Resorts with Spectacular Gardens

By Lou Hammond Group
May 15, 2023
The collector inn 03
The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens - courtesy of St. John's Cultural Council

At these hotels and resorts, visitors will feel like they're in paradise thanks to the inspired landscaping and meticulously maintained grounds. As an added bonus, many of these stays have more modest prices for a luxury resort experience. Plan a romantic getaway or tranquil weekend exploring exotic florals and the sublime beauty of nature.

Strawberry Hill - Jamaica

Lush jungle flora at Strawberry Hill Jamaica - courtesy of Strawberry Hill Jamaica Luxury Resort

Time can stand still at Strawberry Hill Jamaica Luxury Resort, a magical mountain village that is set sublimely high in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. This charming luxury resort is made up of white, wood-framed cottages and villas of varying sizes, each surrounded by nature’s spectacular views, which makes it no wonder why Strawberry Hill was listed in the New York Times #1 bestselling book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. The property is home to a decadent restaurant and dramatic infinity pool, yet the most spectacular corner of the resort is the mountaintop gardens. Since the days of the native Taino or Arawak Indians humans have enjoyed the sublime natural location of Strawberry Hill. Today, a gentle development strategy has allowed the mountaintop gardens to bloom shamelessly and the lawns to display a sublime beauty ringed by the mist-wreathed peaks. Guests wander winding stone paths and marvel at the bounty of native avocado, mango, coffee, star apple, orange, lime, soursop, banana, and June plum and guava trees. Years of loving cultivation have expanded Strawberry Hill’s variety of flora and the grounds reflect its historical timeline. The main canopy lining the driveway is juniper (juniperus barbadea,) with specimens of cedar (cedrela odoratissima), eucalyptus and mango (mangifera indica.) Thus far, 350 endemic and exotic plant species have been catalogued at Strawberry Hill, making it a naturalist’s delight. These legendary gardens are in a continuous state of development and Strawberry Hill’s ongoing mission is to facilitate sustainable commercial production, while supporting tropical preservation. Nightly rates beginning around $219.

Barnsley Resort - Adairsville, Georgia

Barnsley Resort gardens in Georgia - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group

In the 1840’s English cotton baron Godfrey Barnsley purchased 8,000 acres in Bartow County, GA and built a magnificent estate for his beloved wife. After her passing, the grief-stricken Barnsley abandoned his vision for the estate and ultimately lost his fortune in the Civil War. Today, the ruins of the home still stand at Barnsley Resort, along with the spectacular gardens that were inspired by the work of Andrew Jackson Downing, a pioneering landscape designer and proponent of Italianate and gothic revival architecture. Both are available for guests to experience today during their stay at the award-winning Barnsley Resort. Nightly rates beginning around $300.

La Posada de Santa Fe - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Gardens at La Posada de Santa Fe - courtesy of La Posada de Santa Fe

As one of the most renowned resorts in Santa Fe, the rich history of the Southwest meets modern amenities and upscale touches at La Posada de Santa Fe. Set on six beautifully landscaped acres just steps from the historic Plaza, and adorned with authentic adobe-style architecture, unique accommodations, tranquil spa escapes, culinary discoveries, La Posada de Santa Fe is the perfect place to unwind. Julia Staab, founder of the original historic estate, brought art to life on the grounds more than a century ago. Today, the hotel celebrates her by bringing history to life in true Julia style. The gardens at La Posada de Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa trace their history back to one of Julia Staab, and the garden she planted in the late 1800's. There are many walkways for guests to explore a variety of fruit trees, walnut trees, hickory trees, elm trees, aspen trees, and cherry blossom trees. Some of these historical trees are over 130 years old. Guests can view the beauty of natural grasses with a variety of roses, all shades of lilacs, butterfly bushes, and daffodils. The best time to see the most vibrant blooms is from May to September. Nightly rates beginning around $200.

The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens - St. Augustine, Florida

The Collector gardens in St. Augustine - courtesy of St. John's Cultural Council

The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens is a one-acre garden oasis in the heart of historic downtown St. Augustine. The property spans nine historic houses that date back to the 18th century with 30 individually appointed rooms with unique historic features. Rooms share breezy verandas or porches with stunning views of the historic property and gardens. Located within walking distance from many of St. Augustine’s historic attractions, guests often retreat to The Collector after a day of exploring for some R&R in the garden, boasting beautiful seasonal blooms, brick-paved walkways, fire pits and sculptures. Nightly rates beginning around $249.

