Beaches of Alabama

8CE602A6-47CD-47EE-988D-3AD9CD5D388DMaybe it’s the to and fro of the tide that pull us south to the Beaches of Alabama… Our hearts yearn for it. Perhaps Southern Saltwater flows in our veins; we need the Gulf’s infusion every now and then. To stand in the sea casting a line or in solitude as the ever patient Egret watching the horizon…

The ancient rhythm of the tides echo the soul’s heartbeat. White Sugar Sands gently scrub our bare feet of ordinary workday cares…

Gulf Breezes clear our heads to dream of sandcastles again; built in a day- gone the next.  Yet always worth the temporary wonder…4280158F-0438-4EBA-B088-1ACE439CBE38

‘Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should be empty, open, choiceless as a beach- waiting for the gift from the sea.’ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

A sunrise walk. A perfect shell. Tiny sandpipers chasing seawater…running out, scampering back on twiggy feet while the ocean plays it’s foamy game. Beaches of Alabama- the jeweled land of Royal Reds, Brown Pelicans, Crystal White Sand, Sapphire Skies and Emerald Water.

We are like Boats waiting…Rocking our silent lullabies. Tethered, waiting to be set free- to sail away to the Beaches of Alabama. 04687649-5A23-40C6-B25F-A010BF0E832A

Stunning sunsets, breathtaking colors- then gently the air, sky and water turn to shimmering priceless Twilight’s Gold.

Take a child, a sweetheart, old friends or heartache to the Beaches of Alabama… patiently wait for the enchantment to begin…

‘Alabama just breaks my heart- it’s so pretty, it just breaks my heart into little pieces’ Michael Lee West

Here in our Sweet Home Alabama, summer vacations, we know- the Beaches of Alabama have their own special magic- a tonic all year round. Salt Air, Sunlight and Gulf Waters- refresh, renew, heal and restore…

Love y’all, Camellia

*All of these glorious stunning photographs are the sole property of Jeremy Miniard. We are perpetually grateful for his generosity in sharing them with us! Find Jeremy at

*Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s quote is from her landmark work- ‘Gift of the Sea’. * The absolutely true quote…’Alabama is so pretty… it breaks my heart in tiny pieces’ by Michael Lee West is from her wonderful and zany book set in Alabama…’ Mermaids in the Basement.’ Both would be tremendous beach reads this summer!

*Beaches of Alabama was first written here on Camellia’s Cottage in July 2017 and has been slightly edited and updated. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


The Sugar Sand Beaches of Alabama…

IMG_2845Where can you find- White Sugar Sands, Blue Skies, Beautiful Waves, Gardenias, Live Oaks, Sand Dollars, Gulf Breezes and Palm Trees?

Some of the best seafood in the world, right on the Gulf of Mexico. Where can you find Paradise? IMG_2869

Right here in- My Sweet Home Alabama, which has 31 miles of amazing, powdery, almost blindingly White Sugar Sand Beaches…IMG_2864

Love y’all, Camellia

*All photographs taken by me in Orange Beach, Alabama. Most of the photographs were taken at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. Feel free to share- folks usually don’t believe we have beaches like this way down south in Alabama.

Native Neutrals…


Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Interiors with neutral color schemes are my favorite. They are peaceful, calm and soothing. Perhaps the first lengthy discussion I remember having about interior design was at Bon Secour Bay outside of a restaurant named Meme’s. The driveway into this delicious dive was of whole and crushed oyster shells. I think I might have been 14 years old. My best friend and I got into a hilarious conversation of how we could use oyster shells as décor in the home. We  thought perhaps as salt dishes, beside a dinner plate to hold a few pats of butter, lemon wedges or even as powder room soap dishes; maybe a container by the kitchen sink to hold our rings. Of course it was all silly- but oysters hold a sweet spot in our hearts- where else do you think our love for pearls comes from? And just look at the beauty of the neutral colors found in oysters!

I am a native of Alabama, these are the neutral colors that I love.  A whole color scheme can be found in an humble oyster. Our families had met at Meme’s to watch the shrimp and oyster boats come in at sunset and to partake of some of the most memorable seafood I ever recall. And believe me, if you live in the Deep South- with all of its bayous and rivers, bays, streams and the magnificent Gulf of Mexico-you know your seafood! Alabama Seafood is some of the world’s finest!

Meme’s started out as an oyster bar. Oysters have romantic notions ascribed to them- probably because Casanova was said to have eaten dozens and dozens of the oysters daily. I knew a big ol’ logger named Bud– from South Alabama who had huge burlap bags of oysters brought up to his camp every Friday to feed his men- Bud said ‘Oysters keep their pencils sharp’…I was never sure what he meant by that. I can tell you this- Bud the logger wouldn’t take any prizes for dancing! He would hoist the women up off their feet and haul them around the dance floor like a stick of pulpwood! Oysters have a more genteel word that describes them best- Peacemakers.

Bon Secour Bay is in part a state refuge area, it is a small peaceful town of less than 1000 people, Meme’s of Bon Secour- was destroyed by Hurricane Fredrick in 1979 and was never rebuilt- Alabama Wild Shrimp is a point of pride for the bay area. Bon Secour was originally a French fishing village and it’s name means safe harbor. And isn’t that what we want for our homes? To be a refuge from the storms of life and the one safe place we can count on? Blessed are the peacemakers, the backdrop for all of the colors life brings.

