I love lists. Some more than others. Not that crazy about grocery lists. But here is one I had lots of fun creating!
Ten of My Favorite Things about the Mississippi Gulf Coast (in no particular order)
- THE MARSHES — When we cross the first marshes after arriving on the coast, I strain my eyes, searching for the elusive wildlife that inhabit the area — waterfowl, alligators, schooling fish. As we make our way into Willa’s neighborhood, we drive across several canals that provide an enticing glimpse of the distant Gulf. The marshes teem with activity — for those with eyes to see.
- SANDY BEACHES — Mississippi beaches are nothing like the white sugar-sand beaches of the Florida peninsula, but that’s just fine. They have their own personality. A more golden tan than white, and advertised as “twenty-six miles of man-made beach,” they do nicely. The cities along the coast work hard to keep them dragged and clean, something I wondered, after Katrina, if they’d ever accomplish. They’ve surprised me with the great job they’ve done.
- SUNSETS OVER THE OCEAN — Reds, golds, pinks, purples, all shades of blue and grey — basically all shades of the rainbow. Toss in a few wispy clouds, or even gathering storm clouds, and you have a recipe for a slide show of awesome proportions. Whether you’re driving the coast road or spending time on the beach, the skies will put on a performance for you.
- SPANISH MOSS — For a time a few years ago, I would spend a couple of weeks at a time with Willa, and I’d drive her to work most days, picking her up at 5. Her office is on the Back Bay, and the parking lot is in a large, enclosed area that has benches nestled under moss-hung trees. I loved to park, roll down the windows, turn on the car radio, and sit quietly waiting for her to come out. It was one of my favorite times of day.
- DOWNTOWN OCEAN SPRINGS — Ocean Springs lies just to the east of Biloxi, across the graceful bridge constructed after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the previous one. The French founded the town in 1699, and its downtown district is filled with businesses and shops, a mecca for visitors. You’ll find a wide variety of eating places, from potato donuts to Italian cuisine. But my favorite place is Mr. Bernard Clark’s Antiques on Washington. I love seeking out treasures in his display cases, and his collection of vintage post cards is awesome!
- FRIENDLY PEOPLE — No matter where I go, someone smiles at me. And show owners are extremely friendly, whether it’s a laid-back weekday morning or the middle of a festival-filled weekend. The biggest festival, drawing upwards of 150,000 people over two days, is the Peter Anderson Art Festival the first weekend in November in Ocean Springs. My other favorite is Cruisin’ the Coast, a fun-filled week (over two weekends) when classic cars from all eras visit all the coastal towns from Moss Point to Pascagoula.
- WARM, SALTY BREEZES — A cousin told me once to go down to the beach, wrap myself in a quilt, and breathe in. “It’ll cure whatever ails you,” she said. She may just be right.
- GREAT SEAFOOD — I know not all my favorites are always “in season” on the coast, and I’m sure at times I’m eating seafood flown in from faraway places. But it always tastes as if the chef went down to the harbor that morning and bought it fresh off the boats. I can eat about as many pounds of shrimp and crab cakes as my husband can of crab legs. And that’s a lot.
- VISITING WITH MY DAUGHTER — Willa has lived in Ocean Springs going on fifteen years, and we visit several times a year. Besides all the other things I love there, I do love getting plenty of time to kick back and relax with her, and more recently, with friends of hers as well. Sorry, no photo. She’s camera shy. But here’s her rescue greyhound, my granddog, Kenna.
- BASEBALL!! — This year is the third season for the Biloxi Shuckers, a farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers. Bill & I went to our first game last summer, and we had a blast! (Even though the Shuckers lost) We will definitely be going back this year. The players are personable, seating is ample, vendors are friendly. And c’mon, it’s BASEBALL! That’s all I need for a fun-filled outing.I call this Camera Envy.
There you have it. I could have easily done a Top 20. Perhaps another time. Until then, Take Care!