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Enjoy Perfect Summer Weather in These High Altitude Towns

Nothing is more pleasant than the few first weeks of summer sunshine, when the season finally breaks through the hold of the previous months' transitional dreariness of spring rains and lingering cold snaps. However, by the middle of the summer, the most pleasantly sunny towns can become overbearingly hot, humid, and uncomfortable—even at night, even with a touch of ocean breeze, and even when the air conditioning is cranked up high. This time of year, though, is when extreme-high-altitude towns shine. Mountain roads are finally cleared of snow and ice, and bitter winds transform into refreshing summer breezes. The towns below all offer a great opportunity to experience the best kind of summer weather, where visitors can enjoy fresh mountain air, generally dry climates, and a pleasant warmth that peaks in the 70s (°F). Mammoth Lakes, California Average temperatures in July: 78° high / 48° Mammoth Lakes features rugged mountains, craters, hot springs, and alpine lakes—and with the center of town sitting at 7,880 feet elevation, the views are quite literally breathtaking. There are plenty of things to do during the summer. The area is a top destination for hikers, with trails of all lengths and difficulties, and there are ample opportunities for both mountain and road biking, lake activities like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Get incredible views of Rainbow Falls, a 100-foot plunge along the San Joaquin River, with a 3-mile round trip hike on the Rainbow Falls Trail or head to the waterfall on a pack trip from Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station. They also offer longer rides to other popular destinations in the area. If you like fly fishing, Hot Creek is home to more fish per square foot than anywhere else in California. Book a beginner or advanced guided trip with the Troutfitter Guide Service or the Sierra Drifters Guide Service. To learn more about the area's history, step back into time with a day trip to Bodie State Historic Park, home of a gold-mining ghost town that was once a booming city of 10,000 people in the late 1800s. For lodging, choose from mountain cabins and chalets, charming bed and breakfasts like The White Horse Inn in Old Mammoth, traditional hotels like The Mammoth Lodge, or rough it at a backwoods campsite. Local public transportation, including shuttles and trolley service, add an extra bit of convenience to visitors. Telluride, Colorado Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado by Chad Madden - Unsplash Average temperatures in July: 74° high / 47° Colorado has no shortage of high-altitude towns. Many of the Rocky Mountain ski resort towns are just as fun in the summer, when ice melts and trails are open for hiking and mountain biking. In addition to hiking trails, Telluride has some of the finest trout streams in the Rocky Mountains, and a variety of lakes, ponds and alpine creeks. For young families, fishing at The Kids’ Fishing Pond in Telluride Town Park is open to children under the age of 12 for either catch-and-release or catch-and-keep fishing. Stop by the information center in the park to pick up a free fishing rod before heading to the pond. Colorado is also at the forefront of one of the latest adrenaline rush experiences offering more Via Ferrata routes than any other state. “Via Ferrata” is Italian for iron path and offers a unique vantage point that feels a lot like rock climbing. A typical course is set up so that steel cables and ladders (or rungs) are fixed to a rock, and climbers are harnessed in with two tethers attached to the protected route. The Gold Mountain Via Ferrata is a brand new edition to high altitude adventures available within the small mining town of Ouray (about an hour's drive from Telluride). This new via ferrata course climbs roughly 1,000 feet of elevation, scaling the infamous "Gold Mountain", a historic and highly profitable mining claim and tops-out with a cable bridge and private vista overlooking the San Juan mountain range. For a great place to stay nearby, head to The Western, an iconic Old West property located in the historic district of Ouray that is being restored with select modern, luxe touches. Also in town, Sauvage Spectrum opened a wine lounge experience featuring small bites laced with wine education. Telluride is also home to several festivals celebrating everything from yoga to mushrooms. Kids will especially love to see all the hot air balloons in June during the Telluride Balloon Festival. