The Best is Yet to Be

On September 5th Mr. Cozi and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. He is (almost) perfect and stretched himself a little closer by planning our celebration – all by himself. And I said, “yes,” to his plans once again.

“As we grow old together,

As we continue to change with age,

There is one thing that will never change… .

I will always keep falling in love with you.” —Karen Clodfelder

 

Wedding Day

 

I’ve written about a few of our favorite Fairhope spots here, and my man planned a 24 hour retreat for the two of us that involved most of those places. If you are thinking of planning an anniversary anytime soon, I’m sharing his ideas with you today. And let me start by saying that everywhere we went, I told someone what he had done – quite literally praising him in the city gates. He was VERY popular with the ladies. Every woman I told about his plan asked him to please stop by and talk to her husband.

The first thing he did was take a day of vacation to spend with me. Priceless. Next, he made a reservation at Isabella’s Retreat. As you may have read in my post Just One More Bite, our favorite steakhouse in the area is Isabella’s. It is Italian, gourmet and has an excellent wine list. Need I say more? However, what is even more exciting is the recent addition of a honeymoon suite above the restaurant. Mr Cozi booked this room for our anniversary night weeks in advance and had me put it on my calendar so that NOTHING would interfere. There is no television in this suite. No wi-fi, internet service or telephone. But when you are staying in downtown Fairhope on First Friday ArtWalk – with your soulmate – there’s no need for technology.

 

Isabella's Retreat

Isabella's Retreat

Our day began with a celebratory glass of wine in the Wine Bar of Pinzone’s. We had their Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread as an appetizer and toasted our 34 years of happiness.

 

Pinzone's Collage

Then we took a walk around our beloved Fairhope. We did a little shopping in each of our favorite shops. His – Dr. Music, mine – Estate Jewelers.

Fairhope, AL

His hand is my most precious piece of jewelry. But, Estate Jewelers makes mine look better when I’m not holding his.

Fairhope, AL

We ended up at a small, local favorite…Thyme by the Bay for lunch.

Thyme by the Bay

Then we meandered back to our suite to get ready for more fun! The First Friday ArtWalk is probably our very favorite event for locals and how lucky that this years’ anniversary fell on that night!

First Friday ArtWalk

All the art galleries and some of the retail shops were open. There was music in the streets…Rondale and the Kit Katz entertained outside of Estate Jewelers… and there were lots of people to meet and greet along the way. Great music, art that inspires, fun people, delicious food and jewelry! What more could a girl ask for? Well, we’d mentioned many times how unfortunate it is to live in a tourist town, and not be able to see it as tourists do…that was my anniversary gift. So, for those who are planning an anniversary celebration, might I suggest….

  • Plan a day of vacation to spend solely with your mate.
  • Plan a day of doing what tourists would do in your town.
  • Make reservations at a local hotel or bed and breakfast even though you may live 5 minutes away. It makes the day feel as if you are miles away.
  • Enjoy local sights without distractions – no phones, computers, iPads or television. We called it our “unplugged weekend.”
  • Hold hands and talk about other anniversaries that were special.
  • Have dinner in the room if possible.

And as we headed back in, Mr. Cozi stopped in at Isabella’s and ordered our dinner – which was served to us in our room. It was Robert Browning who once said,

“Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”

Yes.

TGIFF

TGIFF – Thank goodness it’s first Friday! Fairhope’s First Friday Art-Walk is a permanent event on my calendar. Every art form is given it’s due on this monthly night out. There are culinary artist who have special events in their restaurants, painters, potters, musicians, you name it and you are likely to see it.

We always start at the Eastern Shore Art Center to see this month’s exhibitions.

Bekki Ludlum's "Rust in Peace"
Bekki Ludlum’s “Rust in Peace”

This was my personal favorite piece of the night. Bekki’s colors caught my eye and then the title captured my heart. You may see more of her art on her Facebook Page.

Just inside the door, contemporary artist, Greg Cartmell was painting oil portraits. He will be teaching a 2 day workshop on May 2-3. If you are interested in attending, contact the Eastern Shore Art Center.

Portrait Artist
Portrait Artist
Artist at Work
Artist at Work
Light is Everything
Light is Everything

On our way to see the Modern Eldorados, I had to stop traffic to get this photo of our beautifully lit trees.

