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Blooming Mobile: Festival of Flowers, Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Historic Houses

Program Number: 7426RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/22/2015 - 3/27/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Price starting at: $975.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc.; Homes & Gardens Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Vegetarian    

Experience springtime at its best during Mobile’s most gorgeous month as you attend the Gulf Coast’s premier flower and garden event. You’ll also explore the home and gardens of an American castle, Bellingrath. Rounding out your experience, encounter Mobile’s rich cultural heritage in the graciousness and charm of its notable architecture and a treasury of preserved, restored homes.




Highlights

• Explore the Festival of Flowers featuring more than 300,000 square feet of landscaped gardens and multitudes of breathtaking blossoms under tent and sky.
• At Bellingrath, learn about its founders and marvel at the beautiful gardens and the incomparable collections of 19th-century furnishings and Boehm porcelain.
• See magnificent azaleas, shaded verandas, majestic oaks and myriad spring flowers at historic houses, truly a feast for the senses!



Activity Particulars

Walking up to a mile per day.



Coordinated by University of South Alabama.




Mobile

Mobile, home of the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration, was founded in 1702 as the original capital of the Louisiana territory. Its rich heritage is evident in the city’s elegant, historic homes. The bay area is renowned for its lush beauty, bountiful azaleas (in season) and fabulous seafood.



Accommodations
Downtown elegant AAA Four Diamond hotel with outdoor pool.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Devereaux Bemis

Devereaux is an architectural historian and director of the Mobile Historic Development Commission. He serves on the boards of the Mobile Revolving Fund for Historic Properties, the Maritime Advisory Council and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. He received a bachelor’s in art history and Russian language and an MBA from the University of South Alabama. He has done graduate work in art history at Tulane University and lives in an 1839 house in downtown Mobile that is being renovated.
 
Michael Thomason

Dr. Michael Thomason is a retired professor of history and the director of the University of South Alabama Archives. He came to Mobile in 1970 when he was hired to teach at the university and has been studying the political, economic and social life of the area ever since. In 1978 he began the university photographic archives and over the years expanded its focus to include manuscripts as well. Dr. Thomason has produced several books, most recently the tercentennial history of Mobile.
 
Thomas McGehee

Thomas C. McGehee is the museum director and curator for Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore, Ala. He oversees its collections of decorative arts as well as the adjoining Delchamps Gallery of Boehm porcelain. Thomas received his degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and has a lifelong interest in history, architecture and the decorative arts. He is secretary of the Victorian Society in America and serves on the city of Mobile’s Historic Development Commission.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
  Mobile, AL 5 nights
 Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: AAA Four-Diamond Hotel located in the heart of downtown. Close to fine and casual dining. Several nearby attractions within walking distance.
  Contact info: 64 South Water Street
Mobile, AL 36602 USA
phone: 251-438-4000
web: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mobrv-renaissance-mobile-riverview-plaza-hotel/
  Room amenities: Each room is equipped with a mini fridge, coffee and tea service and room service is available. The bathroom features marble counter tops, Aveda amenities, lighted mirrors and shower/tub combinations. Every room has high-speed Internet, flat-screen TV and premium movie channels.
  Facility amenities: Fitness center on site, heated pool, business center to print boarding passes, lounge on site, ATM machine and shop on site.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Ask for Road Scholar price Hotel will honor Road Scholar price 2 days before and after program. If you have any trouble getting the pricing, please ask to speak to Kelly Jernigan at the hotel. She is our sales contact and she can take care of early or late departures.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Ask for Road Scholar price Hotel will honor Road Scholar price 2 days before and after program. If you have any trouble getting the pricing, please ask to speak to Kelly Jernigan at the hotel. She is our sales contact and she can take care of early or late departures.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel Check-In is at 3:00 PM, Registration is from 4:00 -5:30 PM You will be staying at Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel Check-Out is at 11:00 AM You will be staying at Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Road Scholar Health Form is required for each participant.
  Parking availability:
Parking adjacent to the hotel. There is a $7 a day charge for parking. Price of parking subject to change.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Mobile, AL
  Nearest city or town:  Mobile, AL
  Nearest highway: Interstate 65
  Nearest airport:  Mobile Regional Airport (airport code MOB)
  From End of Program
  Location: Mobile, AL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Mobile Regional Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Yellow Cab/Mobile Bay Transportation
phone: 251-476-7711
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20 per person
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

18 miles

   

You must register at least 24 hours in advance. You will get Yellow Cab and you must ask for Mobile Bay Transportation and tell them you are a Road Scholar when you call to get the $20 price. You can register on line by e-mailing dispatch@mobilebaytransportation.com or you can call 251-476-7711. Confirm your reservation before your flight lands to ensure pick up. Prices subject to change. You must tell them you are a Road Scholar to get the special price.

