Dauphin Island on the Alabama Gulf Coast

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Dauphin Island was a great surprise on our roadtrip through the South last year. We had considered going to Gulf Shores or another beach along the Gulf Coast; I’d never been to the Gulf Coast, and it was on the way. But neither of us really like your standard day-at-the-beach beach. A co-worker instead recommended we spend the day on Dauphin Island (pronounced “dolphin” island by a lot of people I talked to about it.

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I would definitely go back again, given the chance. One part of the island had a beach-vacation community vibe, with houses on stilts and people riding bikes to and from the marina along sleepy streets. But then there was also the stunning Audubon Sanctuary, where we wandered through gorgeous swampy nature along boardwalks until the forest dissolved into a beautiful white sand beach. There were only a few other people within sight on the beach. We waded in for a bit until our poor pale skin started to overheat and we needed to retreat to the shade (where it was still ridiculously hot and mugggy, I should add).

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There is also a civil-war era fort and a nature center on the island, although we didn’t have the time to go in either. We also didn’t spot any alligators, sadly, even though there are supposed to be a fair number living in the Sanctuary.

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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more photos of my 2016 roadtrip through the South, click here.]

MD: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

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Despite being so small, the shape of Maryland means a central-dweller like myself didn’t find myself very often west of DC or on the Eastern Shore. Maryland’s Eastern shore is only accessible to most of Maryland by a trip across the incredible Bay Bridge across the Cheseapeake Bay. One weekend in the summer, Aleksi and I took the 2+ hour drive to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, MD. It’s been called the “Everglades of the North.”

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I’ll admit I’d never even heard of this place until I was doing some digging on the internet to find somewhere for Aleksi and I to go enjoy some nature. It was pretty much empty even on a weekend. We took a lovely (though mosquito fraught….with a name like Blackwater, are you really surprised?) stroll through the evergreen forest. The forest floor was covered in a beautiful layer of evergreen needles, and there were amazing mushrooms tucked away every few feet.

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After that, we took the Wildlife Drive, a scenic mile or so road that cuts through marshes and wetlands teeming with life. Blackwater is known for it’s large Bald Eagle population, who use the Refuge for mating every year. Unfortunately, that area was closed off for hatching season, but we did see some cranes, herons, osprey, a variety of beautiful little birds, and a few water snakes slithering through the creeks. Alas, we did not see even one of Blackwater’s famous Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel.

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The drive there is mostly through beautiful coastal farmland, and despite the bugs, I would highly recommend Blackwater to anyone living or visiting the area.

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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures of Maryland.]

Denmark: Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus

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If you find yourself in Aarhus Denmark, as I did in March, I highly recommend the 40 minute bus ride just outside the city to the Moesgaard Museum. In addition to its delightful modern architecture, this brand new museum has some really fabulous exhibits (lots of fun for both kids and adults and grown-up kids) on the history of pre-written-record Denmark. Aarhus, Denmark

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Aarhus, Denmark  [35mm taken with my Canon Rebel 2000 SLR. Click here to see more of my pictures from Denmark.]