On a languid afternoon after too much time in the sun in Gulf Shores, Alabama, I decided to follow the coastline along the Eastern Shore through Fairhope to Magnolia Springs, a small town along the headwaters of the Magnolia River. With jasmine and bougainvillea in bloom, it seems like a true Southern Gothic (in the good sense of the word) type of place with historic mansions, postal delivery by boat (one of the few places in America to do so) and a great place to eat—the award winning Jesse’s Restaurant, in what was once the Moore Brothers General Store, which first opened in 1922. The building is on the National List of Historic Places. They’re a award winner of Wine Spectator. As for the hamlet where it’s located, Southern Living named Magnolia Springs one of The Most Charming Small Towns in Alabama.
Their specialties include unique cuts of dry and wet-aged steaks, bone-in cuts and fresh fish brought in daily. I ordered the shrimp and grits and more oysters than I should have and then headed down Oak Street, where live oak trees create a living canopy above the roadway, past the 19th century Episcopal Church and to the Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast, which dates to 1897, for a peak inside.
Co-owner Dave Worthington quickly volunteered to take me on a tour of the place, which has been a hotel since it opened. Leafing through a guest book dating back to the early 1900s, I can see this place was a hit, even though for visitors from Grand Rapids and Lawton, Michigan as well as Chicago and other far away northern climes it took two days and three modes of transportation to get down there back then first by train, then by boat, and finally by horse and buggy. And there wasn’t even air conditioning when they arrived.
But the food was good, the landscape serene and the fishing, I’m told, was great. I don’t know about the fishing now, but the town is beautiful and the inn serves a wonderful breakfast.
To give you a taste, here are some recipes Dave shared.
David’s Apple Dumplings
· 1 red Delicious apple
· 1 can crescent rolls
· Warm the following three ingredients until
· 1 1/2 cup orange juice
· 3/4 cup sugar
· 1/2 stick butter
Peel, core and cut apple into quarters or thirds. (You also can use a pear, peach, blackberries or a ball of cranberries anything that makes a good cobbler will be great for the filling).
Wrap 1/4 of Apple with one piece of crescent roll and seal all edges.
Place seam side down in Pyrex pan (9×13-inches).
Pour sauce over them then sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. till done.
Baste dumplings with sauce in the pan before moving to plate.
I drizzle a small amount of sweetened vanilla yogurt on top as icing.
Makes 8 dumplings cut in half to make 16 servings.
Dave also drizzles a small amount of sweetened vanilla yogurt on top as icing.
1 can green chilies
16 ounce cottage cheese large curd
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flour
Shred cheese and coat with flour. Beat eggs with green chilies. Add cottage cheese, then cheddar cheese, and mix.
Pour into 9inch pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.
For more on the inn, visit magnoliasprings.com