We arrived in Orange Beach late in the afternoon, after an easy ride down the interstate, turning convoluted when our Garmin sent us on city streets through Mobile for no apparent reason, somewhat paralleling the I-10 which we would pick up once we passed through downtown and emerged from one of the two tunnels on the way south east.
We traversed familiar territory, passing by the Battleship Alabama, a couple of the restaurants we’ve eaten at during our other two stays in Mobile, and caught a glimpse of the campground we used across the bay. As we drove into Orange Beach, it was a simple chore to navigate to our Airbnb lodging for the next three nights, “Walk to the Water” hosted by Lyndsay.
Our hostess was home when we arrived, and provided us with instructions about the house and recommended some of her favorite eating spots. We drank a bit of wine before heading out to her top choice, Cosmos, about a mile back up the road we had come in on. Part of a complex of three food concepts, the parking lot was packed when we arrived, confirmed when we made our way to the reception stand to find out that the wait for dinner would be close to ninety minutes.
The ladies at the reception stand suggested we sit outside on the deck and order off the appetizer menu, which we did, getting the cocktail of the day, a Red Bull Dream (we’d have a couple more like this the next day) for Joanna and I a glass of the house white along with two starters, the Firecracker Shrimp (Lightly dusted bay shrimp fried & tossed in a spicy remoulade sauce) and Cheese Dip (A blend of Swiss, Parmesan & locally made Elberta cheeses topped with feta & roasted tomato relish and served with pita chips).
We’d later try to locate the cheese to take home to no avail. Serving sizes were such that we could easily have gotten by with just one of the two, but we manned up and polished both off, the cheese dip more of a soup, an odd consistency but one that worked well with the pita chips.
We returned to the house and talked with Lyndsay for a bit before retiring for the evening with plans to get in a good bike ride the next day. With rain predicted for the afternoon, we got an early start pedaling down Highway 180 (Alabama’s Coastal Connection) to Highway 161 (also Alabama’s Coastal Connection) for about a half mile before connecting with Catman Road, part of the Hugh Branyon trail system that runs throughout the 6,500 acre Gulf State Park.
We zigzagged around the park hitting most of the trails before exiting at the corner of Gulf Shores Parkway and Fort Morgan Road, on which we continued west until we were about halfway to the fort, turning around as we didn’t want to do over 50 miles that day and the skies were turning dark.
We considered stopping for a snack as we approached Gulf State Park, but our online weather source indicated rain would be imminent soon, making a fast ride back to the house the prime imperative.
A half hour later we arrived back safe and dry and after storing the bikes in the enclosed patio in the rear, settled in to relax when the storm hit, a cacophonous combination of thunder, lightning, and torrential downpour that made us ever so glad that we’d not been caught out in it on the bikes. After a while the rain abated and finished with a relaxing afternoon, we headed back to Cosmos, earlier this time, to see about eating dinner.
This time the wait was just 20 minutes so we returned to the deck and ordered two drink specials, both made with Red Bull and quite refreshing, and not long after were called to our table, also outside on the deck. We started with a bowl of crab and lobster bisque, then Joanna ordered the Crab Cakes appetizer and I the house specialty, Banana Leaf Wrapped Fish (Today’s catch Flounder rubbed with a special blend of herbs & seasonings, wrapped in banana leaves & baked) served with house rice & lemon garlic asparagus.
The fish was fantastic, moist and succulent with the spices permeating the meat, the crab cakes all one could ask for from that classic dish, a glass of Château Thieuley Bordeaux Blanc that arrived with the entrees complimenting both. We could both see why this place was so popular, with excellent service, very good food at moderate prices, and a nice atmosphere to finish up the package.
Back at the house we killed time as usual, reading and then watching a few episodes of the Twilight Zone streaming on Netflix, such a great series and a big part of the TV I consumed when young. The next couple of days would bring lots of fun, a wedding of two beautiful people, a meetup with old friends in Huntsville, and some more hiking and biking. We slept like babies
Walk to the Water: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5918705
Gulf State Park: http://www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park