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Road trip along Gulf coast from FL to TX
Old 01-20-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
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Road trip along Gulf coast from FL to TX

We are planning on leaving in Feb, drive to around Pensacola, FL then meander along the Gulf coast for about three weeks, then head back home. We would be interested in any suggestions you have, places to see, things to do, great places to eat and stay. Thinking of finding a nice B&B in Mobile, see the city for a few days. Then on to New Oleans, do the same. I think also Galveston. And if we have time we want to try to get to Padre Island, TX. I am sure someone has done this before or lives in one of these areas and could give us some local advise. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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That sounds like fun!

You are likely to run into college spring breakers near the beach areas--not sure where you could check on that.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #3
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Don't forget the Mississippi Gulf Coast. US90 is within sight of the Ocean from Ocean Springs, MS to Bay St. Louis, MS. Lots of motels, restaurants, casinos, beach, fishing, shopping etc. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has largely recovered from Hurricane Katrina, although there is still visible damage.

You may be interested in touring Beauvoir, the last home for Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis at Biloxi.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #4
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Maybe stop by Fairhope Al which is across the bay from Mobile.
Neat little artsy community. Was high on our retirement list til the hurricanes blew through a few years ago.
If you are so inclined, Pensacola has a great Naval Aviation Museum.
From there I'd meander along the Alabama coast and up to Fairhope before crossing to Mobile
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:11 PM   #5
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Don't forget the Mississippi Gulf Coast. US90 is within sight of the Ocean from Ocean Springs, MS to Bay St. Louis, MS. Lots of motels, restaurants, casinos, beach, fishing, shopping etc. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has largely recovered from Hurricane Katrina, although there is still visible damage.

You may be interested in touring Beauvoir, the last home for Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis at Biloxi.
+ 1 for Ocean Springs, also for a real southern dinner try
Mary Mahoney's | Restaurant in Biloxi , this is the old south, waiters with white gloves, and a lot of food. In New Orleans Commander's Palace - Home , and a fine turtle soup. For casual dining Welcome to the ACME Oyster House website! | Acme Oyster House , in the French Quarter.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:24 PM   #6
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Gasoline is much less expensive in Mississippi and Alabama versus the other States. Time your gas stops to take advantage. Intersting area to walk the beach in Ocean Springs Ms, especially at low tide. Several older homes to admire too. Galveston is rebuilding after hurricane and I've been told the pier has become a relevant attraction.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:34 PM   #7
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+ 1 for Ocean Springs, also for a real southern dinner try
Mary Mahoney's | Restaurant in Biloxi , this is the old south, waiters with white gloves, and a lot of food. In New Orleans Commander's Palace - Home , and a fine turtle soup. For casual dining Welcome to the ACME Oyster House website! | Acme Oyster House , in the French Quarter.
I have heard of turtle soup forever. I have not had a chance to try it, but wonder what good soup can come from an animal with mostly shell and black leathery skin.

Just looked up on the Web and saw images of turtle soup with a turtle or perhaps just the shell floating in the bowl. I hope that's not the style of Creole turtle soup. Still, I think I will try some nutria first before turtle soup. A nutria looks "meaty" compared to a turtle, you'll have to agree.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:03 PM   #8
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I would second the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum and the MS Gulf Coast (to include lunch at Mary Mahoneys). The Gulfport small craft harbor has been completely redone and has a park next to it. Kind of fun just to watch the boats and hang out. I grew up in Texas, not far from Galveston and I've never really develped much of an affection for Galveston Island. Enjoy.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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Let me know if you find anything interesting or worthwhile. I never have despite vacationing along the Gulf Coast for over 20 years. You can teach me something.

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:10 PM   #10
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Let me know if you find anything interesting or worthwhile. I never have despite vacationing along the Gulf Coast for over 20 years. You can teach me something.
Ouch...
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:18 PM   #11
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I also highly recommend the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. Plan on a full day. Also plan on going to the Gulf Island National Seashore (locations in both FL near Pensacola and MS) - some of the most beautiful beaches around. Also, years ago I went to Bellingrath Gardens just outside of Mobile, and still remember how lovely it was!
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:20 PM   #12
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Gasoline is much less expensive in Mississippi and Alabama versus the other States. Time your gas stops to take advantage. Intersting area to walk the beach in Ocean Springs Ms, especially at low tide. Several older homes to admire too. Galveston is rebuilding after hurricane and I've been told the pier has become a relevant attraction.
Gasoline is definitely less in MS and AL. We find the lowest prices between NW FL and New Orleans in MS.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:50 PM   #13
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I have heard of turtle soup forever. I have not had a chance to try it, but wonder what good soup can come from an animal with mostly shell and black leathery skin.

