A Summer Road Trip Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast


William Faulkner once said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” It is a complex state, that’s certain. Up north, there’s Oxford, where literati, James Beard chefs, and students buzz about the square. Nearby snakes the Blues Trail, where towns like Clarksdale and Indianola dot the floodplains of the Delta. And there’s the Gulf Coast of the state, spanning 62 miles—26 of which are a swath of sugar-sand beaches. Decimated by Hurricane Katrina, this area is coming back to life with a burgeoning food scene and a new batch of coastal artists who’ve followed in the footsteps of visionaries such as Richmond Barthé and Dusti Bongé.

Jessie Zenor and Kait Sukiennik, the impossibly cool duo behind the Greenhouse on Porter in Ocean Springs, are paving the way for a reinvented Mississippi. “We are coming together to correct our downfalls and beginning to talk about how we can help each other and help others,” says Sukiennik. She adds that the people in this state are realizing they don’t have to fit into the stereotype of what Mississippi is supposed to be. “More and more, people are seeking out Mississippi, specifically the coast, as a vacation spot. I’m not going to lie, it still surprises me.”

Especially as a tourist destination, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is still unknown to many. But the region is slowly becoming a hotbed for art, music, and style. The Hamptons this is not—and that suits visitors just fine. The small towns are perfectly arranged along the coastline, making it easy to visit each in one day—though a long weekend is ideal.

Here, a few splendid towns along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Bay St. Louis

About an hour’s drive from New Orleans, Bay St. Louis offers a second home for many New Orleanians seeking respite from the sweltering summer heat and a community for the creative-minded. The utterly charming Old Town area is void of sprawling condos or chains and instead is lined with a smattering of beach bars, high-end restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. Brunch at Lulu’s on Main is an essential stop. Helmed by Nancy Moynan, an alumna of the venerable Commander’s Palace, Lulu’s menu showcases a positively lovely redfish Florentine alongside a rich grillades and grits. The restaurant is home to an in-house boutique, where rooms are chockablock with everything from kitchen gadgets to jewelry. Come evening, the Sycamore House is best appreciated on the patio—shaded by mature oaks, it’s a breezy setting for cocktails and fine food.

Read more: http://www.vogue.com/article/mississippi-gulf-coast-travel-guide