The Gulf Shores & Orange Beach project

August 1, 2016


Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogSeveral weeks ago I told you I was working on a big project with a deadline. I’m happy to say I’ve completed the assignment and enjoyed every minute of it. My task was to write the copy for the 2017 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Convention and Visitor’s Official Vacation Guide.


Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog

At around 100 pages, it’s a beautiful, glossy magazine that features our wonderful beach communities in Alabama. The guide is available to anyone who wants more information about visiting or relocating to our area. The photographs are like a coffee table book and will make you wish you were at the beach the moment you first lay eyes on them.

Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog

I was a perfect fit for this job because I’ve lived on the Gulf Coast for most of my life and know first hand why it’s such a great area. But even with my lifetime of experiences, I didn’t even realize how many awesome new things there are to do here. I uncovered loads of activities for families, singles and retirees and found places to eat that were brand new. Parks I had visited as a child had grown and developed into full service destinations with the addition of zip lines, paddle boarding and sailing lessons.


Sea Turtle Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogThe natural resources here are incredibly diverse and to be tasked with the job to write about it all was an honor and challenge.


And . . . it was a total coincidence, but not a big surprise, that BEFORE I took the job of writing this guide, our family had already made reservations to spend a week, where else? But on the Alabama Gulf Coast.


The Gulf Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogSince schedules were crazy this year with teenagers working their summer jobs and taking classes, we decided to stick close to home and found a wonderful condo to rent, owned by friends here in Fairhope, that was about an hour away in Orange Beach.

Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog

Since I had just written the official guide for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, I was the go-to girl for all the hot spots and immediately herded everyone to The Gulf Restaurant, which is made of shipping containers! How do you like this driftwood chair? I would love to have this on my back porch!


Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogThe outdoor restaurant is very casual, and sits on the pass where you can watch the boats float by while you eat delicious seafood. During the week, we also loved eating at Cobalt, Little New Orleans, Liquid Life and . . .


Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog Doc's Seafood Shacktwice at Doc’s Seafood Shack.



Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog The WharfOne of our favorites was Ginny Lane, located at The Wharf. Our table ordered oysters, shrimp and grits, the fish special and the steak special, and every single thing was amazing. It was very crowded, but worth the wait.


Andy Andrews books, Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogSince our group consisted of teenagers up to my parents, strolling through the shops, or sitting on benches to enjoy the nightly light show in the palm trees was the perfect evening out at The Wharf for us. This store , MII, featured one of my favorite authors, Andy Andrews, who happens to be a much loved resident of Orange Beach.


Although I’ve read most of Andy’s books, (HERE)  I somehow missed The Heart Mender, so my Mom kindly bought me a copy and I’m reading it now.


Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogHere’s my brother Robert (from the firehouse HERE), trying out an inflatable Air Bag in Objects, also located in The Wharf.



The Wharf, Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogThe Wharf has fun activities scheduled throughout the summer. The night we were there, a petting zoo was visiting and giving children camel rides. We actually returned a second night to eat ice cream and see a movie.


Wharf store, Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blogMost of the shops like MII, above, have a charming coastal theme.


Wharf, Orange Beach Alabama, Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog

We had such a nice time visiting the beach in our own backyard. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach are a big playground for people like us, who have known and loved this beach area for generations, but it’s such a friendly place, first time visitors will feel like it’s their hometown beach as well.


I have one more store I fell in love with that I’ll show you later, so watch for that post coming up soon!


The 2017 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Visitor’s Guide won’t be available just yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s released so you can get a copy for yourself! Until then, here’s their beautiful web site: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach





Leave a Reply

  1. Shhhhh! Don’t tell everyone how nice it is, let’s try to keep it a little southern secret 🙂 Congrats on the Vistor’s Guide, I can’t wait to see it!

  2. Leslie Anne, thank you so much for so faithfully and beautifully portraying our gorgeous Gulf Coast! I love your writing and it always transports me “back home” to Mobile, Mobile Bay, Fairhope, Magnolia Springs and Point Clear, the staging areas of my youth! As a thirty six year resident of south Louisiana, which has many charms of its own, I still harbor hope that one day before I die I’ll be able to return permanently to Baldwin County! My five grandchildren NEED to understand and experience the rare and beautiful Gulf Coast; of shelling, swimming, skiing, sand castle building, the fishing rodeo and catching and cooking the dinner you caught yourself. Also in my grandmotherly fantasy….NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES!!! Ahhh, to dream!

