Janice Nieder’s Mississippi road trip continues with day 3…

There is so much to see in Columbus, “The city that has it all!” that depending on your time frame you might want to spend the night here.

For starters, how cool is it that Columbus’s Welcome Center (where you can pick up all the info you need from the helpful docents) is in legendary playwright, Tennessee Williams’ first home. Meticulous efforts were made to restore the 1875 Victorian home to its former glory, from the carefully researched historic colors to the period furnishings throughout the home.

The original play bills, just one of hundreds of artifacts here-JRN

Upstairs follow the life of Tennessee Williams written as acts in a play.

Tip: Ask to see the family teacups, specially designed to keep the men’s mustaches from getting wet.

Whitehall once served as Civil War hospital-JRN

Then join one of the historic home tours offered daily. Columbus has a mind-boggling 650 properties on the National Register of Historic Places. My favorite was Whitehall, a stately 1843 Greek Revival mansion that was used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Mark your calendar:

One of the most authentic Southern home tours, Columbus’s 78th Annual Spring Pilgrimage, is April 5-14, 2018.

Catfish Alley-JRN

Music lovers can follow the markers on the Blues Trail. Don’t miss Catfish Alley, a colorful spot that was the epicenter of MS. Blues, jazz and soul music, producing such greats as Howlin’ Wolf and Big Joe Williams.

Atmospheric sleepover at Shadowlawn

For a historic sleepover try Shadowlawn B &B, an elegant, antique-filled southern antebellum. Word is that their homemade brekkies are incredible.

Laurel

Laurel folks take pride in their town-JRN

The once sleepy town of Laurel has awakened with a roar, thanks to local couple, Erin and Ben Napier. Their mission is to revitalize and preserve the close-knit sense of community that defines their town by restoring historic homes on HGTV’s hit show, Home Town.

Erin and Ben, local stars of Home Town

They recently opened Laurel Mercantile Co. to showcase their signature collection including Ben’s handmade reclaimed furniture, American-made heirloom wares, and durable home goods.

Laurel Mercantile-JRN

You’ll find everything from Heirloom Estwing Hammers with comfy leather handle covers to a candles smelling of sweet olive blossom.

Exciting Power of Color exhibit at LRMA

You might not expect to find a nationally recognized museum in such a small town, but that’s just one of Laurel’s many charms. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art collections began in 1923 with a gift from Lauren Rogers’s great-aunt, Catherine Marshall Gardiner, who donated 494 rare North American Indian Baskets and artifacts. Other eclectic collections include 142 Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period and a British Georgian Silver Collection used for English “high tea.”

Kenny is really a “SELF MADE” brewer

Check out the imaginative craft beers at Slowboat Brewing Company. Owner Kenny Mann is typical of the entrepreneurial spirit that Laurel exudes. Loved his Wild & Wood program featuring a creative range of brews that touch wood in either the fermentation, aging or souring process.

Fun tasting at Slowboat-JRN

Best deal:

$2 gets you a tour and four 4oz pours which partner well with taproom newbie, Mercury Pizza. Nab a seat on the patio, grab a board game or rock out to the live music.

Stay:

Incredible glass entry at Wisteria- courtesy Wisteria

To experience real Southern hospitality at its finest, sleep over at Wisteria B&B. It was built in 1901 for one Laurel’s founders, timber baron, Silas Wright Gardiner. Listed on National Register of Historic Place, Wisteria is filled with exquisite hand-made leaded and beveled glass windows, Tiffany lamps and antiques.

Continue to Day 4…

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Janice Nieder
Janice Nieder could be the love child of Indiana Jones and Julia Child. Previously a specialty food consultant in NYC, Janice is currently a San Francisco-based culinary tourism writer who has wined & dined her way through 80 countries. To keep things in balance, Janice also enjoys writing about her Girlfriend Getaways which include spa visits, soft-core adventure, cultural events, shopping, boutique hotels, and chef interviews.