The Modern Eldorados
The Modern Eldorados

Just outside my favorite jewelry store, Estate Jewelers of Fairhope, Julie Johnson has the Modern Eldorados booked to entertain the art-walkers. It was all free and a fantastic party.

This very talented and entertaining gentlemen is  “Gretsch” Lyles, the lead singer of the group.  It was as if I was toe-tapping back in the 50’s, with songs from Elvis, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, to name a few.

Gretch Lyles and The Modern Eldorados
Gretsch Lyles and The Modern Eldorados
Dancing in the Streets
Dancing in the Streets
Cooling Off
Cooling Off

As Gretsch removed his coat, you would have thought he was the real Elvis about to throw a scarf to the crowd. There were high pitched shrills piercing the night.

Fun Friday in Fairhope
Fun Friday in Fairhope
Gretsch Lyles
Gretsch Lyles

And our final treat for the night…. We had the extreme privilege of meeting THE Mrs. Robin Dumas, wife of renowned chef, Scott Dumas of Pinzone’s. She was holding a tasting of the red blend by Lamborghini, Campoleone. It was a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. Very tasty wine. Very kind and personable lady. Scott is a blessed man.

Robin Dumas
Robin Dumas

You’ll remember Scott, from this post, Just One More Bite. If you haven’t checked out Isabella’s or the Village Deli owned and operated by Scott Dumas, you need to! Locals will know and appreciate this news flash; the Nelson’s of the famous, “MaryAnn’s” will be in collaboration with Scott to develop a delicious menu at the Village Deli beginning today. Stop by for lunch.

There’s always something fun and exciting going on in Fairhope. The shrills were a bonus.

Just One More Bite

Isabella's
Isabella’s

Scott Dumas has done it again.  There are so many good restaurants in Fairhope, but one of the best is bound to be the Italian steakhouse, Isabella’s.  The grand opening was Wednesday, September 11, 2013 and Scott says it went very well.  Jay and I can’t wait to try it out because one of our favorite places for lunch or dinner is Pinzone’s, where Scott is also chef.

Chef, Isabella's and Pinzone's in Fairhope, AL - Scott Dumas
Scott Dumas, Chef at Pinzone’s and the new Isabella’s.

Scott and his business partner and co-chef, Mike Pinzone opened Pinzone’s  to bring authentic Italian food to downtown Fairhope and now they are continuing that tradition with an Italian Steakhouse.

Great cuts.
Great cuts.

The interior of the restaurant has a gorgeous, Mediterranean feel and the decor is warm, natural, and somewhat rustic.  The whole of the area makes you feel like you’re in a small village in Italy.

A vaulted wood ceiling, iron chandeliers and sconces carry you away to the Mediterranean.
A vaulted wood ceiling, iron chandeliers and sconces carry you away to the Mediterranean.

Another thing we love about our dining experiences at Pinzone’s is the personal touch that is felt with every meal.  Scott always comes out and speaks to us and the servers are always fun and attentive.  Laughter is a common ingredient.  My tour of the new restaurant was no exception.

A little fire.
A little fire.
A little salt.
A little salt.
A little lunch.  Shrimp with kelp noodles and few seasonings.
A little lunch. Shrimp with kelp noodles and a few delicious seasonings.

The menu is just as impressive.  When I asked Scott how he determined what to add to the menu, he said his goal was to have diners leave with the same feeling they have when they’ve just seen a fantastic movie or finished a wonderful book.  It occurred to me then, that he has achieved that goal with one pair of diners.  Jay and I often talk about how delicious his Sausage and Polenta al Gorgonzola was or my Eggplant Sicilia.  We always laugh at some quip from our waiter or Scott, himself and it is truly a fun place to spend an hour or two.  I expect the same experience at Isabella’s.

I’m sure we’ll soon be discussing Sir Walter’s Oyster Asparagus Champagne Soup or the Lamb Prime Rib.  I can’t wait to try the Filet Isabella, a garlic stuffed filet with wine reduction.

Scott, Jay and I wish you the very best.  Here’s to you.  May all your diners wish that there was just one more bite.