Southern Creatives – News From the Road – Fairhope, AL

Road Trip

This past weekend I traveled from northeast Texas to Fairhope, Alabama, for the Book Festival sponsored by Page and Palette.

To be honest, I had planned on this post being a list of things that were wrong with the festival, but I will say just two things about that:

1) Communication is the key to success. An email letting people now that they are registered and what they can expect when they arrive (where to go, who to speak to) would have been greatly appreciated. And, a packet with information and details when the exhibitors for the book side of the festival arrived would have been excellent.

2) Note to self – when the literature for something says “Over 150 authors and exhibitors join together to bring thousands of art and book lovers to downtown Fairhope,” this might actually mean 7 authors with booths, 10 authors hosted by Page and Palette, and the rest were art and crafts exhibitors.

Okay, one last thing about that – if you are a writer and you are thinking about setting up a booth for this next year, please feel free to send me an email – melindamcguirewrites at yahoo dot com – and I will be glad to share more about my experience there.

Now, enough of that. On with the good stuff!

Leaving the Pine Curtain (northeast Texas)

leaving the pine curtain

Pine trees heading from home to Shreveport

It was beautiful weather for a road trip.

I left out early Thursday morning. First “big” city on the trip is Shreveport.

Swamp land between Alexandria and Lafayette

Getting close to the river

The next “leg” of the drive is from Shreveport to Natchitoches then on to Alexandria. Once you pass through Alexandria, things get a little muddier 🙂

Whiskey Bay, Louisiana

Whiskey Bay exit, before Lafayette

I’ve never stopped in Whiskey Bay, Louisiana, but I am going to next time. I want a picture of that bay.

I stopped in Lafayette on my way down to meet Erin Z. Bass (Deep South Magazine) and had some Gelato at Carpe Diem. The downtown area of Lafayette is wonderful and vibrant. Carpe Diem was a cute shop, and the gelato, well, I had the salted carmel. They had free samples, but really, when you see salted carmel gelato, is there really any reason to try anything else? No. Not for me.

After leaving Lafayette, I hung a left and headed towards Baton Rouge.

A little side note: when I was younger, I had these “improve your memory” books that were full of devices to help you with your study skills and memorization tricks. There was a cartoon of a giant red stick stuck in the mud in a map of Louisiana because Baton Rouge is the capitol of Louisiana and the name means “red stick” – so there you go, the memory books worked!! 1 cartoon out of a set of 10 books…

Leaving Baton Rouge, we drove through Slidell, and then on into Mississippi. It was dark so I don’t have any pictures of that part of the drive (unfortunately).

The next morning, it was time to go to work!

Setting up for the festival

Before the festival

Downtown Fairhope, Alabama is beautiful, artistic, shops on every corner. It really is a great place.

Setting up the booth, Flannery O'Connor

Flannery made the trip from Lafayette to Fairhope. Deep South Magazine is sponsoring a conference in November. Wish I could go!

Setting up the booth …

Rich Fabric display

Rich Fabric anthology and my grandmother’s handstitched quilt


I think someone forgot to mention to Fairhope that October is actually Fall, not summer. They really didn’t get the memo on that.

Me melting in Alabama

I’m melting… The Powerade bottle in the background adds to the quality of the pic 🙂

I remembered to bring the copies of Josephine – Red Dirt and Whiskey that had the “Adult Content” stickers on the front cover. I don’t want anyone to be “surprised” by that!

Josephine display

Josephine Red Dirt and Whiskey


Nelson and Cora got to hang out in the shade for the morning.

Nelson and Cora

I met some GREAT people there –

Sarah Watson, illustrator

Jessica Jones, editor, writer, special publications news director with Gulf Coast Newspapers

Rosemary Palmer, writer from Nottingham, UK. (That’s a long way to travel!)

Isabelle Parker from Wonga Studios. Our conversation kickstarted all kinds of brainstorming 🙂

After the festival ended, I stopped at Cousin Vinny’s in Daphne, Alabama, for the best muffaletta sandwich, period.

dinner at cousin vinny's

Dinner at Cousin Vinny’s in Daphne, Alabama. It was ridiculously good.

Heading Home

Boudin shop outside Lafayette

On my way home, I thought it was a little too early for Boudin …

Stayed overnight in Lafayette. Headed out the next morning –

Don's Meat market, Scott, Louisiana

But then when we made it to Scott, Louisiana, I decided that no, it actually wasn’t too early for Boudin 🙂

Drove the scenic route from Scott to Natchitoches (meaning I got off the interstate!)

Cora's antiques

Cora’s Antiques in Natchitoches, La. My Cora would approve!

Home again, home again…

Pine trees - Texas/Louisiana border

Hello again my lovelies!


About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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12 Responses to Southern Creatives – News From the Road – Fairhope, AL

  1. Erin Z. Bass says:

    It was so nice to meet you, Melinda! Glad you were able to stop in Lafayette. The boudin makes it all worthwhile. And thanks for bringing Flannery on the road with you 🙂 Love the quilt display at your booth and am looking forward to reading your book!

  2. You were in my neck of the woods and I didn’t even know it! Let me know the next time you come this way and we’ll meet up!!

  3. Yay! I look forward to it! I can tell you this, you passed up some of the best fried chicken EVER when you went by Chicken on the Bayou in Henderson! We love that place.

  4. Nita says:

    It was great to meet you! I feel better now that I have sent an assertive email to the festival powers-that-be.

    • Nita,
      It was wonderful to meet you too 🙂
      Your booth was the most festive one there! I’m not even a Bama fan (don’t hate me – Boomer Sooners, though) but your booth was wonderful.
      I hope your next venture into the festival realm will be a much more rewarding one.
      And, the Bama Primer is great 🙂

    • melindamcguirewrites says:

      It was so wonderful to meet you as well!

  5. Though the festival didn’t turn out quite as you’d hoped, it sounds like you met some great folks on your trip! So glad you had a nice time.

    Now my question: What is muffaletta?

  6. Pingback: Time for another Road Trip … lookout! | melindamcguirewrites

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