Magnolia Springs: Your Gateway to Nature


The tiny town of Magnolia Springs, Alabama, is an oasis of calm a few miles inland from the bustling Gulf beachfront. The village, which sits on the peaceful Magnolia River, is a charming spot  where nature takes center stage, as evidenced by the town’s unique boast–it’s the only place in the continental U.S. where mail is still regularly delivered by boat.

The boardwalk at the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog lets you get close to carnivorous plants

Visitors here stay at  the  Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast, which sits under towering oak trees and has been welcoming guests since its opening in 1997, though the property’s history goes back much further than that. Built in 1897 as the Sunnyside Hotel, the graceful two-story building first catered to guests hoping to escape harsh Northern winters.  Today, innkeepers David Worthington and Eric Bigelow welcome anyone needing a break from the outside world.

The inn’s original woodwork, beautifully restored by David and Eric, is intact and adds to the ambiance, along with the stained glass windows installed by a previous owner. The five guest rooms, including one suite, all have private bathrooms, television and  wi fi.

In addition to the atmosphere, guests stay here for the gourmet breakfast featuring Southern favorites. Guests can  choose to breakfast inside or outside, and the inn accommodates diet restrictions and can prepare vegan and gluten-free meals.

The sign out front says “Classic Southern Hospitality” and in addition to touches like homemade cookies as part of the turndown service, the innkeepers help guests get in touch with nature through their website which provides links to local recreational activities.

The peaceful Magnolia River winds through town

To help guests reconnect with the outdoors, the inn offers a Great Outdoors Package which includes two backpacks, stainless-steel water bottles, a 52″  x 47″ plaid fleece blanket, and snacks like trail mix and beef jerky. Guests also receive trail maps of nearby natural areas including the Hugh S.Branyon Backcountry Trail which runs through Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Gulf State Park. The paved trail features a butterfly garden and winds through habitats including freshwater marshes and a coastal hardwood swamp. The area is home to bobcats, deer and alligators (one of whom is named Lefty.) Other trail options include the Pine Beach Trail at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, home to more than 300 species of birds as well as threatened and endangered species like the gopher tortoise. The multi-use Eastern Shore Trail is paved and includes 24 miles along the shores of Mobile Bay from the town of Spanish Fort to the Weeks Bay Reserve, home of the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog. Here, a boardwalk allows a closeup view of carnivorous plants including the White-topped Pitcher Plant and the Gulf Coast Sundew.

Nature options here are within easy reach– you’ll get back to the porch in time to enjoy the sunset.

The Gulf beaches are an easy drive away

For more information on the Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast, check the website at www.magnoliasprings.com or telephone 1-251-965-7321.

Photos courtesy Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast

Kathie Farnell
Freelance writer Kathie Farnell lives in Foley, Alabama, ten miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, with her husband, photographer Jack Purser, and a flock of cats. She has written travel articles for print and web publications since 1992, and also produces programming for public television and radio through her nonprofit corporation, Artemis Media Project. The couple enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and spending time on the Gulf beaches.

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