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Fairhope, AL | Utopia by the Bay

Fairhope, AL | Utopia by the Bay

Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival
Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival
Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival
Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival
Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival +28
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Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival

Fairhope, Alabama has just celebrated its 125th anniversary, and a rich history it has. The town was founded in 1894 as a radical, utopian ‘single tax colony’ by the Fairhope Industrial Association, a group of 28 followers of economist Henry George. The name itself, according to historians, comes from the settlers’ opinion that the location offered ‘a fair hope of success’ for their model community. This community, or colony, was envisioned to be forever free of all forms of private monopoly and to afford its members equality of opportunity, reward for individual effort, and the benefit of cooperation in matters of general concern.

The Fairhope Single Tax Corporation still exists and in operation today, with about 1,800 leaseholds covering more than 4,000 acres in and around the modern City of Fairhope. Out of the ideals of the founders, Fairhope has evolved from a utopian social experiment to a vibrant community with a charming and thriving downtown core, a mecca for writers, artists, and intellectuals, and home to boutique resorts and vacation properties.

The “Jubilee” Phenomenon

Fairhope and the neighboring communities of Daphne to the north and Point Clear to the south are the only places in the Western hemisphere to experience the “jubilee” phenomenon. During the summer months, under certain weather conditions, fish, shrimp, crabs, and other aquatic life are forced from the deeper waters of Mobile Bay to the surface and the shore in search of oxygen. During these times, residents and visitors flock to the water’s edge to take their fill of the bounty of the bay. Cries of “jubilee” ring out along the shore, usually in the wee hours of the morning, and news travels fast as people gather gigs, nets, and buckets to reap the bounty of the bay.

Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival

Fairhope is known throughout the southeast and even beyond for its Arts & Crafts Festival, held annually on the third weekend of March. The 68th annual Arts & Crafts Festival is slated for March 20, 21, and 22 of this year and is free to the public. Over 200 artists participate in the juried show, which takes place on the downtown streets. There is a full schedule of live entertainment, a food court with delicious offerings from a variety of cuisines, and plenty of activities for children. In conjunction with the prestigious Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival, the Eastern Shore Art Center’s Outdoor Art Show runs concurrently showcasing another 160 or more fine artists from around the country.

The Eastern Shore Art Center offers exhibits, classes, outreach programs, and participates in First Friday Art Walk along with other art galleries and a multitude of shops and restaurants throughout the downtown area. The Fairhope Museum of History tells the Fairhope story through its permanent collection and ongoing educational programs. The museum offers group tours and welcomes research requests by appointment. Fairhope is also home to the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education, which was founded in 1907 and espoused a unique philosophy of progressive education. The school is still in operation and takes great pride in preserving and practicing the organic education philosophy conceived by noted over a century ago by educator Marietta Johnson.

Iconic Resort Getaways

At the forefront of Fairhope’s many vacation options is The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection. The iconic resort, a Marriott property, is located in the Point Clear area on the south side of Fairhope at Julep Point on Mobile Bay. The resort boasts two renowned golf courses, ten tennis courts, and a stunning pool complex. A wide variety of dining and entertainment options are available, ranging from afternoon tea to fine dining with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. There are stunning white sand beaches, boats, and bicycles for guests to use, croquet on the lawn, and incredibly beautiful landscaped grounds.

Fairhope is located between Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL – about ten miles south of I-10 on US 98 or Scenic 98.

Coastal Lifestyle Magazine.
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