Monday, November 20, 2017

Hiking in Buccaneer State Park, 11/15/2017

Looking for some nature time, we went to Buccaneer State Park in Waveland, MS (near Bay St. Louis) on the Gulf of Mexico. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina completely destroyed every building in the park due to 160 mph winds and a 30' storm surge. All structures were rebuilt over an 8 year period. 

Admission was $4/vehicle and we picked up a map at the entrance. We were interested in a hike with our sweet doggie, Sadie, so we drove to the parking area near Pirates Alley Nature Trail

Jean Lafitte and his followers were smuggling and pirating along this part of the Gulf Coast in the late 1700s. He inhabited the old Pirate House (near the park) for a time. During the War of 1812, a military base of operation was here when Andrew Jackson led troops during the Battle of New Orleans. The area is, therefore, also known as Jackon's Ridge

Hurricane Katrina destroyed 17,000+ trees in the park, but the area along the trail is recovering with oaks, magnolias, and pines.

The trail passes through Mud's Bayou where there is a pier and pavilion

I find the fungi that grow on the forest floor to be interesting; they are always a little strange. At the end of the Nature Trail is one of the baskets for the par 3, 18-hole, disc golf course can be seen. This is a popular attraction at the state park.

Other amenities at the state park include a 4.5-acre water park (in season), 3 pavilions (that can be reserved for a fee), picnic area, and playground

The large campground has 206 campsites with full hookups (electric, water, sewer) and another 70 sites with water and electric (located in a grassy area overlooking the Gulf of Mexico). It's a beautiful location, but beware during hurricane season. 

As we drove to the small coastal town of Bay St. Louis, we made a quick stop to see the City of Waveland Veterans Memorial

Next to the Veterans Memorial is the Garfield Ladner Memorial Pier. The 12,000' pier cost $4.5M and replaced one destroyed by Katrina in 2005. Dedicated in 2010, it is named for a former, long-time mayor of Waveland. 

There is a lovely beach next to the pier

All of the houses along this part of the coast are on very sturdy stilts to (hopefully) avoid future hurricane damage. 

Continuing on to Bay StLouis, we found a parking spot and did a quick walk-about

Below is the county Court House and a World War II Memorial

The congregation of First Baptist Church of Bay St. Louis formed in 1896. Their church was built on this location in 1947. It was reconstructed after being destroyed by Katina in 2005. The two large oak trees (named Faith and Hope) in front of the church survived the intense winds and storm surge. 

Located just one block from the harbor is the Hancock Bank building. The bank was established in 1899 and the first 2-storybrick building in Bay St. Louis (open in 1900). Renovations occurred after extensive damage by Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005). Nearby is the entrance to the Municipal Pier. We enjoyed (as we always do) checking out the boats in the marina

We were glad we took the time to visit Bay St. Louis during our stay in Biloxi. It has been named one of the top 10 coastal towns in the US by Southern Living. From the train depot, the Alice Moseley MuseumBuccaneer State Park, Veterans Memorial, Lander Pier, to the quaint town, it was a lovely day. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Visiting the Bay St. Louis Train Depot, 11/15/2017

Lots of people in Biloxi had told us that a visit to Bay St. Louis was worth the trip (about 30 miles west on Highway 90). We packed a picnic lunch and headed out to see the sights there.

Our first stop was the historic L&N Train Depot. It has had a complete exterior and interior renovation since Hurricane Katrina. Built in 1926 in the Mission architectural style, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

It is home to the Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau and hosts the Visitor Center. We spent some time learning more about the area including the many blues musicians from Mississippi. We also picked up a map for a walking tour of the small coastal town of Bay St. Louis.

There is currently no train service here, but the community is hoping that Amtrak will re-establish the route between Mobile and New Orleans that would run through here. 

Also on the first floor is the Mardi Gras Museum that features a dozen or so elaborate Mardi Gras costumes. They were amazing!!

I particularly liked these two: one with a music theme and the other a rainbow concept. 

On the second floor of the train depot is the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum ( 


Alice Latimer Moseley (1909-2004) is a nationally-acclaimed folk artist. She was self-taught and began painting at age 60 to reduce stress while she was caring for her mother (suffering from Alzheimer's). After her mother died (1960s) Miss Alice (as she was called by everyone) began taking her paintings to flea markets and local shows where they became very popular. 

Her paintings are whimsical and always tell a story. She painted this one after her beloved dog died and named it Until Today I Thought I Was Folks. The second one is entitled Life Has So Many Angles

A local artist painted this likeness of Miss Alice's dog on a rock

She frequently painted herself into her paintings either as a young girl or an adult woman ... always dressed in red. See if you can find her in these.

Giovanni's Grocery

 Three Sheet n the Wind  

When Miss Alice began painting, her husband, William "Mose" Moseley, supported her artistic endeavors and made rustic frames for her paintings. She and Mose lived near Elvis Presley in TN.  She painted a variety of paintings about him. 

Mose died in 1978 of a heart attack and Miss Alice continued to pursue her artistic interests. In 1988, she attended the Beach Front Festival in Bay St. Louis and fell in love with the lovely coastal town. At age 79, she moved here and lived in the town until her death in  2004. This painting, The Pot of Gold's at the End of the Rainbow in Bay St. Louis, is a great summary of how she felt about the place.

Below is the desk, lamp and painting entitled The House is Blue But She Ain't. The next painting shown is Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow.

Framed reproductions and matted prints at cam be purchased at the museum. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing her work. The experience was significantly enhanced by the information shared with us by the docent. She was awesome!

As we left the depot, we stopped to snap a photo of Miss Alice's house (still blue) that is located nearby.

We loved learning about the history of Bay St. Louis and really enjoyed the 
Alice Mosley Museum. What a character!