Down in Fairhope, Al., for Spring Break. Beautiful town on the Mobile Bay with breezy beachy weather, fantastic food, and a history that screams “write a novel set here!” It started as a Utopian colony in 1894–28 people landed near the present-day site and set about building a perfect society in the middle of pines, sand, and red bluffs. They believed land should be common property, not private.

One great feature by 1907 was the Organic School, based on the idea that children should be children and not little adults. In other words, learning should be organic. And fun. Children learned with no desks, no books, and often no shoes. They studied the Greek myths of the stars by day and then met at night to learn the constellations. They worked arithmetic problems in the red dirt of gulley walls.

Here’s one of the original buildings:


  1. Mary Lois Timbes on May 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I’m working on the novel you’re asking about. I understand you are too. Mine will be available through my website, probably Monday (May 21) if all the stars are in alignment. Would love to hear from you as you may have read my non-fiction books, according to your information on the Organic School. I have a blog called “Finding Fair Hope” which you might find interesting. There’s a link to the website on the blog.

    • Gin Phillips on May 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      I’m looking at The Fair Hope of Heaven over on my bookshelves right now. I found it very helpful. Great to hear from you, and good luck with your own project!

  2. Mary Lois Timbes on May 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    In case any of your readers are interested, my new website with my Fairhope novel is up. http://www.findingfairhope.com I’d love to have you visit!

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