Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back to the beach

At the beach behind Shaggy's restaurant
In mid-May, hubs went up to Tennessee for his twice-annual video game weekend with college buddies. (It's completely adorable. He games live with these folks over the Internet, and then a couple of times a year, they meet up and play Call of Duty all weekend long, with a trip or two to a Brazilian steakhouse thrown in for good measure. He loves it and gets so psyched getting ready for it! He's like a nerdy nerd on Nerdmas morning!)

Realizing that we'd be left to our own devices for a few days, Clay and I looked at each other and said, "Why don't *we* go do something fun?" That's how we ended up in Biloxi! That Friday after work, we drove down and checked into the Hampton Inn Biloxi. We'd never stayed there before, but we wanted something close to the beach and easy on the pocketbook. This place fit the bill!

Tummies rumbling, we headed straight for Shaggy's, our perennial beachside dinner destination. After a very short wait, we got a great table on the back deck. Clay munched on his sliders, while I had the fish of the day. (There was a very enterprising seagull on the back deck. He'd swoop in, steal packets of mayo, and then perch at a safe distance to peck at them and drain their contents. One of the employees at Shaggy's stood guard with a water gun to dissuade him, and Clay got to help. He was very proud of himself!) After Clay was finished with his dinner, the waiter brought out a FREE "cookie monster," a concoction of cookies, whipped cream and maraschino cherries, just for him. Clay thought he was the biggest deal ever.

After we ate, we enjoyed the beach a bit before returning to the hotel, running little people through the tub, and bedding down for the night.
If your kid is bouncing off the walls,
remove the walls!

The next morning, we woke to a rather uninspiring breakfast at the hotel. I tried to give it a chance, honestly, and there was quite a bit of variety. However, nothing tasted really GOOD. We picked at our food and headed out to the beach.

The hotel is right across the street from the water, and while crossing the busy roads can be tricky, it's a quick process. We walked down to the Biloxi lighthouse and its nearby pier, finding treasures that had washed ashore the previous night. Clay brought a ball, and we kicked it all along the shore. We also spent a bit of time by the pool at the hotel, sunning, swimming, and reading.

By lunchtime, we felt like getting in the car, so we headed to the Half Shell Oyster House in Biloxi. It's only a hop and a skip from the hotel, and it's one of my favorite places to eat when I'm on the coast. I had a big plate of Royal Reds (deliciously meaty and sweet, with melted butter for dipping), and Clay scarfed down chicken strips and broccoli. After lunch, we cruised back to the hotel for a nap.

When we awoke, we decided to take a drive to Ocean Springs and stroll the sweet little downtown area. It's full of shops and restaurants. (We also wanted to scope out Tat-O-Nut for the following morning. We'd heard that this place was a legend on the coast, but we'd never been there.) The area was so bustling that we almost couldn't find a place to park! In the end, we decided to dinner at Government Street Grocery, so we parked our car in their (tiny) lot.

This actually ended up being a great choice. We got to eat outside, and the weather was so nice! I gobbled a shrimp po-boy, and Clay had a PB&J off the kids' menu. We took our time, talking and laughing. (And also eavesdropping. A nearby table was discussing the benefits of exercise. One woman noted, "I like to walk, and then run, and then walk, and then run." Another woman responded, "I like to walk, and then stand. And then walk, and then stand." I couldn't resist a sly chuckle at that one!)

Afterwards, we strolled the downtown area (finding, sadly, that Tat-O-Nut would be closed in the morning due to an equipment issue). We tried to hunt up some ice cream, but came up empty at the late-ish hour. In the end, we drove slowly home, the top of the convertible down so we could take in the sea air.

Treasure hunting
In the morning, we were meeting my sweet sister-in-law and her son for a late breakfast. We lazed around the hotel and took one last turn on the beach before checking out. Now, usually, we all get together at McElroy's for breakfast on the coast. There are two locations close by, and both have water views (one of the ocean, and one of the bay). But you know me. I *had* to try something new. I did some checking online, and we headed for In and Out Breakfast. It's a tiny place, owned and run by a local couple. There's a drive through window if you can't land one of the four tables. Portions are huge, and prices are cheap, but I didn't think the food was all that good. And service was really slow. I probably won't return to this spot. At least the company was wonderful! We caught up with family, and I promised that McElroy's would get NO COMPLAINT from me on our next trip!

Before Clay and I hit the road, I knew I had to stop at Le Bakery for goodies to take home. The last time, I hadn't bought enough, and I literally had to FIGHT my family to get any pastries! So this time, I loaded up. Two boxes of buttery, flaky goodness later, we were on the road. On the way home, we stopped once at a beautiful little fruit and vegetable market on Highway 49 for fresh food and a little ice cream for Clay. Then, we coasted back to Jackson!

Clay and I had fun on our weekend date at the beach! Hmmmmm . . . where will we go the next time hubs has a video game weekend?! ;-)

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