Several years ago, we began renovating…I had always used color– navy, leaf green even peach with blue ribbons or periwinkle blue for girlish bedrooms-always with white trim. I had become weary of so much color, I have after all, led a pretty colorful life filled with colorful people. Colorful is a southern term for…well, a nice way of talking about folks and events that are full of personality and generous with memorable stories. Native Neutral interiors are fabulous hosts for colorful folks!  When the renovation began- for inspiration I turned to our roots-

  • Black cast iron skillets, old kitchen utensils, the Ironworks and Steel Works of Birmingham, white square columns
  • The faded barn board of my husband’s rural farm background, the Coalminers, the Wiregrass region, the rich Black Belt soil, the pale rock of the Appalachians
  • The French linen my grandmother loved, the pearl necklaces, the statuary
  • The marble quarries, the  cotton fields, the Spanish moss draped over live oaks
  • Pale heirloom silver, burlap bags of oysters, baskets and straw rugs, an old map of our county
  • Alabama’s white sugar sand beaches and more shades of white- pearl and oyster.

All serene, peaceful-Native Neutral colors. Camellia’s Cottage is not grand,  renovated and peaceful – she cannot compare with the beautiful Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe…yet neutrals have a found a home here just as they have in the oyster’s shell.


Big Walter is the most peaceful being I know- that sweet feline has even gone along with my Native Neutral interior design scheme! There are no oyster shell soap dishes or a single crusty shell for my ring when I wash dishes- but I’m thinking about it…

‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God!‘ Matthew 5:9

Love y’all, Camellia

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Images are all mine- except for the glorious sunset which was shared by Jeremy Miniard. The images of oysters- on the right- with the oyster knife is from Mobile Magazine and the other two are from The images of Bon Secour Bay and Meme’s are from AOL images




Set sail or lie at anchor?



From the northeast corner of Alabama, the Appalachian Trail runs down and is filled with bubbling streams and waterfalls, rivers and lakes; from the northwest corner- the mighty Tennessee River runs through – dotted throughout the state- are hydroelectric dams to provide electricity and form lakes of wonderous beauty. The most incredible thing about all of this water- is that Alabama doesn’t just have fresh waterways- go south as far as you can go-lo and behold! There is an ocean, yes, the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay, inlets of salt water teeming with all of that good seafood we love to eat! The beaches are called ‘sugah sand’ because of the white soft sand. Needless to say, water sports, fishing and boating are an important part of the culture of Alabama!

On this weekend, at the beginning of summer-  ‘the waters’ here in Alabama, put me in mind of a few lovely quotes, a prayer, and some incredible photographs from our resident photographer, Jeremy Miniard.


The quote which inspired me to write this post:

‘I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. We must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.’

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.-from Quotable Quotes (italics mine)

‘We must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it…’

In the Gospel of John, the disciples decided to set off in their boat without Jesus, and a great wind blew up while they were alone in the boat-they were terribly frightened. Now these were mostly fishermen, not prone to fear on the water, but they did know that storms blew up frequently on the sea- this was a bad storm…why had they left without Jesus? It was a bad decision- it does matter Who you have in the boat when you sail.


‘How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks but into the desired haven.’ George MacDonald

Now, if the disciples thought they were afraid of the storm – when they saw Jesus walking on the water toward their boat in hurricane force winds, they were even more terrified of their deliverance!

‘He will do whatever it takes to rescue you from the storms of life. He is far more interested in rescuing; He is much less interested in why you got in the boat without Him than He is finding a way to get to you…Even when you get it wrong; He can make it right…Watch for Him in windy weather – in the storms. Respect the One Who can calm the storm. He will tell you when to stop being afraid. You will be glad He is there. Be willing to take Him aboard during the storm. He’ll be in the boat with you.’

 On this Sunday morning, the quote above and the prayer to follow are from Four Days-the Lazarus Principle, the words seem appropriate for these beautiful photographs of the Alabama Waters and the quotes which have inspired me.


‘Oh Lord, many times we have steered our own craft, and in our impatient rowing – have left You ashore. Come to us even in the stormy midst of our poor decisions and sorry situations. We welcome You aboard our rickety boats, calm the storms that rage within and without. Come aboard, get us back on course.’

It does matter Who is in the boat with us; with Him- ‘The storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.’

‘Calm the storms that rage within and without…come aboard, get us back on course.’

‘It is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving…sometimes with the wind, sometimes against it. But sail we must, not drift, nor lie at anchor.’


Can I get an Amen? Have a wonderful blessed Sunday! Love y’all, Camellia

*This post was edited and re-blogged to include the photograph above, which was taken at Orange Beach, Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico- where visitors are often delighted by the sight of the Blue Angels as they practice. This photograph stands as a memorial to the Blue Angel pilot who lost his life, this past week at a Tennessee Air Show. He shall be sorely missed but not forgotten. The Blue Angels are stationed at the U.S. Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida, very close to the Gulf of Mexico.

*All other photographs are the sole property of

Blue Angels Amazon Affiliate link

Four Days -the Lazarus Principle by Brenda Wyatt- Amazon Affiliate link