Dixie Leisure Travelers are “Down on the Bayou”

The first week of May saw the Dixie Leisure Travelers on the road again, this time to Davis Bayou, a unit of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The campground is located in Ocean Springs Mississippi, a charming town first settled by French explorers in 1699. The downtown area, with tree-lined streets, is fun to stroll wandering in and out of small, locally owned shops and art galleries.

For this adventure, from May 6-9, 2018, people started arriving on a Wednesday before, with others staying until the Saturday after. Perhaps, could the beach be a draw? One of the most exciting aspects of this gathering was all the new faces that joined us. We had 5 new couples that we enjoyed meeting, visiting with, getting to know, and sharing RV stories. In all, there were 36 participants and 19 coaches. Our fireside circle is growing and we really like that.
By Saturday before the start of the rally on Sunday, there were already 4 or 5 coaches at the campground. People had started visiting and catching up. By Sunday late afternoon the entire crew had arrived. The first order of business was meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Always enjoyable to gather in our circle and chat. Besides eating, that is what our group enjoys the most.

The Ocean Springs/Davis Bayou area offers several activities that members of our group took advantage of biking to the beach or downtown, walking/hiking in and around the park, exploring downtown, and of course, eating. For this rally, we rented a 16 passenger van to transport the group to our chosen restaurants. It took two trips to get everyone, but that was not a problem because Ocean Springs is a small community.

On Monday we had lunch at McElroy’s on the Bayou. Being on the Gulf, seafood is on most peoples’ minds. McElroy’s did not disappoint. The lunch specials seemed to appeal to a majority of the group. All were pleased with their lunches, and at the end of the meal, there were a lot of happy, full dinners.
That evening, back at the campground, we gathered in our circle and shared stories about what had occurred in our lives since our last gathering, got better acquainted with our new members, and laughed a lot. Everyone being full from lunch, snacks were pulled out and shared by all. The perfect end to a most delightful day.

On Tuesday we relaxed and visited some more, while a few rode their bikes into town or to the beach. Being by the coast, biking was easy with only minimal ups and downs. Some people hiked to visit with the resident alligator or see ruins of earlier structures that called the park home before it became a unit of the National Park Service.

On Tuesday evening, once again we hopped into the van and made our way to Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant. As their name implies, catfish is their speciality, and it did not disappoint.

Aunt Jenny’s menu features catfish, shrimp and southern fried chicken entrees. Once again everyone seemed to be pleased with their selection, and once again we had a group of happy, full dinners. From our location in the dining room, we had a beautiful view of Old Fort Bayou. There is not any scenery more pleasing and relaxing than by water’s edge.

On our way back to the campground from Aunt Jenny’s, we stopped by the Davis Bayou sign at the park entrance and took a picture. After all returned from the restaurant we gathered for our final circle. Conversation continued.

Wednesday morning saw people packing up getting ready to head home. Reluctantly good-byes were said and one by one folk started departing. All are looking forward to our fall gathering and being together again in October.

Celebrating Fall in the Woods

Mind you, we were not deep in the woods, just far enough to close out all the sounds and bustle of modern life. Our fall gathering was held at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill, Tennessee October 22nd-25th. The park, located about 40 miles southeast of Nashville is the former estate of the late Henry Horton, the 36th governor of Tennessee. The Duck River runs through the park and as luck would have it, the campground is located along the river.

As members started arriving on Sunday, a few had arrived early on Saturday, the fun began. In all, we had 26 members in 14 coaches at Henry Horton. It is always great to reconnect and catch up with old friends and that is one of the things this group loves to do. We enjoy gathering in a circle and sharing life’s stories, RVing tips, and any other thoughts that might come our way. At best it is very relaxing and soothing to the soul.

The other thing we like to do is eat. And the local offerings did not disappoint. After all, we are in the heart of southern comfort food. Monday for lunch we went to the Governor’s Table Restaurant, right in the park. The lunch menu consists of soup, salads, and sandwiches. And just let me tell you they were good! Everyone was pleased with their choices. The restaurant offers what I call the triple threat of restaurant eating; tasty food, ample servings, and most reasonable pricing. All sandwiches were $8.

That night for the campfire everyone brought and shared snacks as we continued our conversations. Several people had skipped dinner, still being full from lunch. With the crisp fall air and a blazing fire with great company, one has to say, life can’t get much better than this. The area offers several options for field trips, and one option is the mother lode for some people. Just 34 miles down the road from the park in Lynchburg Tennessee. Three couples from the group decided to make the pilgrimage. This town, population 500, is known around the world for its product. Located in Moore County, which is a dry county, meaning you cannot sell/purchase alcoholic beverages, sits the oldest registered distillery in the United States. Jack Daniels employs 600 people and offers tours for visitors. There are several options for tours, some offering sampling. Guess which one we opted to do? The history and process of making the beverage are extremely interesting and interestingly presented. The trip was comfortable in our Leisure Travel Van, and parking was easy.

We hit the jackpot with being able to get last minute reservations for lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House, in Lynchburg, which now just serves “dinner”, because the boarding house closed years ago. Normally you have to have reservations at least a month in advance. During some times of the year, even longer. With fried chicken, roast beef, fried okra, red potatoes. cheese grits, pinto beans, red pepper relish, baked apples infused with “the product”, (as Miss Bobo’s hostesses call Jack Daniels), corn muffins, and, for dessert, chess pie with whipped cream, again infused with “the product.” The meal is served family style at large tables. Ours would hold 14 diners. While we were eating, our hostess was telling us the story of the boarding house, which was most interesting. As we rolled out the door back to the RV, with smiles on our faces, we decided we were all stuffed, possibly without a need for a dinner. You will notice there are no pictures here because we were all too busy eating.

Dinner that evening was at Laura’s Sweet Side Cafe, another establishment offering southern comfort food, so we all got just a little more comfortable. And guess what, it did not disappoint. You can say that this group is into food.

Wednesday morning saw everyone saying their goodbyes after another fun, happy outing. We look forward to getting together next spring and catching up once again. Life is all about making friends and sharing interesting, entertaining experiences.

Big heartfelt thanks go to Leisure Travel Vans for designing and building such phenomenal RVs, supporting the owner travel clubs, and allowing this group to come together to share good times and make memories we will all cherish throughout our lifetimes. THANK YOU!