WHERE TO STAY: The Kate Shepard House Bed & Breakfast (1552 Monterey Pl., 251-479-7048, http://www.bbonline.com/al/kateshepard) is a grand mansion with rooms, including a feast of a breakfast, starting at $145 a night. The three guest rooms are well appointed.
Berney/Fly Bed & Breakfast (1118 Government St., 251-405-0949, http://www.berneyflybedandbreakfast.com) has a choice of four stylish bedrooms, a swimming pool and grandly decorated parlors. A special winter rate of $89 gets you a double room and hearty Southern breakfast.
At the grandly restored Battle House (26 N. Royal St., 866-316-5957, http://www.rsabattlehouse.com), you step right into Mobile's Southern style. Doubles, all spacious and superbly outfitted, start at $169 a night.
HOUSE TOURS: No visitor should pass up the chance to see the Bellingrath Gardens and Home (12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, 800-247-8420, http://www.bellingrath.org), one of the most impressive mansion museums and gardens in the South. It's a half-hour drive southwest of central Mobile. Count on a good four to five hours total for the commute and to take it all in. Admission, which includes tours of the gardens and home, is $18. The stunning Christmas lights display runs the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's.
The Oakleigh House (350 Oakleigh Pl., 251-432-1281, http://www.historicmobile.org) features guides in period costumes. Tickets are $10.
The Historic Mobile Preservation Society (300 Oakleigh Pl., 251-432-6161, http://www.historicmobile.org) offers several options for visitors interested in the city's architecture. A detailed driving/walking tour map is free. The society also offers a two-day annual guided house tour that includes visits to a dozen homes and historic churches; next year's is March 15 and 16. The fee for visitors is $15 for one day, $25 for both days. Memorable Mobile Tours (251-344-8687) conducts custom guided tours of the city and surrounding area; rates vary.
INFORMATION: Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau,800-566-2453, http://www.mobile.org.