December 28, 2020

Two Day Trip to Ocean Springs, MS

A short drive from my hometown of New Orleans, a magical little city called Ocean Springs awaits your visit. My connection to this city was immediate, and I knew I had to go back (and I have been back many times). Prior to the pandemic, I had little appreciation for the small cities and towns that surround New Orleans. After a little research, 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-type trips that various parties can go on. Solution? I will become an amateur expert (is that a juxtaposition?) on 2-3 day long trips from New Orleans. Thus, my journey to Ocean Springs not only became my go-to suggestion, but a bi-annual trip for myself (and sometimes my husband if he plays his cards right). Let me share this beautiful city with you.
One of several mosaic pieces located near the Ocean Springs Yacht Club

I'll Paint the Picture of the City

Driving into the city, you feel like you’re entering another era. No, there are 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. People crossing the road have the right of way, a novelty for me coming from New Orleans. It's still a small town.

The Pink Rooster Art Collective

An Artist's and Art Lover's Haven

There are two types of shops that dominate Ocean Springs: boutiques for clothing and art stores. My favorites are: Hillyer House, The Pink Rooster, The Art House, and a clothing shop called Browse, where I got the most amazing vintage skirt. The art shops were filled with an abundance of brightly colored pieces of glass art, pottery, and handmade soaps, to name a few things. The piece de resistance was Shearwater Pottery, a collective from mostly the Anderson family. I can't describe how special that place is. It's off the beaten path, but well worth the effort to go.
Roaming around The Roost in Ocean Springs, MS
Check out The Roost boutique hotel when you're in Ocean Springs, MS

The Perfect Place to Stay

I've stayed at several different hotels and venues in Ocean Springs. While I am in love with The Roost, the prices there have gotten so crazy that I decided to try other places. Another hack is to go during the week - prices are significantly improved. With that being said, The Roost would be my top choice. However, The Beatnik proved to be a very special place and one that I do highly recommend. The whole setup is four cabins, one after the other. A communal lap pool is the view from the screen porch that I enjoyed coffee on each morning. It's a bit further down the road, but nothing in Ocean Springs is a far walk. Take your bike if you're feeling a quicker way to bop around town. My last rec is The Hemingway. It was a funky space with modern touches - one I genuinely enjoyed. You really can't go wrong.
Roaming Around Ocean Springs Beaches
One of many types of sea jellies found on the beach at Ocean Springs, MS

Ocean Springs: Where Life is a Beach

Since I'm not a beach person, I don't spend a lot of time near it when I'm in Ocean Springs. However, the sunsets are utterly amazing, and I do love watching the birds perch on the wood piers in the water. The beach there is not one that people swim in. I saw oodles of people walking, running, and playing at the park across the street. What it feels like is a community, and one where people know to go at the end of their work day. I imagine the sunrises are beautiful as well, but I am a lazy morning person so you will not catch me for a sunrise.

Finally, the Good Stuff!

Morning Starter

Do yourself a favor and start out with a coffee from Bright Eyed Brew Co., which has some of the best tasting coffee I’ve ever had. It's a quick drive or walk from any hotel I mentioned above. Coast Roast Coffee (we also have this in New Orleans, folks!) from Tato-Nut Donut Shop is always a winner as well. The donuts are even better. Quick fact: the name comes from the fact that the donuts are made out of potatoes. A new kid on the block is Lazy Oak Bistreaux. I went there for a full blown giant breakfast, and that lasted me until dinner. It was delicious!


Maison de Lu, where I eat my weight in food

Lunch and Dinner Spots

If the weather is great, Mosaic’s has a beautiful outdoor patio. It's a straightforward menu, and very enjoyable. Another great patio is The Lady May. I have heard great things about Glory Bound, but I haven't gone yet. Sorry, I can't confirm or deny it's good.

When going to Ocean Springs for 48 hours, going to at least once fancy place is a must. My absolute favorite is Maison de Lu. I eat like it's my last meal when I go there. It's a French flare with fresh ingredients. Coming from New Orleans and this food scene, it's saying a lot. Phoenicia is another one that I adore, and I kind of like that it's BYOB. It's another one that uses the freshest ingredients and you come away not understanding how you fit that much into your stomach. Really want to do it up? Go to Vestige, the James Beard winner. It's not super hard to get into, but make a reservation ahead of time.


I only have the best recommendation for you: 701 Craft. You do have to get into your vehicle to get there, but it is technically in Ocean Springs, so I included it. Just go. It's awesome. My other recommendation is not far from anything, and that is The Wilbur. It's connected to The Roost, and you will find lovely patio seating as well as indoors. You will feel cozy and happy having a cocktail at The Wilbur.

Roaming around the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, MS
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 seems to be 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 drew me in. 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 I mentioned earlier.

Roaming Around Ocean Springs

As Always, I'll Be Back

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.
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