Bald Eagle Bash 2012

Have you purchased your tickets yet for the Bald Eagle Bash? It will be held this Saturday, June 2, and there is still time to plan to attend. You can even get your tickets at the gate, so last-minute guests are definitely welcome.

Bald Eagle Bash, fundraiser, Weeks Bay Foundation, National Estuarine Research Reserve

Great benefit for a small price! Delight your taste buds and your dancing feet while sharing financial assistance with the non-profit Weeks Bay Foundation.

What makes this so special? Let’s start with what you get from being there. Your taste buds will be tickled by delectable goodies from a dozen area restaurants, with fresh gulf shrimp as the theme. Your ears and your dancing genes will be delighted with the music of Locust Fork Band, who will infuse the evening with energy via their originals and covers of your favorite rock and country songs. And appearances by two area celebrities—Shelby Mitchell of 95KSJ and Darwin Singleton of NBC15—will keep the enthusiasm and laughter going strong.

Even more special is how you will be helping raise funds for the non-profit Weeks Bay Foundation. Their mission is to protect the natural resources of coastal Alabama while supporting the goals and programs of the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. By attending, you’ll have a great time and feel great about playing a role in the conservation efforts of our coastal wetlands.

Tickets are $30 in advance (online or any BBVA Compass location in Baldwin or Mobile county) or $35 at the gate. You’ll find all the fun from 4 until 7 p.m. at the Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center, waterfront at the Fish River Bridge on U.S. Highway 98 west of Magnolia Springs.

If you love our coastal areas, you may also love a house or condo along our backwaters for your next getaway. With properties available from one bedroom to seven, you can come alone or as part of a large group. Either way, relax with us and explore the coastal area from a different perspective!

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

Weeks Bay Ornament 2011

The environmentalist. The volunteer. The nature lover. The person who has everything. The proud local. The appreciative visitor. The ecotourist. The science teacher or student.

Weeks Bay Foundation ornament 2011, kayak, fisherman, fishing

Your gift to a friend or family member also supports Weeks Bay Foundation programs.

Many of us fit into at least one of those categories. And we know of one particular gift item that will satisfy any or all of these folks.

When you give someone a 2011 Weeks Bay ornament that commemorates the 25th anniversary of the designation of the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, you give much more than a simple gift to a friend or family member. You also support the natural environments of our area and beyond.

Current programs of the Weeks Bay Foundation include submerged equipment, weather stations and sampling projects to monitor water quality. And their ongoing objective is to purchase land in the Weeks Bay watershed that may be added to the National Wildlife Reserve, or be set aside with a conservation easement such as to preserve a wildlife habitat, or create a buffer to conservation lands.

You have four options for securing this decorative item that depicts a fisherman in a kayak. The best value is a combination ornament and one-year membership in the Weeks Bay Foundation for just $50. Send an ornament with a holiday card that includes your personal greeting for just $20, shipping included. Ornaments alone are $15 online, or you may purchase them in person for $12 at Fairhope Pharmacy’s Christmas ’Round the Corner or the Weeks Bay Reserve at 11401 U.S. Hwy. 98 in Fairhope (251-990-5004).

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Facebook and Twitter.

Crawfish Boil at Flora-Bama

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of crawfish season! But as they say, “All good things must come to an end.” (Thank goodness it’s only a temporary end, and they’ll be back as wonderful as ever next season.)

crawfish, boil, Flora-Bama, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Florida

Celebrate the end of crawfish season at Flora-Bama's Crawfish Boil on Saturday, June 25, 2011!

Rather than let it get them down, the folks at Flora-Bama have decided to celebrate. Their Crawfish Boil is guaranteed to bring joy through terrific food, plenty of beach drinks, the best music, and loads of fun.

Starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 25, 2011, delight your taste buds with Cajun crawfish (served with lots of napkins, of course!). Cool your throat with ice cold beer or bushwhackers. Treat your ears to live music from a variety of fabulous artists. And party with fun-loving folks from across the globe.

By the way, you can also win a Southern Comfort bike! Buy a crawfish plate ($5 per plate or $10 for an all-you-can-eat ticket) and you get a free ticket for the drawing.

There is no cover charge or age restriction for the daytime crowd. Starting around 6 p.m., you must be 18 or older to enter, and pay a cover charge of $5. The 10:00 p.m. hour brings the entry age to 21, but those under 21 who are already inside are allowed to stay.

Make the Flora-Bama Crawfish Boil a must-do this weekend. If you’ve never eaten crawfish, it’s perfectly OK—there will be plenty of experts nearby who will happily show you how. You’ll be hooked in no time!

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

Happy 100th Birthday, Orange Beach Museum!

Those with an interest in history, local lore, the fishing industry and/or American Indian artifacts will find plenty of reasons to visit the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum. But this Saturday, November 20, 2010, special activities will enhance your experience.

Orange Beach Indian Sea Museum, Alabama, Gulf Shores

Join the 100-Year Celebration at Orange Beach Sea & Indian Museum on Saturday, November 20, 2010.