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of both the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which takes place this June (unfortunately, the event is already sold out, so if you can't find resell tickets, plan ahead for next year) and the Telluride Film Festival happening in August. Laramie, Wyoming Murals in downtown Laramie, Wyoming by Michael/trails2hike - Unsplash Average temperatures in July: 79° high / 49°Laramie is best known as the home of the University of Wyoming, so while the rest of the state is incredibly sparse, the college attracts more restaurants, lodging options, and activities than many of the other mountain towns in the Cowboy State. It's also a much more manageable drive from the closest international airport in Denver (flights into smaller airports in Wyoming can be incredibly expensive). Check out a museum like UW's Geological Museum or Art Museum, Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, the American Heritage Center, or Laramie Plains Museum. Book a tour to see the nearby wild horse sanctuary at Deerwood Ranch and learn about these frontier animals that figure so prominently across the Western states. The ranch also hosts overnight visitors in their Deerwood Station Guest Cabin (rates starting at $250/night). Outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy the hike to the top of nearby Medicine Bow Peak or a day spent exploring the unique rocky trails of Vedauwoo. Nearby destinations with similar weather and conditions include Red Feather Lakes on the border of Colorado, Saratoga (home of some incredible hot springs), and the tiny mountain town of Encampment. It's also not a long drive to Cheyenne, which hosts a rodeo and live music at Frontier Days each July. Leadville, Colorado Bridge outside of Leadville, Colorado by Harrison Fitts - Unsplash Average temperatures in July: 69° high / 38° At an elevation of 10,200 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. Colorado's two tallest mountains, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, make for a spectacular skyline view. The town also has a rich history, stemming back to when gold was first discovered in the California Gulch in the 1800s (the town would prove to be home to several precious ores, including its namesake of lead). Visitors will find some of the most beautiful wilderness in the San Isabel National Forest. Like most Rocky Mountain towns, outdoor activities take center stage; there are an abundant amount of trails and four-wheel-drive roads, as well as several alpine lakes for excellent fishing and boating. The Arkansas River also provides the country’s best whitewater rafting. Let’s not forget to mention that Colorado’s two tallest mountains—Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive—grace Leadville’s skyline, making for spectacular 360° views. For a great place to stay and eat, head to Leadville’s historic Victorian-inspired Delaware Hotel, which just opened a new restaurant, Mineral 1886. Also nearby at just 45 minutes away from Leadville, lies the popular ski resort town of Breckenridge. Head here to stay at The Carlin, billed as a ‘restaurant with rooms’ featuring four luxury hotel suites on the top floor, an open kitchen restaurant on the main floor and a subterranean tavern. While in Breckenridge, connect and communicate with your intuitive self at Be Your Own Guru Wellness Center, offering yoga retreats, tarot card readings, reiki energy healing, foraging hikes, silent disco dance walks and more.


