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The Graduate, Oxford

Mississippi abounds with great choices for romantic getaways

By BECKY GILLETTE

Spring is in the air. The cold weather is over, and what better time than spring to enjoy a romantic getaway by staying at one of Mississippi’s many resorts and enjoying a truly exceptional meal?

While there are many good choices, we look at three great places in Mississippi for a romantic getaway, Biloxi, Oxford and Choctaw.

Mary Mahoney’s

The White House Hotel in Biloxi has the elegant charm of historic building that was a boarding house back in the 1920s combined with all the modern conveniences inside. And prices for a room booked online can be surprisingly reasonable, with recent listings of $129.

The White House garners a 75 percent “excellent” rating on TripAdvisor, with a recent reviewer stating, “This iconic hotel does not disappoint! Incredible blend of old and new. Relax in a setting that will transport you back in time. The staff are amazing, impeccable service. Perfect location to enjoy all that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has to offer, but without the frenetic environment of the casinos. Highly recommend.”

The hotel is located on Highway 90 next to the beach within close proximity to casinos, other entertainment options and many dining options. One of those is Mary Mahoney’s Old French House, 110 Rue Magnolia, Biloxi.

After great tasting food, the number one thing most people look for when dining out is atmosphere, and Mary Mahoney’s Old French House is draped in it. Part of the restaurant is located in the oldest home in Biloxi with a courtyard and grounds graced with ancient live oak trees covered with Spanish moss.

“We’re the place to come if you are looking for someplace unique or different,” said Bobby Mahoney, owner of Mary Mahoney’s, which has been in business for 54 years. “We have little cubbyholes all over the place. You can dine in the main house or in a sunroom.”

Mahoney, known for lively interactions with his guests, said you shouldn’t come to the Coast without eating Mississippi Gulf Coast seafood.

“See that pretty blue water in Florida?” he said. “There’s nothing in it but seaweed. See that old muddy water we have here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? That is where you find crabs, oysters and all kinds of fish. The moral of the story is there is lot of loving going on in the mud.”

Mahoney’s recommendation for the lady would be a half pound of broiled crab claws to begin with followed by the shrimp and lump crabmeat Melba, which is angel hair pasta covered with broiled shrimp, melted cheese and topped with lump crabmeat. For the gentleman, he would probably recommend the snapper stuffed with shrimp and crabmeat au gratin with a side dish of crawfish étouffée.      

“That is a lot of food but you could probably split a bread pudding for dessert,” he said.

The Graduate guest room.

The Graduate Oxford has a prime location on the Square just a mile from the Ole Miss campus. Annie King, marketing coordinator, said their location is ideally located in walking distance to all the popular restaurant and bars.

“Our décor is really unique and different,” King said. “We have a great rooftop bar which is a great place to hang out and have a cocktail. The outside patio has amazing views of the Square. It is a great place to just sit out and relax. We have live music Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m.”

King said their spacious lobby attracts not just guests staying at the hotel, but local students.

“We have a lot of people who come here to hang out,” King said. “We have a lot of lounge furniture. Students come here to study. It is a really big lobby so there are a lot of areas where you can sit.”

Also popular is their Cabin 82 Coffee Shop that is a good place to get coffee or breakfast. You can sit inside or enjoy the outdoor seating area.

King said one thing the Graduate focuses on for all their properties include things about the town and university.

“We are not associated with university but have artwork and photographs that relate to Ole Miss,” she said. “We have a great mural of the Grove, done by artist Charles Buckley, and photographs of football players who have played at Ole Miss.”

For an evening to remember dining out, try Saint Leo located at 1101 Jackson Avenue East Oxford. Owner Emily Blount was raised in Northern California and spent more than ten years in New York City before coming to Oxford where she combines her love of big city style with smalltown hospitality.   

“We are committed to sustainability, local purveyors, and the pleasure of eating delicious food in good company,” Blount said. “At Saint Leo we believe that nothing is better for community than eating locally, from scratch, and in tune with the seasons.”

Blount said Saint Leo is great for a romantic getaway because the atmosphere is intimate, but lively.

“We have great craft cocktails and a very unique wine list,” Blount said. “Our food is designed to be shared – from salads, to pastas, to our wood fired pizzas. All of our desserts are made fresh daily in house. We are right off of the Oxford Square, so it’s fun to come in for dinner. Our Italian wood fired oven is a part of the dining room and after you can stroll around the Square.”

Inside of Dancing Rabbit cabin.

Erica Clemons Moore, director of public relations for Pearl River Resort, says a perfect romantic getaway is to travel to Choctaw to stay at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club.

“Not only is this beautiful property home to golf enthusiasts from across the country, but also is great for couples looking for a private romantic getaway,” Clemons said. “The Clubhouse at Dancing Rabbit boasts eight beautifully appointed king suites on the second floor that include a whirlpool, veranda, common area outfitted with cozy furniture and a fireplace. Dancing Rabbit also features two championship courses, delicious dining, a retail shop, and a personal executive cart for resort transportation.”

For dining options, she recommends enjoying a delicious brunch on the terrace at the Clubhouse restaurant located on the first level floor of Dancing Rabbit.

“And for a romantic night out, the Silver Star Casino is conveniently located only one mile away where you can dine at the award winning Phillip M’s fine dining restaurant,” Moore said. “Enjoy delicious entrees like prime grade steaks and fresh seafood paired with an exquisite wine selection. You are sure to have an experience to remember.”

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