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Biking Gulf Shores

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Biking, or cycling if you may, is an amusement for some and a lifestyle for others. Along the beach area, you’ll see a variety of enthusiasts rolling through town. The fierce road biker zips down Highway 182 on his carbon fiber, custom-built masterpiece. The leisurely rider sits upright on her iconic beach cruiser, hair blowing gently in the breeze. You may even see a unicycle; it’s been known to happen. Scientists, engineers and innovative entrepreneurs continue to introduce and apply new concepts to the biking industry. Electric bikes have been around for over a century, and they’re gaining in popularity. An interesting alternative to a mountain bike is the ‘fat bike’, whose thick, rubber tires allow you to smoothly maneuver loose conditions like sand or snow. And it doesn’t stop there; from handmade, bamboo bikes, to dapper, double-rider tandems, comfort hybrids to traditional trikes that hold large baskets filled with beach supplies or even trailers. You’re teacup pooch may prefer a ride in the trailer, but if your dog is more athletic, there are now attachments for your spokes that can hold your dog’s leash, ensuring a safe bike ride with minimal tangling.

biking hugh branyon backcountry trail

A biker rides a recumbent bike on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.

Alabama and Florida laws biking laws vary slightly, but it’s important to note that they’re in place for your safety as well as the safety of others on the road. For the sake of simplicity and your well-being, we’re going to recommend the same setup for both states. Any person under the age of 16 is required to wear a helmet, but adults might consider the use of one as well, especially when it comes to high speeds, heavy traffic or hilly terrain. Be prepared for evening rides with a bright, white head light and a rear red reflector as well as a rear red tail light. Riding around at night without lighting is simply not safe, and it’s also illegal. Sometimes it helps to double up on your headlights with a head lamp, in particular for dark trails that are secluded from city and street lights. For example the trail on Fort Morgan Road, at night can be pitch black and very intimidating. Riders should not wear headphones; all senses should be engaged in the ride.  You may see plenty of bikers riding the sidewalks down 59 to the public beach, but technically, bikers are not allowed to ride on the sidewalks in Alabama. In Florida, however, they are, as long as you yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks, and give an audible signal before passing pedestrians.

flora spotted along the backcountry trail

Flora spotted along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

If you’d like to rent a bicycle, there are several shops that can help, including Infinity Bicycles out of Orange Beach, Beach Bike Rentals in Gulf Shores, in Perdido Key and Pro Cycle and Tri out of Fairhope. We spoke with Bill Gable, owner of Infinity Bicycles, about which local trails are the most popular. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail out of Gulf State Park was top of the list. The trail system is 10 miles long and composed of 6 trails, each with their own distinct ecosystem. He also mentioned the latest extension, Coyote Crossing, which connects the Backcountry Trail with the 6 miles of trail along Fort Morgan Road. If you’re interested in biking further down the peninsula, you should know that it’s very dangerous, since there is no bike trail, and traffic is often going very fast around the curves of the road. Bill did say that once you get to Martinique or Kiva, the road becomes substantially safer as traffic is much less this far down the peninsula. A great option for those who are up for it is to bike from these areas down to the ferry. It’s only $5 one-way to ferry with your bike over to Dauphin Island, and exploring will be much easier on two wheels. Infinity Bicycles also hosts two weekly ride-a-longs on Saturday morning. Riders can choose from a 30-35 mile road ride, averaging around 17 mph in speed, or a leisure, no-drop ride, where the ride is only as fast as the slowest rider. The road ride is at 7:30 a.m. and the leisure ride is at 10:30 a.m. If you would like to participate, they ask that you call ahead to let them know you’ll be joining. They also recommend a bike in good working order (although you can rent bicycles from them as well), a helmet, water, and ID, a spare tube, nutrition and emergency money. They can be reached at 251-974-1727.

Another biking event you can catch this month is the 29th annual Tour de Beach, with over 400 cyclists expected to participate September 20-21. The two-day ride has 25, 45 and 75 mile options, with rest stops set up in key areas like historic Fort Morgan and Mullet Point Park in Fairhope. Riders are asked to raise at least $200 to benefit the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system. To register or learn more, visit bikeMS.org or call 1-800-FIGHT-MS.

Looking for a place to stay? We have vacation rentals in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, and Fairhope, Alabama as well as Perdido Key, Florida. Be sure to check out our rental specials; they’re updated weekly!

Bald Eagle Bash 2012

Wednesday, May 30th, 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.

