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Many guests to the area must travel South on Hwy 59 to get to their lodging. Saturdays are typically check-in days and traffic can be backed up and the wait especially trying.
Why not get some shopping done along the way to prepare for your stay and make the travel experience more pleasurable?
I put an emphasis on strawberries because the farm grows them, and they bake from scratch their goodies using their own farm-picked strawberries.
You will want to get a strawberry pie to eat later but I promise you won't be able to pass up their famous strawberry cobbler.
The bakery also makes various breads using their farm-grown produce.
If you plan to stock a vacation rental home or condo be sure to look for "Made or Grown in Alabama" products.
If you stay a week in a vacation rental home or condo you will most likely grill. Why not pick up some meats from a full-service meat packing/processing plant and get your meat cut to order?
Be sure to pick up some German-style recipe "Elberta Sausage" made in this plant and made famous by the Elberta Sausage Festivals held twice yearly.
An insider tip is to also get some smoked, pulled pork and your favorite BBQ sauce to heat in a crock pot to make sliders or sandwiches at your lodging.
Many a busy, local mom knows the "secret" to a good, home-cooked casserole meal --- just pick one up from Cahall's Deli.
A favorite is the chicken casserole but my guess is you won't be able to stop there.
Cahall's Deli also makes great desserts and offers a nice selection of Boar's Head Deli Meats and Cheeses.
The owners are so actively involved in the community and other charitable events they are closed after 2 p.m. Saturdays and on Sundays.
So do yourself a favor and exit West off of Hwy 59 when you see the Orange Blossom Shopping Center, park the car and stroll toward the interior courtyard to the rear where Cahall's Deli is located. Take in the French-inspired surroundings and get ready to give in to a new addiction.
By this time you will probably want a "snack." Try a deli sandwich and savor it on the bricked outdoor patio. You will leave feeling full and satisfied!
I'm not saying you need a martini to help make the drive down the last leg of your trip South on Hwy 59 toward the beaches more pleasurable, but if you are so inclined, you won't be disappointed to find the Tropic Ice Deck Bar where you can order a specialty drink made with Joe's Famous Secret Recipe Italian Ices.
How is THAT for a unique drink experience?
If you follow the above suggestions you may be in the mood for a cold treat.
There is no place on the island where you will find anything like Joe's homemade Gelatos and Italian Ices. He makes 24 varieties of Gelatos and Italian Ices that change routinely as well as other homemade desserts using family recipes.
Pretend it is your birthday. Remember --- you are on vacation! Buy a cake or have the staff pack some Tiramisu --- made with real lady-fingers --- and Biscotti to enjoy with your morning coffee.
This little gem of a restaurant rarely gets frequented by "tourists" but if you are reading this list you are no ordinary "tourist." Are you.
When you're visiting the South you know you'll want to eat BBQ. But if you get a craving in the middle of the night what then?
Here's a tip: Head to Down South BBQ to one of their two locations and ask the nice owners to pack you up some racks of ribs, Horsey Potato Salad and Kamp Stew for future enjoyment at your vacation rental.
The ribs are dry smoked and packed with containers of homemade sauces --- sweet or spicy.
If you are lucky they will have homemade cobbler available. You will want to purchase a few pints. This is made like none other --- good and buttery rich and sometimes with pecans.
If you followed all the above suggestions you will merely walk across the street from Gelato Joes to the Down South restaurant. If not you will have another opportunity to stop at their trailer located just West of Hwy 59 S. on Cty Rd. 10. If you drive with your windows rolled down you'll catch a whiff of pecan smoke to guide your way.