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Seaside sunning relaxes, rejuvenates

I just returned from another restful and fun-filled vacation on the Gulf Coast.

Last week Geanell and I and four of her first cousins were guests of another first cousin, John Griffin, and a second cousin, Kenny Thompson, at their duplex beachfront house. Their house overlooks the Gulf along with hundreds of others that line the south side of Fort Morgan Highway, west of Gulf Shores.

Each time I visit Gulf Shores, I am reminded that Alabama has one of the best-kept secrets in the country on its coast, a 30-mile strip of white sand beach that extends west to east from Fort Morgan to the Florida state line.

As senior citizens, we spent more time shopping at the mall outlets, dining out at popular seafood restaurants and playing card games than we did riding the ocean waves and building sand castles on the beach; nevertheless, it was a beneficial and fun-filled experience.

Weather conditions ranged from a thunderstorm with wind and rain to beautiful with sun-splashed skies. As our holiday approached its end Friday, the area was under the threat of severe thunderstorms with the possibility of a tornado. The ocean was choppy and dangerous; Thursday night the skies were filled with loud thunder, lightning and wind-blown rain. Temperatures dipped into the 60-degree range and made us feel more comfortable wearing long-sleeved shirts or covering up in wraps while sitting on the beachside porch and watching huge waves crash against the beach.

Sunshine, blue skies and mid-70 temperatures dominated the weather for the remainder of the week.

The days were filled with sumptuous seafood meals, shopping at nearby outlet stores, catching glimpses of porpoises swimming by and watching cargo ships moving into and out of Mobile Bay.

A tour of the Gulf Shores area leaves one amazed at the transformation that has taken place to accommodate tourists during the past 20 years. The beachfront in the Fort Morgan area is practically filled with individually-owned beach houses. They come in all shapes and colors, and most are rental properties.

Downtown Gulf Shores has the appearance of a picture postcard, with giant palm trees and colorful flowerbeds marking each street corner. Businesses ranging from sit-down restaurants to gift shops line every stree,t and a wide variety of recreation facilities are available.

Days away from home have left me behind with my gardening. The veggies are growing, and so are grass and weeds. It’s time to get to hoeing and plowing.