Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Mother’s Day in Mississippi

Sunday May 12, 2013
Site 19, Davis Bayou Campground
Gulf Island National Seashore
Ocean Springs, Mississippi


It’s a record start for us on this Mother’s Day.

We are on the road by 8:00am this morning.  Now that’s amazing for us.  By on the road I mean we are out of the site, finished with the dumping, have the dolly on the car, the car on the dolly and are driving out of the campground.


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We pass into our first new state in 19 months.  A real cause for celebration.  Our life just actually may be getting back to what was our normal in 2011 when we were freely traveling and filling out our states map with the wonderful places we were going.






The reward for our uncharacteristically early start, is a record early arrival at the other end of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi.

This is a great omen for this Mother’s Day.  The reason for all of this early business is that Davis Bayou Campground does not take reservations and I wanted to be sure to be able to stay here since it is so close to my goal of visiting Shearwater Pottery and the Walter Anderson Museum.


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We have our pick of several sites at our 10:30 arrival time and are set up in site 19 on the smaller of two loops (water/electric for $8 a night with the Federal Senior Pass) and ready to explore before noon.  I love this.  It always seems that we spend an entire day leaving one place and going on to the next.  I think I’m going to press for this to be our new mode of operation.





After a quick  lunch we bike over to the visitor center.


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My first look makes it clear this is going to be an great place.  There is something to wonderful in every direction I look.


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I soon find out from the information and exhibits that there is WAY more to do than we will have time to do in the 3 days I have allotted here.   SO, do we cut back the time in Alabama?  Or what?  David has doctor’s appointments to keep in Virginia if we are to be able to go on to Maine so we do have a schedule darn it.


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The museum, like most everything in this area, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and I am amazed at how rejuvenated, cleaned up and spiffed up everything around here is.   The educational exhibits in the museum are excellent as is the introductory film.  I am very taken with the screen prints of Anderson’s work hanging from the ceiling and the beautiful wood sculptures done by John Segeren a former park service employee with a clearly artistic talent in woodworking.  The sculptures made it through the hurricane and only required clean up.  These wood sculptures are simply stunning.  Click the pictures so you can see the amazing detail.  There were twice as many in the museum as I am showing here.





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The gator is life sized.

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We spend about an hour here but will clearly have to return on another day before we leave to see the rest of the great exhibits.

I had read that Ocean Springs was a very artistic town but I had no idea the Visitor’s Center at Davis Bayou would be as well.  The mosaic inside the door was also donated by a volunteer artist.



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We leave the center and head over for a first visit to Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs. 

We drive down a residential street.  Off to the right is this unimposing sign.


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We turn in and enter another world.  The driveway is a narrow country lane wandering through the 24 acres of Bay front property purchased by the Andersons’ mother Annette in 1918.  I am not expecting anything fancy.  The business was homegrown and the family still runs it.  The first building we see appears to be the pottery shed where the current master potter, James works on his wheel.  He is the son of the founder Peter Anderson, Walter Anderson’s older brother.   I am surprised to see what looks like the original building knowing that Hurricane Katrina devastated the Shearwater property causing the loss of buildings and family homes as well as some valuable art.


We pass more family houses hidden among the trees, and then we come to the showroom.


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There it is the rebuilt showroom. Still a simple building and one I’ve waited a long time to stand in front of.  I FINALLY am actually here.  It’s a bit hard to believe after so long a wait.  If I can’t be with Carrie on Mother’s Day this is a wonderful treat instead.  What would be the real treat is if she could be here with me.





I had great expectations for this artistic family’s work and I am not the least bit disappointed.


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The Andersons are known for the variety of their art and the variety within each medium.  At the pottery you will find dinner ware, artistic formal pieces and what they call “widgets”, the whimsical pieces which have been made since the beginning in 1928.





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We look around the pottery and the museum room which holds some of the original pottery works by all three Anderson Brothers.  Peter was the potter, Walter and his younger brother Mac designed molded pieces and painted many thrown by their brother.  The art is all in glass cases which makes them very hard to photograph.  Some of them are on shelves over my head.  You’ll notice that from the angle of the vase I’ve included here.




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The story of this family is remarkable and I recommend  Dreaming in Clay by Christopher Maurer and Approaching the Magic Hour by Agnes Grinstead Anderson as excellent biography and autobiography.








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After spending an hour in the small showroom and separate museum room I learn that there is an art festival going on in downtown ocean springs and that Walter Anderson’s Grandson Christopher Inglis Stebley is there.   I want to meet him so I’ll come back to spend more time at the pottery tomorrow and we head out for downtown Ocean springs.







A festival is definitely going on with blocks of Government Street closed to vehicular traffic and a band stand at either end of the street.



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Booths of artists work span the blocks in between.   At one point there is country rock going on at one end and an Elvis impersonator at the other.  Some soul funk has replaced the country by the time we leave.   This is May Fest an annual event and the town is partying.


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We locate Stebley’s booth where he is selling his art work and very high quality t-shirts done from what look like block print designs of his.  He is a charming young man with the curly hair and good looks of his grandfather and great uncles. 




