Monday, June 17, 2013

Gulf Coast Together: A Couple's Guide (Guest Blogger Jeffrey Ferraro)

Gulf Coast Together: A Couple's Guide to Romantic Outings near Gulfport
A day spent with a loved one along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi area allows two folks to focus entirely on one another, and experience the beauty, cuisine, and Southern elegance of the area together.
With sights and sounds best experienced holding someone special's hand, the Gulf Coast region is ripe with romantic locations that are perfection destinations for couples.
The following are great spots for couples to explore, feast, drink, and escape for the intimate outing they deserve.

Picnic Beneath the Friendship Oak
Located on the front lawn of the Southern Miss campus in Long Beach, the 60-foot Friendship Oak's trunk has a circumference of nearly 20 feet and has been spectator to over 500 years of human history.
There's no better spot to celebrate enduring love than beneath the Friendship Oak's massive canopy. There's even a platform where couples can perhaps even have a picnic.
The tree has survived numerous wars and natural disasters and stands as a strong symbol of strength, perseverance and continuity regardless of circumstance (including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita).

Dine at 200 North Beach Restaurant
Treat your date to a succulent romantic dinner in an establishment that recalls the best charms the Gulf Coast has to offer.
200 North Beach restaurant has upper-tier Gulf Coast offerings including fresh seafood and the finest at very reasonable prices, given the quality of the dishes. That's a plus, because it allows couples to dig into their immaculate desserts and diverse and extensive wine list.
The staff is friendly and professional and are happy to accent a sublime dining experience with meticulous service and impressive consideration. The establishment is housed in a 1903-built newspaper building that has since been renovated and given a distinct ambiance with a classic feel.

Canoe the Wolf River
It's strange that we can be "with" another person for years while rarely being just with them. Most of the time we're surrounded by distractions like family and kids, bumper-to-bumper traffic and piles of work we've been forced to bring home.
Wolf River Canoe & Kayak provides a perfect escape for couples, even if it's just for a few hours. Drifting lazily through the bending Wolf River, the two of you can talk, or just listen to the trickling rapids as the boat rocks slowly to-and-fro.
If you'd like an extended getaway, Wolf River Canoe & Kayak offers overnight camping trips as well. Watching the moon come up over the river with your special person makes for an unforgettable date night.
The 4-mile loop and one canoe costs $52 while the one-night overnight option is an affordable $74. If you choose to camp, make sure that you bring your own gear (tent, sleeping bag, sleep pad, pack, food and water).

Toast Your Time Together at Salute Italian Restaurant
It's a little sad that we need an excuse to get dressed up for one another, one of us in a suit and tie, the other in a dress. But it is important to look your best sometimes and to remember that you are indeed a couple. It's important to treat one another.
Whether in the quiet ambiance of a private room, the refined Wine Room, or enjoying a Mississippi sunset on the patio overlooking the beach, Salute Italian Restaurant is a Gulf Coast area staple for couples. Their food is great too, but their wine and cocktail menus are the real gems here, and of course the setting.
Whether you live in Gulfport or you're just staying nearby, make time to have a late-night date. Indulge yourselves a bit. Have a drink, take a stroll along the shore, and call a cab home. Most importantly, enjoy one another.

Simple Delights
Something about the smell of the water, the damp air, and a canopy of live oaks draped in Spanish moss makes the Gulf Coast area of Mississippi inherently romantic, but too often we forget just how much the area has to offer.

So make time for the one you love this spring. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has ample opportunities for couples to relish old memories while making new ones.

Jeffrey Ferraro is a travel enthusiast and expert. He is the Director of Marketing of Diamond Tours, the leading provider of charter group bus tours in the US and Canada, including popular multi city tours such as the New Orleans and Biloxi bus tour. Jeffrey loves uncovering lesser known travel destinations and sharing them with his customers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Blogger John Egan: Prepping Your Car

Prepping Your Car for Late Summer in Southern Mississippi

Working on your car in the middle of summer can be tough. When it's already boiling outside, who wants to get underneath a hot car and tinker around?

Even if you're diligent about keeping up with your vehicle's maintenance, it's tempting to put off small jobs until the weather cools. Just driving to the mechanic and dropping it off can seem like a sweat-inducing chore on the hottest days of August.

With record heat scorching the Gulf Coast by early June this year, many of our vehicles may already be limping along, begging for a bit of attention in late summer. Fortunately, keeping the wheels turning doesn't require more than a five-minute check-up, and there's no need to climb underneath your car.

