“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” -Martin Buber
I have learned, over the years, to always ask someone local for the best places to go. If you tell them you want local and not touristy, they typically will send you to some of the best places you will ever go.
While staying at The Admiral Hotel (https://www.theadmiralhotel.com/) in Mobile during our whirlwind college tours, we asked the front desk clerk (I believe his name was Casey) the best local places to go. He answered with “Well, it’s a some local with a little tourist mixed in but if you are looking for a great place to go, just walk two blocks that way. To the left is Bier Garten (http://www.lodabeer.com/#loda-bier-garden) with T.P. Crockmiers (http://tpcrockmiers.com/) right across the street. It is a great street to explore, with many options.” So two blocks we go and walk right into one of the best little areas of downtown Mobile. It was adorable! To the right of the intersection, there are twinkle lights hanging across the street and to the left is an adorable park and a beautiful old cathedral. The Bier Garten looked good but they have a downtown bike ride that stops at there on Wednesday nights, so it became quite busy rather quickly. T.P. Crockmiers was significantly quieter at the time, so that is what we chose. Hubby had the Monte Cristo, mini-me had the Hickory burger and I had the Western Burger, all of which were quite good. While the service was a little slow, the food is good and the building is beautiful, so definitely worth a try.
After dinner, mini-me went back to the room to relax while hubby and I went for a walk to the river. We walked past Mardi Gras Park (http://www.cityofmobile.org/mardigras.php) with the different statues, the Mobile Government Plaza, and the Christ Church Cathedral, down to the river and the river walk. In this area, there is a place that builds ships so there are a few large ships right in front of you, a park with benches in order to relax and watch the boats and ships go by, and the Gulf Coast Explorium Science Center (http://www.exploreum.com/). Although this is approximately a ten block walk, there and back, it is definitely worth every step.
Although most people believe Mardi Gras began in New Orleans, Louisiana, this city-wide party marking the beginning of lent actually began fifteen years earlier in Mobile, Alabama, the original capital of the French Louisiana Territory. The festival itself began in 1703, with the first masked ball in 1704, and first parade in 1711. With locals wary of hurricane destruction, the capital was moved to New Orleans and the celebration followed. Returning to Mobile in 1866, the Mardi Gras celebration brought secret societies and large magnificent floats with it. While the secret societies still exist today, many of the parades are open to anyone who wants to join.
While this was just a one night stay in the area, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and the places we explored while we were there. We will definitely be making plans to go back for a longer visit soon. Hopefully during Mardi Gras season!