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Local Flair

  • Writer's pictureMarcy Lytle

Across the Mississippi

We love to road trip, and this particular one was a 10 day vacation. We loved every minute of it, and will share the stops with you below. Take a map, plan your route, search and note, and then go! It's so fun!

First day, Thursday, we drove all the way to Natchez, MS. We had hoped to stop in Woodville just before Natchez but it got dark, so we only drove the square at dusk - super cute! Then we drove into The Grand Hotel, right on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, for the next two nights, in Natchez.

Friday, the next day was full of fun. We toured two antebellum homes, The Rosalie House and The Longwood. We were able to walk to the Rosalie House. And before we did, we walked down a hill behind the hotel to Natchez Under the Hill - the old original town - a few buildings stuck in the side of the cliff. They are now eateries and shops. The bluffs of the Mississippi are gorgeous, especially as the fog rolls in and then out! The Longwood House is octagonal and still unfinished, and it was a fascinating tour!

We then ate lunch at Mammy's Cupboard, and had the most delish chicken pot pie ever! It was an odd little restaurant in a building built like a lady with a big skirt! We then visited some Indian mounds there, and toured the grounds of Monmouth Inn - beautiful! At the end of the day, we searched for an odd grave we'd read about - a lady buried her daughter then built stairs down to the coffin - to sit with her during rain storms! That was an adventure, for sure.

The day ended with Fat Tamale's food on a bench watching the sun set over the River. A great and fun day.

Saturday, we checked out and headed to a ghost town, Rodney. A large bull met us in the road! We had read about the abandoned town and enjoyed seeing the old buildings, a train car, a church (full of snakes we heard) and more. It was quite spooky. From there, we drove to Windsor Ruins, quite an amazing structure still left after the home a man built for his family but then died a couple weeks later. (scroll through pics above)

For lunch, we ate at Old Country Store in Lorna, because we heard it had the best fried chicken in the country. It was the most delicious homemade buffet - and the chicken WAS great - but the place was a little shady. If you don't mind that, and can get past the over-the-top owner that sings to the patrons, then you're in for a great meal!

On to Port Gibson, a town that General Grant said was "too beautiful to burn." And then to the Grand Gulf Military Park - we quite enjoyed the buildings and the drive through there. The setting was so pretty.

We landed at the Inn at Crystal Springs for the night, shopped on the square, ordered chips and salsa and watched Hinterland in our room. The next morning was breakfast there, served up by the innkeeper.

Sunday, we drove to Raymond, a picturesque little town with pretty churches and homes. Next we drove to eat lunch at the Livingston Mercantile - a resurrected little ghost town. The food was delish and the market there was cool. I even bought a Mississippi cookbook. Down the road was Flora, MS and we visited the Petrified Forest - a great trail with markers - of petrified wood amazements. We loved this stop. One piece of wood definitely looked like a huge frog!

Sunday night we stayed in Canton, MS and actually saw a movie in their cinema there. The downtown is so cute, with colorful buildings, but since it was Sunday - all were closed by the evening.

Monday we drove to eat at Bakery & Cafe in Bay Springs. The people were friendly (too friendly ) and the food was good, but the place was small and cuter on the outside than the inside. Definitely an interesting place. We drove around the odd little town and took in the sites, including painted roosters on every corner.

On to Laurel, MS where Home Town is filmed (we didn't know that until later). It's a super cute town with a beautiful historic district and shops, and a cute park where we stopped for a long walk.

We drove on to Hattiesburg and spent the night in the Indigo Hotel, decorated in a train them - and they had a great restaurant where we enjoyed our evening meal. We drove through the town the next day (it was rainy) and saw the University of Southern MS and some hold historic sites.

On down the road, we stopped for lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe in Wiggins (a tiny cobblestone street town) and loved the food AGAIN. Such great food on this trip! Red beans and rice, and cornbread - yum. The cafe was in an old train depot car, and it was pretty much the only site to see in Wiggins, aside from Dirt Cheap - where we stopped when we left. I got a pair of shoes for $2 - and they're awesome.

This night we stayed at The Inn at Ocean Springs, tucked behind the cutest coffee shop we enjoyed the next morning. The town is a beach town, and has really cute shops and eateries, so fun to walk around!

The next day we drove to Biloxi and enjoyed first - the Seafood and Maritime Museum. The lighthouse and the beach there is so pretty, and we enjoyed lunch at Patio 44. There's also a Hurricane Katrina memorial in the city. There are huge casinos there, and we walked through the Beau Rivage just for fun. Buffets were not open, it was smoky, so we left. On to Gulfport, where we spent the night. Pretty little coastal city.

The next morning we drove around Gulfport before arriving in Bay St. Louis, and our inn allowed us an early check-in to this really cute town - lots of eateries and shops - all right by the water - we loved this place. We stayed at Bay Town Inn, so picturesque, and in walking distance to Trapani's - where we dined outside by the bay. The rest of the day was spent walking and shopping, enjoying ice cream, driving through the town and discovering more cute places. The street lamps that line the shopping district were picture-worthy.

On our way back to Texas, we stopped in Mandeville, LA to see my husband's brother - and it's a cute town! Stopped by LSU in Baton Rouge and saw their mascot in a huge enclosed area - oh my. And outside Lafayette, we went on a Swamp Tour - definitely a must for vacation! We saw so many alligators from our boat as we slowly cruised the swamp - up close! (scroll through pics)

That night we made it to Lake Charles where we stayed in Aunt Ruby's BNB - this town was STILL recovering from the two storms just a few months back and it was a sight to see. The BNB was run by a chef, and we walked to dinner that night to enjoy delicious fare at his restaurant Pujo St. cafe - down the street! He also made a knockout breakfast the next morning - grillades and grits - have you had it?

The next morning, before heading home, we shopped at a cute popcorn store and drove the town. Wow, so much work to be done there...sigh.

What a fun trip. So many discoveries and sites and friendly people and oddities and fun. Road trips are really the best...

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