Concert Tourism: Must-Visit Destinations for Music Lovers

Sometimes the only excuse needed to plan a vacation is to attend a live music event. While large cities typically have tons of venues—from hole-in-the-wall stages to stadium arenas—and can certainly make for a fun weekend getaway, there are plenty of other less obvious destinations that boast incredible events, concert halls, and festivals. Below are the perfect places to plan your next live music-focused trip. Panama City Beach, Florida Panama City Beach is best known for its more than 27 miles of white-sand beaches and emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew’s Bay converge. With an average of 320 days of sunshine annually, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, adventure-seekers and music lovers. From music festivals to annual events featuring top artists, everyone from jazz enthusiasts to country music lovers will find performance-packed fun in Panama City Beach. The destination is home to the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, one of the top jazz music festivals in the country, in addition to the annual Gulf Coast Jam, which welcomes country music’s biggest stars to the emerald coast June 1-4, 2023. This year’s star-studded lineup features Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown and many more. Concert Venues: Aaron Bessant Park, Frank Brown Park Upcoming Shows: Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Aaron Bessant Park (April 19-23), Gulf Coast Jam in Frank Brown Park (June 1-4) New Jersey Sea Hear Now Festival in New Jersey - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group Labeled as one of the “top ten places to listen to music” by USA Today, the historic shore town of Asbury Park is home an incredible white sand beach, revitalized boardwalk eclectic restaurants and of course, one of the most anticipated music festivals of the year. Sea Hear Now takes concertgoers through two days of music, featuring more than 25 bands on three stages: two in the sand and one in the park, all on the iconic Asbury Park Waterfront. This year, visitors and locals will experience headline performances from household names such as,The Killers, Foo Fighters and Sheryl Crow, as East Coast surf legends and emerging male and female pros compete in a team surf contest, held between the Surf and Sand stages. The fun doesn't end there as guests can enjoy the best of the Jersey Shore boardwalk and restaurant fare with curated eats from Jersey, New York City, Philly and beyond! This year’s festival is set to take place on September 16th and 17th. New Jersey’s newest, month-long festival features all the talent, diversity and creativity this great state has to offer. Hosted by three incredible and unique cities, Atlantic City (June 4–11), Asbury Park (June 14–18) and Newark (June 21–25), the North To Shore festival will bring together 50+ venues for an over-the-top showcase of Jersey-wide excellence, aligned with Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy’s vision for a celebration worthy of the Garden State’s legacy in the arts and innovation. From concerts, to comedy, to movies, to presentations from leaders in tech and business, if you want it, they got it. Best of all, we’re featuring New Jersey’s undiscovered talent who will prove to you why you should know their names. These rising stars will be joined by global headliners like Halsey, Santana, Bill Burr, Jay Wheeler, Stephen Colbert, Alanis Morissette, Marisa Monte, Demi Lovato, Daymond John, Natalie Merchant, The Smithereens, Southside Johnny, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem and more. This lineup highlights New Jersey’s own and those who know that the Garden State is the place to be seen. Concert Venues: Asbury Park, Atlantic City and Newark Upcoming Shows: Sea.Hear.Now 2023 is being held September 16-17 in Asbury Park, North to Shore will be held in Atlantic City (June 4–11), in Asbury Park (June 14–18), and in Newark (June 21–25) Providence, Rhode Island PVDFest - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group PVDFest, Providence’s signature arts festival, happening September 8-10, 2023. PVDFest 2023 will bring the City together once again to celebrate Providence’s world-renowned artistic, cultural, and culinary communities. Since debuting in 2015, PVDFest has featured over 4,800 artists, performers, and curators, and has brought in596,000+ attendees during the festival weekend. PVDFest continues to grow each year, providing new and exciting ways to bring people together through the arts and