Even if your vehicle seems to be running just fine, the added stress of summer temperatures has likely taken its toll. Help ensure that you don't encounter greater problems down the road by running through this simple checklist before heading down the road for that weekend trip to Pascagoula or Pass Christian.

Oil Keeps Your Engine Cool
Believe it or not, that hot oil in your engine actually serves to cool the piping hot metal components pumping back and forth under your hood. Fall just a quart short of proper levels and your engine can run 20 percent hotter than it would at proper levels. That leads to faster wear-and-tear of engine components and bigger problems down the road. Oil is easy to check -- just pull the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert, and pull again to check the level. If it's low, add half a quart and check again. Repeat if necessary.

Coolant Dissipates Heat
When you're running your car or truck down Highway 90 in mid-August, the temperatures under your hood are bound to be far beyond comfort. The hotter the day, the harder your car works to keep cool. Coolant collects your engine's heat before flowing through the radiator, which spreads the heat out and re-cools the coolant. At peak temperatures, the coolant can near water's boiling point before hitting the radiator. Make sure you've got enough coolant to do the job -- with your engine cool, pop open the radiator cap and check that fluid levels in the reservoir reach the fill level. If the coolant looks rusty or dirty, drain it and refill.

Batteries Get You Started
Although chilly winter temperatures can slow a battery down, summer can be even more brutal. When the electrolyte solution in your battery evaporates, it causes corrosion in the battery that can ultimately cause it to die. Most batteries have removable caps on top where you can check the fluid level. Add distilled water to the fill line (don't overfill) to make sure your battery is hydrated and ready to store the power to get you moving.

Tires Keep You Rolling
Blowing a tire on the highway can be a terrifying experience, but it's often preventable by simply keeping an eye on their tread. If yours have worn down or separated, it's time to get replacements. Equally important are inflation levels. Keep a pressure gauge in your glove box and check your levels once a week. Under-inflated tires will increase rolling resistance, encouraging internal heat to build up and ultimately lead to blowouts on the road.

August and September are perhaps the best time of year to hit the beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Head out with confidence by taking a few minutes to check on your car's most basic vital signs, and have fun out there!

John Egan is managing editor of Car Insurance Quotes, a leading online provider of Car Insurance News.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vergia Dishmon Takes the Stage at the Mary C!

Vergia Dishmon Takes the Stage at the Mary C!
(Ocean Springs, 5/15/12) “God bless the child, who has his own”.  So it is said.  Vergia Towner Dishmon is truly a child with her own.  Singer, arranger and composer, Vergia, often referred to as “The Songbird” is blessed with the gift of song.  Her performances have taken her all over these United States and even in Europe where she toured for three (3) weeks to standing room only crowds. Vergia Dishmon will be taking the stage at The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education on Saturday, June 9th at 7:00pm.

A native Mississippian and the daughter of a Baptist Preacher, Vergia was raised in a strong spiritual environment which motivated her Christianity, consequently enhancing her ability to perform in the gospel arena.  She has performed in a most exemplary and memorable fashion in several entertainment mediums that includes church choirs, radio, musical theater and television.  Her first recording, “Jesus and I” brought her the honor of being named “Best Female Vocalist” at the Jackson Music Awards in 1985 and again in 2000. 

In 2005, she was a part of “The Gospel of Colonus” a nationally acclaimed production and in 2006 starred in “Crowns” a musical play produced by New Stage Theater, a professional acting company. She is a part of the drama group, “Daughters of Margaret”, named after the poet/professor, Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander who dedicates itself to the positive portrayal of African Americans and women.

Whether in a theater or on stage, large or small church, Vergia’s voice has blessed people where ever she has appeared. Her latest recording, entitled, “And When She Had Sung A Hymn”……is a blessing to all who treasure the prolific hymns of the African American religious experience.

Tickets for the performance are $15 Adults/$10 Children (12 & under) and may be purchased online at, or at the Mary C Box Office, or by calling (228) 818-2878 for more information. This event was made possible through the support of the Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center.

  • When: Saturday, June 9th at 7:00pm
  • Where:            The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts & Education
    1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs
  • Tickets $15 Adults/$10 Children (12 & under) General Admission
  • Tickets may be purchased online at, at the Mary C Box Office, or by calling (228) 818-2878.

The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts & Education is located at 1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs, open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm.  Call (228) 818-2878 for more information.

The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education
Contact: Joel Libramento                228.818.2878 
1600 Government Street          
Ocean Springs, MS 39564       

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CVB Welcomes Visitors During National Tourism Week


MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST - The Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) will be personally welcoming tourists to the Mississippi Gulf Coast during National Tourism Week.  

