31. October 2013 09:14
VisitMississippi was recently a part of the 2013 Society of American Travel Writers Convention held in Biloxi. More than 250 of the most seasoned and well-known travel writers converged on the state for a week of seminars and networking along with pre- and post-conference tours on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and every other region of the state.
Here are a few of the sights along those pre- and post-conference journeys:
RUINS OF WINDSOR (NEAR PORT GIBSON):
EUDORA WELTY HOUSE (JACKSON):
WALKER'S DRIVE-IN (JACKSON):
MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM TRAIL MARKER (MONEY):
TALLAHATCHIE FLATS (NEAR GREENWOOD):
LITTLE ZION - OFFICIAL GRAVESITE OF BLUESMAN ROBERT JOHNSON (GREENWOOD):
SQUARE BOOKS (OXFORD):
ROWAN OAK - HOME OF WILLIAM FAULKNER (OXFORD)
ELVIS PRESLEY STATUE AT FAIRPARK (TUPELO):
TUPELO AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM:
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS HOME AND VISITORS CENTER (COLUMBUS):
BILOXI LIGHTHOUSE AND VISITORS CENTER:
Our travel writers had quite an experience in Mississippi traveling to these destinations and many others around the state. From our delicious food to our friendly folks, they were pretty impressed with the True South. We hope they come back soon! And we hope you hit the road and discover what's so special about Mississippi, too.
26. September 2013 13:33
Located just south of the well-known square in Oxford is a slice of Mississippi’s rich literary heritage. Here, Rowan Oak, home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, still stands on Old Taylor Road and still reveals the history of the man and his stories. Faulkner was one of the first authors to write about the modern south, and his home remains to reflect that aesthetic.
Rowan Oak was built in 1848 by Robert Shegog. Faulkner purchased the house, then in a state of major disrepair, in 1930. He did many of the property’s much needed renovations himself. Faulkner named the house “Rowan Oak” after the legend of the Rowan tree, believed by Celtic people to harbor magical powers of safety and protection. It was here that he penned such acclaimed works as As I Lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom!, Light in August and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Fable. In fact, one of the most memorable features of the home today is an outline of A Fable handwritten directly on the walls of the study by the man himself.
Rowan Oak remained home to Faulkner until his death in 1962. Today, the layout of the rooms and the placement of items reflect how Faulkner lived. Many of his personal artifacts, including furniture, artwork and a typewriter, are on display and recreate the author’s way of life.
While the house may not feature some of the grandeur of other antebellum structures around the state, Rowan Oak maintains a mythical quality due to the setting and the mystic of the man who lived there. The house is surrounded by hundreds of species of native plants, and the alley of cedar trees that line the driveway evoke a mood of past and present intersecting right here.
Rowan Oak was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968. Then in 1972, Faulkner’s daughter Jill Faulkner Summer sold the house to the University of Mississippi, which now maintains the property to preserve Faulkner’s literary heritage. After its most recent renovations, Rowan Oak was rededicated in May 2005. Some of those renovations were funded by part-time Oxford resident, University of Mississippi law school alumnus and noted author, John Grisham.
The house is open Tues.-Sat. from 10-4 and Sunday 1-4. For more information or to schedule a tour, go to rowanoak.com.
6. September 2013 11:57
This week, the Mississippi Museum of Art wraps up its “Old Masters to Monet” exhibition, which features 50 masterpieces from the likes of Cezanne, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh, all from the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. But nestled in the historic district of Laurel, Miss., is a museum, which boasts a very impressive permanent collection of its own.
The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art opened in 1923 as a memorial to Lauren Eastman Rogers, the only son and only grandson of one of the town's founding families. Lauren had died in 1921 from complications of appendicitis at the age of 23. After his death, Lauren’s father, Wallace Brown Rogers, and his grandfather, Lauren Chase Eastman, created the Eastman Memorial Foundation to promote the public welfare by founding, endowing and maintaining a public library, museum, art gallery and educational institution within the state.
Located on a broad, tree-lined avenue among turn-of-the-century homes near the center of town, the Lauren Rogers Museum is a Georgian Revival with large, double-hung sash windows and a brick and limestone exterior. The museum sits on the site where Lauren was building a home for his new bride.
Over 32,000 visitors each year can attest to the fact that the museum’s art collection inside is just as stellar as its exterior architecture. Visitors can view influential European works from the 17th-20th centuries, American paintings and sculptures from the 19th–20th centuries, over 500 Native American baskets, Japanese block prints from the 17th – 19th centuries and an array of British Georgian silver luxury goods.