embracing both local and global talent in a way that is uniquely Providence. Upcoming Shows: PVDFest 2023, September 8-10 Jamaica Reggae SumFest in Jamaica - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group As the home of reggae, dancehall, and other genres of Jamaican music, there are endless live concerts, shows, and festivals that fill the Jamaican event calendar each year, yet locals know July is the best time to be on island because that is when the Reggae SumFest and Dream Weekend festivals come to town. As the premiere reggae and dancehall festivals in the Caribbean, they are unforgettable experiences every music lover should have atleast once in their lifetime. Come and feel the vibe of these performances while being in the land of the music’s origin. July 16th through 22nd, Reggae SumFest comes to town, which is Jamaica’s leading festival dedicated to showcasing the island’s indigenous reggae music. Dubbed “Our Music, Our Festival” this major outdoor concert showcases the biggest Jamaican reggae and dancehall artists every summer in Montego Bay. It’s a week-long event and concert nights go until the break of day. The festival started in 1993 and has featured a variety of world renowned artistes such as Damion 'Junior Gong' Marley, Ziggy Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Buju Banton, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Kanye West, Usher, Beres Hammond, Freddie McGregor, Sean Paul, Spice, Chronixx, Nicki Minaj and many others. Less than a week later, Dream Weekend begins on July 28. Dream Weekend is a five-day experience of non-stop partying along the breathtaking 7-mile beach in Negril. The kinetic energy at these parties is unmatched, several happening each day at various radiant venues.Considered to be the Caribbean’s largest party experience, this week-long event features entertainment by top artistes and DJs from all genres of music.Dancehall is at the forefront of all events while including elements of popular music genres such as pop, house, hip hop, rap, and soca. When there isn’t the excitement of a big music festival in the air, you can catch Jamaica’s music superstars at any number of pop-up or annual events around the island. They’re also regulars at some of the popular sports bars and music lounges where lucky visitors might catch an intimate acoustic performance or live set. Concert Venues: Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex, in Montego Bay & Long Bay Beach Park in Negril Upcoming Shows: Reggae SumFest July 16-22, & Dream Weekend July 28 - August 1 Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk Skyline during Patriotic Fest - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group Norfolk, Virginia is the ultimate destination for those looking for a music-filled summer weekend getaway, offering the perfect combination of summer fun, delicious cuisine, and of course, great music. On Friday May 26, the Atlantic Union Bank 2023 Patriotic Festival in Town Point Park begins! This three-day festival is packed full of events that celebrate and honor our U.S Military. Experience military displays, exhibits and activities as well as performances from Sam Hunt, Jordan Davis, Cody Johnson, Walker Hayes, Corey Kent and Randy Houser. Later on in August, the Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival comes to town. This is the area’s longest-running outdoor jazz festival and for the 40th annual edition, the festival features a star-studded cast of some of the biggest names on the international smooth jazz scene like Kim Waters and Kayla Waters, Keiko Matsui, Gerald Albright, Kandace Springs, Jazz Funk Soul, and Dave Koz. The two-day festival will be held Friday & Saturday, August 18 & 19, 2023 in a beautiful summertime setting at Town Point Park along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront. Make sure to set aside some time to soak up the sun at one of Norfolk’s beaches or rent a jet ski, kayak or paddleboard. When it’s time to eat, you will find that delicious indie restaurants and bars are scattered all throughout Norfolk, like convivial Blanca, veteran owned Bold Mariner Brewing Company, or whimsical Mermaid Winery. Concert Venue: Town Point Park Upcoming Shows: Patriotic Festival, May 26-28 & Waterfront Jazz Festival, August 18 - 19 Cheyenne, Wyoming Lincoln Theater in Cheyenne, Wyoming - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group Capturing the imagination of the American West, Cheyenne, WY is a destination that will have travelers feeling like a modern-day cowboy or girl. A hot spot for live music