WHAT:           Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB staff welcoming tourists during National Tourism Week with free popcorn

WHEN:           Monday, May 7 – Friday, May 11, 2012  
9:00 am – 3:00 pm

WHERE:        Mississippi Welcome Centers in Hancock County and Jackson County & the Biloxi Visitors Center

The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984. It was established as National Tourism Week when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983 designating the week to be celebrated in May. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with “the appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Localized events are presented in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of travel.
Since its establishment, the U.S. travel community has collectively marked the event in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies.
For more than ten years, the CVB has participated in National Tourism Weeks activities by visiting the Hancock County and Jackson County welcomes centers to talk to tourists about the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Recently, the staff began welcoming guests with free, fresh popcorn. This year, the CVB has added the Biloxi Visitors Center to its Tourism Week activities.

Press may contact Taryn Sammons with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau for additional information.

The Harrison County Tourism Commission, an organization charged with promoting South Mississippi as a tourism and convention destination worldwide, does business as the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Its mission centers on attracting ever-increasing numbers of leisure, convention, sports and business visitors to the area.  It is dedicated to maximizing the travel and tourism industry for South Mississippi.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Michael Grimm LIVE May 18

Just Announced! 

An exclusive, private, credit-union-only concert with Michael Grimm, Mississippi native and 2010 winner of NBC's nationally televised show "America's Got Talent"!


Date:  Friday, May 18, 2012, 8:00 pm.
Ticket Price:  $20.00
Venue:  Beau Rivage Theatre
Restrictions:  No Smoking


Should you have any questions please contact Tom McWilliams,  or  601-981-4552, ext. 311.

Please observe the following guidelines so that everyone may enjoy the performance: Smoking is prohibited in the Beau Rivage Theatre. Cameras and recording devices are not permitted inside the theatre. Seating begins 45 minutes prior to the show. Late arrivals will be seated at an appropriate time during the performance. All guests entering the Beau Rivage Theatre must present a ticket to gain admittance.

Special thanks to sponsors:  CUNA Mutual Group Corporate One FCU Mississippi Shared Branching Network

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Marcy Nathan: MY Gulf Coast

I’m a Louississippi. I’m from New Orleans, and I grew up vacationing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My aunt and uncle had a place in the Bay, and my friends and I spent countless weekends in Kiln, Waveland, Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian.
We always stayed in the same beautiful house on East Scenic in the Pass. Our friend Wendy’s grandparents, who were affectionately known as Dear and Papa, owned the house, and we would camp out there whenever we could. In high school and college and long after that we would make the drive from New Orleans to see concerts at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Springsteen, the Police, all the greats played the Coliseum. Wendy’s grandparents were aging, and while we eventually stopped staying at their house, we never stopped travelling to Mississippi.

Another friend’s parents, the Jacobs, built a house in the Bay, and we would drive in from New Orleans on Fridays, eat at Annie’s, and stay up all night gossiping. On Saturdays we would go to Hudson’s or shop Old Town and eat at Trapani’s. Like Trapani’s, the Jacobs house was destroyed in Katrina, and it was a very long time before I could even think about visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast without becoming teary.

Finally, thankfully, things began to change. I started coming back to the Coast for work, and I realized how much I’d missed Mississippi. Trust me; I’m doing my best to make up for lost time! The Mississippi Gulf Coast has so much to offer – festivals, concerts, restaurants and museums. In the past two years alone, I’ve been to Ocean Springs for the Peter Anderson Festival (and the amazing donuts at Tato-Nut); to Biloxi to play blackjack and see a concert at the casino (with those same school friends); to Diamondhead and Gulfport for business; to Pass Christian for Art in the Pass; and to Bay St. Louis for a long, lazy weekend.

I can’t wait for Chefs of the Coast in September, but I promise I’ll be back long, long, long before then.

– Marcy Nathan, New Orleans

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guest Blogger Joe Laing: RVing on the Gulf Coast

Southern Comfort: Mississippi Gulf Coast Family Camping Itinerary

By Joe Laing, El Monte RV Rentals

Horn Island
There’s something about the Southern coast that brings families together. Maybe it’s the feeling of being so small in the face of swirling surf, or perhaps it’s the draw of a supper table laden with fresh offerings. But more than anything, I think it’s the slower pace that encourages folks to take time to get to know one another.

