Where to eat, drink, sleep and shop in Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Ocean Springs is a small town of abundant beauty – the natural kind found in the twisting branches of living oak trees and glorious sunsets at Front Beach, but also the meticulously crafted kind on a potter’s wheel or in a glassblowing studio. Established as the first capital of French Louisiana in 1699, the seaside town is now known as an artists’ enclave, and its walkable downtown is packed with showrooms filled with colorful paintings and ceramics, and even a tattoo parlor that doubles as an art gallery. Keep an eye out for roaming roosters.
Sleep in style
The Roost, a nod to Ocean Springs’ resident roosters, is a rustic-chic gem. The boutique hotel’s 19 rooms feature cloud-like beds, abundant natural light, and wood accents salvaged from the original structure (an 1894 private residence). The manicured yard and pool could come straight from the pages of Architectural Summary (who named it the most beautiful hotel in Mississippi in 2017).
hole in one
You wouldn’t expect to find baked bagels every day this far from New York, but Lil’ Market Deli & Bagelry takes the toasted treat seriously. Head to the counter and order one slathered in a specialty cream cheese (the jalapeño and green onion are both standouts) or stuffed with egg, cheese, and boar’s head meat. Take a seat on the terrace and keep an eye out for Carl, one of the town’s stray roosters, who is likely to pay you a visit.
The man behind the murals
Learn about the life of “the South’s most elusive artist” at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, dedicated to the reclusive painter and writer who lived in Ocean Springs. Don’t miss his vibrant community center murals and the mysterious Secret Room, which was moved directly from his home after his death in 1965 and rebuilt on museum property.
raise a glass
One of the newest additions to Ocean Springs’ thriving froth scene, Lost Spring Brewing Company not only produces small-batch seasonal beers, but also serves tasty craft cocktails. Try the Southbound Spritz made with honeysuckle vodka, fresh lime and lemongrass simple syrup.
Browse Hillyer House’s assortment of artwork and gifts, including mouth-blown vases and jewelry made from rare materials, such as wire mesh and recycled guitar strings. Get to know the artists – many of them local – who created each piece by reading the biographies displayed.
Chef Alex Perry, appointed by James Beard, plays with fusion flavors and local, sustainable ingredients at Vestige. Its multi-course tasting menu changes daily and can include anything from a tartar of fresh yellowfin tuna tartare to a rich Wagyu prime rib with truffle beurre blanc.
Cool down with a homemade ice cream treat served from the window of Pop Brothers’ bright turquoise shack. Flavors range from fruity (strawberry basil) to creamy (Mexican horchata) to indulgent (Oreo cheesecake). Traveling with a furry friend? You may even catch a pooch pop.
This article originally appeared in the Spring and Summer 2022 issue of Southbound.