A Day Along the Gulf
Summerdale, AL - Events of Monday, November 20, 2012
On Monday, Margery had a pre-admission appointment at the hospital to fill out paperwork prior to her second cataract surgery. After the appointment, we met Pat and Mike and headed south to Gulf Shores. We had read about Gulf Shores State Park in another RVer's blog and we all wanted to check it out for future reference. We also read in the blog about a new restaurant in nearby Orange Beach we wanted to try.
Our first stop was Gulf State Park located just to the east of Gulf Shores, AL. The state park has beaches, a 1,540-foot fishing pier, a golf course, a swimming pool and a campground. We were primarily interested in the campground.
Although the state park lies along the Gulf of Mexico, the campground is across the road from the beach.
We drove around several loops of the campground. There are almost 500 sites with full hookups and 30/50-amp electric. The pads and patios are paved, and the sites are nice and big. There are both pull-throughs that are parallel to the road and back-ins. Gulf State Park has definite possibilities if we should ever want to stay closer to the water when we come to Lower Alabama.
The volunteer at the entrance gate also invited us to stop at the nature center located in the campground. There are numerous live reptiles and amphibians in the nature center as well as taxidermy mammals and birds.
From the state park, we drove a few miles east to Orange Beach to the new restaurant called The Gulf where we had arranged to meet our neighbors from Rainbow Plantation, Lu and Larry.
The Gulf just opened about two weeks prior, and there is little information about it on the internet. They have a website, but as of this writing, the website has no real information about the restaurant - not even the address, hours or phone number. We wouldn't have known about it if it hadn't been for the blogs of a couple of other RVers who happen to be staying in the area.
The restaurant is located on the western side of Perdido Pass, which is a channel through the barrier island. The pass is actually the mouth of the Perdido River. The restaurant has an interesting design. It is constructed from 4 stacked shipping containers.
Ordering is at a walk-up window. There is a chalkboard menu beside the window. The most popular items seem to be the burger and the grouper sandwich, but there are other selections available including one or two specials that the chef comes up.
The Gulf has no indoor seating, so we're not sure what their plans are for winter. It has a lower deck, an upper deck, a grassy lawn and a sandy beach. There are tables and seating located in all these areas.
Note the fine, white lines in the photo above. There is monofilament fishing line strung from the palm trees to the upper deck criss-crossing over the lower dining areas to keep the sea gulls away. They seemed to be very effective because we didn't see any birds at all in the dining area.
One of the picnic tables had stools made from cast-iron tractor seats. Margery tried one and said it would make a perfect bicycle seat!
There is comfortable lounge seating on the beach...
...and on the upper deck. The floor of the upper deck is real grass and has its own irrigation sprinklers.
We chose a table on the grassy lawn because those tables had umbrellas for shade. Shade seemed like a good idea when we first arrived. However, we spent almost two hours there eating, chatting and looking around, so we were wishing for more sun as it cooled off in the late afternoon.
Lu and Larry had grouper sandwiches, and the rest of us had burgers. The prices at The Gulf are a little high, but aren't bad considering how good the food is and considering the waterfront location and ambiance. The grouper sandwiches are $12, and the burgers are $6. Hand-cut fries are $4. The sandwiches are served with half a huge dill pickle. Cheese for the burgers (American, blue or Swiss) is $1.50 extra bringing the total for a cheeseburger and fries to $11.50.
After we ate, we tried out some of the seats on the beach.
We loved The Gulf. Like Bahama Breeze, it really makes you feel like you are on vacation on a tropical island. Not only that, but the food is excellent. We can't wait to go back!