And one of the best places to experience such southern comfort is along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where the sun shines year-round and the ocean breezes blow soft. Bound by the east-west corridor of Interstate-10, this sublime subtropical destination is easy to reach by road and, with excellent RV campgrounds and resorts here and there along the way, makes a primo getaway for your road-trip gang. So if you’re looking for a family vacation that brings you all closer and gets you out into nature, hurry up and head south; the sooner you get there, the faster you can take it easy together.

There are several family-friendly stops in Mississippi from Moss Point to Bay St. Louis that will keep parents and kids in sunny spirits. Here, we’ve compiled a seven-day itinerary that features the area’s top camping spots and outdoor sites, from the Alabama border to the Louisiana line.

Moss Point, Mississippi

DURATION: 2 days, 2 nights

HOME BASE: Situated 10 miles up the road, Shepard State Park is rich with white oaks, large magnolias, and romantic legends of settlers and Indians. You’ll also find 28 camping sites with full hook-ups, picnic tables, and grills.

PLAN: When you first arrive, before heading to the park to set up camp, stop at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, which is situated along one of the last free-flowing river systems in the country. Visitors learn conservation techniques, participate in nature-based programs, and discover environmentally friendly concepts—a perfect way to begin a week of outdoor activity.

On your second day along the Gulf, begin by heading east on Highway 90 to the family-owned Gulf Coast Gator Ranch, home to some of the largest captive alligators. Following a stroll over winding wetlands boardwalks, brave visitors can hand-feed the beasts and adventurous spirits can board a high-speed airboat for a ride through the swamplands.

In the afternoon, cruise over to the interpretive center at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve & Coastal Resource Center, where you can go wild for the remainder of the day. Keep an eye out for river otters and bottlenose dolphins, go birding, spot bugs and butterflies, or simply take a hike. This is a great spot to burn off any residual energy before bunking down.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

DURATION: 2 days, 1 night

HOME BASE: In addition to 51 sites with electric and water hook-ups, Davis Bayou Camping, tucked inside the Gulf Island National Seashore, offers fishing, hiking, biking, birding, and more.

PLAN: In the morning, make the half-hour drive west on Highway 90 to the campsite and get situated. From the Davis Bayou area, you can pedal the 15.5-mile Live Oaks Bicycle Route, marked by green and white signs, into the town of Ocean Springs (a brochure with the trail map can be obtained though the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce). If you’ve got the wherewithal, make the journey past the marina and across the Biloxi Bay Bridge, which boasts a wide, ocean-side bike lane that gives breathtaking views of the coast and barrier islands.

The following morning, catch the Ship Island Excursions passenger ferry over to Ship Island and Fort Massachusetts. Once you’ve hit the beautiful beach, spend the day touring the 19th-century fort, which was constructed to defend the natural harbor on the north side of the island; you can explore on your own or with a guided tour. On most days, the ferry returns to the mainland at 2:30, giving you plenty of time to head out of Ocean Springs for the next leg.

Biloxi & Gulfport, Mississippi

DURATION: 2 days, 2 nights

HOME BASE: Located across the street from the beaches at Biloxi, Cajun RV Park makes a great hub. Stay in one of the park’s 130 RV sites and cool off in the swimming pool.

PLAN: If you wake before sunrise, cross the street for a beautiful view of the day breaking over the Gulf, and take a deep breath of fresh air, because for the next two days, you have no schedule. With its sugar-sand beaches, the Gulf Coast invites you to simply relax together. The Highway 90 strip from Biloxi to Gulfport boasts a handful of rental companies that offer chairs and umbrellas for the sun-worshipers and jet skis for the thrill-seekers. If you want a planned activity, board a boats charter that carries passengers to the region’s five barrier islands. At the close of the second day, drive across the award-winning Bay St. Louis Bridge (newly built after being destroyed in Hurricane Katrina) for your final night on the Gulf.

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

DURATION: 1 day, 2 nights

HOME BASE: With its gorgeous waterfront vistas, Buccaneer State Park in nearby Waveland, Mississippi, is an ideal place to finish your stay. Since Katrina, the park has been reconstructed with 206 premium campsites and full amenities.

PLAN: Make a splash with a pristine paddle on Gulf Coast waters. At Bay Breeze Bike and Kayak Rentals, you’ll be equipped with everything you need for a DIY exploration of the shoreline. (If you’d rather take a guided trip, try Wolf River Canoe & Kayak over the bridge in Long Beach. After a long day on the water, you’ll want to rest up for the trip home. And on your way out of town, drive through downtown to admire the wooden angels that sculptor Dayle K. Lewis carved from live oaks damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
About the Author

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. You can see more great RV vacation ideas in their Monty's Musings RV Travel Blog and be sure to check out their RV Camping Pictures.