I’ve feasted on shrimp all around the world, but Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama have, hands down, the most delicious shrimp I’ve ever eaten. I arrived last night and promptly dug into my first helping at the Gulf Island Grill; today I had a shrimp Po’ Boy for lunch at the Beach Club and this evening I had broiled skewered shrimp at Live Bait restaurant in Orange Beach. I’m here as a guest of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism, enjoying four days on this lovely coastal barrier island and checking up on the status of Alabama beaches following the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Gulf Shores Beach – pristine white and free of oil and tar

Fort Morgan Beach on the western tip of Gulf Shores

Over the next few days I’ll be writing more about what these folks have endured and how they’ve dealt with the crisis, but for now I’ll echo the message being broadcast by tourism professionals: the brilliant white sand beaches and warm Gulf waters are once again clean and sparkling and Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are open for business. And now if you’ll excuse me, there are a few more shrimp with my name on them…