Okay, I know, Mobile? But honestly, it’s a gorgeous city with a ton of culture and history. Mobile is also the home of American Mardi Gras (don’t believe me? Check out this article).
Shortly after Mr. CC and I started dating, we celebrated his 30th birthday with a weekend excursion to Mobile. I want to share with him the cuisine, culture, and history of Mobile. We had a great time. We need to go back and do it again. There’s just too much to do in one weekend.
Here’s my insider’s guide to honeymooning in Mobile, Alabama.
The Battle House
I love the Battle House. If you’re looking for a hotel that simply seeps history, there’s none better than the Battle House. Established in 1851, the ground it was built on was the site of the military headquarters of Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812. Stephen A. Douglas stayed at the Battle House the night he lost the 1860 presidential election. The building served as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War. A fire in 1905 destroyed the original building. It was rebuilt in 1908 and renovated in 2006 after being closed for 32 years.
Mr. CC and I stayed here during our Mobile excursion and were immensely pleased with the service and quality. They do have specials and deals, as well as packages available here.
The Renaissance Riverview Plaza
The Renaissance Riverview is just down the road from the Battle House. I think it provides a better view of the bay and it’s a little more modern and stylish.
The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel is just gorgeous. Honestly, we’d be getting married there if we lived in Mobile. Okay, it’s not technically in Mobile, but whatever, it’s close enough. It’s more of a resort than it is a hotel. The grounds include a golf course, a biking trail, tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center, and you can rent jet skis, kayaks, and sailboats. There are two pools (including an adults only pool!). Oh yeah, also, there’s horseback riding nearby. Mr. CC and I could probably spend 3-4 days here without leaving.
I mean, really, how can you say no to those views?
Places to Eat
Once you’re settled, sampling Mobile’s native cuisine is a must. Located at the junction of the Mobile River and the Mobile Bay, seafood is always at its best in Mobile. For a great down home experience, try the Blue Gill. Located on the Causeway between Mobile and the Eastern Shore, the Blue Gill is known for its outdoor concert series and fried pickles. (Sidenote: when we first moved from Seattle to the Mobile area, someone suggested we try fried pickles. My family reacted with horror. Fried Dill Pickles? Gross!! But OMG, these are the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. You must try them!)
Another good down-home restaurant is Wintzell’s Oyster House. I worked at the one Downtown during Mardi Gras one year. It was crazy. But the food is fantastic! They have an oyster bar (complete with happy hour) and some of the best seafood au gratin I’ve ever had. There are several locations to choose from, but I’ll always be partial to the downtown location. It was the original, and has been serving Mobilians since 1938.
Another classic Mobile eatery is The Original Oyster House. While this isn’t my favorite restaurant, most Mobilians love it. The menu consists of mostly fried stuff, but the cole slaw is fantastic, and so are the hush puppies. I can definitely get full on cole slaw and hush puppies.
If you’re looking for something with a little more class, try Felix’s Fish Camp, also located on the Causeway. Don’t be fooled by its rustic exterior; the atmosphere is unbelievable and the food is awesome. I recommend reservations here, but they can be made online.
If seafood isn’t your thing, that’s okay, too. One of my all time favorite places to eat is Bilotti’s Italian Cafe. Their website really sucks. But, the food is fantastic and the atmosphere is unbelievable. There’s always a live jazz band on Friday nights. They have a great wine selection. Hmm, I’m craving me some Bilotti’s right now.
Another Mobile landmark is the Picklefish. They don’t have a website, but they are downtown on Dauphin Street. Honestly, they’ve got the best pizza ever. They have tons of choices and some really great combos!
Nightlife in Mobile is pretty centralized on Dauphin Street. Think Bourbon or Beale Street, except on a smaller scale. Dauphin is within walking distance of both the Battle House and the Renaissance Riverview Plaza. There are lots of dive bars, dance clubs, and breweries on Dauphin Street, so take your pick.
If you happen to be visiting the first weekend of October, you have to check out BayFest. Held annually in the streets of downtown, BayFest is an open-air music festival. The schedule usually showcases some of the biggest names in music. 2008’s line up included Better Than Ezra, Blake Shelton, BuckCherry, Candlebox, Darius Rucker, Kid Rock, Nelly, Puddle of Mud, Sister Hazel, The Ugli Stick, and Three Days Grace.
There’s also an annual Beer Festival in August, if that’s more your speed.
Things to Do and See
The USS Alabama, a WWII battleship, is docked in Mobile. I get a little claustrophobic on board, but it’s still pretty cool. The tour is self-guided, and they basically give you free rein on the ship.
The park also has an Aircraft Pavilion, the USS Drum (a WWII submarine), and a Vietnam War Memorial.
I really love the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. My mom used to take us there when we were kids. It’s still just as much fun! There are lots of hands-on exhibits. There’s also an IMAX Theater.
And last but not least, you have to go down to “The Island”. Dauphin Island is slowly eroding away, so see it while you can. It’s really beautiful. There’s a sea-lab on the island that’s fun if you are into sea animals.
Wow”¦ I’m really homesick now!
See all the posts in the Honeymoon in my Hometown Series here!