 
Driving Directions
  I-10 to Renaissance Riverview Hotel Take exit 26B, follow signs for Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The next light will be Royal Street, turn right, and the hotel will be on your right.
  I-65 to Renaissance Riverview Hotel Heading south on I-65, merge to the left toward Florida where I-65 forks to travel I-10 East. Travel for 6 miles on I-10 then take exit 26B Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The next light will be Royal Street, turn right, and the hotel will be on your right.
  Mobile Regional Airport to Renaissance Riverview Hotel When leaving the airport, travel east on Airport Blvd for 6.8 miles. Take the exit ramp to I-65 South, it will be on the right. Heading south on I-65, merge to the left toward Florida where I-65 forks to travel I-10 East. Travel for 6 miles on I-10 then take exit 26B Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The next light will be Royal Street, turn right, and the hotel will be on your right.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration and Orientation/Dinner in the hotel/Introductions
(Sunday, March 22)
   
 Afternoon: Registration and check-in to lodging at Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel is from 4-5:30 PM. Orientation for the program week will be in the conference room in the hotel. University history and all handout materials (schedule, menus, field trips, etc.) will be discussed. Any questions about the schedule or the program will be answered at this time.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel.
 Evening: Each person will introduce themselves and tell something that might connect them to someone else in the group. There will also be time at the end to answer any new questions that may arise. (**Please note: schedule is subject to change based on weather, instructor and class availability.)
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: All meals served in the hotel/Morning classes include Bellingrath Gardens and Mobile History/Afternoon class on Bellingrath Gardens and Home/Evening class with an architectural historian.
(Monday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Bellingrath Gardens and Home in a class conducted by the property’s curator. Discover how this local attraction was chosen as the only Alabama property featured on the A&E series, America’s Castles. Learn about the 65-acre garden estate, its opening to the public in 1932, and the original owners, Mr. and Mrs. Bellingrath. Dive into Mobile History! During a class with a local expert, discover the influence and contributions of Native Americans, Africans, Spanish, French, and British on our city. Learn about Mobile’s role in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World War II.
 Lunch: Lunch served in the hotel.
 Afternoon: Continue your discussion on Bellingrath Gardens and Home in a class conducted by the property’s curator. Discover how this local attraction was chosen as the only Alabama property featured on the A&E series, America’s Castles. Learn about the 65-acre garden estate, its opening to the public in 1932, and the original owners, Mr. and Mrs. Bellingrath.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a class with an architectural historian. Learn about Mobile’s architecture in discussions surrounding 18th and 19th century styles including bungalow, Creole, Antebellum, Victorian, and Italianate. Topics may include churches, homes, and commercial buildings. Discover how details followed individual tastes and trends of the time.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Breakfast and Dinner served in the hotel/Begin the day with a class on Mobile History then take a field trip to explore the city of Mobile/Lunch at a local seafood restaurant/Field trip to Bellingrath Gardens/Evening class with architectural historian.
(Tuesday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel.
 Morning: Dive into Mobile history! During a class with a local expert, discover the influence and contributions of Native Americans, Africans, Spanish, French, and British on our city. Learn about Mobile’s role in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World War II. Continue your classroom history discussion with the instructor as you roll through the streets for a guided bus tour of the Mobile area. View historic landmarks, beautiful 18th and 19th century homes, and majestic live oaks. Then, drive past the city’s port area where you will learn about the Mobile economy.
 Lunch: Lunch served at a unique local seafood restaurant that has been serving seafood dishes to the Gulf Coast for over 70 years. Known far and wide for is "Oysters- fried, stewed, or nude" Wintzell's Oyster House was founded in 1938 by Oliver Wintzell. You will enjoy the atmosphere and of course the food.
 Afternoon: Tour one of A&E’s “American Castles” – Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Step back in time for a journey through the magnificent 15-room mansion. The home showcases its original collection of treasured antiques, furniture, silver, china, crystal, and cut glass. The exterior features handmade brick and ironwork from a landmark 19th century Mobile hotel. Nestled among beautiful live oaks, Spanish moss, and scenic Fowl River, the 65-acre gardens boast blooms every day of the year. During spring, enjoy azaleas, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, pansies, camellias, Japanese magnolias, ornamental kale and cabbage, foxglove, delphinium, violas and poppies.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a class with an architectural historian. Learn about Mobile’s architecture in discussions surrounding 18th and 19th century styles including bungalow, Creole, Antebellum, Victorian, and Italianate.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Breakfast and dinner served in the hotel/Field Trip to museum home and walking tour of historic district/Lunch on your own in downtown Mobile/Field trip to Museum home/Evening Class on Trees in Home Landscaping.
(Wednesday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel.
