Our first stop today was Montgomery, Alabama. Our day began with the first Confederate White House. Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina Howell lived here for about four months in early 1861. Soon, the Confederate Legislature decided Montgomery was too hot and moved the capital to Richmond, Virginia. I was surprised that Jefferson Davis reluctantly agreed to the presidency….and that the Confederate Legislature believed the Constitution was still the best form of government…they just thought the Union had it wrong on slavery.
Our last stop i Montgomery was the Rosa Parks Museum. This is a small museum with a big message. It tells the story of how an assistant tailor finally had enough of the indignity of segregation on Montgomery buses….and how she became the mother of the Civil Rights Movement. She was “just a woman” who sat for her rights….nothing violent, nothing disrespectful. Her simple act of courage changed the course of our nation. Visiting this museum takes only an hour…but the message it conveys will last a lifetime.
Orange Beach, Alabama was our next stop. We got a hotel right on the beach….nothing between our room and the water but sand! (Okay, a patio and a boardwalk, but you get the picture!) One of our first missions was to find a restaurant on the beach…one that had outside dining and great seafood. There were none, really, none. Hurricane Ivan took out this coast in 2005. All such restaurants were destroyed…and the big hotels took over the coast. There are miles of tall glitzy hotels on the beach, but no beachside restaurants serving boiled shrimp with rolls of napkins on the table. Damn!
Finally, we met a local and asked where to get good seafood. “Doc’s” he said. “Everyone eats there.” He has lived in the area all his life and he knew where the restaurant was, but couldn’t give directions worth a lick. No matter, our iPhones led the way! Once there, we were in Gulf seafood heaven. Gumbo, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, cole slaw…and of course, little cups of horseradish to make sure you get your seafood sauce just right! This is a do-over!