Jim and I always loved visiting Fairhope, but living here for the past two+ years has opened our eyes to just how many fun things there are to do here that are free! Our Jubilee Suites guests enjoy having free options too, especially now that so many of the “normal” things we do are temporarily closed. Even though our Governor has lifted some of the Stay At Home restrictions, it seems that social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But at least we can get outside now! Ready to put some distance between you and your house? Why not shake it off and grab your Corona Buddy (someone you’ve been quarantining with, like a family member) and take it to the streets of Fairhope. We’ve got a list of the top 10 free things to do in Fairhope that ought to take us through the spring of 2020.
- Fairhope Municipal Pier- West end of Fairhope Avenue. What is it about water that attracts us so? The undeniable #1 attraction in Fairhope is our public pier, perfect for people and bird-watching, taking in a sunset over Mobile Bay, fishing, or taking a stroll after dinner. Although the pier was closed for a few weeks during Alabama’s Stay At Home order, it is again open for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to walk around the fountain and see the beautiful rose garden while you’re there.
- Eastern Shore Trail- Built for either biking or hiking, this 28 mile long urban trail starts at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and runs east and then south through Daphne and Fairhope, ending at Weeks Bay. If you start at I-10, the length to Weeks Bay is 22 miles. Here’s a map and list of things to see along the way, including this beautiful Mullet Point Park, courtesy of Baldwin County Trailblazers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving walking and biking opportunities in Baldwin County, Alabama. Do it in chunks or do it all in one trek, but take the family and share the road!
- Eastern Shore Art Center Covid-19 Exhibit- 401 Oak St. Although the Art Center is temporarily closed as I write this, they are always finding ways to showcase art whether their doors are open or not. This month you can see Covid-19 art displayed outside in a very interesting exhibit! (Photo from linked article by J.D. Crowe). Plus, here’s a link to a walking tour of the ESAC’s permanent collection of Outdoor Sculpture that enhances their grounds. You’ll want to read along on your phone as you view all 12 pieces.
- Fruit and Nut District walk and photo shoot- One of our treasures in Fairhope is the lovely Fruit and Nut residential neighborhood, called that because all the streets are named after fruits and nuts! It’s a beautiful part of town right next to Mobile Bay and extending east to Section Street. Starting anywhere along Section Street south of downtown Fairhope, take a walk through the quiet streets and enjoy the very old trees, the spring flowers, gorgeous weather, and a few original beach cottages mixed in with every style of home ever built in the past 100 years. Take a camera and record your favorites. Keep going west and you’ll end up on the shore of Mobile Bay where the park benches and picnic tables are waiting for you to take a well-deserved rest under the gorgeous live oaks. Feel free to post your best photos on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram.
- Public Art Walking Trail – When you want to do something new, get a little exercise, and see something you’ve probably never noticed before, check out this walking guide to 17 outdoor pieces of public art in Fairhope. Grab a cooperative Corona Buddy, i.e., someone who loves to walk and who also enjoys somewhat of a scavenger hunt, and use this guide to see what you’ve been missing in your daily Fairhope life. Perfect activity now while our weather is just right.
- Fairhope History Museum- 24 N Section St. Save this one for a rainy day and bring the family! The museum is housed in what was once the Fairhope City Hall and Jail back in the 1920’s and a visit there is a wonderful way to learn more about Fairhope’s unique past. Don’t miss the Single Tax Colony exhibit which tells the story of the mid-westerners who came to start their own utopian town and the individual stories of each of the original founders. But that’s not all! See exhibits on local business starts and inventions, plus fascinating stories of people who made Fairhope what it is today. Don’t miss the exhibit about the famous Mosher Castle. You’ll want to go there next to photograph it! Regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm with free admission and it should be reopening in May sometime. Call to confirm 251-929-1471 or check on their Facebook page.
- Sunset Picnic at Mobile Bay- Some people make a point of seeing the sunset every evening over Mobile Bay. If you haven’t started that tradition, this would be an excellent time to begin! Jim and I like to end most days on our Jubilee Suites bluff each evening with a sunset party with our guests. But there are lots of good places to see a sunset all along Mobile Bay while still social distancing. One of our favorites is Henry George Park, which has its own Facebook page, up on the bluff overlooking the Fairhope Pier. Whether you walk, drive or bike, take along a blanket and a happy hour picnic. Grab one of the park benches and be sure to stay for the twilight!
- Weeks Bay Reserve day trip and picnic- 11300 US Hwy. 98- Although the Reserve is actually a research and educational center dedicated to preserving natural wetlands, a visit to Weeks Bay is a super-fun place to visit, especially in the spring when the weather is about perfect and the pitcher plant bogs are in full bloom. Among its many features are 6,000 acres of land and water in and around Weeks Bay and along Mobile Bay, picnic areas, a visitor center, nature trails- some with accessible boardwalks, and of course the incredible pitcher plant bogs. Take the family, plan a picnic, learn and have fun all in one place. And post your pictures on Jubilee Suites’ Facebook page!
- Fishing along Mobile Bay- Did you know that seniors in AL can fish without a license? Alabama residents age 65 or older are not required to purchase a fishing license as long as they have proper identification to prove their age. So where do you fish in Fairhope? There are usually fishermen out on the Fairhope Pier and they catch a big variety of fish. It’s fun to just watch them but if you’d like to join in, use this website to find other streams and fishing spots all along the Bay.
- Tolstoy Park- 22787 Highway 98- One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read since coming to Fairhope is The Poet of Tolstoy Park, a 2005 novel by Sonny Brewer based on the life of Henry Stuart, an Englishman living in Idaho. In 1923, at the age of 65, after Henry was diagnosed with tuberculosis, he moved to Fairhope with the idea that it might help prolong his life. He bought 10 acres in Fairhope sight unseen and without any assistance built a 14′ diameter circular, domed hut, pouring each concrete block himself. And he lived there for about 20 more years! Today, the hut and a large oak tree are all that remain of Stuart’s property. A parking lot surrounds the hut. But it’s open for tours and quite interesting for all ages. Be sure to sign the guest book!
Speaking of tours, we’d love to show you around Jubilee Suites. As one of Alabama’s essential businesses, we are still open and serving guests every day. Because each of our individual suites has its own entrance and air handling system, and most have a full kitchen and laundry, we have guests who have chosen to social distance (and work and play) here with their families for weeks at a time. With our 200 foot beach, it’s the perfect place for kids to run, play, paddleboard and fish while their parents relax (and supervise) in the shade.
If you’re a Fairhopian wondering if Jubilee Suites is right for your family or your guests, give us a call and schedule your free tour. We’ve revamped and upgraded every inch of the place since we bought it just over 2 years ago and we can’t wait to share it with you. See our beautifully remodeled suites, our new catering kitchen, our newly-landscaped backyard bluff- perfect for relaxing and sunset viewing and our 200 foot beach along Mobile Bay. If you time it right, you might want to stay for the Sunset Celebration. Give us a call today!
Wherever you’re socially distancing these days, know that you’re not alone. We’re in this together and we’re optimistic that we’ll all come out stronger in the end. Love Never Fails!