One of the architectural gems on the gulf coast, this former schoolhouse is just two blocks from the beach and close to the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis. It's been renovated as one-of-a-kind duplex. The architect/artist owners live on one side, while the guest rental side is nestled in the limbs of centuries-old live oaks on the other. Ask about our weekly and monthly rates (we rent only one month out in the winter to be able to accommodate our regular guests!
The guest apartment has four private entrances, a front veranda, back deck, and nearly 1200 sq feet of open living space. This loft-style retreat features 12 ft. ceilings, clerestory windows, heart pine floors, a large library and an art collection by regional artists. If you like large, open, light living spaces and historic buildings, there's few that can match this.
The main living area has an elegant and expansive feel. It contains a living room, dining room, partitioned off bedroom area. A wall of windows looks out onto oaks, while three windowed front doors open up onto a classic Southern veranda.
The bedroom area has a queen-sized bed and the living room is furnished with a day-bed and pull-out trundle. The apartment sleeps three good friends, and is perfect for a couple.
A large full kitchen (with full-sized appliances) and tiled bathroom complete the package. In the back, the kitchen door onto a deck beneath the oaks, a perfect place for morning coffee.
The building's grounds cover nearly 3/4 of an acre and are shaded by the live oaks, as well as magnolias, azaleas and bottle brush trees. Ours may be one of the last authentic old-time neighborhoods this close to a beach anywhere in the country. It's just a two-block stroll to the beach, with its six-mile walking/biking path.
Some people call Bay St. Louis "Mayberry by the Sea." It's a village that became a resort for New Orleanians when the train came through in the late 1800's. The tracks are one block from the house (they run parallel to the beach along the entire Mississippi coast) and the fanciful historic train depot is only two blocks away. The depot houses the Visitor's Center, a small Mardi Gras Museum and a museum dedicated to Alice Moseley, a beloved Mississippi folk artist.
The Old Town district is filled with shops, art galleries, and restaurants all within two to nine blocks of Webb School. A lovely marina and fishing pier are new stars of "downtown." Canine companions are welcome many places in town, as well as on the beach (leashed). The beach is placid and rarely crowded - in fact, many days, you'll have a good stretch of it to yourself.
When you have a yearning for big city culture, you're less than an hour from the New Orlean's French Quarter and the CBD, making for an easy commute. If you're not from the area, the owners - originally from New Orleans - can offer advice on day-tripping into the city. Day trips in the easterly direction will take you to Ocean Springs and Biloxi.
"Under Surge, Under Siege," (winner of the 2010 Eudora Welty Book Prize and MS Library Non-Fiction 2011 Author's Award) was written here in Webb School House by Ellis and published by University Press of Mississippi. If you're interested, you can find out more info on Amazon. Here's a description of the neighborhood from the book:
"Ancient oaks lined the coast, framing large and elegant houses - many of them built in the 1800’s. Behind this dignified vanguard, cottages clustered along narrow, shaded lanes. These neighborhoods were mixed in more ways than one. Professors lived next door to plumbers, young families next to retirees, black next to white, rich next to poor. I loved that – it flew directly in the distorted face most outsiders have pasted on the state of Mississippi."
"The architectural styles of the homes varied as much as the people who lived in them. Cheek to cheek, the Creole cottage danced with the Victorian, the Greek Revival with the bungalow. In those lush yards, you could imagine the lingering ghosts from an era of ease. They didn’t want to leave. Nobody who came here wanted to leave. This place pulled at the hearts of any who have them. It promised peace and made good on its word."
Many have said that Webb School reminds them of a grand-scale tree house. Others talk about lingering "kid energy" that makes the heart feel lighter. Still other say their spirits are buoyed by all the light the building catches. But pretty much everybody agrees that Webb School is a place they'll never forget.