April 13, 2008

One Month in Ocean Springs

The past four weeks have been very relaxing. Other than a few rainy days, the weather has been wonderful with lots of warmth and sunshine. We are grateful to be free of the cold and winter snow storms in the north. We have filled our days with eating and sleeping, going to movies and working puzzles, reading books and watching TV. All has been very laidback, including our visits to local sites and eateries.

The Alamo Mission
 Alamo Mission
Photographer Robert Brooks
 Robert Brooks
Molly and Alejandro
 Molly and Alejandro
The Azaleas at Bellingrath Gardens
 Alamo Mission
Flowers in the Garden
Along the Foul River
 Foul River
Bellingrath Grounds
The USS Alabama
 USS Alabama
Aircraft at the Park

To see a slideshow from Ocean Springs and Mobile, press HERE.

After leaving Padre Island, we had planned to spend a few days in San Antonio. We left on the Saturday morning, which marked the beginning of spring-break. Travel to San Antonio on this day proved to be a grand mistake. We arrive shortly after noon. We set out to find a place to stay. Unfortunately, after three hours of searching we found nearly all the motels were full. The two that had a vacancy were so over priced at two to three times the normal rate that we passed on them. I suggesed that, before it got too late in the day, we visit the Alamo and view the Riverwalk. There is not much left of the original fort, but the Alamo is an interesting historical site where the Mexican army was victorious during the war for independence of Texas. There is a river that runs between the buildings of downtown San Antonio. Stores, restaurants, retail stores, and offices line the river bank. There were thousand of tourists in downtown San Antonio. With no place at the inn, we left late in the afternoon driving east. Hours later in the night, we stopped in Houston to sleep.

In the morning we continued our western drive into Louisiana. At Lake Charles, twenty miles in, we diverted to a two-lane road that would bring us through bayous, farmland and back county of southern Louisiana. We wanted to stop in Abberville. There are two highly recommended restaurants in Abberville: Blackís Oyster Bar and Dupuyís Oyster Shop. Neither was open late Sunday afternoon. We were hungry by then and we had another recommendation to check out in Morgan City. It was closed too. So fast food it was. After that we continued east on US 90 and I-10 to Ocean Springs.

So, Monday the 17th of March, we woke up at my dadís home in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It was the beginning of a very relaxing month. That first week, we got together with Molly, a local couch-surfer. She brought a friend, Alejandro. He is a new surfer in need of a recommendation. After spending an enjoyable evening with them, chatting and drinking beer, we were able to give him a good recommendation. His plan is to drive back to his home in Peru. Now that will be quite the adventure.

We met Molly and Alejandro in the little town center of Ocean Springs. I really like it there. We met at Kwitzkyís Bar, one of several nice neighborhood bars and restaurants. The Anderson Museum is downtown too. One of my favorite places is the Candy Cottage, where they have excellent pralines.

That week we visited a very small art museum in Biloxi, the Ohr-OíKeef Museum of Art. The museum is dedicated to the long dead potter, George Ohr. To our eyes his work was extremely innovative and with a unique beauty. To see Ohrís work check out the virtual gallery of the museum. The museum also has a few pieces by local artists. We met one of them, Robert Brooks, whose photo of an egret struck me as particularly beautiful. His works can be seen at the Southern Artistry web site

. The day before Easter we visited the Bellingrath Gardens, which lay about 40 miles east of Ocean Springs. The azaleas were in full bloom and their beauty was enough to take your breath away. The gardenís pools and paths and bridges and fountains were beautiful. The gardens lay along the Foul River and a small bayou. I hope you enjoy the photos. On the way back we stopped at The Shed, on

Easter with Paul and Dad
 Bill, Paul and Sid

Easter Sunday was lovely. Betty with a little help from me prepared a wonderful ham dinner that included her famous cheese potatoes. Simply wonderful! Every Sunday Paul Hannesson, a very good friend of my dad, joins Dad for lunch. Today was no exception, because he joined us for Easter dinner. He is an old Icelander, who brought a lot of life to our conversation. Before the end of the day, we showed Paul how to set up an email account, so that he could write to his sisters in Iceland.

The week after Easter we visited Mobile. We planned to eat lunch then visit the tourist sites. We had lunch at the Brick Pit, an excellent BBQ. It is the kind of place that locals cherish, inexpensive with great food. The lunch did not seem all that much, but it stuck with me the rest of the day.
The biggest tourist attraction in Mobile is the USS Alabama at the Battleship Memorial Park. We spent nearly two hours roaming around the ship. The park also has a WW2 submarine and more than a dozen military aircraft. It seemed like we were there all day. By the time we left the park, we only had time to visit a small firehouse museum, called the Phoenix Fire Museum.
Finally we visited Wintzellís Oyster House. This another inexpensive neighborhood places that we have been looking for. The place was just great. The atmosphere was great too. Unfortunately we were not hungry, so we drank beer and played cards. After an hour or so we headed back to Ocean Springs.

The past month has been very relaxing. Tomorrow we will head to Florida.

View of the USS Alabama and Mobile
 USS Alabama

Posted by bill at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)