Friday, May 5, 2017

RV Travel: Downtown Mobile, Alabama

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 Springtime is the perfect time for a walking tour of vibrant downtown Mobile, Alabama

Miss Janet also took her SATW Traveling Teddy Bear to Mobile's Mardi Gras Museum so they could tell her 5th grade class about it. See

Meandering Downtown Mobile

Downtown Mobile, Alabama is walkable, talkable and taller than I remembered. I'd also forgetten how French it is. 

For 60 years in early America, today's Azalea City was the capital of French Louisiana. Its downtown streets are named for saints and Dauphin Street honors the French heir to the throne.

To make the most of a visit to a city, I like to park in one place and spend the day sightseeing without having to move the RV (or the toad, if I have one.) My schedule for the day might include museums, funky shops and other points of interest plus morning coffee, lunch,  afternoon drinks.
    With springtime breezes blowing and the Colonial Fort about to reopen as an exciting new attraction, it was time to case downtown Mobile. My first stop in a big city is usually a Gray Line bus trip or trolley tour to see get my bearings. In Mobile, it’s a Gulf Coast Duck Boat. In and out of the water, the amphibious craft hits all the points of interest and it's a barrel of fun too.  I had a glimpse of the vast USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and put it on my must-see list for an all-day visit later.

    By the end of a Duck tour, you’ll have the lay of the land and a good idea of stops you want to make later. Here is just a taste of what’s within the downtown grid.:


* Serda’s Coffee Company for breakfast, morning coffee, lunch or an afternoon gelato. John Serda learned the coffee trade from the ground up as a student in Costa Rica. He imports, roasts and brews coffee fit for kings.  


    * Dauphin’s for a gourmet lunch with birds-eye,  34th-floor view of the city and bay. Owner and former NFL star Bob Baumhower is a masterful restaurateur who has put together a dazzling setting, gifted kitchen team and an extensive menu with sophisticated flair. 

    * Fathoms Lounge in the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel. This modern, high-rise hotel is a cool place for an afternoon refresher. Or drop into the Royal Street Tavern in the revered Battle House, also a Renaissance hotel.  This historic treasure has elegant touches worth a special visit just see the decor.

    * Bienville Books on historic Dauphin Street is a book lover’s paradise. If you’re like me, you could spend an entire day here.

    * The Colonial Fort of Mobile, founded in 1702, reopens soon as a modern, fast-paced, interactive attraction in the actual brick fort where it all began. Interpretive characters in period costume bring history alive for you from its French, Spanish, English and American past. Walk from here to the History Museum of Mobile, housed in an elegant old government building. Even if you have  no time to see the museum displays,  drop in to see the priceless WPA murals in the main entry.

    The vast vacationland that is southern Alabama is another story,  but for a day trip for city girl, downtown Mobile wins in a walk.

    See Janet Groene’s book Living Aboard Your RV, a Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels, 4th Edition.


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