1. Bay Town Inn
Bay St. Louis
Heading in to Bay St. Louis on North Beach Boulevard, you’ll approach the Bay Town Inn Bed & Breakfast. Just look for the lovely light blue home with the picture perfect oak out front. Just across the street on the beach side is the “Angel Tree,” in whose branches three people—one cradling her dog—hung on for dear life as the raging wind and rising waters of Hurricane Katrina ravaged their stretch of coastline in 2005. When it was over, the tree had saved all three people and the dog, but the Bay Town Inn was destroyed. Owner Nikki Moon, along with her dog Maddy, were among the survivors clinging to the tree’s branches that day. In the years that followed, Nikki headed back to her former job in New Orleans for a while, but she always felt a calling to come back to Bay St. Louis and rebuild the inn. Fast forward to 2013: Nikki reopened the doors again to guests eager to enjoy her warm welcome. We were fortunate to be among those guests recently for a short but fabulous stay.
The relaxed, coastal vibe hits you from the moment you walk through the gate to the large courtyard/pool area. The guest buildings are nestled there, behind the main residence, surrounding the large beautiful pool, shielding it from the outside world. Our room was lovely and spacious, with touches of Nikki’s hospitality throughout—fresh flowers, homemade cookies, and locally baked muffins already there for a quick breakfast option. SO many great restaurants and bars are within a five-minute walk from the inn, so you don’t feel like driving, this is the place for you. The minimum age for all guests and visitors is 15, so the Bay Town Inn is the perfect place for a more grown-up getaway.
2. Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar
Bay St. Louis
Literally a five-minute walk from Bay Town Inn, is Field’s Steak & Oyster Bar. We had heard amazing things about this restaurant but had never been there, so we couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss is about. It did NOT disappoint. General manager Joey Debenport treated us to a sampling of some of their most popular dishes created by Chef Lauren Joffrion.
We started with two of their featured cocktails, the Orange Blossom Martini (a mixture of orange and peach vodkas, hibiscus syrup, fresh juices, and St. Germain) and the Purple Rain (made pea flower-infused, Mississippi-made Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, St. Germain, and prosecco). For appetizers, we had the Crab Fingers, Tuna Tartare, and of course, the Char-Baked Oysters. We couldn’t finish it all, and we could have stopped there and been just fine. But the food just kept on coming. For entrees, we had Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi with Scallops, and a Filet topped with Horseradish Creme and Smoked Rosemary. Both dishes were absolutely incredible. We left NO room for dessert, but did that stop us? Of course not. The Mocha Latte Cheesecake was simply delicious, but if (when) you go to Field’s, remember this: Crack. Pie. Words just can’t do justice to this dessert. It’s a chess pie-like concoction with a caramelized brown sugar top, served with a scoop of ice cream, and it will change your life.
Confession: We took the leftovers back to the Bay Town Inn and finished them off later as a midnight snack.
3. Mockingbird Café
Bay St. Louis
On their website, the Mockingbird Café is described as “small coffee shop with a big love for community,” and that was evident when we had breakfast there with Bay Town Inn owner, Nikki Moon, who is always eager to show off the businesses in her town. Like most Bay St. Louis establishments, you are treated to decor which includes local art. They are open for breakfast and lunch, and offer delicious dishes from morning favorites like the “Frittata of the Bay” and the Veggie Breakfast Burrito to sandwiches and burgers. Everything is homemade and made to order. They are committed to doing their part to protect the environment and have partnered with Plastic Free Gulf Coast to offer plastic free to-go items. Catering is available as well. Enjoy brunch at “the ’Bird” when you visit Bay St. Louis!
4. Hotel Pass Christian
Just across the street from Pass Christian Harbor on West Scenic Drive is the Pass Christian Hotel. This ten-room boutique hotel is steps away from both Bacchus on the Beach for lunch or dinner, and Fill-Up With Billups for breakfast fare. If you have booked a charter fishing trip leaving from Pass Christian Harbor, there is no better place to stay. You could enjoy a great meal and cocktails, then literally walk out the door and across the street to your boat the next morning. Although we sadly had no time for the fabulous shopping in Pass Christian on this trip, all the great stores are just a few streets over from the hotel. The Elysian Salon and Spa is right downstairs as well.
