Our family made a vacation trip to Orange Beach, Alabama this weekend because my best friend was getting remarried and I wanted to attend the wedding. This gave us a lovely excuse to spend three days at the beach and play. Orange Beach did not even really exist when I was a kid – we went to Gulf Shores then and Orange Beach was just a stretch of empty beach, some trailers and a water tower. Somehow, over the years, Orange Beach has become one of THE Southeastern beach destinations and it is now all built up with condos and hotels. For those of you who have not been to a beach in the Southeast of the country, the beaches there are lovely. The sand is soft and white, without any rocks. The water in the Gulf of Mexico is fairly smooth, with only small waves unless a storm is coming. These beaches are locally known as the “Redneck Riviera”.
When we arrived at the beach Friday afternoon in our plane, we went straight out to eat as we knew the local restaurants would be packed. Despite our arriving at 5:30, the wait for a table was already 50 minutes. We got our little buzzer thingie, and fortunately the shops around the area on the boardwalk had reception for the buzzer thingie, so we could shop while we waited. We went into a little fudge shop and bought some truffles and fudge for later. When The Oyster House finally seated us, the service was fairly quick. I got Alaskan King Crab legs, which I enjoyed taking apart with the crab crackers. Amanda enjoyed helping me eat the meat. We checked into our hotel after that and went for a night walk on the beach with a flashlight. When I was a kid, there used to be little crabs running all over the beach at night that scooted into little burrows when we walked past, but now the crabs are all gone. I don’t know if they are now endangered or extinct, but I haven’t seen one at the beach in years. We used to catch them and put them in buckets and watch them run around. You couldn’t put two crabs together in a bucket or they would fight. At any rate, no crabs and no good shells. It was Amanda’s first night beach walk though.
Saturday we woke up and went down to the beach in the morning. Amanda hadn’t been to the beach since she was three (she’s seven now), and she delightedly ran into the water and started bobbing up and down with the waves. A couple of times one knocked her over completely and she came out of the water spluttering and spitting out salt water, which she described as “bluchy.” I laid out on a towel in the sand and watched her, and unbeknownst to me wound up getting a bit of a sunburn that showed up later. My husband came down and got in the water with her a bit. I took a picture of Amanda in her bikini against the waves and posted it on Facebook.
After returning to the room and cleaning up, Kevin wanted to take Amanda to an amusement park. We found an arcade with go carts and putt putt golf, which Amanda has never played. I brought my camera along and took lots of pictures. First we golfed and Kevin was insistent that Amanda learn the correct stance for putting just as if we were playing real golf. She was a bit impatient with this. She would up doing pretty well though, except for a couple of wild holes. After golf, it was time for the go carts. We let Amanda warm up with a miniature cart that she drove herself. Then she and Kevin got into a big go cart and took off around the course. I got some great pictures of them flying around the curve coming towards me. Then it was time for a nap and an early dinner. Kevin wanted to make sure and eat before we went to the wedding because we weren’t sure what kind of food they would serve.
After that, wedding time! We had a little trouble finding the place, because as usual, the GPS was not the brightest, but find it we did, and just in time. This was Amanda’s second wedding (her first she was a flower girl) and she was not so excited about it. She was mostly excited about playing with my friend’s boys, whom she really loves. This was a second wedding for my friend also (I was maid of honor in her first one) so it was a more low key deal. It was right on the bay, with a lovely sunset right in front of us. The weather was perfect and everyone had on sundresses and enjoyed the balmy breeze. After the ceremony, we adjourned for the reception inside, and I must say, we needn’t have worried about there being enough food! They had barbecue and delicious yeast rolls, and potato salad and of course, CAKE. The cake was delicious with caramel frosting. The color motif for the wedding was turquoise, and the bows on all the tables and chairs were turquoise, as was the frosting on the cake. My friend made herself a turquoise necklace to go with her wedding dress. She had on turquoise flip flops under her dress. The groom wore a white shirt and khaki pants, and the wedding party all wore turquoise shirts with khaki, and her boys wore flip flops too. It was a sure enough beach wedding! We enjoyed the reception and dancing, until it got late enough that we decided to go and ride the ferris wheel at the Wharf.
The ferris wheel at the Wharf is a permanent installment and I believe is considered one of the largest ferris wheels in the Southeast. The last time we were there, Amanda was three and she was too scared to ride on it. Kevin was determined that this time we would go for a ride. So we stood in line and got tickets, and we sure enough rode that ferris wheel. The view from up there was great. Afterwards we walked around the shops a little bit and enjoyed the evening breeze. When we got back to the hotel it was time for Amanda to hit the bed!
Sunday morning we woke to cooler weather. Kevin took Amanda back down to the beach, but I elected to stay behind in the room and nap. Amanda enjoyed the water even though the air was cooler, and when they came back she had found some shells she wanted to keep. After that, it was time to return home. We hit the airport at about noon, and got home about two o’clock. Having that little plane sure is handy – otherwise we would have had a six hour drive! We got home and our lovely trip was over. Hopefully we will get back to the beach before another four years elapse.