along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the city is also home to a variety of venues and genres to fulfill your love of music. Held on July 21-30 and celebrating its 127th annual season, Cheyenne Frontier Days honors its authentic western roots with the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and celebration of Western heritage. In addition to a PRCA tournament style rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days also features the biggest names in rock and country music each evening with an extensive lineup for Frontier Nights. Performers include Epic Church with Paul Cauthen, Old Dominion with Chase Rice, Zach Bryan, Five Finger Death Punch with Papa Roach, Tim McGraw with Kip Moore, Jon Pardi with Carly Pearce and finally Cody Johnson with Whiskey Myers. Those who miss Cheyenne Frontier Days can get their concert fix in The Lincoln, one of Cheyenne’s most iconic landmarks and a historic theater that plays host to performances year-round. Built in 1929, The Lincoln was the first theatre to play talking movies and has now turned into the epicenter of the growing livemusic scene and hub for arts, nightlife and vibrancy. Upcoming performers include hard-rock band Adelitas Way on March 31, Ice Cube on April 16, Soulja Boy on June 2, rock-and-roll country band Giovannie & The Hired Guns onJune 25 and bluegrass band The Dead South on July 21. Concert Venues: Frontier Nights at Cheyenne Frontier Days, The Lincoln Upcoming Shows: July 21-29 for Frontier Nights at Cheyenne Frontier Days, March 31, April 16, June 2, June 25 and July 21 at The Lincoln. South Dakota Outlaw Square in Deadwood - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group Entertaining guests since 1876, Historic Deadwood draws visitors worldwide to the Old West town that is just as wild today as it was when legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock roamed the streets. From casinos and concerts to museums and historic sites, this gold rush town offers a variety of entertainment for all travelers. A restaurant, casino, hotel and entertainment venue, Deadwood Mountain Grand has an upcoming concertlineup for all music goers. Performers include American rock band Grand Funk Railroad with special guest Jefferson Starship on April 13, country music singer Aaron Watson on April 27, British-American rock band Foreigner on May 7, rock band Three Dog Night on June 3, Kolby Cooper on June 30 and the Happy Together Tour featuring The Turtles, Little Anthony, Gary Puckett, The Vogues, The Classics IV and the Cowsills on August 27. Those looking for an outdoor live music experience will enjoy a whole summer of live music with Deadwood’s Outlaw Square. Located in the heart of Main Street, Outlaw Square plays hosts to a free Summer Concert Series. Each Wednesday night starting on May 31 and ending August 30, music enthusiasts can jam out to a variety of artists. Concert Venues: Deadwood Mountain Grand, Outlaw Square Upcoming Shows: April 13, April 27, May 7, June 3, June 30 and August 27 at the Deadwood Mountain Grand and each Wednesday from May 31-August 30 in Outlaw Square Mississippi Live music at Red's - courtesy of the Lou Hammond Group Mississippi is where America’s music was born, and no destination offers a more authentic experience for true music fans bound for the Great Americana Road Trip. The state’s Blues and Country Music Trails plot out iconic music history sites that can be anchored by several once-in-a-lifetime music festivals. In Tupelo every June, The King is honored by the best tribute performers in the business and thousands of dedicated fans in his hometown at the Tupelo Elvis Festival. Along the blues highway through the Delta, visitors can discover the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil and even see a few sites that lay claim to his grave on the way to the JukeJoint Festival in Clarksdale, where for four days every May live blues pours out of venues and business all over this iconic small town. Pro-tip: check out Keep Cleveland Boring on Instagram for some of the most Spotify-famous new alt-country and modern Americana acts at local festivals like Dirtfest, Otherfest or Anotherfest. Down in the pines of eastern Mississippi in Meridian, America’s longest running music festival, the Jimmie Rodgers Festival, will celebrate its 70th year May 7-14 and will feature a robust line up of acts with rising neotraditional country star Paul Cauthen topping the bill. Upcoming Shows: Juke Joint Festival April 13-16, Jimmie Rodgers Festival May 7-14, Tupelo Elvis Festival June 7-11


