By Christine Tibbetts
CNHI News Service
Next time I’m in Mobile, Ala., I’m changing careers. Going back to try my hand as a crane operator as soon as Gulf Quest opens.
This is going to be a National Maritime Museum about the Gulf of Mexico, with underwater dive trails and offshore drilling technology exhibits.
Controls to pilot towboats and satellite images of storms and clouds sound interesting too but those controls to operate a container ship crane entice me.
Gulf Quest opens in the autumn of 2013 and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a partner. Shaped like a vessel headed to sea, the museum will have 90,000 square feet in three stories.
Gulf Quest isn’t the only Mobile discovery striking me as innovative and alluring.
The Centre for the Living Arts does too.
Downtown Mobile with Cathedral Square, cast iron facades, architecture reflecting three centuries is a walk-about kind of city so discovering the unknown is quite likely.
Conti is the name of the street for finding this arts organization and the Space 301 galleries. The Memory Project is the creative happening through December.
Nine months of investigating memory. Hurry to the back of this big building; here’s why.
Only place in the world to see the massive, three-wall video presentation. Painting with light.
The walls are 30-feet high and the gallery 8,600 square feet. Six projectors control the sequence of animated video about centuries of Japanese history and collective memory.
Music, abstract forms, familiar art and architecture and historical images: poetry in motion.
Hokushima is the title; Xavier de Richemont the French artist who usually paints with light outdoors, on enormous cathedral and monument walls.
Memory Project is his first in America.
Remembering Mardi Gras deserves some time every Mobile trip for me via the exceptionally interesting Carnival Museum.
I’ve yet to participate in Mobile Mardi Gras parades and parties, but an afternoon in the Carnival Museum helps fill that gap with 300 years of history.
Lavish hand appliquéd trains weighing up to 80 pounds because of the preponderance of beads in intricate designs are on display, sometimes folded up at an edge to show the ball bearings that help the “royalty” wearing them to glide.
Moving around the Carnival Museum provides a series of modest-width hallways and rooms, so views of yet more parade and party finery took me by surprise each turn.
Sixty Mystic societies plan all year for the next year, creating 12,000 jobs and a $247 million industry, Carnival Museum Director Judi Gulledge told me.
“These are celebrations by the people for the people,” Gulledge said, honoring generations of family history, her own and city’s.
I got that family message looking at photos of three generations of women wearing the same crown; their years were 1903, 1936 and 1959.
And it seems there’s a Mobile cop who worked the same corner during Mardi Gras for his 32 years for the Police Department.
Here’s what mattered in his retirement contract: permission to still work that corner.
Elegance dominates the Battle House Renaissance Hotel and Spa on Mobile’s North Royal Street.
Do allow time to simply breathe in the Battle House grand foyer, absorbing the history since it was built in 1852.
The elegance of the renovations deserves quiet time to take in the multitude of lovely details.
Rooftop time I heartily recommend too, for broad views of the city and focused views of the busy port. Trellises cover seating areas, a swimming pool and lounging areas invite sunshine time and the rooftop connects to the spa.
This hotel, after all, is one of eight along
the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, and five have large and elegant spas.
Can we eat? Alabama declared 2012 the Year of Alabama Food. When you see a spoon holding a green tomato, that’s the symbol.
Christine Tibbetts covers travel for the Tifton, Ga., Gazette. Follow her on www.TibbettsTravel.com.
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