Mississippi was great, thanks for asking.
As one last hurrah before the girls returned to school for the spring semester, we decided to head to Mississippi to find some warmer weather and visit some friends & family.
We hit the road by 5AM on Sunday and were on our way. Thankfully, it was an uneventful ride and we were at Ole Miss for an early dinner. Clare’s high school friend is a Rebel and we picked her up for dinner at Newk’s. Good! Good! Good! After staying at a local hotel for the night, Hannah and I were off to the coast. There’s a lot of Mississippi between the north and the south, but after a late start we made it to Brian & Tammy’s by dark.
After I went on a morning run Tuesday (outside! in January!) we headed to New Orleans for a better part of the day. Who builds an 8-lane bridge across Lake Pontchartrain? Louisiana, that’s who! (OK, it was probably you and I via the federal government.) We parked near the French Market and walked through it, Jackson Park, and the French Quarter taking in the sights and smells of N’awlins on a sunny afternoon. We stopped at Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane (of course), a few other local shops, and listened to several random local solo musicians and groups on corners playing for tips. Such a unique culture! Proving that it is a small world, I actually saw a guy with a UW-Whitewater sweatshirt on. It was just the Warhawk logo and I picked it out right away. He looked pretty freaked out. Back to Ocean Springs for dinner at Murky Waters with Brian.
Wednesday we hit the empty beaches in Ocean Springs to search for shells and enjoy the sun. The best and most unexpected part of the day was helping a fisherman from Minnesota land a ~15-inch striped sheepshead (fish) off a public pier. Hannah lowered the crab net to pull it up while it was fighting back. Exciting! For dinner, Brian and Tammy gave us a quick tour of the Biloxi strip (mini Vegas), and its beautiful empty beaches – it is still January, after all. Dinner was at Shaggy’s and it was delicious!
I got another run in on Thursday morning before we headed back to Ole Miss in Oxford. After checking in at the hotel, it became apparent the impending snow storm would have kept us there for another day and half. It was only 7, so I quick made another reservation north of the danger zone and we drove through the rain to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It turned out to be the best decision of the trip. The next morning it was very cold but dry as could be. This made our long drive home Friday boring but pleasant.
Discoveries: 1) The best donuts in all the land can be found at Tatonut Donut Shop in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. There are lines nearly all day as the constant stream of customers stream through. Soft, rich, and delicious! 2) Smoothie King. And it’s a franchise! Hannah is a smoothie nut and we became very familiar with their offerings. I even had a couple throughout the week and I kept coming back. Now I see there is one tucked away in a mall in Madison. I’m sure we will find our way there soon enough.