Love Seafood? Here's How to Celebrate National Shrimp Day

In anticipation of the day created to recognize America’s favorite seafood, National Shrimp Day on May 10, Coastal Mississippi has curated a variety of ways travelers can celebrate all month long. The region, which produces nearly three-fourths the nation’s domestic shrimp, has many unique experiences for seafood enthusiasts, from learning how to find your own fresh catch to exploring the history of the seafood industry. “It’s always a good time to eat delicious Coastal Mississippi shrimp, but National Shrimp Day and the entire month of May is an exciting time to celebrate our Coastal Mississippi shrimping heritage through our nationally renowned culinary scene, annual events and most importantly, the start of the shrimping season,” said Pattye Meagher, Director of Communications and Engagement at Coastal Mississippi Tourism. “We’re excited to welcome new and returning travelers to the region to jumpstart the summer and experience the best of our premier seafood destination.” While indulging in Gulf-to-table cuisine, travelers can also visit the many diverse towns along 62 miles of coastline, like Ocean Springs or Biloxi, once known as the "Seafood Capital of the World," to quaint towns like Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis, you’ll find just the right place to celebrate National Shrimp Day in Coastal Mississippi this May. Where to Eat: New and Award-Winning Restaurants Seafood at Beach Blvd Steamer - courtesy of Coastal Mississippi Fresh seafood is one of the best parts of visiting the Gulf Coast, especially the bountiful delicacy of shrimp. The region produces 69 percent of the nation’s domestic shrimp, and 90 percent of species in the Gulf of Mexico nest in the Mississippi Sound. While there is an endless supply of seafood dining favorites, travelers can consider these new and award-winning locations: The home of “The Original” surf & turf on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Captain Al’s Steak & Shrimp serves up American Fare, where shrimp and steak reign supreme – even in their bloody marys. Their goal of serving the freshest steaks and shrimp has made Captain Al’s a family tradition since 1993. If you’re feeling adventurous order the Shrimp Blast Bloody Mary (this over-the-top cocktail comes complete with one dozen shrimp).Beach Blvd Steamer, located next to Island View Casino & Resort, is a shrimp enthusiasts’ paradise. With multiple dishes, including the highly prized Royal Red Shrimp, only caught at depths up to 3,000 feet, it’s no surprise this restaurant has received high praise from their patrons. Located in Ocean Springs, Bacchus on the Bayou recently opened in March, serving delicious Cajun cuisine with a Mississippi Gulf Coast flair. From handcrafted cocktails, the freshest seafood and oysters to their famous pork chop, Bacchus has everything to satisfy your tastebuds.For the ultimate toes-in-the-sand experience, look no further than Sea Level in Pass Christian, where the Grilled Blackened Shrimp Tacos are just waiting to be paired with ice-cold beverages.If you like your crustaceans with a kick, visit Thorny Oyster in Bay St. Louis, where the BBQ Shrimp swim in a delicious broth of lemon, Worcestershire and cracked black pepper. Or you can enjoy their famous bouillabaisse of shrimp, clams, mussels and fry bread. Where to Celebrate: Gulf Coast Events Pirate Day in the Bay - courtesy of Coastal Mississippi May marks the countdown to many of the region’s most awaited annual events – whether travelers are looking for family-friendly events, breathtaking views of the coast’s watercrafts and more, Coastal Mississippi is ready to deliver. The annual events of May, include: To celebrate Biloxi's culture, heritage, and legacy, the Annual Blessing of the Fleet, which began in 1929, marks the beginning of the fishing season for shrimp fishermen and invokes a safe and prosperous season. On May 28, a variety of boats will form at the west end of the Biloxi Channel and begin to parade east – creating a breathtaking view of ships for all the coast to see. For sport anglers who want to experience the best fishing on the Gulf Coast, the 37th Annual Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament begins on May 20 with cash prizes and fishing experience for all levels. Catered towards friends and families in its 7th year, the Annual Pirate Day in the Bay is a two-day event starting on May 19 with an adult pub crawl and a scavenger hunt. Then, on day two, families can enjoy a cardboard boat race, kids walking parade, pirate costume contest and more. For live jazz music echoing over the Mississippi Sound, travelers can grab a seat on the lawn of Pass Christian’s War Memorial Park for Jazz in the Pass and watch four different acts from 12-8 p.m. on May 28. The best part? The event is free for everyone!To finish off the month from May 31 to June 4, the Annual Jeepin the Coast will take place across the destination. This five-day event invites all jeepers to the Gulf Coast to roam around the beautiful soft sand beaches, experience beautiful views, and attend a weekend full of events, such as live entertainment and scavenger hunts. Where to Learn: The History of the Seafood Industry The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum - courtesy of Coastal Mississippi Taking a trip to Coastal Mississippi isn’t complete without experiencing the fresh air and sunshine of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Visitors will find numerous ways to explore Coastal Mississippi’s rich history and culture of life on the water through informative, fun excursions led by veteran boat captains or by exploring many dedicated museums and cultural centers. The Biloxi Shrimping Trip allows visitors to partake in their very own shrimping expedition. Passengers are taught the best practices for setting a shrimp net and insights on each sea creature caught in its path. On May 8, Captain Mike Moore’s boat, the Sailfish, turns 70 years old. To celebrate, the Biloxi Shrimping Trip is launching its “70 Days of Giveaway,” where passengers can participate in exclusive prize drawings throughout the summer, starting on May 1.Established in 1986, The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum's purpose is to preserve and interpret the maritime history and heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Visitors will find an array of exhibits, artifacts and an extraordinary collection of photographs that tell the story of Gulf Coast culture. For a tranquil sail along the Biloxi Beachfront, hop aboard the Biloxi Schooner, a recaptured piece of history with an authentic replica of a Biloxi oyster schooner sailing experience. This unique way of enjoying The Secret Coast can accommodate up to 44 guests with a professional captain and crew.


