Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Southern Living Style

Beautiful, charming, welcoming Fairhope, Alabama, rolls out the red carpet for visitors, and the Purple Martin condos for the birds–over 200 hundred of these dot the shallow waters of Mobile Bay.

All along the shore Purple Martin houses are atop tall metal poles. 

Jeff and I walked waaaaay out to the end of the pier, which is a quarter of a mile long. Our walk was on Tuesday night and the effects of Sandy were felt even here in Mobile Bay–big choppy waves and wild winds.

An ancient oak stands on a rise above the bay. This porch swing, hanging from a branch, was an invitation to linger and dream.

Fairhope is so beautiful and amazing. I couldn't stop walking around the old neighborhoods, peeping into yards, and imagining what it would be like to live in one of the great houses, surrounded by the arms of giant trees.

Do you love the pumpkin gate?

I wanted to stop and work in this yard. So inviting.

This cozy home is on the historic register.

Scarlet O'Hara, where are you?

The streets of old Fairhope have flower beds and baskets on every corner.

Even their waste bins are lovely. They request, in a very polite way, that you place your waste inside. That white box on the right side, which is topped with flowers, is one of their trash cans.

I wonder why this is called the "Hobbit Castle?" It is also on the Historic Register of Fairhope.

This little gypsy cart (haven't we all dreamed of one?) sits outside the house.

Another of the "Hobbit Houses."

Uh oh. Good thing our car is crammed to the roof.  

Inside the gates–a gardener's dream scape.

I don't know why, but I love these old, metal tubs. A friend of mine has planted some lovely birches inside her tubs. They look great.

These simple stone balls look elegant when grouped together in a landscape, especially when they're nestled on a bed of thyme.

I've always wanted one of these old French stone basins for my garden. I saw one of them in a garden in Austin. The gardener-designers had a small copper tube above theirs that dripped water into the basin. It was lovely.

And here is the cook's dreamscape. This is Aubergine, a store filled with antique culinary treasures.

I think some of my friends would love to tote a few of these French treasures home with them.

And next door to Aubergine, you'll find this sweet little shop, Boxwood-Home and Garden.

Inside Boxwood.

Everywhere we walked we found beauty. Love the fanciful ironwork, and the fact that there are flowers and rocking chairs everywhere...even in front of the ATM at a bank.

So my friends, this is a brief walking tour of a town we really loved. Soon you will see some of it in the pages of Southern Living magazine, but you may have already enjoyed it in Victoria. I think you would love to visit here during the cooler months.

Jeff and I are in Jackson, Mississippi now. Early tomorrow morning I will be teaching a large group of second graders about birds. It will be so much fun and filled with their energy and sense of wonder.

I leave you with the hopes that you are safe and sound. So many have been hurt and left homeless because of hurricane Sandy. We have just learned that our tiny seaside cottage Fox Drink Ledges is safe, although the waves were huge and thundering.

I am donating money from book sales to the Red Cross. I hope you will join me and hundreds of thousands of Americans who are going to do the same. We all need to stick together and help each other, especially NOW.

Sending love from the road,


P.S. If you live anywhere near Austin, Texas, please join me at The Natural Gardener on Saturday, November the 3rd at 11:30 a.m.,  for an outdoor, under-the-tent demo and talk about gardening, birds, and life in general. You're all welcome, and it is free of charge. I'll be doing a book signing afterward.

Monday, November 5, at 5:30 p.m., I will be giving a talk for the Stephenville Organic Gardening Club at the fabulous GreenMaker Nursery in Stephenville, Texas, north of Austin and southwest of Dallas. Come join us for a good time and, hopefully, some good and fun information about organic gardening and gardening with an eye to nature.

Wednesday, November 7,  I'll be visiting with Linda Lehmusvirta and Tom Spencer at "Central Texas Gardener" on KRLU. We'll film a segment for one of their upcoming episodes. This is one of my favorite television shows for dedicated gardeners. To watch my previous appearance, click here.

Sunday, November 11, at 11:00 a.m., come visit me at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. I'll be giving a program about birds for adults, but children are welcome.


Pondside said...

What a beautiful town you've shown us. It is what I think of when I think of small-town Southern USA.
I am so excited that two things I've ordered especially to take to my grandsons in the east next week have arrived - The First Bird Book and Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars. I am a happy Nana!

best kind of life said...

wow the pictures of the house looking very beautiful .

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Fairhope is one our favorite little places in the south. We have friends that just bought a place there and we plan to visit them next spring. Thanks for the tour Sharon.

