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Out & About in Alabama – April/May/June 2023

Metal artist Chase Allen creates sea-creature sculptures at Iron Fish Art Gallery in Daufuskie Island. Photo courtesy Iron Fish Gallery

Get the most out of life in Alabama and beyond with this curated collection of places to go and things to see.

Worth the trip

By Jennifer Kornegay

Proving that good things come in small packages, diminutive Daufuskie Island—only 5 miles long and about 2.5 miles wide—offers plenty to see and do. Folks visiting this peaceful spot off the coast of South Carolina have much to discover, including stunning art, rich history, pristine beaches, and acres of forest.

Even with these draws and its proximity to packed Hilton Head, Daufuskie remains unsullied by crowds. It’s accessible only by ferry, but for those in search of an escape, the 45-minute ride is well worth it. Once there, seek out these 4 special spots.

Daufuskie Island Distillery

Even though rum may not be an expected sip on a non-Caribbean island, this distillery is handcrafting 7 distinct varieties of the spirit, as well as an aromatic blueberry-lavender vodka. (Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.)

Frye’s Corner

This chicken shack, a new addition to Daufuskie’s culinary scene, is keeping things simple yet scrumptious. “Beach boxes” are piled high with fried chicken, served alongside standards such as fresh-cut onion rings and french fries.

Heritage Tours

Dive into Daufuskie’s history-soaked past on a tour with sixth-generation island native Sallie Ann Robinson. Visit old churches and schoolhouses; learn the key roles Sea Island cotton, indigo, and oysters played; and uncover the multiple factors that gave birth to the Gullah culture.

Iron Fish Art Gallery

Metal artist Chase Allen can often be found amid a halo of glowing orange sparks, cutting and bending metal into sea-creature sculptures behind his open-air gallery. Peruse the mermaids, sea turtles, and stingrays, and if you see something you like, you can take it home, even if Allen isn’t around. Items are available for purchase via an honor system.

Let’s eat

By Nicole Letts

We have to hand it to Mobile—its downtown district is buzzing with restaurants and bars that keep the town humming with excitement well into the evening. From the city’s first food hall to its newest open-until-sold-out bakery, these are the top 3 places to check out the next time you’re in town.

You may also like: An Alabama road trip every foodie should take

The Insider

Founded by restaurateur Matt LeMond and former MLB all-star turned real estate developer Jake Peavy, Mobile’s first food hall, The Insider, brings together a group of emerging eateries for Mobilians to savor.

LeMond says the food hall is an incubator of sorts, and the ideal place for restaurant hopefuls looking to hone their menus before opening their own storefront. Current offerings include Latin cuisine by P.S. Taco Company and Neapolitan-inspired pies by Pizzeria Delphina.


Grace cocktail

Sip on a cocktail or enjoy a hearty meal at Dauphin Street's first rooftop bar, Grace. Photo courtesy SPIRE Advertising & Design

Dauphin Street’s first rooftop bar? Check. This is Grace, one of the city’s newest restaurants in the heart of downtown Mobile’s historic district.

Snacks like poutine with cheese curds and duck-fat gravy are served alongside dishes such as bruschetta topped with West Indies salad, a well-known Mobile delicacy. Entrées include braised beef short rib ragout, the day’s fresh catch, and a selection of prime steaks grilled to perfection.

Dropout Bakery & Company

Croissant from Dropout Bakery and Company

Mobile’s Dropout Bakery & Company offers freshly baked goods, such as croissants, cookies, and tartlets. Photo courtesy Dropout Bakery and Company

 Whether you’re dropping in for one of their freshly baked goods or placing an order ahead of time, there is a delectable treat for every taste bud waiting at Dropout Bakery on St. Louis Street.

The storefront is only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays—and you can expect a line to order cookies, cakes, tartlets, croissants, and more. The bakery opens at 8 a.m. and closes once sold out.

You may also like: 10 best cheap eats in Alabama

Checking in

Rooftop at Laurel Hotel  and Spa

The Laurel Hotel and Spa in Auburn has 26 rooms, an on-site restaurant, and rooftop views of the college town below. Photo by Thomas Watkins Photography

Auburn University’s hospitality program became a whole lot cooler when The Laurel Hotel and Spa debuted in late 2022. Located on College Street across from photogenic Samford Hall in the new Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, the luxury, 26-bedroom teaching hotel opened with fanfare for students and visitors alike.

The hotel offers king rooms and spacious suites, and is within walking distance of Auburn’s quaint shops and restaurants, many of which share a property with The Laurel. The on-site spa features custom face and body treatments along with a eucalyptus steam room and state-of-the-art salt room.

Its teaching restaurant, 1856–Culinary Residence, is currently helmed by chef-in-residence Tyler Lyne, who—along with aspiring culinary students—presents tasting menus that rotate monthly. Additional diverse menus and world-class learning (and dining!) experiences await when a new chef takes the lead following Lyne’s residency. After dinner, don’t miss the rooftop, which offers a pool, lounge, teaching gardens, and views of the college town below. Rates start at $348.

You may also like: 6 top hotels in Alabama for a cozy getaway

For more places to go and things to see in Alabama, check out our editor-curated list of the best fairs, festivals, events, and more.

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