Downtown Ocean Springs has a happy vibe with attractive shops and a number of delicious dining choices. The two main streets are Government Street and Washington Avenue. On Government Street, I'd suggest that you find a parking spot and stroll the sidewalks from shop to shop and eatery to eatery. Washington Avenue is longer and more spread out, so you'll probably want to drive directly to the destination of your choice.
First, let's talk about eating. Isn't that what usually comes to mind when you're exploring a new place?
For a quick cup of great coffee or perhaps a pastry, stop in at Bright Eyed Brew Co. The owners are Christians who are committed to their family and serving superior coffee. You'll probably find a line ahead of you but stay with it for a genuine friendly experience.
For a more substantial, healthy, cooked-to-order breakfast, drive down Washington Avenue to Blue Dog Bistro. Steve and I recommend the frittata and the oatmeal banana pancakes enthusiastically.
We tried The Lady May for lunch and appreciated their menu of sandwiches and salads.
For dinner, we sampled the fare at Maison de Lu on the first night and Mosaic on the second. Both were extremely good. Both have outdoor patios, and the weather was perfect for enjoying the night air. Mosaic keeps a full schedule of live music ready to entertain its guests.
We recommend the shrimp and the bread pudding at Maison de Lu.
Try the seared tuna or a burger at Mosaic. Two thumbs WAY up.
For a sweet pick-me-up while shopping, stop in at French Kiss Pastries. So many tasty selections.
The names of shops along Government Street will entice you to see what they are offering. Look in at Realizations, Hillyer House, Coastal Magpie, My Happy Place, and Ocean Springs Mercantile for starters, and be sure to let me know what others you find. So many cute things. You'll wish for a beach cottage or condo to decorate.
A PARK AT THE BEACH
Ocean Springs is blessed with a 3-mile-wide stretch of sandy beach with calm waters and a long pier. It's quiet and family-friendly with plenty of parking and NO HIGH-RISE CONDOS!
Fort Maurepas Park is directly across the street from Front Beach. Families will appreciate the splash pad, the ship playground, AND THE RESTROOMS! Be sure to look for the statue of d'Iberville, a Frenchman who explored the area in 1699. You'll also be amazed at the animals carved into the trunk of the remains of an old live oak tree.
LOOK FOR PUBLIC ART
Art abounds in Ocean Springs! I told you last week about the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and Shearwater Pottery. This week I want to show you a few murals I found. First, here are two that were painted on the sides of buildings.
This incredible mosaic mural can be viewed by the Yacht Club at the Biloxi Bay Bridge. Park your car and take a close look at the intricacy of this major artwork.
Ocean Springs may be small, but it's a significant part of Coastal Mississippi's charms. Be sure to check it out.