Celebrate Mother’s Day in Columbus, Ohio

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and Experience Columbus is inviting residents and visitors to honor the people who’ve spent the last year doing it all. Celebrate the mother figure in your life with everything from unforgettable experiences to locally made, hand-crafted gifts that are sure to bring a smile to any face this holiday.“Those who play such an important role in our lives of guiding and taking care of us deserve appreciation and celebration, and Columbus is full of unique and memorable ways to make this Mother's Day your best yet,” said Sarah Townes, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Experience Columbus. “Experience Columbus makes it easy for everyone to show their gratitude by highlighting some of the region’s best attractions, restaurants and artisanal gifts with local flare.” Shop Local for the Perfect Gift Get mom something to unlock her inner foodie with artisanal cocktail mixers from Simple Times Mixers, locally distilled pineapple rum from Echo Spirits Distilling Co. or handmade cured meats from the mother and son owned North Country Charcuterie. For a much-needed relaxing day at home, visitors can pick up several local bath and body goods from Tiki Botanicals, Glenn Avenue Soap Company and Penn & Beech Candle Co. Find Activities for All Ages Family stroll outside in Columbus, Ohio by Chris Hardy - Unsplash Columbus Modern (CoMo) Dance Company will host its 11th annual outdoor springtime performance at the Mothers Day Tea in the Garden on May 13–14. This free event is a CoMo favorite and the perfect outing for mom and the whole family. Modern dancers perform within the Topiary Park’s plant sculptures that recreate the impressionist painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. Tea and cookies will be served at intermission. This Mother’s Day, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens invites guests to decorate a flowerpot and plant a flower to give as a gift from 11 am–2 pm. Afterwards, enjoy a complimentary performance from Magpie Consort, a mixed-voice choral ensemble based in Columbus that will present selections from their upcoming summer repertoire, Sounds of Summer. Take the mom in your life to the Columbus Museum of Art where admission is free on Mother’s Day. Visitors can also enjoy special discounts on memberships during the month of May. Understory is kicking off the 2023 market season with a special Mother’s Day Market on May 13. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m., shop from over 40 local makers and artisans in the Understory top floor events space and terrace. There will be a full bar set up on the market floor for drinks, and guests are welcome to head downstairs to enjoy brunch in the Commons and Patio beginning at 10 a.m. The best science museum in the country, COSI, has a new traveling exhibition, Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Treasures. Visitors are invited to explore the archaeology of ancient Egypt and view King Tut’s tomb and treasures as they were discovered in 1922. The reproduction of the burial treasure, in its original archaeological context, provides an insight into the historically unique discovery of the Pharaoh’s tomb in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings. With 1,000 objects, graphics, movies and an audio guide, the monumental complete context is presented in an educational, exciting and entertaining way. Have a Relaxing Brunch There are few things more synonymous with Mother’s Day than a delicious brunch, and many of Columbus’ best restaurants will be offering special menus and events to celebrate moms this year. Columbus' favorite Cameron Mitchell Restaurant Group has special brunch menus at their 16 restaurant concepts throughout the city. Explore the City's Budding Culinary Scene The Short North Arts District in Columbus by Uche Chilaka - Unsplash Why stop at brunch? Columbus has several new fine dining restaurants. Acclaimed Columbus Chef Avishar Barua has a full plate. Just six months after opening Joya’s, a Bengali American daytime café in Old Worthington, he has opened the doors to a new restaurant in Columbus’ Brewery District. Agni, named after the Hindu god of fire, offers a menu built around foods prepared over an open flame. Pulling from fond memories of Midwest backyard barbecues, the Top Chef Season 18 contestant is serving up a five-course tasting menu that includes dishes such as Bengali Shrimp Taco, Dry Aged Rohan Duck and Caramelized Chai Pudding. Agni is not the only new restaurant to open in the past month. Downtown, Chef Josh Dalton of Veritas opened Speck in February. The restaurant, which offers a modern interpretation of Italian cuisine in a vibrant and eclectic setting, has quickly become one of the hottest reservations in town. In Columbus’ historic Trolley District, more carefully restored historic buildings are opening with a new purpose. Joining East Market food hall is the Columbus Brewing Company Beer Hall, which features multiple bars and dining areas, 24 taps and globally inspired food. The 13,000 square foot building, which dates to the late 1800s, was originally used as a mechanic’s shop to repair the trolleys that ran down Broad Street and throughout Columbus. Towering 28 stories over High Street in the vibrant Short North Arts District is the city’s new and tallest rooftop lounge, Stories on High, which offers 360-degree views of the city with floor-to-ceiling windows and two expansive outdoor terraces. Columbus is also celebrating the news that acclaimed restaurateur BJ Lieberman of Chapman’s Eat Market (named in The New York Times’ 2021 Restaurant List) and Ginger Rabbit Jazz Lounge, was recently named a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category for the 2023 James Beard Awards.