A fellow Airstreamer recommended, when we told him we wanted to stop in Ocean Springs Mississippi, three things: stay at Davis Bayou campground, get donuts and coffee at Tato Nuts, and eat at a seafood restaurant in Biloxi.
We did pretty darned well. Davis Bayou Campground in Gulf Islands National Seashore is our kind of campground — first come, first served on all camping spaces and they had nine available when we rolled in. Electric and water at each campsite, a dump station, and nice hot showers centrally located.
Monday was all rainy all day. Okay, we had errands to do anyway. We walked in downtown Ocean Springs in the rain, grabbed a cup of coffee and pastry at French Kiss, then washed, dried, and folded two loads of laundry for $3.75 total and in under 60 minutes (our new record on both accounts) and came back to our home and were warm and dry again ourselves.
Tuesday showed up beautiful and warmer. It was a perfect day for trying out Tato Nuts’ potato flour donuts. We were not disappointed. What a neat place! Open since 1960, survived Katrina, still delivering home-style friendliness, good coffee and great donuts. Thanks, George, for the recommendation. Our kind of place.
Thus armed with sugar, fat, and coffee, we went to nearby Walter Anderson Museum and Community Center. Jim’s mom and sister both told us this is a must-see in southern Mississippi. Jim liked it because no matter how nice a museum is, if it is too large we just wear ourselves out combing slowly through everything and often don’t finish all day. We took our sweet time, watched the interesting video and walked all the exhibit space and very carefully toured the murals in the Community Center. This museum tells an amazing story about Walter Anderson’s life and work, and presents the art beautifully. We are touched by this visit.
Still, we were out by lunch time so called Jim’s cousin and arranged a lunch date. She chose Biloxi Schooner in, of all places, Biloxi. It’s one of her favorite places, always good food and friendly people. Biloxi is just over the causeway from Ocean Springs, so we were there in minutes. Cathy was right — the shrimp and oyster po’boy and the seafood gumbo were terrific.
After lunch we toured Biloxi a little. Why is the light house one of the most photographed objects on the coast? Folks need to go to the Outer Banks and see distinctive lighthouses, okay? The Visitors Center has a nice theatre upstairs and was showing a 1/2 hour video about Hurricane Katrina. Such a heart-wrenching time, so scary for the people here and their families everywhere. Jim’s cousin, when we related how the video affected us essentially said, words and pictures can’t convey the horror. 90,000 square miles, 180 times more land area, was affected in 2005 by Katrina than by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
We waited until early afternoon to take our walk in the park. Davis Bayou has a brochure for a self-guided tour. We followed the tour, walking through the woods on old forested dunes, across the marsh on board walk, to an 80 year old CCC camp area, and several attractive outlooks. This is a beautiful, peaceful area.
Gulf Islands National Seashore has a nice visitors center. It was at the mid-point of our walk and a nice treat. The visitors center has very nice displays geared to all ages providing information about indigenous animals and their natural habitat and development of this park area.
It’s time to go, we need to head east for things we said we would do. Our stay at Davis Bayou is too short by a week, at least. We’re learning — it takes us three weeks to “get” an area. We don’t like to rush, we enjoy local recommendations, and we like exploring. Ocean Springs is a treat we’ll look forward to sampling again. And, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to eat with Jim’s cousins again — they are both great cooks! Thanks, y’all.
See you down the road!
Jim and Debbie
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