Haunted Daphne

My husband and I went yard-sale hopping one morning and followed signs into a little area in Daphne we’ve never been.  It’s one of those neighborhoods you pass but don’t give too much thought to.  The houses are cute, the tree canopy is thick and it looks nice but not enough to wonder what’s back there.  Many of the homes run along the main road which is not appealing to me but we were pleasantly surprised with what we found.

Along the way stands this large, definitely out-of-place, two-story structure with stuccoed walls.  Tidily kept as though it is currently used for something, the window shutters were screwed shut, as was the door.  The grass around it kept neatly.  The corner stone, was difficult to read; something about Daphne.

Time passed and I was looking at a cartoon-style map of Daphne with some landmarks labeled.  That building was labeled haunted, so I had to look it up on the internet.haunted daphne 004 (c) eileensaunders

haunted daphne 003 (c) eileensaundersHere’s what I found: During the Civil War the neighboring families decided to put their valuables into a well once they heard the Northern army was heading their way.  A Confederate soldier stood guard but he was shot and killed and the loot was taken.  His spirit is said to haunt the area.  A building was erected in the 1920s over the well. It was originally a grocery store, then a Masonic Lodge.  It is now owned by the Daphne Police Department.  There are a few stories of hauntings you can read about here.

The building sits on Old Spanish Trail behind Riviera Utilities building.  You can access it by turning east on Whispering Pines, then take your first right passed the utility company.

Enjoy the link above. There are more fascinating stories of old Daphne, AL.  You never know what you might find tucked away in a neighborhood.

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Azaleas in Bloom

It’s approaching four years that I’ve been living in Fairhope across the Bay from Azalea City…Mobile, AL. I’ve heard from time to time that I should see the azaleas in bloom at the Botanic Gardens so this year I went.

The website claimed “peak” for the azaleas and other flowering plants so the boys and I took the day off from school and went over for a visit. The sky was clear, the air was crisp and in the 60s. Quite a pleasant day.

There is a major plant sale event this weekend and we saw the operation setting up but scooted past in search of the “peak” azaleas.
Although there were plenty of flowers, I was wondering if we had been a bit early for some varieties or a bit late. The first group of azaleas had a ton of buds on them. Passing those, we spotted a large walkway lined with blooms, followed by plants that were obviously past peak with dried out, brown flowers stuck to the leaves. I guess we missed peak.

But there’s a silver lining…I got to see the azaleas at the Mobile Botanic Garden.

The boys and I walked throughout the whole garden, visiting the camellias and the fern garden as well. We spotted birds, and bees. We saw two metal sculptures and had a great time discussing the environment around us. We had a good time.

bug sculpture 1

bug sculpture 1

Bug sculpture 2

Bug sculpture 2

Camellia

Camellia

Fern Garden

Fern Garden

After we left the grounds I spotted white pelicans in the lake across the street. They were in a feeding frenzy in the center of the lake. Poor fish!

Insect art sculpture at the art museum near the Botanic Gardens

Insect art sculpture at the art museum near the Botanic Gardens

I’m glad I got to the Botanic Gardens but have to note that I saw more blooms and brilliant colors and variety in my neighborhood and the ones we drove through in Mobile, on our way home. This area loves its flowering plants and right now the azaleas are in bloom.

Coastal Ideas on Pinterest

I live along the  Gulf Coast and love all things coastal.  So I’ve been collecting things on my Pinterest page that are Coastal Inspirations.

Some people pin an enormous amount of items and I wonder if they’re really pinning for themselves or just randomly what they like that day.  I prefer to pin what I like and what represents what I’d realistically like to have, make, do or visit.  So, my pin board is not a large collection; only about 100 pins but it reflects what inspires me.

I also love Starfish so I have a separate board for everything Sea StarHope it inspires you.

Sunshine, crystals and rainbows

Each year as the sun seems to swing south in the sky, light streams  into the front of my house at an angle which hits the crystals on my dining room lamp and the house lights up with rainbows.

October 8 was the first day the rainbows started in 2012. The light show ended the beginning of March.  I love waking up to see this spectacular sight before I get my morning coffee but I don’t mind it being over.  Now it’s spring time and the sun is swinging north in the sky.  Soon it will be directly over my house, my vegetable garden will begin to thrive and my husband will be cutting the grass weekly.

I’m psyched.

Audubon Zoo

We went on down to the Aubudon Zoo(c) eileensaunders

And they all asked for you.

The monkeys asked(c) eileensaunders

The elephants asked(c) eileensaunders

The alligators asked me, too.(c) eileensaunders

Not the exact song lyrics, but you get the point. You should have gone with us.  The weather was great (warmish and sunny) and the crowd was minimal so we could walk and see what we liked without that “herding” feeling you get sometimes just going along with the crowd.

The boys and I went with a group of about 100 homeschoolers from the area so we got a great rate. But even if you have a minimum of 10 in your group you can get in for $3/person. What a great deal!

It’s been years since I had been to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and my children have never been so it was time to go. Did they like it? Yes. How did it rank with other zoos we’ve been to? Well…they loved it. It’s up there at the top.

I think the Audubon Zoo is fantastic. The design was great and the animals were all out and fun to see (I took lots of pix) except for one small display being remodeled. That’s ok.  We saw:

Elephants, Porcupines, Lemurs.

Otters, Wildebeest, Zebra.

Monkeys, Orangutans, Giraffes.

Flamingos, Reptiles, and Cougars.

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

(c) eileensaunders(c) eileensaunders(c) eileensaundersWe also found fat unicorns, and millions of Whistling Ducks living for the season in the Zoo’s lake. The Swamp area was the best and just as I remembered. I loved seeing the white alligators again.(c) eileensaunders

There are other things to do: a children’s playground, Dinosaur Adventure, Carousel, and a splash pad for the summer to beat all.  It’s so big there’s a train you can purchase a pass for to take you around, drop you off and pick you back up for the next stop.

Last time Gary and I were at the Audubon Zoo, the Louisiana Swamp Festival was taking place on the grounds and we had a blast. The most memorable part, only because we still talk about it, was the Moss Man…a cutout of a swamp monster looking thing you can put your face through on one side, covered with Spanish Moss on the other side. Gary stood there and I took a picture. He had chiggers from the moss and was in horrible discomfort for a few days. Lesson to be learned: do not hang out with fresh Spanish Moss. But, we had a good time!

If you’re heading to New Orleans this summer, check out the Audubon Zoo so they can stop asking me about you.