This post is shared in partnership with Visit Mississippi
Upon reaching the 6-month anniversary of the release of Wanderful it was fully decided: it’s time to celebrate! What better way to do so, of course, than to get out there and get back on the road! Honestly, even after experiencing 9 road trips around America while writing my book there’s still soooo many places remaining to be seen!
Truly, I hadn’t yet been on a proper American road trip since the beginning of the year, so we got our planning underway. We’d take off for a weekend adventure, somewhere with forests, blooming flora and fauna - where we’d feel a sense of our Southern roots (i.e. Music! Good food!). The trip would be someplace beautiful while staying within a writer’s budget.
Despite being a Southerner for all of my life there’s so many Southern states I’ve not fully explored - we’d be going to the coast of Mississippi, and this would be one of those places that would be fully new to me!
We booked our stay, did a little advanced inspiration work (my usual approach: music, books or movies) and prepared for our travels.
What to know before you go:
We stayed in Ocean Springs. The 26 miles of the coastal highway is one of the only highways along the Gulf Coast that doesn't have condos hiding the views of the Gulf. The drive is stunning. If you’re driving in, be sure to travel along this road once you’ve made it to the coast. The back bays and winding side roads are worth traveling along too… make extra time to simply get out and wander.
Where to stay:
I’ll give you two options that are markedly different here. If you’re a luxury lover choose option 1. Want to spend time in nature? Choose option 2.
The White House Biloxi: In the 1890’s this was the home of Cora White - today it’s my dream hotel. I could have spent the whole weekend cruising along the coast during the day and then coming back to the hotel, dressing up in my best party dresses and sipping champagne at Cora’s Bar by night.
The Turtle House in Ocean Springs: This little gem is a Caroll B. Ishee designed home. Ishee, a Mississippi local, designed unabashedly modern homes on hidden-away plots of land along the Gulf. We'd have been seriously good friends - he had a love affair with nature and felt we should coexist with it, not merely experience it from afar. The whole place has a sort of jungle vibe... be prepared however to have wildlife encounters. In our case, we met a raccoon and quite a few flying creatures, but hey, it’s in the woods, it’s part of the charm.
What do to:
Visit the adorable little town of Pass Christian: This town took quite a hit during Hurricane Katrina, so it was so lovely to visit and see the beauty re-emerging. We stopped at Cat Island Coffee shop. I spotted a book titled A Guide to Living the Good Life in the window, that’s what drew us in - and then sat down for a cortado and a matcha latte, and truly that’s how the good life starts.
Make time to explore the marina and the stretch of beautiful homes as you get closer to the downtown area.
Explore the Museums: There are many good museum options along the coast. Our pick was the Walter Anderson museum. This mural, never seen by anyone until after his death, is an ode to his island escape — painted directly on his cottage walls.
It’s unequivocally magical! There were paintings of butterflies (my spirit animal) and an entire exhibit devoted to cats (Ben’s spirit animal) and we were completely enamoured.
Visit the delightful downtown Ocean Springs: Speaking of the Walter Anderson Museum, it’s situated in downtown Ocean Springs which is a serious delight in itself. We stopped for artisan ice pops from Pop Brothers in downtown Ocean Springs, Mississippi, while a local musician could be heard singing in a bar around the corner. We shopped along Washington Ave. and Government St., stopped for happy hour at Government St. Grocery and finished with a delicious dinner at Phoenicia Gourmet Restaurant.
Play outside: Head over to the Gulf Island National Seashore (free to visit!) to see candy-colored cabins and Park Rangers riding around on beach cruisers. Stay for a hike, or just take a slow drive through to see the wildlife.
Sunset on the Bayou: When we checked into the Turtle House the proprietor insisted we take a bottle of wine and head straight out to the bayou to catch the sunset. We’d been traveling for quite a few hours and I can tell you, it was truly the perfect way to end the day.
If you go, of course, I'd love to hear about your experience! If you feel inspired to plan a trip to Mississippi, here’s one place to start! Tag me on instagram to share your stories!