Bands, Barks and Brews

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

It’s a public play date for Spot, Rover, Fido, and their owners!

Bands, Barks and Brews 2012 baldwin county humane society gulf shores alabama orange beach the wharf

Bring your dog to Bands, Barks and Brews this Sunday, April 29, 4–8 p.m. at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.

This Sunday, April 29, bring your friendly, leashed dog to the marina lawn at The Wharf for a little social engagement with his or her neighbors during Bands, Barks and Brews presented by Ginny Lane Bar and Grill. A leash-free area will be available for the furry friends to romp and run together.

Between 4 and 8 p.m., you’ll enjoy activities such as the weiner dog races and pet exhibits. An energetic show by the very popular dance band The Tip Tops will keep things lively throughout the event. Admission is free, but bring along a little cash for the art show, food and—of course—a brew or two.

Fans of Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa will have opportunities to purchase $5 raffle tickets at The Wharf merchants. The drawing will be held at 8:00, when the winner will be awarded four VIP tickets to the May 4 concert at The Amphitheater at The Wharf. (Need not be present to win.) All proceeds benefit The Humane Society of Baldwin County.

Stay with us for the concert May 4—or any time before May 16—and get an extra night FREE when you reserve at least three nights in a condo or four nights in a house. The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is waiting for you!

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 TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

2 Presentations Hosted by Orange Beach Library

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

If you enjoy nature-related discussions and you are in the coastal Alabama area this week, you are in the right place at the right time.

nature, presentation, lecture, Orange Beach Public Library, Alabama

Learn about the Backcountry Trail fire damage and recovery, plus historical and future significance of longleaf pine forests.

This Wednesday, January 25, Philip West will be presenting information on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach, and how the fire of 2011 has affected it. As the Coastal Resources Manager for the City of Orange Beach, Philip will offer an overview of the timber and trail damage as well as the recovery efforts. Admission to this 6:00 p.m. event held at the Senior Activity Center (east of Hwy. 161, on Canal Rd., next to the library) is free and open to the public; you may wish to sign up at the Orange Beach Public Library or via their website.

Author Roger Reid, writer/director/producer of the Emmy award-winning Discovering Alabama television series, and scientist Mark Hainds, research director with the Longleaf Alliance, have collaborated on a presentation regarding longleaf pine forests in Alabama. In this free seminar geared to all ages, they will include historical background and future significance of these ecosystems. Their appearance is scheduled for Friday, January 27, from 4 until 5:30 in the Orange Beach Public Library Meeting Room. You may register at the library or their website.

Enjoy the Backcountry Trail and locate longleaf pine during your next stay with us. You and your significant other can hike and/or bike many areas while using a 1-bedroom Orange Beach condo as your home base. Or bring the entire extended family to the beach for a nature-centered reunion—there’s plenty of room in a 5-bedroom Orange Beach property.

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 TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

3 Great Opportunities at the Zoo

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The holiday season is filled with opportunities for giving and for fun for all ages and interests. But the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores has it all covered in one place.

Santa, Christmas, child, holiday, present, gift

Talk with Santa and play with the animals at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo's Christmas Party Saturday, December 17, 2011.

Saturday, December 17, is their annual Christmas Party with Santa. Between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., admission for children 10 and under is free with a paying adult. Bring your camera, as Santa is eager to pose for pictures and chat with your young one. Refreshments will be served, and some of your favorite animals will be making appearances.

Most of us have a soft spot for animals, so why not bring a gift or two for your favorite creatures? Your generosity will help feed, clean, house or offer entertainment to some of the residents of “The Little Zoo That Could.” If you’re not sure what gifts to bring, choose from the many items on the wish list. Another idea is to bring gift cards from Lowe’s or Home Depot, or simply make a donation.

If you are still searching for gifts for the humans on your list, the gift shop is filled with items from clothing and accessories to toys to books and more. Perhaps an Individual, Friendship (2 people), Family, Grandparents or Group (up to 6 people) membership would bring the most enjoyment, as it means your recipient gets unlimited, free admission for a year. Memberships begin at just $40 and range up to $120.

Where else can you get your fill of Santa and animal fun for the kids, feel great about giving much-needed assistance to a wonderful organization, and complete your gift shopping all in one place in one day? For many reasons, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is the place to be at the holidays or any time of year.

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.

Weeks Bay Ornament 2011

Tuesday, December 13th, 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.

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