Sunday, April 9, 2017
Vacation | Our 30A Recommendations
Let's start with the drive... It's a 10.5 hour drive so we broke it up into 2 days. On the way down we stopped at the Hermitage in Nashville (on a whim, we didn't have this stop planned) and toured Andrew Jackson's home (historical sight for Andrew, check). We all really enjoyed the tour and the chance to stretch our legs, walking the surrounding grounds. We drove a bit further and stayed in Mountain Brook, AL for the night. Thanks to all the generous recommendations from Instagram followers, it was the perfect stopping point. We went to Vulcan Park and explored the little downtown areas of Homewood and Mountain Brook the next morning, before finishing up a rather short drive to Watercolor, FL.
Watercolor Inn and Resort
Seacrest (we had friends staying there - it was beautiful and so close to Rosemary)
Watersound (has a new England feel in the architecture)
Rosemary Beach (so charming and more shops than Seaside)
Alys Beach (especially if going on a girls trip or a couples trip - it's the prettiest of all the towns and feels the most upscale!)
Places to Eat:
Shrimp Shack (Seaside) Eat on the beach! Peel and eat shrimp and the BEST lemonade. We ate there twice.
George's (Alys Beach) for a nice dinner. I'm still dreaming about their coleslaw with the shaved brussel sprouts - so, so good
Bud and Ally's (Seaside) Eat outside to watch a pretty sunset. Crab cakes were amazing. It's definitely a tourist spot, but what there isn't?
The Great Southern Cafe (Seaside) Breakfast, lunch and dinner all looked excellent!
La Crema (Rosemary) Tapas and chocolate, enough said
Pizza Bar (Seaside) Pizza and salads
Cowgirl Kitchen (Seaside on 30A)
Charlie's Doughnuts (Alys Beach)
The food trucks in Seaside are all pretty good, from BBQ to Smoothies, oh and the Taco Bar too
Didn't go but it was recommended a number of times, Goatfeathers Fish Shop (there are two that we saw. Next time I will because eating out every afternoon and night was particularity pricey there, more so than Nantucket which surprised us)
Skip: The Hub Restaurants, The Wine Bar (Watercolor), unless just for drinks and nibbles, the dinner was so so.
We only went to Watercolor and it was lovely. Not sure there is a beach there that isn't. Best times to be on the beach, before 10:00 and after 4:00, but we were there all day. :)
The highlight of our trip was an afternoon where we chartered a boat and explored some very remote little islands and the bay area. It's a bit of drive, just under an hour, to Panama City. We spotted so many dolphins that swam right along side out boat. We found starfish (and put them back! don't worry!) and sand dollars and learned about all sorts of marine life. It was a magical adventure. Osprey Charters with Captain Greg. Link here. He is an amazing guide and will customize the trip for your family. He can take up to 12 on his boat. Highly recommend!!
All of us really loved the area. Anyplace with turquoise water and white sand beaches, plenty of fresh seafood and more time spent on bikes than in our car is a winning combination for us. There is definitely a heavy high school spring break scene happening, especially in Seaside, but it's mellow since there aren't bars or nightclubs, and most, I believe, are with adults, maybe? ;)
On the drive back we stopped overnight in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel (a favorite of our boys) and spent the next day there visiting a few fun spots like the 12 South area and the Parthenon replica (Andrew! He loves his Greek and Roman history!).
It was such a good trip, with so many fun memories made. We all came back relaxed and refreshed and ready to wrap this school year up and welcome summer. The older the boys get, the more fun traveling is and now that I know I can actually enjoy a road trip (biggest surprise of all on this vacation), it opens up so many more possibilities for us. Holiday road here we come!!!