I’m standing on the shore of Mobile Bay marveling at the three-level condos set on 15-foot poles hovering above the water. They weren’t built for humans but are literally for the birds. Purple Martins, to be exact, who spend a lot of time in coastal Alabama during nesting season before continuing on with their annual migration.
An elderly gentleman saunters up and asks what I think about the birds’ lodging. “It’s amazing,” I say. “What a great idea.” As we talk further, I realize that I’m speaking with a local legend, Garland Sims, of the Mobile Bay Audubon Society, the man whose idea it was to erect the Purple Martin Riviera. These kind of encounters are common here. You’re just as likely to run into famous authors like Winston Groom (Forrest Gump), Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe), and Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Bragg, who all call the area home.
From the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico the shores of Mobile Bay, it’s a laid back place with great lodging choices for the birds as well as the humans. Many of these Alabama beach resorts are places where you can park the car (or the boat) and not have to worry about getting back in it until you leave.