DAY 2: OF THINGS TO DO IN MERIDIAN
Meridian soared during the timber and rail booms and continues to thrive, creating a cultural legacy that includes Jimmie Rodgers, “The Father of Country Music.” Today, Meridian is a cultural center for the performing arts. Explore Rodgers’ and other famous Mississippians’ cultural legacies at the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience, a state-of-the-art facility celebrating the state’s numerous musicians, actors, writers and other creative artists. While downtown, check out the MSU Riley Center, a fully restored 1889 grand opera house which still hosts performing acts throughout the year. Take a moment to browse Crooked Letter marketplace, which has curated handcrafted goods, from artisans across Mississippi, creating a hub for unique artwork, pottery, jewelry, food and more. Experience true Southern cuisine at Weidmann’s, a local institution founded in 1870, where specialties like shrimp and grits, the muffaletta and fried green tomatoes show the range of regional influences. Since the 1940s, each table is set with a handmade peanut butter crock; however, no experience is complete without a piece of black bottom pie. Weidmann’s is also known for its upstairs lounge, which has a balcony that looks onto the rest of beautiful, historic downtown Meridian. This is a great spot for dining in or cocktail hour. A relaxed, casual restaurant with an inventive menu, Harvest Grill’s “Cross-Country Cuisine” prominently features fresh, seasonal produce from right here in Mississippi. Head south to Laurel and stay at Wisteria Bed and Breakfast. Built in 1901 by one of the city’s founding fathers, guests can enjoy a suite with a private bathroom, the porch and courtyard areas, and a leisurely, Southern breakfast. Sweet Somethings B&B is the town’s newest lodging option. It is located downtown above the adorable and scrumptious Sweet Somethings Bakery.
Laurel is a quintessential small Southern town, and HGTV’s Erin and Ben Napier are working to preserve the close-knit charm defining their community. Begin your day at the couple’s home goods store, Laurel Mercantile. The Mercantile provides maps to explore Laurel’s historic streets where you can see some of their finest work from their HGTV program, Home Town. Stop by the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, home to thought-provoking exhibitions and stunning collection of silver, American art, European art and Japanese woodblock prints. Visit a 10-acre replica of a 19th-century settlement at Landrum’s Homestead and Village. Shop antiques, art, boutiques and more in the quaint downtown Laurel area. Experience the peak of small town charm by visiting Lee’s Coffee and Tea for a light lunch bite and to re-caffeinate before your departure. For heartier fare, Pearl’s Diner is a must – no trip to Mississippi would be complete without a knock your socks off, hearty blue plate lunch.
DAY 3: OF ACTIVITIES IN LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI
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