December 28, 2020

Roaming Around Ocean Springs, MS

A short drive from my hometown of New Orleans, a magical little city called Ocean Springs awaits your visit. I made a connection with this city the first time I went to it, and I knew I had to go back. While I was busy planning European vacations or trips out west in my head prior to COVID (Paris was canceled because of the pandemic) I realized I had a plethora of beautiful places within a few hours of me to explore. As a realtor and New Orleans local, I get asked frequently about affordable, fun weekend trips either solo, with a partner/friend, or a small group. So, why not become a connoisseur of my area while enjoying life a little more? Thus, my journeys of cities near me have ensued. Ocean Springs was #1 on my list of places to go.
One of several mosaic pieces located near the Ocean Springs Yacht Club

Art, Art, Pottery, and More Art in Ocean Springs

Driving into the city, you immediately feel like you’re entering another era. Yes, there are cars and not horses and buggies, but the quaintness and closeness of it feels delicious in the soul. There is a little jump in your heart that tells you you’re about to experience something special. As you enter Ocean Springs proper, you cross over railroad tracks onto Washington Avenue. To the left, you’ll see the old train depot, which now houses the Walter Anderson shop called Realizations. (I will speak more on Walter Anderson later - his story is fascinating.) Keep driving and you will see the most beautifully laid-out main street of Ocean City, which I secretly wish was named “Main Street” because it’s so quaint. Don’t go too fast. People crossing the road have the right of way, even if they are technically jaywalking. There are two types of shops that dominate Ocean Springs: boutiques for clothing and art stores. Places like Hillyer House and the Pink Rooster were some of my favorites. Each was filled with an abundance of brightly colored pieces of glass art, pottery, and handmade soaps, to name a few things. The vintage costume jewelry made me really giddy at the Pink Rooster.
Check out The Roost boutique hotel when you're in Ocean Springs, MS

The Perfect Place to Stay

As I was nearing my well-priced (especially during the weekdays) boutique hotel, called The Roost, I couldn’t help but notice how my stress was melting away. Being under the canopy of so many live oaks made the quick drive to the hotel feel serene and pleasant. The Roost is slightly off the beaten path by a few blocks, but still walkable to everything city-centric. The pandemic-friendly check-in was a breeze, as they email you a code that unlocks the door -  keyless entry for the win! My room was stunning. It was simple and clean. The floors are wood, so no icky carpet to put your feet on if walking barefoot is your jam. Right outside my door were two large and comfy chairs that I could’ve read a book on most of the day. But, I didn’t come to do that. Maybe a little, but I had places to go and people to see. Let’s take a tour of Ocean Springs!

Ocean Springs: Where Life is a Beach

After settling into my hotel and dropping off my things, I grabbed my camera and took off to the beach. It was around 5:00 pm so I knew I would have some time to walk through the neighborhoods, take in the gorgeous scenery, and catch the sunset. My walk over was easy. I took a more circuitous route than needed, but I wanted to see as much as I could. As I was walking down my hotel’s street, I passed a little church that was straight out of a fairy tale. St. John’s Episcopal Church was calling me for a photograph. I obliged. Side note - I have an affinity for photographing churches and graveyards. When I got to the beach, I walked along the beautifully paved sidewalk along the sand. What I noticed was how kind people were, how polite when passing, and how many families were enjoying the perfect weather. Also, so many people had dogs! Since I was missing my own pooch, it was nice to see others. When checking out the beach, I noticed how many jellyfish were washed up on shore, and because I adore jellyfish, I went over and picked a few up. Don’t worry, only the ones with tentacles will sting. The beach was overall clean. There were a few pieces of trash on the shore, but I was impressed with how debris-free it was. When waiting for the sunset, the pelicans and seagulls come out to relax on random poles that are in the water. They all hang out together and it reminded me of Finding Nemo to be honest. It was so relaxing to sit and relax there along the ledge, listening to the water and watching the sun go down. When going to Ocean Springs, a beach walk is a MUST.
One of many types of sea jellies found on the beach at Ocean Springs, MS

Where and What to Eat

Morning Starter

Coffee was delicious and easy to come by in Ocean Springs. I tried two different places. Both mornings I went to Bright Eyed Brew Co., which had some of the best tasting coffee I’ve ever had. The first morning I went, I rolled out of bed and drove the 3 minutes to the shop. In and out, back to room to have the most delicious coffee. Get the large - it’s worth it. I also had an iced Coast Roast Coffee (we also have this in New Orleans, folks!) from Tato-Nut Donut Shop, where I regretfully did not get a donut. The name comes from the fact that the donuts are made out of potatoes. Also, the customer service is exceptional. Go there and eat a donut for me!

