Orange Beach, Alabama and the famous Romar House

Many years ago, Isak Dinesen wrote, “The cure for anything is saltwater … sweat, tears or the sea.” Actually the beach and saltwater can evoke feelings of immediate gratification by listening to the pounding waves against the shoreline or simply enjoying the serenity of the moment in a picturesque cottage near the sea. With the advent of huge high-rise buildings and hotels, thousands of motorized vehicles and masses of tourists, such a place is hard to find!

Though I hadn’t been to this particular part of the Alabama Gulf Coast since my days of playing baseball in the Gulf Coast League more than 50 years ago, I recently stumbled on a magical oasis right in the middle of all the modern day insanity. I rediscovered the nearly 100-year-old Original Romar House Bed and Breakfast Inn ( This gorgeous relic of another era is located on the tranquil shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Orange Beach, Ala.

Thanks to the efforts and financial backing of Jerry Gilbreath from Mississippi, this beautiful, historic and immaculate old inn, which is the last one in Orange Beach, is alive and flourishing again. The current Original Romar House Bed & Breakfast Inn offers five private rooms, one suite, and one fabulous guest cottage. Each room and the cottage were named after a local festival or some special memory to the Romar House. They are all colorfully decorated and have their own private bathroom.

Every visitor to this special place experiences a feeling of being taken to another time and place where everything moved much slower and everyone was treated with more respect. Your hostess is a beautiful, bubbly Hawaiian Lady named Lilia Bard who creates mouthwatering breakfasts and is the best ambassador of southern hospitality that I have ever met!

At any time, you can take a swim in the unique swimming pool, stroll along the beach collecting seashells, curl up in a cypress swing or hammock and read a book or relax in the hot tub. You are only minutes by car to gift shops, golf courses, seafood restaurants, marinas and plenty of local entertainment.

Though the Romar House and the miles of beach within walking distance should be enough, less than a mile away is Gulf State Park which offers something for everyone. The beach pavilion provides picnic tables, the nature center is a great place for the kids to learn, the Lake Shelby day use area offers kayaking and canoeing, and the fishing and education pier. There are miles of biking and hiking on the Backcountry Trail, beautiful flowers in the butterfly garden and additional education at the learning campus.

A few days near the beach at the Original Romar House Bed & Breakfast Inn will prove restorative, if not completely curative. Visiting the beach is part of summer vacations for many people. There’s nothing else like building in the sand, jumping in the waves and soaking up the sun. Even gazing out into the vast Gulf of Mexico or capturing the sun rising and setting off the horizon can be unforgettable. For lovers of solitude and nature, however, going to the beach and staying at the Romar House is a chance to get away from stress and hectic schedules and become one again with the sun, sand, water and time that seems lost in the insanity of the modern world!