    1. Well, let me know when you arrive, because your place sounds wonderful. I’ll bring the fish bait and leave my phone at the door!

      Thank you so much for this wonderful note, and here’s wishing you South Alabama dreams!

      1. Praying for these blessings daily. Nothing is impossible with God, except perhaps waterfront living in Baldwin County. But one can dream and plan. I’ll let you know when I arrive, and we can fish and talk about ALL THINGS SOUTHERN!!!

  3. Congrats, Leslie Anne on the Visitors Guide! I always love the Alabama beaches, but I am like Jenna, try not to speak too loudly! I love Andy Andrews and have read all of his books! Thanks for all the restaurant info!

    1. Andy is a great writer and has such a fascinating personal story. He really loves this area and we’re glad he makes his home here.

  4. Leslie Anne, I’m so proud of you! This is huge! I definitely would like a copy when they’re available. I would proudly display it on my coffee table and show all visitors here the work of my talented blog friend, as well as pointing out to them another wonderful place to vacation.

    And how fortunate that you and your family test-drove the area for everyone as well as being a born and bred Gulf girl. Can’t get much more expert guidance than that!

    1. I’ll definitely let everyone know when it’s ready. The team that puts the “sparkle” on the final copy is amazing. I’m so anxious to see it. Thanks for your encouraging words!

  5. We may have been there at the same time! We arrived on the 23rd and left on the 30th. We stayed on Fort Morgan Beach. But, ate at The Gulf, The Oyster House and for the first time tried Fisher’s Upstairs. My Mom turned 80 and we celebrated in style. We sure didn’t have the shells you had.

    1. Oh wow! Those are the same dates we were there! I went out very early in the morning after a stormy night to find that many shells, and up close, it looks like more. Hope you had a wonderful time!

  6. Well, I’ll be…Of course I know my geography, but to be honest I never really think of Alabama and the beach so this is amazing. The restaurants look marvelous and the shrimp and grits although not pictured make me want some right now. I have just returned from the beach so i know how relaxing and life inspiring it can be…great post.

    1. Ugh…sorry I should proof read before posting a comment…missing commas and capitalization. Please don’t tell the grammar police.

      1. I didn’t even notice. I was so happy you realized Alabama has a coastline, the rest wasn’t important! Come visit sometime!

  7. Hi Little Bitty Pretty! Oh, you were perfect for the write up about your glorious area! I love seeing you in that huge chair – you never let me down being the most beautiful one! Thanks for popping in and commenting about Instagram. I’ve just been poking up a snap each day! 🙂 We’ll see how long that lasts.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  8. You totally mentioned some of my favorites here. Pat and I have loved Ginny Lane since they opened and The Gulf is definitely a winner as well. Sounds like y’all had a fun vacation. Congrats on the cool gig writing about such a fun area. I know we love it.

  9. Ooooohhhhh, this is perfect timing… immediate family-parents, brother and sisters and families and my family-will be spending a week in a house in Orange Beach next summer! I’ve been excited, because I have been reading your blog for some time and we are soooo close! I can’t wait to read your travel guide. Coming from Dubuque, Iowa, I’m sure it is a whole other world and can’t wait to experience the South!!! I do love your blog and sorry not much of a commenter, but know you are read by me regularly. 🙂

    1. Oh Stacey, how wonderful to hear from you! You’ll have a great time at the beach, and I’m so glad you’ll be able to visit. We do grow lots of corn here, but other than that, I think it will be very different from what you see in Iowa. For some reason, when we were at the beach this time, I saw tons of license tags from Iowa. Glad y’all are coming to visit! Thanks for reading and the nice comment.

  10. Congratulations on being selected to write the copy for the Gulf Coast guide. The research must have been lots of fun! I love the housewares shop you pictured. I could move right in!

    1. It’s been a while since I was into any kind of research, but this is a topic I love, so it was fun!

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