November Second Saturday - November 12th
- stories by Grace Birch, photographs by Ellis Anderson
Over the past 20 years, the monthly Artwalk has become one of the most popular events in the region. Old Town stays lively all day, with many merchants and restaurants offering specials. The pace picks up from 4–8 p.m., when gallery openings and live music keep the streets humming with activity.
Each month, one or two Old Town businesses take the spotlight as “Hot Spots." Veteran Second Saturday patrons know these will be among the liveliest places to be during the event.
Hot Spots in November are Bay Town Inn (208 Beach Blvd.) and Manieri Real Estate (501 Main Street #3).
Second Saturday column
Bay Town Inn
208 N Beach Blvd
Bay St Louis,
Perhaps that’s what sets Bay St. Louis apart from most vacation-friendly spots along the Gulf Coast: vacationers feel like they’ve found a home away from home.
On North Beach Road, the Bay Town Inn is a favorite of many frequent visitors. The hospitality of Nikki Moon, owner and hostess extraordinaire, is a hallmark of what makes Bay St. Louis so unique.
Three years after re-opening the Bay Town Inn, Moon and her staff have turned hundreds of tourists into semi-locals and ambassadors of the Bay.
Amy Davis, a District Manager at Factory Connection, found out in 2015 that her company was opening a branch in Waveband, Miss. Davis travels a lot for work and is used to staying in chain hotels, but decided to take a chance and book and room at a more quaint bed & breakfast.
“I asked everyone that I came across, ‘Where would be the best place for me to stay?’ Everyone said, ‘Bay Town Inn,’” Davis explained. “I was a little skeptical at first, because I usually travel alone and big hotels offer safety and amenities, but as soon as I talked to Nikki on the phone I knew I made the right choice.”
Since her first visit just over a year ago, Davis has stayed over 10 times and is always excited when she stays in a new room. “The turtle-themed room, and the seahorse are two of my favorites," Davis said, “You can tell that time was spent decorating each room.”
Liz and Bill Chilton from Yukon, Oklahoma, echo those sentiments. The couple has been visiting the Bay since 1993 and have enjoyed the Inn since Ann Tidwell owned the Inn. When Moon purchased the original Bay Town Inn in 2004, she and the Chiltons formed a wonderful new friendship.
“Nikki’s charm and hospitality makes everyone feel like family,” Liz said. “Her attention to detail is exceptional in all the rooms, from the local art on the walls to the robes in the closets. These things - along with her wonderful ‘welcome’ cookies to her fabulous breakfast - make our stays perfect every time.”
The couple has traveled all along the Gulf Coast from Padre Island, Texas to Panama City, Florida, but say in addition to all the special events like Crab-fest, Souper Mud Fest and Cruisin’ on the Coast, the quaintness of Bay St. Louis and comforts of the Bay Town Inn keep them coming back.
Davis couldn’t agree more. “From the minute that I first arrived in Bay St. Louis, I have felt welcomed by everyone,” said Davis.
“Bay St. Louis to me, is a family all living in one community. People all take the time to stop and say hello. You never meet a stranger here.”
Manieri Real Estate
501 Main Street #3
Bay St. Louis
"Anyone who grew up in this area new and frequented Manieri’s Restaurant," said Leslie Pupura. "We all have fond memories of the “Aunts” Dutch & Vee with their crazy antics when serving the public - they were quite entertaining. It has been an honor to carry on a family tradition serving the public."
Fast forward 100 years and meet Joey, Sessie, Vicki, Leslie and Rosario; a personable team of professionals at Manieri Real Estate, LLC. Their team has been meeting Bay St. Louis residents' real estate needs for over 25 years.
As a native of this area, Joey Manieri truly enjoys meeting newcomers and sharing his love of this special place with them, which is why real estate is a perfect fit for the family.
"Our roots are in the restaurant business, but at our core, we are hospitality through and through," said Manieri.
From sales to vacation rentals and property management, Manieri Real Estate, LLC is a one-stop-shop for real estate needs in Bay St. Louis.
"Our Main Street location is like Open House every day," Manieri said. "We never know who’s going to pop in just to say hello. People enjoy the atmosphere we’ve created here as we strive to keep it light and easy."
Many vacationers end up calling Bay St. Louis home, and the Manieris say the real estate market, especially in Old Town, has been heating up in the past couple of years.
"In downtown Bay St. Louis, the real estate is so hot right now. We are seeing an uptick in the surrounding areas, but Old Town [the historic district] is an 'it' area," explained Manieri.
The surrounding areas, like Waveland, are also seeing an uptick in real estate prices. Leslie has fond memories of that area from 20 years ago.
"We moved here in 1996 from New Orleans and were down on the beach every day, like someone was going to steal the sand," Leslie said with a laugh.
"We lost everything in Katrina, but it was a no-brainer to come back," she said. "We have no regrets and feel fortunate to live in a place where every day is just another day in paradise."
Leslie compares managing over a dozen vacation rentals to owning a hotel with rooms spread across the Bay.
The Manieri family has such a passion for the Bay that it makes the job of selling real estate really easy.
"We want people to shop local, live local," said Manieri. "We have local directories in each rental - where to and how to do things - so people can really get a taste of Bay St. Louis"