The Columbus Foundation’s website.

Visiting these ships during the holidays may not have quite the life-changing impact of a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present or Future, but we can all gain a new respect for the trials of learning about our world without the luxury of modern technology.

Stay informed of other events, plus beach accommodation specials and hot deals, by subscribing to this blog and our Meyer Muse blog, as well as our Twitter, MySpace and Facebook accounts.

THAT’s Not a Sleigh!

Throughout the year, folks brainstorm, make drawings, decide on budgets and assemble their crews for the big night, all with the hope of bringing back the coveted first place awards for the Nautical Night of Lights boat parade in Orange Beach, Alabama, on Friday, December 11.

Nautical Night of Lights and Light Up the Arts - both events Friday, December 11 in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Nautical Night of Lights and Light Up the Arts - both events Friday, December 11 in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Now in its 24th year, the competition seems to grow stronger each December. Awards are given in three categories: sailboat, powerboat 32′ and under, and powerboat 33′ and up. Judging is based on lighting, music, and crew attire – and there is no end to the creativity on these literal parade floats.

You can greet Santa and enjoy the free parade of his escorts along the Intracoastal Canal, beginning at Zeke’s Marina at 5:00 p.m. and moving through Terry Cove at 5:30, Bear Point at 6:30, The Wharf at 7:30, and ending at LuLu’s Homeport Marina at 8:30 p.m. Just pick a time and a location and join the community in this festive event. For more parade information, contact the Chamber at 251-968-7220.

Looking for even more fun to fill the entire evening? The Orange Beach Arts Center is hosting Light Up the Arts to coincide with the parade. Starting at 6:00 p.m., enjoy wine and chili as you admire the wonderful variety of art works on display. Buy a handblown wine glass (use it for your wine that evening!), participate in the live auction, purchase your favorite work of art, and relax to the beautiful Christmas music played by harpist Rose Brueske.

The OBAC is located along the water (26389 Canal Rd., just .3 miles east of Hwy. 161), so just step outside to cheer the parade as it goes by – and at the same time, tap your toes to the music of Top Hat and Jackie.

All proceeds from the evening support educational programs and more at OBAC. For more information regarding Light Up the Arts or the Orange Beach Arts Center, call 251-981-2787.

Let us help you arrange your holiday beach getaway at up to 50% off, give the ideal present of a gift certificate good toward a beach vacation, or plan for your next reunion or family vacation. We look forward to serving your with STAR Treatment!

Focus on the Coast Photo Contest Winners

CONGRATULATIONS to each of our twenty finalists in the

Meyer Real Estate 2009 Focus on the Coast beach photo contest!

Our winning photo, submitted by Melanie Plum of Amory, MS!

OUR WINNING PHOTO! Submitted by Melanie Plum of Amory, Mississippi.

Our winning photo, decided by public vote, was submitted by Melanie Plum of Amory, Mississippi, who has been awarded a 3-night stay in a 2-bedroom gulf-front condo for spring 2010. The photo was taken by Blake McCollum, who is a family friend of Melanie’s and an art student at Mississippi State.

Upon being told the good news, an excited Melanie explained that the family was in the midst of a photo shoot, but this winning photo was a candid shot of the girls simply enjoying the warm July beach and their flowing, colorful costumes.

Congratulations to Melanie and everyone involved in this award-winning photograph!

We are also very pleased to name as Honorable Mentions our 1st, 2nd and 3rd places as voted by the public:

HONORABLE MENTION: 1st runner up. Submitted by Molly Canter, Murray, Kentucky.

HONORABLE MENTION: 1st runner up. Submitted by Molly Canter of Murray, Kentucky.

HONORABLE MENTION: 2nd runner up. Submitted by Shellie Benson, Speer, Illinois.

HONORABLE MENTION: 2nd runner up. Submitted by Shellie Benson of Speer, Illinois.

HONORABLE MENTION: 3rd runner up. Submitted by Cheryl & Rusty May, Madison, Mississippi.

HONORABLE MENTION: 3rd runner up. Submitted by Cheryl & Rusty May of Madison, Mississippi.

You can see all the Top 20 photos on our Facebook page.

Subscribe to this blog to stay informed of future contests, terrific specials and Hot Deals, area activities and opportunities, and much more.

Rescued Dolphin on the Mend

A young dolphin rescued in Gulf Shores, AL is healing under the care of experts in Gulfport, Mississippi.

A young dolphin rescued in Gulf Shores, Alabama is healing under the care of experts in Gulfport, Mississippi.

While enjoying a beach walk the day following a storm, it is common to find an unusual shell, large clumps of drying seaweed, or sometimes a completely cleaned shoreline.

But on November 10, beach walkers on the island of Gulf Shores, Alabama happened upon something much bigger – and it was fortunate that they did.

It is assumed that the strong winds and waves from Tropical Storm Ida were responsible for separating a young bottlenose dolphin from his family. Found 150 yards from the shore, the 2-year-old, six-foot-four-inch, 190-lb. dolphin was in serious condition after being out of the water at least 4 hours. The walkers contacted the Marine Mammal Stranding Network for help. The MMSN then called for a dolphin ambulance from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi.

A team of 20 at the institute has assisted with nursing the dolphin over the past three weeks. Although not completely out of the woods, he has shown marked improvement. After two weeks of being fed through a tube, he now will take fish from the staff and even play with his toys.

Returning him to his natural habitat is the goal. But finding his family may not be possible, and he may be too young to survive on his own. Training and assessments are ongoing, and the final decision on release will be made by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

To learn more about dolphins, visit the websites of Dolphinkind, Animal Planet and National Geographic.

For your next Gulf Shores-area beach vacation, consider the great variety of 1800+ accommodations and the STAR Treatment you’ll experience with Meyer Real Estate.

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