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Fairhope Utopia By the Bay

Fairhope Utopia By the Bay

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Fairhope, Alabama has just celebrated its 129th 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 corporation 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.


Fairhope is known throughout the southeast and even beyond for its Arts & Crafts Festival, held annually during the third weekend of March. The 71st annual Arts & Crafts Festival is slated for March 17, 18, and 19 of this year and is free to the public

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, crab and other aquatic life are forced from the deeper waters of Mobile Bay to the source of the shores 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 bucket to reap the bounty of the bay.

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 17, 18, and 19 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 of 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 of 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 over a century ago by noted educator Marietta Johnson.

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.

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