MOBILE TO FAIRHOPE
GARDEN DESTINATIONS ALONG THE SHORES OF MOBILE BAY
Wed, NOV 9 – Thurs, NOV 10
Double Occupancy Cost: Members $250 & Non-Members $285
Single Occupancy Cost: Members $295 & Non-Members $330
All-inclusive except for dinner on your own in Fairhope!
Non-member rates include annual membership!
For additional information call 225-767-6916 or email email@example.com.
Don’t miss the bus for an overnight trip to destinations along the western and eastern shores of serene Mobile Bay. Bellingrath Gardens is the first stop for a tour of the breathtaking November floral displays of cascading chrysanthemums. Unlike Spring, where Mother Nature is responsible for the floral beauty the visitors admire, the horticultural staff works over fourteen months to create the displays that go from greenhouse cuttings to floral displays throughout the Gardens. Native to the Orient, this type of mum is used because of its vigorous growth and freely branching character. Bellingrath’s head gardener Chuck Owens has put together a program and video for us that will reveal the process by which they grow and create the chrysanthemum displays for the garden, and of course answer the many questions we will have.
After lunch at Bellingrath’s Magnolia Café off we go for a scenic drive to Mobile Botanical Garden nestled in a longleaf forest in one of Mobile’s most picturesque neighborhoods. In 2002, at the age of 72, Marion Drummond was hired as the Executive Director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens, where she worked until 2009. Expect a warm welcome from Maarten Van der Giessen, accomplished horticulturist and nurseryman, for a talk about the history of the garden then a walking tour of the Japanese Maple Garden, Kosahu Sawada Winter Garden filled with early-blooming camellia sasanqua’s, Herb Garden, and Founder’s Fragrance and Texture Garden.
Onward we go through the beautiful campus of Spring Hill College in route to Kimlich’s Patio & Garden Center. Spring Hill is the oldest Catholic college in the southeast founded in 1830, with tree lined streets of old live oaks, magnolias and azaleas. The Zimlich family is celebrating 31 years of offering the highest quality plants and bulbs as well as distinctive garden ware and unique containers and baskets. In honor of our visit, Kimlich’s will host a demonstration on creating seasonal container gardens and pass-on discounts for visitors from the land of “purple and gold”. The last stop of the day is the Hampton Inn in beautiful downtown Fair Hope, Alabama where we will spend the night. Fairhope has been recognized nationally and internationally for its environmental stewardship, beauty and quality of life. The Hampton Inn is in the heart of the city in walking distance to shops and restaurants. Choose your favorite restaurant for dinner on your own!
Day two starts with breakfast at the Hampton Inn and then a guided bus tour of Fairhope’s beautiful green spaces by the gardeners who grow, design and install the plantings downtown. The tour will also include a visit to the city greenhouses to see just how they grow tens of thousands of seasonal color plants. Then a short scenic drive will take us to the charming community of Magnolia Springs. Central to this community is the river – today the Magnolia River remains the only river route mail delivery in the continental United States. The narrow lanes and shaded streets, lined with gracious homes and well-tended gardens, present an appealing presentation of southern life. Lunch will be served at Jessie’s Restaurant – it’s building has been a Magnolia Springs tradition for over 75 years, opening as Moore Bros Store in 1922. After lunch we will travel south to the Weeks Bay Reserve Interpretative Center and take a short walk on the board walk to the bay with views of fall wildflowers showing off their colors.
On the return trip to Baton Rouge you can watch the sunset on Mobile Bay as we travel along Hwy 1 to Fair Hope before catching the interstate westward bound. Special thanks to Brenda Davis who grew up in Magnolia Springs, and Christina Watts a longtime resident of Mobile for lending us a helping hand in planning the trip!