Mobile, Mardi Gras and Masks
Our trip to Mobile, Alabama for Carnival
One of the few reasons W and I chose to begin homeschooling our youngest was the opportunity to travel and experience the world through her own eyes. While in public school, we were very restricted not to mention sometimes they would excuse her absence and sometimes they would not; hence, our homeschooling adventure began last school year. Now, that we’ve become well acclimated, we have continued our exploration of our world through little jaunts here and there . . . This trip took us to Mardi Gras. “Little Missy” has been learning about the people of Louisiana and Mardi Gras in her missions class at church, so what better opportunity to reinforce her learning than experience a little Carnival season.
First Stop . . . Bake My Day
As a little added bonus, our trips always include good, local diners and food . . . This trip started at a family owned bakery in one of the communities of Mobile. Andi LOVES baking, so this was a perfect stop for lunch and dessert. The ladies, I’m assuming sisters, were FABULOUS . . . Friendly and hospitable, they treated Little Missy like she was an adult and she was quite smitten with their delicious creations and treats.
(And see that little cutie smiling? That’s my girl!)
Onward to our home away from home . . . The Battle House Renaissance Hotel & Spa
After being closed for three decades, this historic hotel was thoughtfully restored and reopened in 2007 with all its grandeur and beauty. Sitting on Royal Street, it served as a perfect home base to rest our heads and walk out the front door to participate in Carnival Parades.
The Battle House
(Of course, me and my Little Missy had to partake in some of the Carnival fun!)
While in Mobile, the Mobile Carnival Museum is a must! We were privileged to have a delightful, enthusiastic woman guide us through the museum sharing all the history and flare of everything Carnival and Mardi Gras.
The Carnival parades are really for all ages and even the preschoolers have their own parade “The Mystics of Ashland Place” – you MUST go see them! We chose to go to Mobile because it was the first place Mardi Gras was celebrated in the New World and I read that it was family friendly versus NOLA.
Another must stop for Little Missy was the MoonPie General Store directly across the street from the Battle House. This became a daily venture for her . . . Lots of vintage style toys, trinkets and every flavor MoonPie known to man!
And our final stop before heading home from our long weekend was the Battleship Memorial Park. We were fortunate enough to arrive just ahead of an enemy air strike re-enactment . . . Guess I won’t have to worry about Little Missy joining up the armed services, she couldn’t handle the gun noises. In addition to the re-enactment, there are eight levels of the USS Alabama plus additional air and sea vessels open for touring. Even for an 8 year old little girl, there were many interesting areas – she even doubled around some places.
Tip #1: Parades – When traveling with youngsters, we experienced 3 things: 1) week night parades were less crowded; 2) “Order of the Polka Dots” were more free in there throws to the children; 3) make sure your little person knows to yell for something and always says “thank you!” 4) Be sure to take a bag to collect all of your “throws” . . . Little Missy got everything from MoonPies & beads to stuffed animals and lots of cups!
*Tip #2: Great Reads . . . Mardi Gras in Mobile by L. Craig Roberts (History of Mardi Gras) and The Art and Design of Mardi Gras edited by Steve Joynt (costumes, tiaras, suits, dresses and trains amongst other things)
*Tip #3: Restaurants – 1). Dauphin’s (across the street from Battle House Hotel – has a great menu and view even for lunch). 2). Felix’s Fish Camp Grill (near Battleship Memorial Park) – must try their crab soup. 3). Chick-Fil-A (our old standby) was located immediately next to the Battle House, so for two days we just grabbed breakfast there! 4). MoonPie General Store – WISH we would’ve tried their breakfast, looked yummy but didn’t notice until our last day AFTER WE HAD EATEN.
*Tip #4: Celebrations – If you’re traveling with children, Mardi Gras and Carnival are much more family friendly. Per some of the locals, I would avoid Joe Cain Day with children.
*Tip #5: Where to Stay – If you’re not staying at the Battle House, look EARLY for hotels on the parade routes (there is a Hampton Inn and a Renaissance Hotel on Royal Street). The streets are blocked off ahead of the parades and you won’t want to be driving or looking for parking. Visit this site, Mobile Mask, for all the parade routes in the Mobile area.