Weekend Getaway In Review: Orange Beach, AL

Weekend Getaway In Review: Orange Beach, AL

"I can't believe I'm saying this about a seafood restaurant, but their green beans were great!"
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Every college student knows the importance of a weekend getaway, especially when stress levels are beginning to skyrocket. With finals week just around the corner and summer craziness about to commence, my best friend and I decided to make an overnight trip to Orange Beach! Above is a little video I made to remember our fun little excursion! It really highlights all the most memorable parts of our trip.

Orange Beach is about 3 1/2 hours from Troy, but the driving isn't terrible when you have clear roads and your bestie singing Billie Eilish next to you. There's nothing quite like the feeling of driving over Perdido Pass Bridge and seeing the shining blue-green salt water of the Gulf.

Maddie found us the cutest little Airbnb situated right on Perdido Beach Blvd: a cozy guestroom with private beach access! It was easy to find and the comfort was greatly appreciated after the drive.

We decided to take a chance on Shrimp Basket for dinner since it was pretty late when we got there and we didn't feel like braving a high-end restaurant. BEST. DECISION. EVER. The laid-back, outdoor atmosphere was so enjoyable, the service was great, and the food was to die for! Maddie got her Pina Colada fix, and I was fully prepared to marry their hushpuppies.

After dinner, we hit the beach for a late-night walk to find some crabs. Unfortunately, no crabs were found. But, we did collect some pretty neat shells and got to run around in the sand like the crazy kids we are.

It was late, we were full, and sufficiently tired so we conked out pretty early. We woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go the next morning! For breakfast, we had chocolate chip muffins (courtesy of Maddie) coffee. Well, Maddie had coffee. I can't have caffeine so I happily sipped my chocolate milk. (Not as aesthetically pleasing, but just as yummy.)

Around 9:30, we headed for the beach, which was clean, calm and easy to get to! What more could you ask for? The weather was perfect, at a high of 75 and barely a cloud in the sky. There were lots of people out, but they were all personable, respectful, and fun to be around! The water was a little nippy, with lots of wildlife! We saw minnows, jellyfish, stingrays, dolphins, and I even got up close and personal with a crab that took a chunk out of my toe! Maddie really enjoyed feeding the seagulls (or as she calls them, sea rats) parts of her Lunchable. We brought drinks in Maddie's vintage cooler that her grandfather took to Vietnam, which made us look way more hip than we actually are.

After hours of yoga in the sand and splashing around with the sea animals, we grabbed a bite to eat at Live Bait. It's the perfect lunch location if you still have sand in your hair and smell like sunscreen. I can't believe I'm saying this about a seafood restaurant, but their green beans were great!

Driving out of Orange Beach was much harder than driving in because of all the crazies going to the beach to celebrate the end of finals week. We were grateful we left when we did!

All in all, this weekend excursion couldn't have been better. Good friends, good food, good fun! Trips like this remind me that life is about so much more than my daily ins and outs. It's about friendship and laughter and teamwork and the little things that take your breath away. I am learning to seek these moments out and cherish them when they come.

Cover Image Credit: Ella Pitman

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11 Things To Do In Buckfield, Maine

They say there's not a lot to do in small town, but I can prove you wrong!
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What's Buckfield? Where is it? This small town is one you've probably never heard of, but it is still a great place to visit! This small town is where former "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsy grew up. Like any other small town, it's claimed there's nothing to do there. After living in a town for so many years, you forget about all the great things it really has to offer. Here are just a few of Buckfield's most attributable places and activities.

1. Visit the tavern.

A small town favorite! Stop by Captain Bly's Tavern for drinks, delicious food, live music, karaoke nights and an all around fun environment.

2. See the garden.

Visit the community garden located behind Buckfield High School. A cool project originally started by Annette Caldwell, Gretchen Kimball and other teachers and community members, this garden gives students hands on working experience and a fun chance to learn to play, grow, build things and spend time outdoors (even in the summer time). Buckfield's community garden is one of the biggest community gardens in the state of Maine.