Between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., live music and light refreshments will set a celebratory atmosphere as you explore the museum and chat with other guests. Even if you don’t plan to spend the entire four hours there, be sure to gather at 11:00 to hear some of our local folks recount memories of the building’s various uses and the growth of Orange Beach.

The little wooden structure has traveled and changed “careers” more often than some of our residents! It started as a schoolhouse on Canal Road, then became a church and a community house. In 1995 it was moved to Snell Park, where it became a museum. And now it can be toured, analyzed and admired at its location on John Snook Drive near City Hall and the Post Office.

Frequent guests and first-time visitors will all find something new to discover during this celebration. To learn more about the museum or the festivities, call 251-981-6039.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

Nature Photography Workshop

It’s a picture-perfect moment. That osprey (or pitcher plant or butterfly) could actually be posing just for you, and you can’t resist. Up comes the camera . . . click.

Hurry to register for the Nature Photography Workshop held on Friday and Saturday, September 24 & 25, 2010.

But when you look at what should be your prize-winning photograph, it appears washed out, or the nearby water created a terrible glare. Aargh!

Lucky for you, that disappointing scenario does not have to be repeated. Local nature photography experts Michelle Thomas and Luanne Burnett are excited about sharing their techniques for capturing the best images in forest and water settings during the upcoming Nature Photography Workshop.

The small class size (maximum 20) assures plenty of time for group and personal instruction. Any digital camera may be used—even your basic point-and-click equipment can produce better quality than you thought possible when you know how to adjust for the scenery.

You don’t need to know anything about photography, so don’t let a lack of experience keep you away. All that’s required (beyond a camera, of course) is a desire to explore the possibilities. Michelle and Luanne can also assist if your camera is so new that you’re not fully acquainted with how it operates.

Intermediate photographers will quickly realize that there are still plenty of lessons to be learned by sharing the time with professionals and other like-minded amateurs.

The weekend begins with the sunset photography class at 4:30 on Friday, September 24. Saturday brings morning light instruction, then guidance for afternoon shadows. Each class is followed by plenty of time to apply the techniques and then share and discuss your successes. You’ll find that the beautiful location at The Plantation at D&S Farms Forest Retreat in rural Robertsdale offers infinite possibilities for exceptional photographs.

Your meals (light supper Friday, Saturday breakfast and lunch) are included in the fee. Even better news is that when you go to the registration page you will find a price tag of only $125, broken into a deposit and then a final payment. What a great deal! This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, so hurry to sign up before the class is filled. With this type of personalized instruction, you could soon be a sought-after nature photographer!

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

The Call of the Kayak

My husband and I—creatures of habit—recently ventured out of our routine. We love being outdoors, but lately we’ve allowed life to get in the way of that pleasure. It was time to combine the blue sky with a new experience.

Launching our kayaks on a beautiful morning.

I have been following Kayak_Alabama on Twitter for a few months, and seeing their posts always makes me wish I was out there experiencing it instead of just reading about it. So—yes, I’m sure you’ve figured it out—I made the contact and arranged for a guided kayak tour. (I’m not into fishing, but you can arrange a kayak fishing tour as well.)

Not knowing much about our waterways, I let Chris, the main man behind Alabama Kayak Adventures, choose the spot. He pulled into Graham Creek Nature Preserve just ahead of us, with a truck bed filled with four kayaks. As he untied the colorful load, another guide, Laurel, arrived with her kayak, and photographer Michelle also joined us. Chris and Laurel are both USCG-licensed captains as well as certified Coastal Nature Guides, so I knew we were in good hands.

A welcome feeling of tranquility is inevitable when surrounded by nature.

We dragged our kayaks to the launch ramp and got a quick lesson on how to paddle (so simple!), and next thing we knew we were skimming along a beautiful, winding creek. Neither of us had been in a kayak before, and we were surprised by the stability and ease of maneuvering. With no current to negotiate, we could easily stop to study plants or wildlife, or just paddle slowly and effortlessly.

Eventually the serene creek opened up into Wolf Bay, where we glided past houses, piers and boat docks, and observed schools of fish as they darted around our kayaks. As we started our return, a pair of dolphins teased us with their intermittent presence.

Throughout the morning, the word “peaceful” kept popping into my head. Other than a small plane overhead and the brief passing of a fisherman’s boat, the only sounds were that of Mother Nature. The thick vegetation and some tall trees insulated the creek from the outside world, allowing the illusion of being miles from civilization. And the houses on the bay were set far enough back so as not to intrude on the waterway.

So different from the nearby gulf beaches, with its own amazing beauty.

While we did enjoy conversation during the 3-hour journey, there was also plenty of opportunity to soak up the stillness and focus on the natural setting. Our guides seemed to intuitively understand how special that silence is, perfectly balancing friendly chit-chat, information sharing, and leaving us to our own thoughts.

My first encounter with a kayak now makes me want one of my own, but I know that won’t happen with the crazy schedule I keep. At least now I know how enjoyable it is, and I have memories to call on when I want an escape but don’t have time for such. And best of all, I know who to contact when I can’t resist the call of the kayak any longer.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

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