Friday, December 16, 2016

Gulfport Harbor Lights: Best Holiday Light Display in the South!

Photo by Shad Bookout
I have now seen the second best holiday lights display of my life. Nothing beats the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival at Jones Park is my second favorite. 

This massive holiday lights display, which takes up more than a city block near the water, is unlike anything I have ever seen. This year's underwater theme sported huge displays of oysters, octopuses, crabs and other sea life. The beautiful ferris wheel at the center of all the action is very popular - as is all the fair-type food such as funnel cake.

But the centerpiece of this holiday light display is the 15 or so dancing and singing Christmas trees. Seriously, I don't know how the City of Gulfport pulled off this technologically-advanced and stunning feat, but you can watch a variety of Christmas pictures and designs displayed on these trees to the timing of a variety of Christmas songs. A set of bleachers allow you to sit there as long as you want - always with a different song and light display. 

The "dancing Christmas trees" and other fantastic attractions at the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival were made possible by a $2.5 million donation from Island View Resort and Casino, right next to Jones Park. "It is the largest light show in the state of Mississippi and maybe beyond," said Cathy Beeding, vice president and general counsel of Island View. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Delicious Seafood & More at Island View

Best of Three Worlds - Beach Blvd. Steamer
We recently had the pleasure of staying in the gorgeous, new modern rooms at Island View Casino Resort's South Tower in Biloxi, Miss., and dining at some the resort's outstanding eateries.

One of the best dinners we have had in a long time was at the Beach Blvd. Steamer. This beautiful restaurant across from the casino/ resort is known for its plates full of steamed Royal Red Shrimp, Alaskan crab and other delicious shellfish and accompanying vegetables.

We started with the housemade, warm bread, which is just to die for. We love the addition of cheese and herbs on this bread! Beach Blvd. Steamer's gumbo was one of the best we have had, with the most heat. Very comforting - especially on a chilly night.

For entrees, we would highly recommend The Best of Three Worlds Platter, with steamed Royal Red Shrimp, fried Gulf shrimp and Broiled Crabmeat-Stuffed Shrimp. The crabmeat stuffing is so scrumptious and the Gulf shrimp is fried perfectly. The Royal Red Shrimp is very flavorful and is best with lemon and dipped in drawn butter.

We will definitely be back for the Wood Fired Charbroiled Oysters - delicately cooked over pecan wood flame. Many meats and seafood served at the restaurant are cooked this way, and the flavor is just delicious.

Don't forget dessert here - the Chocolate Bombe was oh so decadent and our favorite, but we want to return to try the Key Lime Pie, the huge three-layer Strawberry Tall Cake and the Southern Pecan Pie.

Blackened Snapper - With Cream Sauce & Crab
We also had an impeccable meal - from start to finish - at one of Island View's other eateries, Beach Grill. When you visit, the Blackened Snapper with Cream Sauce and crab is a must as well as the restaurant's New Orleans-style Char-Grilled Oysters. Both were delicious! Also save room for dessert here - the warm Berry Cobbler is now one of my favorite desserts. I wish I could have it every day.

At both restaurants - and throughout our stay at Island View - we were so impressed by the friendly staff. Employees who are just passing you in the hallway are incredibly friendly! This definitely sets Island View apart from other hotels and resorts we have stayed at.