It was one of those truly rare times that my husband and I had a spare afternoon and night on our way to New Orleans. While we could have gone on in, we thought instead to stay perhaps in Biloxi or Gulfport. We stopped at the Mississippi Vistors Center to gather some information and the lady at the desk certainly gave us some good suggestions. She then said that if we wanted to spend the afternoon strolling and poking about, we should go to Ocean Springs where the downtown section had a number of galleries, shops, and restaurants. We didn’t have a firm plan and it sounded like the type of place we would enjoy.
I studied the map she gave us and saw there was a grid of approximately eight streets by six streets of the area she was talking about, to include some B&Bs. I was chattering about that when my husband reminded me that most B&Bs don’t just have rooms for people dropping in. Since there was a cluster of motels by the I-10 exit, I agreed that might be best. We drove past them and within a couple of miles crossed a bridge with a casual looking seafood joint to the left, then a spot off to the right with a sign for the Julep Lounge, a steak and seafood restaurant, and a place that featured catfish. We were on the main border street of Washington, and drove slowly to get our bearings, passing through to the beach front on the bay. We saw some gorgeous homes, a nice walkway, glanced quickly at a scenic park, then reversed our route. As with many towns that have converted into a pedestrian friendly zone, parking was limited and after we found a place, we strolled under huge, old oaks that lined the streets. The Pink Rooster caught our attention and when we entered the gallery, we were greeted with a smile and a quick tour of three rooms. The art was predominantly oil, although there was some wonderful jewelry as well. There were several pieces we would have purchased if we had been in the art buying mode.
We lost track of the different cute shops and if we had needed Christmas presents, I suspect we could have found much of what we wanted with the variety of arts and craft mediums we saw. We mapped out multiple options for dinner and had a pleasant chat with the owner when we went into a kitchen store. She was fairly new in town and said she had bascially paid a visit, fallen in love with the atmosphere, and moved in to set up her business. She gave us directions to Shearwater Pottery and we retraced our route, looking into other shops, and noting the Thai restaurant, the Italian place, the candy shop and others. We had heard of Shearwater Pottery and it is definitely tucked back away from the road. We perused the museum section where three generations have continued the family tradition of design and production. We left there and drove around for a bit longer, seeing the harbor with a profusion of shrimp boats, then found the second beach area we’d been told about.
We selected one of the motels out by I-10 and studied the brochure to decide about a restaurant for the evening. It was actually a bit of a quandry and when we chose a steak and seafood place with a martini bar, we were not disappointed. Although the exterior wasn’t as attractive as some places, the interior was well designed and dinner was quite good.
I don’t know if we will back back near Ocean Springs any time soon. I can recommend it, however, as a place to visit whether as a day trip or overnight.