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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Log: 1428 Nautical Miles

Lulu’s at Homeport Marina

If you go to the southeast corner of Mobile Bay, there is a little inlet at Bon Secour leading to the intracoastal waterway eastbound, a dredged out ditch leading to Perdido Bay. When I had a boat in this area in the nineties, the ditch had a few houses alongside, a trailer park, a tugboat loading and refueling dock, and a dilapidated shrimp dock. It was a thoroughly ugly part of the trip from Orange Beach to Mobile.

When we entered the canal yesterday afternoon, parts of it looked familiar. But we soon came upon gigantic cleared areas and scattered high-rise condominiums. Signs announced the names of various developments going up alongside the ditch. We passed a new private marina being built and soon we saw the beginnings of a town going up in the middle of nowhere. The Baldwin County web site told me the following:

A Birmingham developer is looking for Alabama contractors, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers to help build a $500 million resort community near Gulf Shores.

Near the tiny Baldwin County fishing hamlet of Bon Secour, made famous by legendary Meme's seafood restaurant, Bon Secour Village is a huge endeavor that will feature retail, homes, condos, a marina, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, resort hotel and conference center. It will be tucked into a 1,000-acre parcel of land, just east of where the Alabama Highway 59 bridge traverses the Intracoastal Waterway and leads into Gulf Shores.

The first phase, totaling $75 million to $80 million and projected for completion by mid-2006, includes a town center with 100,000 square feet of retail space, 400 condos and lofts, 200 houses and a 60-slip marina. The timetable for the community stretches over the next 20 years.

Whew! And then we came upon the Homeport Marina, totally new, huge, and obviously financed with some of Jimmy Buffet’s capital. It’s the home of Lulu’s Restaurant, owned by Jimmy’s sister Lucy. The restaurant was mobbed, even on a Monday night, and we cooked on the boat after learning that it would take an hour and a half to get a table.

A few miles to the east, also in the ditch, is The Wharf, another new development which promises:

  • Resort-style shopping with national retailers, boutique-style shops and your favorite beach stores
  • Great places to dine – restaurants, caf├ęs and eateries
  • 10,000 seat amphitheater with top national acts and legend bands
  • RAVE’s 15-screen state-of-the-art movie theater
  • Southeast’s tallest Ferris Wheel made in Italy
  • Year-round activities and seasonal entertainment
  • 208-slip marina and half-mile long boardwalk
  • Condominium homes that make every day a vacation day!

So the ditch just ain’t what it used to be. Some are calling it progress, but I kind-of liked the ditch the way it was.

Anyway, we got away from Dog River about 1:30 pm yesterday and went about 30 miles to Lulu’s. Today, with fairly high wind and rain, we’re planning to stay in the waterway and we’re shooting for Destin tonight. The boat’s running well and all the new systems seem to be working. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.



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Reader Comments (1)

How long did it take to travel the 30 miles?
April 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

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