The summer before Reagan started kindergarten, I started a little tradition we like to call “mommy/daughter trips”.

Of course, this was back when she called me “mommy”, not “mama”, and when it took a lot less to impress her. We usually went somewhere for the weekend, just the two of us, at some point during the year. We didn’t get to go anywhere last year, so a while back, I decided that we should do something special for her 13th birthday. 

If you’ll remember, back in the summer I wrote a blog post about my love for Mobile, AL. Since Reagan didn’t get to see the downtown area much back in June, and since she’s NEVER been to Bellingrath Gardens, I decided Mobile would be a great place to spend her birthday weekend.

I sent a text to my cousin’s wife and asked if we could bring two of their daughters with me and Reagan on our little getaway. Anna is 16 and Emma is 13. She and Reagan were born 10 days apart. I got the green light to plan this all girls road trip and a few weekends ago, we set off for one of my favorite cities on the map.

Our first order of business was a tour of the Christmas lights at Bellingrath. I’ve been to the gardens before, but never at Christmas and they were nothing short of phenomenal. The weather was perfect and the displays were amazing. 

From there we went to grab a quick bite to eat before popping in on cousin Lina and having a quick visit.

We rolled into downtown about 10:00 p.m., checked into our room at the amazing Battlehouse Hotel and this is what greeted us in the lobby:

After everyone got somewhat settled in, we broke out a new game of Trivial Pursuit and stayed up until the wee hours playing and laughing.

We had gotten a complimentary breakfast the next morning but it was nothing to write home about. Still, we made do with it and then proceeded to walk to one of the main reasons Reagan wanted to return to Mobile: Bienville Books. 

Bienville Books mostly deals in used books, and you just never know what treasures you might discover or REdiscover while perusing the shelves. Between the 4 of us, we came back with 19 books. That should tell you a little something about the group I was traveling with. 

Anna and I each opted to have a blind date with a book:

Such a fun idea!

After a couple of hours in the bookstore and a dismal breakfast, we walked down to Wintzell’s. I don’t need to repeat what I told you about Wintzell’s back in June. Just go eat there. You’ll thank me.

We visited a great art gallery across the street after lunch and then proceeded back to the Battlehouse to give Lina a beyond-the-lobby tour of the hotel. 

After visiting for a bit, she headed back home and we crashed for the rest of the evening. 

For our last morning in town, we had brunch at Spot of Tea, which is also a place I visited back in June. You know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Spot of Tea has great food and a fun atmosphere so we savored our meals and then headed…….to ANOTHER bookstore! 

We met up with Lina again, this time at Books a Million, and spent a good almost 2 hours just roaming around saying, “Have you read THIS?” We all came home with pictures of book covers to look up and read later. 

By the time we made our purchases there, it was time to head home. We said our farewells and rolled back into Simpson County before dark. 

Anna and Emma are my second cousins, but really, more like nieces. They are polite, kindhearted, intelligent, funny, and extraordinary young women. After being in such close quarters with me and Reagan for 48 hours straight, they may never want to travel with us again! But they certainly made the trip a much more enjoyable one for us. 

Anna is the oldest of 4 girls and she definitely has a maternal way about her. I’ve written about her before and she is just one of the sweetest young women you could ever know. She plans to become a nurse and I can think of no other profession that would suit her better. She’s also a little guarded. I love to see that exterior melt away and see her eyes light up over something. She’s such a special person and I’m so glad she came along on this trip. She was the perfect person to have alongside me because she fits right in with me and Lina. I like to think of her as the youngest generation of our kindred spirit circle. 

Emma is my cousin Ray (her dad) in female form. Her dry wit comes out of nowhere and literally makes you laugh out loud before you realize it. She is the yin to Reagan’s yang. She’s quiet, laid back. Reagan is often loud and super neurotic. They mesh like peanut butter and jelly. Emma has spent MANY many of Reagan’s birthdays with us. I hope it’s a tradition that will continue until they’re grown because I love having her around and always have. 

I now have a teenager. And I can’t think of any better way to have celebrated this milestone than with 3 of the most fabulous ladies I know and am privileged to call family. 

Until next time, girls, here’s to good friends, good food, good times, and great books! Love you all to pieces.