Tourism Talk - February 2016
Take a Motor Coach Tour!
Ride along with Hancock Tourism and find out how groups of visitors on "tour buses" get to know our town!
As Hancock County Tourism blossoms into spring we look forward to motor coach season, the time of year groups from all over the country visit our area to enjoy the mild weather and our amenities. Most of these visitors come in large motor coaches - or "tour buses" - which you will see around town.
These visitors start from their home towns and travel to Hancock County, sometimes from as far away as Connecticut. The groups generally spend four nights in the area. They tour Bay St. Louis one day, spend a day in the Biloxi area, and then go to New Orleans.
A typical Bay St. Louis day begins at the Historic Depot Visitor Center. Visitors Center concierge Susan Duffy welcomes the guests with information on the Hancock County area and a typical Mardi Gras greeting with beads, and they meet their tour guide for the day. Our lead tour guide is Jane Byrne.
The tour begins with the Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Museum on the first floor of the depot. The museum features elaborate costumes from the Krewe of Nereids, a video of Mardi Gras balls, and a collection of regional Mardi Gras memorabilia.
The Blues in Mississippi display is also on the first floor, along with video and a display about our brush with Hollywood, the 1966 film “This Property is Condemned." Also available, are self-guided tour in the Depot District, complete with maps.
The tour continues upstairs with the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum, which honors our nationally acclaimed folk artist, humorist, and storyteller. The museum features video of Miss Alice telling her jokes and stories, as well as a large collection of majolica, art pottery, art glass, and a wide range of collectible Americana donated by Alice's son, Tim.
After the group boards the bus, they are off on a 1½-hour tour of the Bay St. Louis area. First stop is a guided tour of St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church, where visitors may light candles for loved ones, admire the craftsmanship in the church, and enjoy the serenity of their surroundings.
The tour then heads back to the depot district, where guides will point out the Bay St. Louis Community Center, the historic Little Theatre, St. Stanislaus College, and examples of regional architecture.
The next stop is at Dale Lewis’s sculpture, “Angel Tree.” Here visitors can enjoy the view from the seawall and hopefully watch a train cross the train bridge. “Angel Tree” is one of the most photographed things on the tour.
After leaving the sculpture, the tour cruises through Old Town, where the guide will point out local restaurants and shops. The group gets off the motor coach and enjoys two hours of free time for shopping and lunch. At the end of the day, the visitors regroup on the bus for a trip to one of our local casinos for dinner and gaming.
As lead guide Jane Byrne points out, “Besides showcasing our community, these motor coach tours have a huge economic impact on our area, whether it be shopping, gaming, or dining.”
So next time someone asks you what those buses are doing around town you can say, “Economic growth!”
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