5. Mississippi Aquarium
The Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport opened on August 29, 2020—the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and we were thrilled to receive a personal tour from Corey Ball, Director of Public Relations and Communications. When you visit, you will see creatures from all types of waters found in Mississippi—wetlands, marshes, the Mississippi River, and of course, the Gulf of Mexico. This amazing facility located right across from the beach in Gulfport exists with three ideas constantly in the minds of the staff: Education, Conservation, and Community. We cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are a Mississippian, you will be so proud that such a place exists here in the Magnolia State.
6. White Pillars
White Pillars in Biloxi has become a destination in and of itself for those who love Gulf Coast dining and insist on fresh ingredients. We thoroughly enjoyed talking Mississippi tourism with Anna Roy from Coastal Mississippi during our meal. Chef Austin Sumrall prepared a delectable dishes for us and gave us an incredible tour spotlighting the building’s history and components that survived the storms over the years. (This is enough information to cover it’s own post!)
We started with a couple of spicy cocktails: Pineapple Pepper Margarita (tequila mixed with sugar, lime, pineapple juice, and jalapeño) and a Jalapeño Lemon Drop (citrus vodka, Cointreau, fresh lemon, and jalapeño syrup). Our appetizers included Crab Avocado Toast, Heirloom Tomato Salad, and Korean BBQ Pork Belly—a perennial favorite—and we knew why with one bite. For entrees, we enjoyed the Wood Grilled Amberjack and the Saffron Tagliatelle with Fresh Gulf Shrimp. Both of these dishes were off-the-chart delicious. For dessert, we were treated to the Strawberry Cobbler with Cream Cheese Ice Cream, as well as the Barq’s Root Beer Cake, made with the very soft drink that was born right there in Biloxi. It was the perfect ending to the last dinner of our trip. When you go, tell them Hip in the ’Sip sent you!
7. The Greenhouse On Porter
Just down the street from The Roost Hotel in Ocean Springs (see our blog post HERE), you’ll find The Greenhouse on Porter, a neighborhood gathering spot for fantastic coffee and artisan biscuits. (Is that a thing? We say it is!) Some examples of biscuit flavors you may not have ever enjoyed: Carrot Cake, Gruyere with Roasted Poblanos, Butternut Squash, and Blueberry, just to name a few. These change daily, so there is lots of variety. We had one topped with lox, and the Quiche of the Day, which on this day was Sundried Tomato and Feta. Delicious! Our breakfast companion was Marigold, the resident cat. You can find Marigold on Instagram, HERE. (Really!) The Greenhouse has two locations, one on Porter, and one in Biloxi.
8. Downtown Ocean Springs Shopping
The fantastic walkable shopping in downtown Ocean Springs is made up of way too many shops to list here in this post, but suffice it to say that we gave our wallets an in-state workout. There are art galleries, clothing and shoe boutiques, gift shops, and vintage items, all within mere steps of each other. There are also several restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops in the same stretch, so that you can spend the whole day or even a weekend exploring, just in downtown. Did we mention the beach is just blocks away too? Again, there are too many shops to mention in this post, but visit the Ocean Springs Chamber’s website HERE for more on what there is to see, do, and buy. Oh, and you can stop by the Chamber building anytime and they are happy to help and to give you a downtown walking map! Below, we are showing just a few of the things we found there in the shops:
9. Eat Drink Love
The last meal on our spectacular food-coma tour of the Coast was at Eat Drink Love, located at The Roost Hotel. (See our blog post on that HERE). For lunch, we again enjoyed Anna Roy’s company before we had to depart the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The menu there at Eat Drink Love offers sandwich and salad selections, along with burgers, and seasonal charcuterie. You can eat inside, on the patio, or in the large outdoor area there around The Roost. They also offer to-go orders packed up for wherever the day takes you, even the beach, which is just down the street. As with just about every coastal restaurant we have visited over the years, the ingredients are the freshest anywhere.
We would like to thank Coastal Mississippi and the establishments featured here for providing the accommodations and meals for this trip.