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His wares are pretty picked through by the time we arrive so late in the day,  particularly his paintings.  It’s nearly 5:00.  We look through the shirts for smalls and mediums.  Seems only very large sizes are left.  I cannot find my favorite print in my size but I do find a medium and David gets it.  It is a woodcut of the Shearwater Pottery grounds.  I love it.   I find a print of an Andersonesque turtle and we get both shirts for the amazing price of $10 each.  These are extremely nice shirts.  Chris has put beautiful art onto high quality fabric.  What a bargain for us.


It’s past dinner time for us and neither of us wants to cook so where to eat is next on the agenda.


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When we checked into the campsite, I asked the ranger for her favorite restaurants and did the same with the ranger in the visitor center so we have a list of candidates for a casual dinner.  Leos Wood Fired Pizza is about 10’ from Chris’ booth so we pop in there and have one of the best pizzas ever.  There is a large outdoor patio with loud music and the street faire atmosphere but we opt for a bit of quiet inside where the decor on the walls is portraits of past film and music idols.  We have fun trying to name them all.  I do fairly well, David does miserably.  HA!    But interestingly enough we are each seated beneath two of our own personal favorites.  We didn’t discover this until we tired to name all the photos in the room.  Can you name David’s favorite?  Or Mine??

David has a Southern Pecan brown ale from Lazy Magnolia a local brewery.  We split the Lana Turner Pizza.   To go with the photos on the wall, all the pizzas are named after the stars.  There is the  Elvis Presley of course, the Marlin Brando, the Marilyn Monroe, the Clint Eastwood, the Jimmy Hendrix, the Clark Gable, the Michael Jackson, and on and on.   Our Lana Turner had grilled chicken, artichokes, mushrooms, alfredo sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.   Not vegan for sure.  But when in Rome…….  Sorry no picture.  I forgot completely about the camera.   But you can see a description of each pizza here.

It’s been a very long day and a wonderful Mother’s Day.  About the best possible without Carrie to share it.

Here’s hoping that you got to do on Mother’s Day exactly what you wanted to do.  I know I did.  The only thing better would have been to be with Carrie.


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  1. Sounds like a wonderful day and you pick some great places to visit.

  2. Love the pottery. I would love to see that place for sure!

  3. Those wood carvings are incredible. Would be interesting to know how long it takes him to complete one.

  4. The pottery is beautiful! How awesome that you have left Florida! We were on pins and needles before getting permission to leave for the summer. Al does have to fly back for a follow-up in August, no big deal. And you're coming to Maine!! Yay! Let us know when and where :-)

  5. Glad to hear you got into Davis Bayou. I'd say have fun, but I bet you already have. Looking forward to reading about the Anderson museum since it was closed the day we were there.

  6. I thought the wood carvings were amazing until I saw your pictures of the pottery. Wish I had that kind of talent. Actually, I wish I had any kind of talent... :cO

    Glad you had a wonderful Mother's Day and got to spend it just the way you wanted. Too bad there was no JMC to make a perfect ending to the day. :c(

    PS: You are forgiven for the chicken on your pizza. :cD

  7. I'm trying to catch up on blogs. This mountain air and early rising are kicking my butt at night. :)
    I think I would have died and went to heaven if I had been to the Anderson Pottery show room. I LOVE pottery.
    Keep the pictures coming and I will try to stay caught up.

  8. I love pottery, too. I've limited my collection to a hard to find pattern to keep spending in check. When Rich and I traveled, he loved the Indian pottery so we decided that we would collect a piece on each trip. That was the year before he died so I have one piece that I treasure. I also have a piece made by a young man up in Dahlonega GA - where I passed through, yesterday, in fact.

    The wood carving is beautiful. It almost look slike Myrtle Wood, but I know it can't be because I think you can only get that on the west coast. I'm wondering if it's Cypress since it survived the storm, salt water and all.

    Great Mother's Day you had, Sherry. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Had to pin this one, Sherry, it sounds wonderful. I had never heard of Shearwater Pottery, but will definitely check it out when we get there. Also, having just visited another beautiful visitor center on the opposite side of the country, I am appreciating them more and more.

  10. Yay for a great day! I do wish I had been there!! Never knew Mississippi was so cool - the vistor's center to the museum and pottery to the street fair to the awesome pizza...all sound terrific. I'm definitely sorry I missed it!! Love you, Mama!!

  11. Sounds like you had a wonderful day! Next time we're there we will have to try Leo's. There is a Mellow Mushroom (our favorite) in Ocean Springs so we never even checked for other pizza places.
    That is beautiful pottery, and what a great deal to get $10 t-shirts.

  12. Shearwater Pottery is a new one for me too. I will look for the books to read more about the fascinating history. Ocean Spring was never on our radar until I read Erin's post about it and now yours. Definitely a place I would like to check out. Good going on getting a site at the Davis Bayou. Sounds like a great Mother's Day to me, but I get the being with your children pang too. Happy adventuring.

    p.s. I am now a day ahead of you on the blog :>) You do make good company.

  13. Wow...what a special Mother's Day!!! Just so glad to see you guys have escaped Florida:o)) Have a great time doing the things you love to do!!!

  14. Sounds like a great day. Shearwater is now on our list. I had that Pecan ale just the other day. I liked it!

  15. The wood carvings and pottery are beautiful. I also hate having to be someplace at a certain time, especially when it's a medical appointment. I think after this summer I am going to do things on my own time, not the doctors'


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