3. Swim at the Bennett Quarry and Orchard Pit.

With permission, you can visit these lovely and fun adventure spots. The Bennet Quarries (first picture) are known for having some great gem finds, and the Orchard Pit (second picture) is, as well, but it is more known as a great swim spot!

4. Go to the biggest mall in town.

Well, the only mall in town! Much to your surprise (I'm sure), it's not the mall where you can buy all your clothes, shoes and perfumes! Though you can buy a few "Maine" shirts and hats, you can also fill up your gas tank and get a wonderful Italian or pizza at the Buckfield Mall.


5. Travel the Railroad Bed.

Nearly a five-mile stretch going from Hebron to Sumner (with Buckfield in the middle), this is the perfect place to go four-wheeling, biking, walking, running, horseback riding and in the winter, snowmobiling!

6. Hike the Packard Trail.

A two-mile-long, five-foot-wide loop trail located off of the railroad bed. This trail is rated to be a moderately difficult hike, but it's well worth the views you see along the way.

7. Play at the "Rec field."

A small park between two baseball fields, this is the perfect kid place with slides, swings, merry-go-round and more. You can also watch a local baseball or softball game during the summer!

8. Travel the Nezinscot.

Take a canoe or kayak down the Nezinscot River for a peaceful, scenic river, stretching through several small Maine towns.

9. See the Zadoc Long Free Library.

Located in the heart of Buckfield is the public library. The Zadoc Long Library has several rows of books for all ages. It also holds weekly book clubs, children's books readings and other fun groups. Also, in front of the library is a memorial to honor veterans.

10. Visit Basin Falls

A trip to Basin falls is a great idea in the summer (probably not so child friendly) and leads to a shady, rocky falls and small pools of water for a dip on hot days!

11. Visit Roundabout Farm.

Visit the Roundabout Farm and take a mini horse carriage ride down one of their travels, or visit the various farm animals.

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'Culling' The Bullsh*t; Taking A Deeper Look At The Antibiotics In The Livestock Industry

You want the truth? Here it is.

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As many people have seen around the internet, one of the hot topics is having cattle or other livestock antibiotic free. This has lead to a movement that is not only incorrect with their basic information, but they are hurting family farms across the nation. This stems from the idea that antibiotics contaminate meat products and will affect the consumer. In this article the main points that "justify" the antibiotic culture will be broken down and simplified. I hope by the end of reading this you will be more knowledgeable about this subject, and will make the best decision for you and your family.

1. "If you don't specifically buy antibiotic free meat, you will buy meat with antibiotics in it."

The FDA has control check on the processing line when livestock is processed. This means that the likelihood of any "antibiotic filled" animal to make it through is slim to none. If by chance a ranch or feedlot gets flagged by FDA, they will be fined with a bill in the thousands. This type of flag will make it difficult for that ranch to ever sell livestock in the normal market again. This is only one of the incentives for ranch owners to stay in the clear.

2. "Antibiotics are used to promote growth"

This statement is false. Antibiotics are used to treat an illness. Yes an animal might gain weight after treatment. But that is because when we are sick we tend to not eat as much. Once you start to feel better, it stirs up your hunger. Antibiotics are and have never been used to promote growth.

3. What happens to the animal on an antibiotic free farm when it gets sick.

Let's do a comparison example. If your child got sick what do you normally do? Take them to the doctor and if he prescribes a medication for them you would provide the correct amount to treat the illness. This is the same way with the livestock industry. Most antibiotics and medication in general are a prescription based. Therefore, a vet will need to sign off on the treatment of the animals. While most ranches will treat the illness and move on, antibiotic free farms need to move that animal off site to another ranch. Some of the time they have a secondary place where those treated animals go to live out their life. Not treating a sick animal is inhumane.

These are only a few of the antibiotic free lies that surround the livestock world. And I am not saying for someone to completely change their beliefs over one article, what I am saying is do your research. From both sides of the argument. Then base your final decision from what you have learned. The agriculture industry has many that oppose that will use fear-tactics to push their agenda. And although we are not a perfect industry, we are a very important part of society. And we hold high standards for ourselves because of that.

Thank you for reading,

if you have a suggestion of what I should talk about next leave a comment.

-Chrystal B.

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