Orange Beach, AL

6:00 AM

The last week of April I got the chance to travel to Orange Beach, AL for a Career Technical Education conference. It fell during the week leaving me to travel alone. Did you get that? All. By. Myself. To the beach. Yahoo!

I dropped Georgia Kate off at school and I hit the road. 
Destination: Alabama's Gulf Coast

I could only recall having been to this particular beach one other time about 15 years ago. And it did not disappoint. My hotel offered a great view of the sandy, white beaches.

I stayed at Perdido Beach Resort. I give it two thumbs up!

I had classes during the day, but they were gracious enough to let us out early to enjoy our afternoons. As soon as our meeting was dismissed, I changed into my swimsuit and was out by the pool relaxing and reading in record time. All three days were sunny and breezy.

After I got my fill of lounging I went down to the beach for an early evening walk. Even though I was on vacation, I still wanted to get in my steps! 

The shore was so pretty. So peaceful. So relaxing.

The first evening I had dinner at the hotel. Just my book and me. Ten years ago it might have bothered me to dine alone. But now, it was a treat. I relished in the quiet. I didn't have to rush to eat and no one called for "mama" at all. You know I love my family dearly, but I really, really enjoyed the down time. It was good for my soul.

Thursday evening after classes and time at the pool I had a dinner date with an old friend, Mandy Haber. Mandy grew up in our hometown and roomed in college with Coop and Heather. We have lots of funny memories from years past. She and her family live in Orange Beach and she is a talented photographer. You can check out her work here

Mandy and I ate at The Gulf. It's a cool spot that sits right on the beach. 

We picked up right where we left off. We exchanged stories about our kids, families and friends. About half way through dinner I talked Mandy into taking me to the world famous (should that be infamous?) Flora-Bama. She didn't need much convincing. Once she heard I'd never been there, she said, "Yes! I'll go with you! You need to see it for yourself!" 

After dinner we traveled less than a mile to the Flora-Bama. And friends, it was as great as I'd heard!

It was the Thursday of Mullet Toss (where people toss fish around the beaches) and it was packed with all sorts of people. Every age, every income bracket - some of the best people watching I've enjoyed in a while! 

Thanks, Mandy, for helping me check that fun task off my bucket list!

My conference wrapped up Friday afternoon. I drove home just in time to hug and kiss my girls before getting them to bed. 

It was great trip. I learned a lot from the conference and so enjoyed my time at the beach. I can't wait to visit Alabama's Gulf Coast again. 

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