Seeking to enrich the world with professional opera and musical presentations, Mobile Opera is launching its 65th season by staging Leonard Bernstein's popular operetta based on Voltaire's 1759 novella Candide, which features such jovial singables as "Glitter and Be Gay" and "Make Our Garden Grow."
The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music. On Sunday nights at the Fort Walton Beach location, a comedy show cranks up the revelry at 9 p.m. after the dueling pianos stop for a rest.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. The menu includes military specials and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 32-ounce booze buckets filled with fruit-flavored rum or other fruity libations. Honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
The Boathouse Oyster Bar has shucked local Apalachicola oysters and ladled specialty gumbo at their harbor-side restaurant for a quarter-century. With gulf winds gently blowing through the open-air dining area carrying breezy live tunes, customers can slurp raw oysters ($5.95 half-dozen, $7.95 dozen) or polish off prepared pearl-maker varieties including the Baked Action oysters, doused in butter and flavored with onions, bacon bits, and melted mozzarella ($13.95 dozen). In addition to rib-sticking bowls of gumbo ($7.95), The Boathouse Oyster Bar's chefs prepare savory fruits of the sea such as grilled or fried mahi-mahi ($15.95) and a one-pound-plus stack of Alaskan snow-crab legs, which can be placed on fingers to span large intervals on the piano ($18.95). Landlubbing appetites can be sated with juicy burgers ($8.95+) and sandwiches such as grilled chicken ($8.95) or Black Angus prime rib ($12.95).
Dancing raises your heart rate, gets you in contact with other people, and imbues your body with grace. Because of these physical and social benefits, David Miner Ballroom recommends dance classes for everyone. Its swing, salsa, rumba, and Brazilian dance classes combine energetic rhythms with basic instruction to ensure every student knows their way around the dance floor. For special choreography, a wedding dance, or a lesson in leading lemmings away from nearby cliffs, private classes give students one-on-one time with an experienced instructor.
Top of the Hops Beer Festival Stretching along the northern Gulf Coast, The Wharf Marina serves as the picturesque venue for the Top of the Hops Beer Festival, a celebration of the craft-beer industry. Abita Brewing Company, a Louisiana outfit known for its large variety of seasonal and flagship brews, joins local sponsors, including Maggie's Bottle & Tail and Alabama Gulf Seafood, in hailing the beloved concoctions made of barley, wheat, and hop leaves known for their ability to inspire Elizabethan conversational skills. The festival introduces patrons to tastes of more than 150 craft brews and offers a variety of beer-related seminars.
About 50 miles northeast of Mobile, Atmore teems with small-town charms. Orange brick ramblers line Main Street, imbuing the thoroughfare with residential appeal. At the intersection of Main and Craig Streets, historical buildings mark the location of Atmore Heritage Park. The park bustles with alfresco entertainment year-round, hosting events such as seasonal concert series and southern-cooking celebrations. About 2 miles northeast of the park, locals at the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts deliver dramatic, comedic, and musical performances. In October, guests can aim their gazes at Simply Divided, or, throughout November and December, create thought-souvenirs during A Cab Fare to Remember. About 12 miles north of the hotel, Little River State Forest offers hiking, fishing, and swimming amid 2,100 acres of longleaf pine forests. Boats, pavilions, and cabins are available for daily or hourly rent. About 13 miles east of the hotel, a natural lazy river curls through the Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve, ushering tourists in inner tubes and salmon in water wings over the sparkling waters. Throughout the year, the forest resonates with the sounds of clip-clopping horses, trickling streams, and rustling pines.