‘It’s like you’re on a cruise ship’

Once you step out onto the deep porches of Jeff Cole’s home, you might not want to leave.

The Cole home, on Ocean Springs’ Front Beach Drive, is part of the 65th annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Pilgrimage, set for April 9 to 12. Tours of the Cole home will be part of the Ocean Springs tour from 1 to 4 p.m. April 10.

Participating garden clubs are the Bayou View Garden Club, Beach Garden Society, Biloxi Garden Club, Coastal Garden Society, Diamondhead Garden Club, Dogwood Garden Club, Gautier Garden Club, Gulf Hills Garden Club, Long Beach Garden Club, Moss Point Garden Club, Ocean Springs Garden Club and Pass Christian Garden Club.

Cole and his daughter, Marina, and their senior dog, Snowball, moved into their three-level home in January 2016. Designed by Dennis Cowart and built by Chris Eaton, the house melds modern elements with classic Southern Coastal details, including those deliciously deep porches that invite dreamy enjoyment of the constant breeze as well as views of Biloxi Bay, the Biloxi Bay bridge and Deer Island.

“There’s a little over 2,000 square feet of porch,” Cole said. “With most rain showers, you can sit on the porch and never feel it, they’re set back so far.”

For several years, Cole had lived only a few blocks north on a nearby street. When the elevated land became available, he was interested. But he was sold on the property when Eaton brought a lift truck and Cole got to see the view from what would be the third level of his new home.

Cole’s brother built the rustic cedar benches found on the bottom level from trees leveled when Hurricane Rita struck their childhood home area of south Louisiana.

The Cole home’s main living area is on the third level, accessible by elevator or stairs.

“That elevator comes in really handy when you have groceries,” he said. It also helps when his parents, ages 90 and 86, come to visit, , as are the wheelchair-friendly doorways and other accommodations.

That third floor features the living room and kitchen and dining areas all in one open space. Two of the highlights are an unusual light fixture over the banquette and the inviting banquette/bar/island combination. But perhaps the biggest attraction is the view.

“When you sit at the banquette and look out at the view, it’s like you’re on a cruise ship,” he said. “You can’t see the land. You see the sky and the water outside, and the railing.”

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

65th annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Pilgrimage

When: April 9 to 12

Where: Various cities across the Coast. 1 to 4 p.m. April 9 in Moss Point and Gautier; April 10, 9 a.m. to noon in Gulf Hills/St. Martin and 1 to 4 p.m. in Ocean Springs; April 11, 9 a.m. to noon in Biloxi and Gulfport, and 1 to 4 p.m. in Long Beach; April 12, 9 a.m. to noon in Diamondhead, and 1 to 4 p.m. in Pass Christian.

Moss Point and Gautier homes: Stephen and Deborah Capdepon, 5307 Griffin St., Moss Point; Francis, Stewart and Cindy Frederic, 3712 River Road, Moss Point; Dr. and Mrs. Robert D. Holbert, 1401 Seacliffe Drive, Gautier.

Gulf Hills/St. Martin: Rich and Sue Mihal, 13605 Paso Road, Ocean Springs; Gerrod and Lori Kilpatrick, 14013 Solano Circle, Ocean Springs.

Ocean Springs homes: Katie and Gary Bachman, 5001 Heritage Lane; Twelve Oaks, 1112 Hanley Road; Mr. and Mrs. Strom Smith, 801 Iberville Drive; Charnley-Norwood House, 509 East Beach Drive; Cole residence, 239 Front Beach Drive.

Biloxi and Gulfport homes: Ryan and Summer Canon, 126 Seal Ave., Biloxi; Sherrell Jones, 130 Seal Ave., Biloxi; Dennis and Nanette Burke, 139 Seal Ave., Biloxi; Beauvoir Home and Varina’s Gardens, 2244 Beach Blvd., Biloxi; Kenneth and Leigh Jones, 919 2nd St., Gulfport; The Guest House, 1114 32nd Ave., Gulfport.

Long Beach homes: James Davis and Ken Smith, 118 W. Third St.; Lisa King Judice, 708 Magnolia St.; Robin Miles, 710 Magnolia St.

Diamondhead homes: Harold and Linda Dawley, 97444 Diamondhead Drive West; Louis and Teresa Ertel, 96491 Diamondhead Drive West.

Pass Christian homes: The Blue Rose, 120 West Scenic Drive; The Randolph Center, 315 Clark Ave.

Cost: All tours are free.

More: Booklets with the schedule and photos of homes are available at Burnham Drugs, Moss Point; Gautier City Hall; Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce; Gulf Hills Hotel and Conference Center; Biloxi Visitors Center; Bank House Coffee, Long Beach; Diamondhead Country Club; Diamondhead City Hall; Diamondhead branches of Hancock Bank and Peoples Bank.

Related events

Pascagoula art show: The Pascagoula Garden Club will sponsor an art show at the Pascagoula River Art Gallery, 619 Delmas Ave., Pascagoula, from 1 to 4 p.m. April 9. Pilgrimage brochures and refreshments will be available here.

Orchid exhibition: The Gulf Coast Orchid Society will present a special orchid exhibition in connection with the Pilgrimage from 1 to 4 p.m. April 9 at Pelican Landing, 6217 Mississippi 613 in Moss Point.

Walter Anderson Through Flowers floral displays: Ocean Springs Community Center, 512 Washington Ave., 1 to 4 p.m. April 10. The Dogwood Garden Club will display floral arrangements depicting the murals of Ocean Springs artist Walter Anderson.

‘Paintings,’ Diamondhead Garden Club standard flower show: Diamondhead Community Center, 5300 Diamondhead Circle, 9 a.m. to noon April 12. The Diamondhead Garden Club presents a small standard flower show with the title Paintings. All titles are themed around painting styles and subject matter.