Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Shop

By Hope S. Philbrick
For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 25, 2016

Traveling often means exploring and discovering new cities and what they have to offer, from dining experiences to history and culture. And, sometimes, it’s just about having fun, with no timetable to dictate what you see or where you go next. Here are eight destinations around the Southeast where you can ditch the agenda, drop off the grid and get out and play.

Ocean Springs, Miss.

Dubbed the “City of Discovery,” Ocean Springs ( is a haven for artists and art lovers. The Mississippi Gulf Coast town is home to the Ocean Springs Art Association, representing more than 300 local artists plus more than 200 independent locally owned shops, galleries, antique shops and restaurants (photo by Fred Salinas).

Most shops are located downtown on Washington Avenue and Government Street. Along the walkable route, musicians often entertain and tempting aromas waft from restaurants.

Realizations (1000B Washington Ave., Ocean Springs. 228-875-0503,, affiliated with the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, presents the acclaimed nature and wildlife painter’s work and block print designs in new forms from clothing to prints, continuing his mission to make art with integrity available to anyone. The Art House(921 Cash Alley, Ocean Springs. 228-875-9285, is a co-op gallery showcasing a wide range of members’ works including pottery, jewelry, note cards, watercolors, photography and more; a number of “browse bins” contain art at reasonable prices. Hillyer House(920 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs. 228-875-8065, presents works from local, regional and national artists; handmade soaps and candles, blown glass, pottery, jewelry, paintings and more, many with a coastal theme, await discovery. Take time to read artists’ biographies on display near works “because you may see a piece of art in a different light once you know the backstory,” says Susannah Snyder, manager of Hillyer House. Shape, color and texture are on display at Coastal Magpie (918 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs. 228-215-1815,, where the crafts, fiber works, antiques, gifts and fine art are produced by local and regional artists.

In Ocean Springs, shopping isn’t for adults only. Miner’s Doll & Toy Store (927 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs. 228-875-8697, appeals to children and the kid in everyone with its mix of nostalgic and contemporary playthings, from Madame Alexander dolls to wooden Brio trains. Two Dogs Dancing (619A Washington Ave., Ocean Springs. 228-875-0150) specializes in gifts for pets and their people, from collars to pampering products, carriers to toys.

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