I just returned from a much-needed vacation to the Mississippi Gulf coast. To my disappointment there are not a lot (or any) wineries along the route from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico, which really inhibits a blog about wineries. Instead I decided to write my blog about my excellent hotel and restaurant experiences.
Our first few nights were spent at Hollywood Gulf Coast Resort in Bay St. Louis. Located a short distance from the shoreline and downtown Bay St. Louis this resort features a lazy river winding around their outdoor pool and swim-up bar. Unfortunately, the swim-up bar closed in October and the mid-sixties temperature forced us to settle for the large hot tub that afternoon instead of the lazy river. I look forward to returning in slightly warmer weather to enjoy another fantastic margarita while floating in a tube!
As a film junkie, Bay St. Louis is a treasure for me, as it is the location for the Tennessee William’s classic This Property is Condemned, starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. Had to pay a visit to the train depot and Starr Boarding House! Two words for you who are clueless right now—Rent It.
Bogart’s is the featured steakhouse at Hollywood. I recommend the chopped salad, their homemade bread, and a glass of Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, I did get to slip some wine into the conversation! I love a restaurant where I can watch the local fisherman pull a bluegill out of the bay while I’m sipping my favorite Cab. Breakfast…awesome omelet, sausage, hash browns, and coffee for under ten bucks at the Celebrity Grill!
It’s just not a southern vacation without a trip to New Orleans. So I made my sixth visit to the Big Easy last week. I LOVE New Orleans! For me, it’s not about finding things to do. It’s about fitting in all the FOOD! With only a mere six hours to fit all that in, I managed to enjoy a magnificent muffaletta from Johnny’s Poboys on a park bench in Jackson Square, a hurricane on the patio of the famous Pat O’Brien’s, and a delicious chocolate praline from Aunt Sally’s. Snapped some more pictures of the French Quarter for my upcoming book and lost fifteen dollars at Harrah’s casino in order to avoid a thirty-dollar parking fee! Everyone was in town for the game. Unfortunately, the Broncos won that day, but it didn’t stop them from partying with Saints’ fans on Bourbon Street. Now that’s good sportsmanship!
Caught the Supermoon on camera at Biloxi-- our next stop. Harrah’s Biloxi Resort has an amazing heated pool, huuuge hot tub, and private cabanas. We gave up a couple days of the week basking in the sunshine and enjoying an amazing drink called Southern Bondage…wow! The bar and grill had typical bar food, which was good but greasy. I think what made the trip was enjoying breakfast every morning poolside. By now it was in the 70’s and impossible to escape the sun. It was perfect! The Colorado omelet was so good, but really too much food for me. By the third morning, I’d wise up and ordered a short stack of pancakes, side of sausage, and a fruit cup. When two people can eat resort food for twenty dollars, I think that’s awesome.
While in Biloxi we wandered down to Ocean Springs (about 10 minutes away) and enjoyed a delectable dinner at Salvetti’s Italian Restaurant in the downtown area. Sitting on the patio was reminiscent of Pat O’Brien’s patio. Good weather, good wine, and excellent food is a fantastic way to spend your last night on the gulf coast. Be sure to give yourself time to walk around and visit the adorable little shops in the area after dinner.
Instead of heading straight home, we stopped off in Vicksburg, MS. The Hampton Inn and Suites across from the Vicksburg Military Park is the perfect place to stay! Those Hilton Honors points came in handy for this gorgeous and convenient hotel. Complimentary happy hour is 5-7. Hot breakfast in the morning is included in your room charge. And the room…spacious and luxurious! We spent an hour driving through the Civil War battlefield, which is an incredible experience—mixing both history and the beauty of nature into one unforgettable day. I wish I’d had more time. I could have spent three days wandering around that park and still not have seen everything. It closes at 5. In order to keep ourselves entertained, we strolled downtown to a restaurant called 10 South—an establishment on the tenth floor of a commercial building. All that warm weather was soon to disappear that evening as a cold front blasted through. We enjoyed our Famous fried chicken and pulled pork on the open air patio, when the front attacked us with high winds and lightning. Even a scaredy-cat like me did not fear for long. Staff pulled down the plastic wind flaps and the party was back on! Did I mention that the Famous fried chicken sandwich was topped with pepper jack cheese and candied bacon? Oh yeah. It went down well with a Hahn Pinot Noir and some housemade macaroni and cheese.
Two glasses of wine and I was ready to take on more formidable spirits at the McRaven House—supposedly the third most haunted house in the country. Although I did not see any ghosts, I did enjoy touring a home that was built partially in the 1780’s, another part in the 1830’s, and the final addition placed in the turn of the century. Definitely take the haunted tour rather than the daytime history tour. You'll get history and a little spookiness on the side.
Well, another delicious vacation filled with good weather, good wine, and good food. Can’t wait to go back and do it all over again!
Hot Food, Cold Fronts, Haunted Houses and the Super Moon in Mississippi (or How I Ate My Way Through The South)
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I am so excited about publishing my second book! Can't wait for you to read it and tell me how you like it!