A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 11

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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area. Now, it’s a good place to find several historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Moore’s Grocery. no place else I’ve found where the beaches beckon with just the right amount of allure – you know, soft, white sand ready to offer a day or a week of perfection. So, if building sand castles is on your to-do list, or hiking on one of the many wildlife trails, or even just finding that perfect seafood dinner, that’s wonderful: it’s all about what you want while in paradise. I On a recent trip, I made a short stop at my accommodations, a condo at Turquoise Place, Alabama found through Spectrum Vacations, and then hit the beach for some down time. However, you don’t have to be lazy unless you want to. If you prefer to enjoy a small town that’s uniquely Southern and full of character, head over to Magnolia Springs, a small Southern river town that has inspired the likes of Fannie Flagg and Winston Groom, to name a few. Located at the headwaters of the Magnolia River, originally called River de Lin by locals, boats and steamships brought travelers into the n a world looking for perfect, there’s For a good hike, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, designated as one of Alabama’s 10 Most Natural Wonders, offers 7,000 acres of wildlife habitats and supports one of the finest examples of the globally imperiled coastal scrub. You can experience not only maritime forests, coastal marsh, beaches and open water, but also an amazing habitat for a diverse number of birds. Still need more back country? Take a golf cart ride along Hugh S. Banyon Back Country Trail. Highlights here include (in addition to seeing alligators) an overlook of marshes, sand dunes, swamps and creeks. The trail system through Banyon Back Country also takes a few turns into Gulf State Park, immensely peaceful and worth the two-hour tour. And if you’re so inclined, there’s an amazing butterfly garden too. If you’re more up for getting out on the water, you might opt for a dolphin watch cruise: Dolphin Express Cruises stresses that dolphins can be seen year-round playing in the surf. One of my most exciting experiences in Gulf Shores was a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. In fact, I went back twice because they let me go inside the area with the wolves, my favorite animal. Other than wolves, there are 300 other animals including lemurs (yes, you can pet them), kangaroos, tiger cubs (and the mothers), lions, and bears. This zoo most definitely gives you an appreciation of understanding and respecting our four-legged friends. And, if you’re thinking the name of the zoo sounds familiar, it might be: these guys were on national morning shows during one of the recent hurricanes and the zookeeper actually moved most of the animals to her home in order to keep them safe. A few other interesting facts about a Gulf Coast visit - the Gulf State Park

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