Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….to Pensacola and Mobile!
One of our major stops on the cross country motor home trip I took with my brother and sister-in-law in 2016 was Houma, LA. We spent ten days there visiting with my
nephew and his family. I broke away from the rest of the family for a three day mini-adventure on my own. I discovered that Pensacola was about a four and a half hour drive from Houma. I had been to central and eastern Florida, but not the panhandle or the gulf coast side. Also, I have a friend who lives in Pensacola I wanted to visit. So….yep…..I decided I had to go!
I booked two nights at the Pensacola Victorian Bed and Breakfast – a GREAT choice! The write-up about it said it was reported to be haunted, but I found it to be charming and quite unique. I love staying at B&B’s when I am able and usually check that option before looking into hotels. Once I had my plan and accommodations in place, I took off in the rental car and followed a route that kept me hugging the gulf coast from Houma, through New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, and on to Pensacola – awesome scenery all along the way.
I arrived in Pensacola mid-afternoon and was really sleepy from the drive, so I checked in at the B&B and took a little nap. That evening, I found a little seafood shack for a delicious dinner and drove around a bit to get my bearings.
The morning of my second day, I hit the beach. Pensacola Beach is absolutely STUNNING with silky white sand that felt amazing when I stuck my toes in it. I sat and enjoyed the sun and water for a while and then had a fabulous shrimp boil lunch at a place called “Crabs” with the tag line: “We Got Crabs” – Hahaha!
After leaving the beach, I took a drive down a scenic road along the gulf coast with water on both sides and stopped for some amazing photo ops. I even found two alien homes that were built to resemble spaceships.
When I knew I was going to Pensacola, I really hoped I’d see some pink flamingoes, but, apparently they tend to be further south and didn’t get to see any. But, I did stumble on a “Pelican Hangout” – a harbor FULL of pelicans! I got so excited, I found a place to park and spent some time watching their antics and taking photos. I got a kick out of one perched on a pillar out in the harbor that was fiercely defending his turf from a seagull who was determined to take it over – the pelican won and I cheered his victory!
That evening, I was able to meet up with my friend, Debbie. She took me to a wonderful Irish Pub for a delicious steak dinner. We walked off our meal by strolling through a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park. This is a must see if in Pensacola – very impressive! They even had a traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. At that time, I hadn’t seen the one in DC, so I was happy to see it there. A few years later, I finally got to see the one in DC.
After a full day and an excellent meal, I had a second good night’s sleep in the B&B (no weird noises or smells from the reported hauntings either night – either I was too tired and slept through it or the spirits were behaving while I was there….hehehe). The next day, I went to the Naval Base to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum and stopped at a lovely lighthouse on the way. The museum is another must see in Pensacola – amazing! I could have spent an entire day there, but I needed to get on the road back to Houma. So, I wandered through the first floor and was totally blown away by what I saw – I really wish I had planned a full third day there so I could have spent more time.
On my way back to Houma, I saw a sign for a Battleship Park in Mobile, AL. I decided to make an unscheduled stop just long enough to get a few photos…..well, almost three hours later, I was back on the road. What got me side-tracked was one of those amphibian tour vehicles – you know the ones – a Duck Tour that drives on the road and then right into the water for a cruise. I had never been on one and always wanted to, so…..I did!!! And, I had a BLAST!!! We went all over downtown Mobile and then saw more of the city from the water. The guide and driver made it so much fun — they played the song “Sweet Caroline” and turned up the volume for the chorus and we all sang along as loud as we could….and, the best part was when we got to the part that goes “Sweet Caroline, bah, bah, bah” we were told to sing “quack, quack, quack”, instead and some of the people had loud duck call quackers to use – it was so much fun! We stopped at a red light by a group of people sitting outside at a café and when we sang, they joined in and sang with us. Best time ever!!! I went on another duck tour in Seattle a couple years later and it was fun, too, but not as great as the one in Mobile – it will always be my favorite duck tour!
I also learned that there is a major rivalry between Mobile and New Orleans about exactly who started Mardi Gras. Mobile claims that they were the beginning of it all because the person who did the first Carnival started the parade in Mobile and it went all the way to New Orleans, where it lasted several weeks and became a tradition there. The people of New Orleans say it was created by a Frenchman from New Orleans and it just happened that the parade started in Mobile. Whatever the real origin is, both cities are able to lay claim to some part of it.
I’m glad I decided to take a side-trip mini-adventure to experience Pensacola and Mobile and to spend a wonderful evening with my friend, Debbie.
Visit my blog for all the photos from my drive along the Gulf Coast and time in Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL: (click here)