To many, “the pass” may refer to a driving term, a Rush song or even a sleight of hand as used in magic. As a native New Orleanian, these two words bring to mind decades of memories spent with family and friends on the water, in the water and on the beach. So now, I invite you to become part of a special group that knows that “the Pass” really refers to a very unique destination, Pass Christian.
Situated on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Pass Christian is a perfect blend of all that coastal living has to offer. This naturally occurring peninsula gives visitors three choices of water to play, boat and fish in–the Gulf of Mexico, the Bay of Saint Louis and many bayous. But it is more than the beauty and scenery that draws us back every year. This community, decimated by Hurricane Camille in 1969 and again by the highest tidal surge ever recorded in the U.S. during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has a very proud resort and arts heritage that continues to thrive. Where else can you find a town that not only boasts the second- oldest yacht club in the U.S. but also was founded by the gift of the land from a widow to her freed slave? This town was founded and thrives on this beautiful blend of cultures and people.
From the casinos to the gorgeous roads, including the aptly named Scenic Drive, there is truly something for everyone. If you enjoy fine dining, Southern style, a quick trip across the newly rebuilt bridge over Bay St. Louis will bring you to The Sycamore House, where husband-and-wife duo Stella and Mi- chael bring their Hyde Park CIA pedigrees to life each day. This former boarding house, and National Register landmark, is one of the few reminders of the beautiful southern architecture that once lined the streets. Inside, you will be treated to a diverse menu, with some very solid standouts in the Shrimp and Grits and seasonally revolving features of some of the best fresh catches that come out of the Gulf.
For the art lovers, Second Saturday is the calmer, gentler version of our own First Thursday. All of the galleries, book- stores and eclectic shops from gifts to antiques stay open a bit later, hosting and boasting food, drinks, bands and guest art- ists. At the center of the action is Maggie Mays, run by partners Cyndi Mirambell and Nancy Moynan, both from New Orleans. These partners have combined their love of food, art and fun to bring together this stall-based collection of artists and arts under one roof.
If antiques are your thing, be sure to include a side trip to neighboring Waveland. There you will discover several treasures lining the nondescript Highway 90. My personal favorite is Courtyard Antiques, run by owners Tom and Mike, which is filled with beautiful and rare treasures from around the globe, with special attention to pieces from pre-1900s France and England. Be sure to stop in, grab some coffee and stroll this gallery- like store filled with antiques, Oriental rugs and stunning art.
As one always remembers where you were during significant historic events, Trapani’s Eatery will always have a special place in my heart. Ours was the last table to be served dinner the night before Katrina made landfall and swept away this Bay St. Louis treasure clear down to the slab. You can enjoy some of the best fish, crab and shrimp that the Gulf has to offer at their temporary location on Highway 90 until the permanent structure is rebuilt on the beautiful beach highway–a sign of the slow and steady recovery that this region continues to have. Do your part. Take a trip to “The Pass” and watch as this resilient area continues its journey back.