Just looked up on the Web and saw images of turtle soup with a turtle or perhaps just the shell floating in the bowl. I hope that's not the style of Creole turtle soup. Still, I think I will try some nutria first before turtle soup. A nutria looks "meaty" compared to a turtle, you'll have to agree.
Turtle soup is heavenly! It is customary to float a little sherry on top. It is "to die for", as the expression goes.

Some of my old friends down in Cajun country eat nutria, but that is not for me. I am too much of a city girl.
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Gasoline is definitely less in MS and AL. We find the lowest prices between NW FL and New Orleans in MS.
I got gas today at an Exxon station in Metairie (close in New Orleans suburb). Premium cost me $3.39/gallon.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #14
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Turtle soup is heavenly! It is customary to float a little sherry on top. It is "to die for", as the expression goes.

Some of my old friends down in Cajun country eat nutria, but that is not for me. I am too much of a city girl.
But, but, but what do the little pieces of turtle meat look like in the soup, this enquiring mind likes to know?

Is it dark, or white like chicken and tastes like chicken too?
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:29 PM   #15
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But, but, but what do the little pieces of turtle meat look like in the soup, this enquiring mind likes to know?

Is it dark, or white like chicken and tastes like chicken too?
I have not really seen pieces floating in the soup, although I can taste them. Turtle soup is a wonderful delicacy and if you ever get a chance to try it, I would urge you to do so. Don't forget the sherry on top. I do not normally drink but a teaspoon of sherry enhances the flavor wonderfully.

I have not had good turtle soup in a while! You are inspiring me to suggest Mandina's restaurant to F for lunch soon. Mandina's is a somewhat affordable restaurant that serves good turtle soup.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:41 PM   #16
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Just searched the Web, and found out that while turtle soup is made elsewhere with little green turtles (whose carapace may be included in the bowl), Creole turtle soup, called Caouane, is made with much larger snapping turtles.

Excerpt from the Wikipedia:
19th-century American cookbooks advised homemakers that for the best turtle soup one should choose a turtle about 120 pounds in weight, as a smaller one would not have enough fat, and a bigger one would have too strong a flavor.

While Oriental turtle soup has a clear broth, Creole soup is made with roux, hence is a dark stew. And indeed, Commander's Palace is one of the places to have turtle soup. I will definitely try it next time we go to NO (maybe sometimes this year).

I do not see how one loves a soup made with an ugly reptile, yet would cringe at tasting a mammal like nutria.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:18 PM   #17
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As savage as it may sound southern folks would keep a snapping turtle in a barrel, and fatten the turtle up with table scraps. On the Chesapeake Bay, or the Eastern Shore of MD, DE and VA, turtle soup years ago was made from the Diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, also served with sherry on the side.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:20 PM   #18
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Let me know if you find anything interesting or worthwhile. I never have despite vacationing along the Gulf Coast for over 20 years. You can teach me something.

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Old 01-20-2013, 11:42 PM   #19
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I have not really seen pieces floating in the soup, although I can taste them. Turtle soup is a wonderful delicacy and if you ever get a chance to try it, I would urge you to do so. Don't forget the sherry on top. I do not normally drink but a teaspoon of sherry enhances the flavor wonderfully.

I have not had good turtle soup in a while! You are inspiring me to suggest Mandina's restaurant to F for lunch soon. Mandina's is a somewhat affordable restaurant that serves good turtle soup.
I was served Turtle Soup in NOLA back in the early 80's. It went by some other name, so I didn't know what it was until after I ate it and asked the waiter about it. It was delicious, and the idea of eating turtle meat didn't bother me - and I'm only semi-adventurous with food. As I recall, the meat was chopped finely, almost like individual bits of ground hamburger?

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I do not see how one loves a soup made with an ugly reptile, yet would cringe at tasting a mammal like nutria.
Go for it, it's wonderful (the turtle soup, don't know about the rodent meat)!

edit/add - I recall a bit of sherry served on top also.

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:49 AM   #20
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It's a loooooooong way from Galveston to South Padre Island. We really enjoy SPI as it's only 80 miles away and a neat place and the prettiest of the Texas beaches by far. But the Florida Panhandle and AL Gulf Coast beaches are even prettier, so I'm not sure it's really worth the long haul.

If you were birding the Gulf Coast, then I would say don't miss it and all the fabulous birding spots along the way. But if you are just sightseeing and visiting beaches, then I doubt it's worth the extra distance.

You said "Padre Island" - so I assumed you meant South Padre Island. You can access the north part from Corpus Christi, and the Rockport-Fulton, Port Aransas area is pretty neat, and you can even go out on a Whooping Crane boat tour from Rockport in late Feb/early March which is very special. But again, the Rockport area is still pretty far from Galveston.

From Mobile, we have always really enjoyed Dauphin Island. And the ferry across to the fort and Gulf Shores is pretty neat too. There is a famous botanical garden on the way to Dauphin Island from Mobile that we have never had time to visit.
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