The Hidden Gem of Fairhope, Alabama

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Welcome to Fairhope, Alabama — a picturesque town nestled on the shores of Mobile Bay.

Founded as a single-tax colony in 1894, its rich history is as unique as its bayfront views.

With its distinct artistic vibe, Fairhope has been a haven for artists and writers for decades.

So, as you stroll through its tree-lined streets, you’ll stumble upon art galleries, lush parks, and quaint eateries.

And those tranquil Fairhope Pier sunsets?

Simply to die for!

But if you’re looking for something off the beaten path to do in Fairhope, read on because I’ve got the ultimate list of must-sees and must-dos right below.

Now, let’s go find your own hidden gem in Fairhope, Alabama!

1. Go Biking on the Eastern Shore Trail

Here’s a local secret worth sharing: the Eastern Shore Trail.

Spanning 22 miles, this idyllic path begins in Spanish Fort and winds its way down to Weeks Bay.

And thanks to the diligent efforts of the Baldwin County Trailblazers, it remains in pristine condition.

Go here if you’re up for diverse terrains that promise ever-changing vistas; no two experiences have to be the same!

Sunset by Jubilee Suites - Fairhope Alabama.
Jubilee Suites – Fairhope Alabama

I suggest staying at Jubilee Suites, where the trail is a short two blocks away on N. Section Street.

Guests can conveniently borrow bikes for their excursions. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local charm of the Eastern Shore.

2. Visit the Hermit Hut

Book and letter inside hermit hut.
A Four Letter Word
Pic by Ddiggs721 – Wiki Commons CC-BY-SA-4.0

In the 1920s, a guy named Henry Stuart was diagnosed with TB and told he had only a few months to live.

So, he traveled over 2,000 miles from Idaho to Fairhope, believing that the warmer climate could aid his health.

On a 10-acre pot, he whipped up this cool, hurricane-proof cement dome and named it “Tolstoy Park.”

Of course, it’s a nod to the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

Everyone thought Henry was setting up for a short and quiet life, but nope!

He lived another 20 years, and his unique home turned him into a local legend.

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Tolstoy Park isn’t just a dingy hut; it’s a symbol of defiance against odds and a spark of creativity in the heart of Fairhope.

Drop by, and you’ll see a piece of architectural wonder and maybe get some inspo on how to live life on your own terms!

3. Get Inspired with Local Art

Local art at street stalls.
Fairhope Art Festival in Fairhope, Alabama
Pic by Carol M. Highsmith from Wiki Commons CC-BY-SA-4.0

Speaking of inspiration, Fairhope’s artistic roots run deep.

Born from a quirky group of free-thinkers in the 1800s, the town is brimming with artsiness.

Sure, there’s the Eastern Shore Art Center that comes to mind as a must-visit.

But for a cozier experience, check out The Copper Column on De La Mare.

It’s a treasure trove of local art, antiques, vintage threads, unique jewelry, and blown glass.

And if you ever find yourself in town on the first Friday of any month, head to the First Friday Artwalk!

It’s a night when Fairhope buzzes with late-night shopping, pop-up galleries, and street musicians.

4. Grab Snacks and Gifts at B&B Pecan Co.

Tray of candied pecans.
Candied pecans
Pic by Charles Deluvio from Unsplash License

Nuts for nuts?

You’ve got to check out B&B Pecan Co. in Fairhope.

Starting from humble beginnings back in 1956 with just a pecan cracker and a handful of customers, this family-owned gem has grown exponentially over the years.
Today, the retail shop offers a whopping 100+ pecan treats.

Trust me, these aren’t your average grocery store nuts.
Each bite has a hint of nostalgia and a whole lot of flavor.

Grab a couple of bags if you want a sweet reminder of your trip or to give away as gifts!

The second generation now runs the shop, infusing fresh energy while maintaining the standards set by their parents.

This is a local gem worth the pitstop!

5. Stay in a Storybook Castle

Looking for some temporary gigs?

Fairhope has tons of cozy bed-and-breakfasts all over.
But if you’re looking for something with a side of enchanted, how about a castle?