Have fun in Jackson. For many years we lived in nearby Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and commuted to Jackson where our business was.

I wish I could aattend one of your events!

Julie Marie said...

Hello dear Sharon, so happy to see your post!...Fairhope is just beautiful!... I love all those charming houses, especially the one with the pumpkin gate... I also love Aubergine and would go crazy in there... the little second graders will have so much fun learning about birds from you today... how kind of you to donate some of your book profits to the Red Cross... I have set up some links on my blog if anyone wants to donate to help the animals affected by the hurricane... happy to hear your little seaside cottage is safe, and I too will continue my prayers for all affected... you have a busy schedule lined up!... enjoy your tour, much love, xoxo Julie Marie

Nellie said...

Oh, what a lovely town! I'm glad to know that you have no damage from Sandy, and that you didn't have to travel through all the storm. The images of the damage are just terrible.

I continue to send you good wishes on your tour. You are working your way across the United States, and it sounds as though you will be back in California before too long.

Safe travels!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Nellie,

Yes, we are heading toward California, but we'll still be on the road for two more weeks. SIX weeks total.

We somehow managed to miss the worst so far, but oh, those others are so impacted. Imagine losing your entire neighborhood, your whole network of friends, church, school, everything. I am so saddened by this and can't stop thinking of everyone.

Sending love,


Vee said...

This town is dripping with charm...loved seeing those beautiful homes and gates and gardens. That would be fun for a homeowner to find you digging away in the garden. ☺

Last evening, when the grands came for their treats, I gave them a bag of birdseed. Such perplexed looks! Wish I had been able to participate AND take pictures. They seemed very interested by the bird feeder once it was all explained and once they had their M&Ms, Skittles, and Snickers bars.

Happy adventures as you travel west through Texas!

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh, the photos are stunning!!!I love them all, hobbit houses gypsy wagon, all amazing, I missed so many posts, my blog crashed and I have had to start a new blog, I have rejoined so I won't miss any posts, safe journey

Unknown said...

Fairhope looks wonderful -- I'll have to check it out for our annual trek to the Gulf (although our annual trek may have to be put on hold a few years to divert funds to college for our two youngest).

Sure wish you were coming up Memphis-way, but perhaps another time.

Annelies said...

How lovely that you would take us along with you on this delightful tour. It is on my list of places I must visit. Have a fun and safe rest of your journey. XXX Annelies

Lorrie said...

The scenes you've shown remind me of every novel I've ever read about the south - gracious homes, big or small tucked behind sweet fences, with beautifully landscaped yards. How charming.
It's so hard to think of all those who have lost homes, livelihoods and lives these past days. Yet life goes on.
Safe travels.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the photos of Fairhope, what a charming town. It needs to be on my must stop in list!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Sandy just keeps raining over Pittsburgh, Sharon! Glad you are on your way back to California. Safe travels with your phone man! Inspiring wherever you are! xxoo Nancy

Lori ann said...

fairhope looks right out of a storybook! it's awesome what you are doing with the red cross sharon, bless your heart. safe travels. xxx lori

Zuzana said...

Dear Sharon, stunning images, particularly love that red-white chair/table set.;) So inviting.;)
Never been to Alabama, but some f the architecture brings back memories from my visit to Charleston:;)
Have a wonderful weekend.;)

Unknown said...

Such gorgeous images here! I adore the flower filled streets. That was some storm...we live in a mindset of readiness here in FL. BUT still some things there just isn't anyway to prepare for, like all that water...t is my prayer that everyone affected heals emotionally.

Margo said...

I'm so excited to hear that you'll be here in Austin! I will be there with my two young kids tomorrow. We're HUGE fans of your books - they've brought a lot of joy to our family (especially the fairy mailboxes!)

(p.s. We may arrive a little late, since my daughter has ballet class Saturday mornings--apologies in advance!)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Margo,

So happy to read your words this foggy, foggy morning in beautiful Austin.

I so look forward to meeting you and yours this morning at The Natural Gardener.



Vicki Boster said...

What a charming antebellum city-- the homes are truly lovely-- I'm sure you could feel the spirit of Scarlett as you walked around!

The salvage store is amazing-- a place for serious temptations. My husband has traveled to Jackson many times- he says it is lovely there.

You are racking up some frequent flier miles!

Lili said...

What a charming city! But my oh my those shops got my heart racing. I especially adore the architectural garden antiques shop. Be still my heart! xo