You really don’t know someone until you’ve traveled with them.
My boyfriend, Adam, and I had decided to take a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. I’d never been, but he promised me that I would adore it. I love traveling, but this particular trip had me feeling a little apprehensive. Traveling can bring out the best—or worst—in a person, and I wanted this getaway to be a relationship-builder, not a relationship-breaker. When Adam picked me up on Friday morning at my home in Jackson, I was excited and aimed to put my concerns to rest as he opened the car door for me.
“Gulf Shores or bust!” he exclaimed as we pulled out of my driveway with the GPS set for Alabama’s southernmost stretch of white sand beaches. Several hours later, we parked under one of the beautiful palm trees that graced the entrance of our beachfront condo. After a quick check-in, we sat on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, where the fresh salt air soothed my nerves.
Relax to taste
The next morning, Adam surprised me with a spa date. “A couple’s massage?” I asked, grinning from ear-to-ear. If there was ever a way to capture my heart, it was through professional deep-tissue therapy.
Our massage was at The Beach Club, and as I melted into the table next to Adam, I imagined my breath matching the rhythm of the calming waves breaking just outside the spa. Feeling blissfully relaxed after the massage, we agreed to head down to the beach and explore.
The turquoise waters of Gulf Shores were captivating. We contentedly spent an uninterrupted hour holding hands, talking, and strolling along a small portion of the 32-mile stretch of sugary-soft white sand. I was wrapped up in the romantic scene.
“Let’s see how Alabama does al fresco,” I suggested to Adam that evening. Gulf Shores had no shortage of standout restaurants offering outdoor dining, which ranged from fine dining to family-friendly. We chose a Gulf-front location with stunning views of the sun setting over the Gulf. As residents of a landlocked city, it was a delight to dine on fresh seafood that was probably caught within eyesight.
The next day Adam had another surprise in store for me. He had reserved a private boat charter to take us on a dolphin cruise in nearby Orange Beach. With pride in his voice, he told me this particular cruise promised chilled shrimp, chocolate-covered strawberries, and even a bottle of champagne. My jaw dropped. Adam wasn’t exactly known for being the king of romance. This incredibly thoughtful side of him was charming and a welcome change from our more predictable date nights back home.
“Ladies first,” he said softly as he guided me safely aboard. We walked toward the bow of the ship, Adam keeping me steady as the boat gently rocked, and we held onto the edge as we cruised out to sea. It wasn’t long before we were pointing and shouting “over there!” as playful pods of dolphins leapt from the water. We could see first-hand why dolphins have a reputation for being exceedingly endearing animals. When we returned to the marina, we had dozens of dolphin photos and videos on our phones. Hardly a moment went by that we didn’t want to capture.
“If you thought that was worthwhile, you need to come back at Christmas,” said our captain when we thanked her profusely for treating us to such a memorable experience.
“Why?” we asked in unison. Her answer shouldn’t have surprised us. The Gulf Shores community goes all out and hosts a month-long Coastal Christmas celebration, including a lighted boat parade, she explained to us.
Our first getaway as a couple was a total success. It was the relationship-building experience I’d hoped for, and it really brought out the romance. Now I can’t wait to see that lighted boat parade, hand-in-hand with my honey.