Touring the Gulf Coast: Part 2
By Victoria Principato
After a morning filled with coffee shops and local spots, Cate and I headed over to Gulfport for more of our Gulf Coast tour! As the second largest city in Mississippi, Gulfport is definitely a little more urban than the other small towns we had spent our morning in, but nonetheless beautiful! And we weren't the only ones to think so. A movie was being filmed in the town during our visit! It was so great to see that this city was being appreciated for its small town charms, which we had the pleasure of exploring. Our first stop was the old train depot, which is now being used as a “small business incubator” of sorts. A variety of small businesses have had their start in the depot, then graduated to larger business spaces. One of the businesses currently in the depot is Hair Tonic, a beautiful hair salon. There are so many opportunities for small businesses to grow here in Gulf Port, brought to the city by train!
After our tour of the depot, we made our way downtown for some lunch. Murky Waters is a local favorite, with seafood, BBQ, and even live music! We sampled some delicious Mississippi fare, such as fried okra, smoked sausage, burnt ends with barbecue, and, of course, fried shrimp. We had an awesome time getting a feel for the town, all while tasting the local flavor.
Another highlight about Gulfport is its extremely chic Fishbone Alley. Featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and even the New York Times, Fishbone Alley is a brick alleyway behind several of the city’s restaurants. Doesn't sound so “Vogue,” right? The space is filled with street art and adorned in twinkle lights, and has awesome weekly themes, making it an incredible place to visit! Members of the community gather there for evening activities and specials from the restaurants that it sits behind. Fishbone Alley is such a fun, lively spot for town gatherings. We’ll be sure to revisit Fishbone Alley for an evening of fun next time we’re in the Gulf!
Up next, we made our way to Ocean Springs for a spin around this coastal town! Since the weather was quite hot, and were on a tight schedule, we were lucky enough to be driven around town from place to place. First, we stopped by The Root Boutique Hotel. It’s spacious and airy windows make it the perfect place for a relaxing weekend. We can’t wait to stay here next time we’re on the coast. Check it out!
After all this touring around, we were ready for a little snack! What better way to sample the flavor of the south than by having a quick biscuit?! We went to the experts for the best of the best. The Greenhouse on Porter specializes in three things very dear to our hearts: biscuits, coffee, and beer! The small bistro-like space, formerly a greenhouse, has been transformed into a favorite gathering spot for the community. With everything from poetry night to live music, the Greenhouse on Porter is a must-visit for delicious biscuits and relaxing atmosphere. With all of the different biscuit offerings, from Goat Cheese and Fig, to Sweet Potato with Pimento Cheese, it was so hard to pick a favorite! But we definitely will be back to sample the rotating seasonal flavors! To finish off our visit to Ocean Springs, we swung by Hillyer House to check out some local art and jewelry. We even had a surprise visit from the town’s Mayor to welcome us!
Finally, our trip on the Gulf was topped off with a stop in Biloxi, MS. The station is fully equipped to handle buses and trains, but is still awaiting train service! It would be so convenient, especially with its central location, for visitors to access the many casinos and restaurants. From the station, we were driven in our incredible trolley car, and made our way to the pier. We began our visit by fully immersing ourselves in the local industry: shrimping! We tried our hand (or, rather, Cate did, she was all hands on deck!) at being the crew of a shrimp boat on the Gulf Coast. Forrest Gump would be proud, if I do say so myself.
After testing our hand at shrimping, we headed to the town's famous lighthouse! It has the capability of being seen from at least 12 miles away. After our tour, we made it to the beautiful Visitor's Center, where we had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Fofo! It was such an honor and privilege to be welcomed by him to the Biloxi community.
Next, we made our way over to the Biloxi Shuckers stadium for a quick tour of the stadium, then down to our seats for the big game! There was so much spirit in the stadium, even us visitors could feel it. Everyone was so proud to be cheering for their team, and we had a great time getting to be a part of it. We even had the immense honor of being guests on the broadcast of the game. Check it out!
Overall, we had a wonderful visit on the Gulf Coast, made great by the people who live there. Everyone came together to show us some southern hospitality, and we couldn’t be more grateful! Each of these towns has so much to offer, and the only way to fully understand it is to experience it for yourself. Cate and I would highly recommend taking a visit to the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. You won't regret getting to know pretty towns with good times and even better people! Now, after nearly a month of travel, Cate and I are headed home sweet home. Stay tuned!