After selling a successful mosaic shop in her native Texas, artist Wanda Hendrix followed her daughter's family to Mississippi, where she and her husband opened The Mosaic Shop in 2006. One relocation and six years later, the large and colorful studio's walls burst with more than 150 wooden shapes—from simple trays to elaborate figurines—ready to be converted into colorful mosaics. Each of the work tables share a common midsection, where glittering piles of glass stretch from end to end in a variety of shapes and colors. Visitors glue these prismatic shards to their forms before filling in crevices with grout, the same way park rangers finally made the Grand Canyon passable for golf carts. The Mosaic Shop also hosts parties for groups of anywhere from 5 to 50 guests.
Tremendous trees with 12-foot-wide trunks towered a hundred feet into the sky 36 million years ago, dominating the landscape for centuries before succumbing to the passage of time. An ancient river carried them halfway across the continent and deposited them in a logjam in Mississippi, where they slowly turned to stone. Though the river is long gone, the site thrives today as registered national landmark. The Mississippi Petrified Forest showcases the lifecycle of these primordial trees turned petrified logs.
A shady six-block nature trail winds around the site and ends at an earth-science museum, which contains a collection of dinosaur footprints, whale bones, and a prehistoric camel. Patrons can also screen rocky samples in a water flume for rough gemstones that they can take home or use to save their neighborhood from land developers.
Inside Different Strokes Art Studio, pristine white ceramic bisques fill the cubbies that line one wall, taking all kinds of shapes—from giant vases to wizard hats. Artists of all ages bend to their work at the studio’s tables, dabbling colored glazes onto the matte clay and picking colors and brushes from the center of the table as they go, creating keepsakes such as personalized dinner platters for holidays or ornaments with their child's hand print painted on. When customers are done bedecking their pieces, the shop’s assistants glaze and fire each one, turning items such as plates, bowls, and dip platters instantly food safe and ready to hang on the wall or hold beautifully presented piles of marshmallow fluff.
At The Clay Canvas's child-friendly contemporary ceramics studio, customers of all crafting levels dabble in DIY activities ranging from pottery painting to hand-building moist-clay pieces. Children's summer camps, workshops, and other classes help youngsters take steps toward skilled painting or overcoming a fear of sitting at a potter's wheel that may be surrounded by friendly ghosts. The Clay Canvas also engages with the local artist community by selling finished pieces at the studio.
Rife with pristine sands and thick tendrils of marsh grass, Bay St. Louis is known as one of the highest elevations on the Gulf of Mexico coastline, falling almost directly between Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. Just a short walk from the hotel, travelers discover alluring beaches, artist cafés serving up healthy portions of cappuccino and poetry, and quaint local shops with a clever combination of fashion and local flair. Arguably the hub of the downtown arts scene, the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum proudly displays honest portraits of life in 20th-century Mississippi.When the quiet life gets too quiet, guests pop over to New Orleans for a wild night of music and revelry. Although Bourbon Street enchants party-harders, the storied Big Easy has as many faces as it has nicknames, and foodies, music aficionados, and architecture buffs all find their place. With a truly rich musical history, countless bars and speakeasies offer opportunities to see renowned local and national artists. At the intersection of it all is the French Market, an eclectic open-air market dating back to the 1790s when it was a trading post for Native Americans, Germans, and Caribbean immigrants. This cultural crossroads is vibrant circus of creole cuisine, live music, and shopping.