When you're in Ocean Springs, MS you have to try the biscuits at The Greenhouse on Porter!

Breakfast and Lunch

For breakfast and lunch (and my favorite meal) while in Ocean Springs came in the form of a fancy biscuit from The Greenhouse on Porter. At the recommendation of my friend Jackie, who has an amazing physical therapy practice called Gulf Coast Myofascial Release, I decided to try it. Just a few blocks in the other direction of the main street, the little building was totally unobvious. In fact, I passed it right up at first. When I walked up, there was a long line. But, I waited because Jackie told me it’s that good. I asked the young lady for a food recommendation, and she told me she likes the oatmeal cranberry with sweet fluff and granola. Sold. I went to the side yard where a bunch of tables are set up to dine, and waited with Marigold, the resident cat. When the biscuit came, I thought I had died and gone to heaven - so worth the wait. (I went back the next day and got the chicken salad sandwich on my way out of town, which was also a great idea.) Because the weather was absolutely perfect the one full day I was in Ocean Springs, I lunched on Mosaic’s beautiful outdoor patio, had the fish tacos, and washed them down with a Blue Moon. Jackie also told me that Glory Bound was the “it” place to go, although I didn’t try it. It also has a great outdoor seating option.


When going to Ocean Springs for 48 hours, you must choose your dinner spots carefully because you can’t fit all of them into one visit. I went to two memorable places for dinner: Phoenicia and Maison de Lu. I walked, or waddled, away from Phoenicia stuffed with the most delicious dish of red snapper topped with crab meat with fries on the side. It was delectable.


Word to the wise: it’s a “bring your own alcohol” situation, so if a boozy dinner is in your future, make sure to hit Ocean Springs Discount Liquor before you go. I got a nice bottle of French wine there - and I took what I didn’t finish back to my hotel. Bonus! The customer service was out of this world. Ashley (my server) made my night. Maison de Lu is a sweet little French restaurant and a local favorite as well. I sat at the bar, where I was greeted and treated well by the bartender and the rest of the staff. They were inquisitive about why I was there and what I was doing, and got a kick out of my blogging story. The food experience was another “knocked-it-out-of-the-ballpark” one. I had fish, a cauliflower side, and green beans. And a glass of wine, or course.

Had a fantastic time roaming around the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, MS

Art is the Heart of Ocean Springs

A big reason I am drawn to this particular city in Mississippi is because of the art. It’s everywhere, but particularly because the Anderson family made it fashionable in Ocean Springs. The family has deep artistic roots in this city, and the mark they have made is unlike many I’ve seen. From murals, to pottery, to tattoo artistry, this family celebrates the arts. The main Anderson I’ll focus on is Walter, as the museum dedicated to him is small but fierce. I am not what I would consider a “museum person” but I was captivated by this particular story.

Walter’s colorful background captivated me. He seemed like such a promising artist in his youth, but after contracting malaria and lingering fever he began to have psychotic episodes. This led to him and his wife separating eventually, where his four kids would sometimes see him around town and not even speak to him. He was somewhat of an embarrassment to them. Anderson proceeded to make beautiful art of all kinds, and eventually decided that he would spend much of his time on Horn Island, a barrier island off of Mississippi. Walter sketched wildlife galore and truly became one with nature. For a more descriptive story on his life, check out his biography on Shearwater Pottery’s website, which his brother Peter Anderson founded and is still family-owned to this day. I came away with a print to frame from his grandson, Matt Stebly, who is owner and tattoo artist of Twisted Anchor Tattoo. His artistry is so unique that it made me seriously consider getting a tattoo. I didn’t.


I’ll Definitely Return

There is nothing like hopping in your car for a short hour and a half and ending up somewhere as magical as Ocean Springs. I am positive that more visits are in my near future. In fact, the Peter Anderson Festival is a great excuse to go back there the first weekend in November. 48 hours in Ocean Springs is a perfect amount of time, but I’m telling you: that little town will draw you in really quickly. Between the kind and friendly people (who stop so you can jaywalk across the street), the snazzy shops, and the delicious food options, it’s one of those places you’ll want to keep going back to time and time again. Put it on your list - you’ll thank me that you did.

Share The Article