 Morning: Take a field trip to explore one of Mobile’s antebellum museum homes. Delight in exhibits of beautiful period furniture, portraits, silver, china, jewelery, and much more. After your historic home adventure, meet a guide at Washington Square to begin your walking tour of the Oakleigh Garden District. This area became a fashionable residential neighborhood in 19th century Mobile. The Oakleigh Garden District is characterized by architectural details that followed individual tastes, including a mix of mansions set among modest cottages and simple houses. During your tour, identify architectural styles including bungalow, Creole, antebellum, Victorian, and Italianate.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in downtown Mobile.
 Afternoon: Visit the Richards DAR house, furnished and administered by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a Period House- Museum. Built in 1860, this handsome historic home, a Town House of the Italianate style, tells in superb architectural detail of fashionable life during Mobile's affluent antebellum days. The House is famous for its iron lace that lavishly decorates the front facade. While you're there, enjoy tea and cookies as you experience Mobile's true Southern hospitality.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel.
 Evening: This evening bring your questions about trees in your own back yard. You will have an expert discuss what kinds of trees are great for you to plant and what will grow well in your climate.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: All meals served in the hotel/Field trip to Festival of Flowers/Free Afternoon to explore the area on your own/Evening session
(Thursday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel.
 Morning: Take a field trip to Mobile’s Festival of Flowers on the Providence Hospital campus. Arrayed under tent and sky with over 300,000 square feet of exhibits, this festival will enchant, entertain, and educate visitors. Come see why this event has been recognized in noted publications such as Mobile Bay Monthly, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Bank Travel Management, and even the British tourism magazine Essentially America. View beautiful displays of cut flowers, houseplants, landscapes, fountains, art, and much more. Other areas of interest include lawn equipment, garden decorations, and professional gardening seminars. This 8-acre celebration of southern beauty is a true feast for the senses!
 Lunch: Lunch served in the hotel.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the area on your own. Take this afternoon to explore the local hot spots. Visit picturesque downtown Fairhope where you'll find shops, boutiques, cafés, art galleries and gift shops galore. The beaches, a short drive south, provide opportunities for souvenir shopping, beach combing, and relaxation! Make a trip to the causeway to sample the area’s finest cuisine – fresh gulf seafood. While you’re there, don’t miss the USS Alabama Battleship.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a special presentation on Mobile’s famous Azalea Trail Maids. These fifty young women, selected from area high schools, wear traditional hooped antebellum dresses with pantaloons, gloves, and dainty umbrellas. The Azalea Trail Maids are true ambassadors of the city and exemplify Mobile’s southern charm. This class will definitely remain on your list of favorites for years to come! Bring your camera this evening.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast in the hotel/Check out and class on Herb Gardening/Boxed lunch to go
(Friday, March 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel.
 Morning: Check out of hotel. Spend time with a herb gardener. Learn about different herbs that you would enjoy growing at home. Instructor will explain how to preserve herbs to get the best flavor when you need to use them.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch to take with you following class
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Mobile, AL Battleship USS Albama and the US Drum
History meets heroism .. from World War II to Iraqui Freedom, at one of America's finest military parks, Here at the Battleship Memorial Park you will walk the decks of a mighty battleship. Go below in a World War II submarine. View cockpits of combat aircraft. You will also see tanks, a Vietnam River Patrol Boat, and a plane like the one flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. It is all here, all waiting to be discovered by you. For additional information, visit www.ussalabama.com
  Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Canopied by century-old live oak trees, "The Bragg" is a grand antebellum mansion. This beautiful example of southern elegance is furnished with fine antiques and exquisite draperies. The circular staircase, double parlors and lavish rooms with crystal chandeliers remind one of a time when hospitality was a way of life. Free parking. For additional information, visit www.braggmitchellmansion.com
  Conde Charlotte Museum House
Mobile's first official jail, this circa 1822 Federal-style home has period rooms containing French, British, Spanish, Confederate, and American furnishings and decor. For additional information, visit www.condecharlottemuseum.com
  Ft. Conde Museum and Welcome Center
Costumed guides lead tours, fire muskets and cannons, and take you back to the early days of Mobile's beginnings. The Welcome Center has interactive displays, videos and friendly people to help you get the most enjoyment out of your visit. Free Parking. This site is undergoing renovations and may not be available to visit, but the information center is open.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Mobile: The History of Alabama's First City


Author: Michael Thomason,Ed.


Description: A comprehensive history of Mobile that celebrates its rich heritage and commemorates the city's tricentennial from 1702 to the present.



Historic Photos of Mobile


Author: Carol Ellis and Scotty Kirkland


Description: The history of Mobile told through historic photographs





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