The Storybook Castles, started by the inventive Craig Sheldon post-WWII, aren’t your usual accommodations.

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They’re a journey into one man’s vibrant imagination and your chance to live out your fairytale fantasies.

Once you’re there, it’s hard to miss the eccentric detailing.

Spot bits of The Great Wall of China and fragments of the Berlin Wall skillfully woven into the property.

You might also discover a blade, a crab, or an exquisite piece of art embedded within the stonework.

These two properties, located snugly Downtown, have some stories to tell about family, artistry, and unfettered creativity.

6. Have a Fairhope Float

Fairhope has its fair share of delightful eats, but you’ve gotta slide into Mr. Gene’s Beans for a local specialty:
The Fairhope Float.

Imagine this —

A luscious blend of frozen yogurt and rich coffee, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

It’s a dreamy concoction that’s been charming locals and visitors alike.

And while you’re basking in the afterglow of the Fairhope Float, take a moment to appreciate the surroundings.

This spot’s been serving joy for over 31 years, and the vibe is just as sweet as the treats.

Beyond the float, there’s a universe of candy, ice creams, gourmet popcorn (hello, BBQ Bacon!), and coffees to explore.

So, grab your treat and snag a spot on their shaded deck.

7. Attend the Fairhope Mardi Gras

You might associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans or Mobile, but Fairhope puts its own charming spin on this festive tradition.

Unlike the massive crowds of its more famous counterparts, Fairhope’s Mardi Gras has an intimate atmosphere.

It’s definitely a hidden gem that not many people have had the pleasure of participating in.

The parades are a spectacular blend of creativity and hometown pride.

From the Knights of Ecor Rouge with their ingenious float designs to the Maids of Jubilee with their vivid displays, each procession feels like a personal celebration.

And the Order of Mystic Magnolias adds a distinct touch, highlighting local traditions and community spirit.

Live music, ranging from high school bands to renowned brass ensembles, fills the streets, creating an infectious energy.

If you’re planning your next Mardi Gras trip to the South, Fairhope is worth considering!

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8. Relish the Richness of Fairhope Brews

Person pouring alcohol from a tap into a glass.
Relish the richness of Fairhope brews
Pic by Josh Olalde from Unsplash License

So, you’re strolling through Fairhope, and you suddenly get a hankering for something refreshing and crafty.

Then stop by the Fairhope Brewing Co.

These guys started from pure beer enthusiasm, and now?

They’re serving up some of the unique brews in the country (though, they’re still cool and not so mainstream).

We’re talking 14 different flavors that range from their Everyday Ale to adventurous seasonal picks.

Plus, the vibe there is super chill and friendly.

It’s the kind of place where you can kick back, chat with locals, and get a buzz going.

9. Catch the Sunset at Fairhope Pier

Sunset at Fairhope pier in Alabama.
Catch the Sunset at Fairhope Pier in Alabama
Pic by Wells Wilson from Unsplash License

We’ll end strong here and talk about the Fairhope Municipal Pier.

This spot is the definition of small-town relaxation.
As the sun takes a bow for the day, the whole place is bathed in a warm, golden glow.

You can lean against the railings, have a moment of reflection, and maybe make friends with a big brown pelican who’s known to frequent the pier.

You’ll find folks casually fishing, others just taking in the moment.

There’s a lot to take in —

The delightful chatter of fulls and the serene sight of loons swimming by…

And as the day fades, the distant lights of Mobile’s skyline shimmer on Mobile Bay, giving you that perfect backdrop.

Though hiding in plain sight, this is the hidden gem of Fairhope, Alabama!

Bio: Brooks Conkle from The Mobile Rundown

Picture of smiling man with glasses.
Brooks from Brooks Conkle and The Mobile Rundown

Brooks runs BrooksConkle.com and is the captain of The Mobile Rundown ship. He’s a huge proponent of running location-independent businesses and discusses his projects on YouTube and Twitter.

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Pinterest images of Downtown Fairhope Restaurant Alley.
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