Rachael Barlock
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Alabama 2018

My parents love to vacation in Gulf Shores + Orange Beach, Alabama. In April, 2018 I joined them - the first time I've been in several years, and brought bf. It has that U.P. vibe without 6 feet of snow!

Super windy day one with lots of salty humidity in the air. 

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My dad & I drove in to town to get "the lay of the land", as he likes to say. I did a little research and found what seemed to be a cozy little coffee shop that had pour overs - I've accidentally become a coffee snob. I was jazzed to find this place called FOAM Coffee! Super cute interior, intelligentsia coffee. 

They also have some cafe-type items, and was one of the only places I could eat more than one thing on the menu. 

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Want this shirt? He sells 'em. Click the photo!

Want this shirt? He sells 'em. Click the photo!

Mama, Chris, + I went for a windy, salty beach walk post coffee. The temp was like 80 degrees--so glorious.

It was definitely too windy and overcast to just hang on the beach, but I still stripped down! If you have a big bum like me, I highly recommend Aerie for swimwear. They had a deal that was like buy a top, get a bottom for $5. It was great + I'm super happy with the color combo I went with. Vintage scarf from Radical Hens

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We got dinner at The Hangout, which is a huge, family-friendly place right on the beach. They have a little ampitheater, an outdoor bar, fooseball tables, yard games + other activities like that. Looked like the seafood was great, but for vegan options, salad + french fries. Meh. This place hosts a big music fest every year in May that seems to host a lot of big name artists. Not sure what everyone does when they're in town or where everyone fits, but I'd go back for Kendrick Lamar!

They have big garage doors that open when it's nice, lotsa light, but also the servers have to sing and dance, and it brought me back to my applebees days - cringeworthy. 

Apparently they just redid their menu, and the meaty stuff did look awesome. Lots of GF, no vegan. BOO. 

Post-food, we did the souvenir shops. I know they all have the same garbagey, gimicky shit, but I LOVE it. The one we went to first has a massive shark out front. TBH I want a big animal shaped structure as my front door. 

Got some post cards to send to our friends, watched the sad hermit crabs, did A LOT of eye rolls at the confederate flag shit (seriously wtf), and bought a lapel pin. 

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We stayed at a condo called Lei Lani in Orange Beach. It was pretty nice, nothing crazy extravagant like some of them. However, the bed situation left a little to be desired, comfort-wise. There was also a tornado warning for much of the time we were there and the wind was pretty loud outside. Luckily no touchdowns! 

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Day two was much clearer, but still so insanely windy. Took another (quick) beach walk. The beach was pretty deserted, whether that was because spring break season was over or because of the wind, I'm not sure. It was kinda nice. 

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We visited this place called The Wharf, which is essentially a little shopping center. A few cute stores, an arcade, bars, a marina, movie theater, and a ferris wheel.

 

 

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One pretty neat spot is The Gulf. Right on the water, made of shipping containers, and has a cute little gift shop (I'm such a sucker, but will def contact them about carrying Hazel + Dolly). My parents got a drink, and sleepy boi + I sat on some outdoor couches. I saw at least 3 birds fly by with fish in their little feets, and that was pretty dope. It has a really neat lounge area that's super spread out. We didn't eat here, but I don't think there was anything vegan on the menu. 

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See? Totally deserted beach! So beautiful! 

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For day 2 evening we all just lounged and read our respective books. I'm currently reading Incognegro, but forgot it in my rush to pack.  I downloaded a book from amazon instead, and then took over my mom's candy crush games, tbh. Anyway, as we're reading, the Blue Angels flew past our balcony. They were SO CLOSE, but I wasn't prepared to snap a photo. I got this as they were coming back though. I guess there was an air show earlier in the day and they just happened to fly by. It was wild!

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We had coffee at FOAM again, and some breakfast. I had an acai bowl + avocado toast, both really good! After that we packed up and headed to Pensacola. That's the airport we flow into, so we decided to spend the day there before we had to be at the airport. We went to the Naval Air Museum, which was super cool. Tons of airplanes + history. Killer patches + pins in the gift shop, too (see, a sucker). We finished off the mini vacay with food at Skopelos, which was the best food I had the whole trip. They had a bunch of vegan options, plus awesome meat and seafood options for my fam. I had the buffalo cauliflower + the mushroom pasta. Both KILLER! 

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The signage + graphic design on some of the old signs and products were soooo sick. 

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That was a lot to share! But I wanted to start documenting my travels, especially to share my google maps so others can check out the same spots!