The museum also has an extensive art and local history library with over 10,000 volumes. And since 2001, the museum’s North Garden has been home to changing exhibitions of sculptures.
The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. Admission is free but a $3 donation per adult is accepted. Learn more at lrma.org.
2. September 2013 08:17
Staff members from the Pearl River County Welcome Center recently made their annual familiarization (FAM) tour of Ocean Springs into a mini-vacation. Staffers Brenda and Laura started off with dinner at Darwell’s in Long Beach. Then they stayed at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Biloxi.
The next day in Ocean Springs they started their FAM tour with a great breakfast at the new French Kiss Bakery. After filling their bellies, they enjoyed a walk around the area and stopped at Shearwater Pottery. It's a fantastic place to experience local arts and crafts. They watched the potters complete pieces from start to finish from making the clay and throwing it on the wheel to removing it from the kiln and finally painting the objects. Shearwater displays all their beautiful pieces in their new showroom.
Later Brenda and Laura joined their group for a stop at the new Crooked Letter Brewery. One of the owners, Paul Blacksmith, gave them a tour and showed them how they make the beer. Of course, the ladies had to taste it to make sure it was good stuff...and it was! Then it was off to a great lunch at Maison de Lu where a sampling of several different desserts rounded out a delicious meal. Next, the ladies were treated to a craft lesson at Lovie’s by the Bay. They were taught the different techniques of chalk painting and painted their own unique picture frames.
After expressing their creativity, the group attended a ribbon cutting hosted by the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce for their new tour bus. The chamber will now offer bus tours and give away “Pelican Pounds” to each tourist. You can purchase a wind chime, a purse or other great local souvenirs and products with this fun "currency."
After spending one more night in Ocean Springs, the ladies stopped at the new Biloxi Welcome Center and dropped by the Edgewater Mall. While at the mall, the group had some old fashioned pictures taken and framed on-site. A quick bite at Piccadilly's and everyone headed home.
As you can see, there's so much to see and do in Ocean Springs and all around the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Plan your trip today!
15. July 2013 10:05
One of the great traditions of summer in the True South is to attend an outdoor festival or fair for a taste of the diverse cultural heritage displayed across Mississippi. Many of these are annual events that draw locals and visitors alike to enjoy long-standing traditions.
These unique events take place in communities all across Mississippi and showcase the authentic sights and sounds of the state’s Southern culture through music, arts and crafts, food and more. Now is a great time to plan a trip and experience the True South’s most interesting events.
Click here for a sample of the entertaining festivals and fairs you can experience this summer in Mississippi.
1. May 2013 07:57
Johnnie Billington (Video)
Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
Vol 9 No 5,
Wed May 1, 2013
This issue is a memoriam for “Mr. Johnnie” Johnnie Billington 1935 - 2013
Master blues musician, who dedicated his life to teaching children the music of the Delta, passed away on April 1, 2013. His inspiration led directly to the formation of the Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program. When I first came to Clarksdale in 1991 Mr. Johnnie took me under his wing and through several years of instruction he alternately fostered, cajoled and then finally tricked me into learning blues keyboard (I had originally asked him to learn guitar!) My blues career died a decade later after a tenure with the Wesley Jefferson Band and a long stint with Tater the Music Maker. But Mr. Johnnie endowed me with a life-long commitment to keep important skills and traditions alive through the youngsters of the community. “If you know something of value,” Mr. Johnnie often taught, “you’d better share it. Otherwise it will die when you die…” That simple thought has sustained me through many bumps on the road of working with disadvantaged youth. Mr. Johnnie’s example led me to form the Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program for Mississippi Delta youth to learn the skills of carving canoes and then paddle them on the big river. The program is all about self-knowledge, leadership, team-skills, and learning to overcome the challenges of becoming adults in a confusing and difficult world. In Mr. Johnnie words, its all about “helping a boy become a young man, and a girl become a young woman.” I am forever grateful to Mr. Johnnie’s unbending ethics and keen sense of leadership. Its not necessarily the kind of leadership that leads you to fame & fortune, but definitely the kind that leads you to a thoughtful and passionate life. His lessons were often difficult to accept. But ultimately they have led me and many others to become better individuals and citizens. Although he sometimes seemed short on compassion, his never-ending mantra was “Love is what its all about…” One of his favorite songs to perform was Bobby Blue Bland’s “I’ll Take Care of You.” He often introduced the song specifically for children, addressing the youth in his band or in the audience with the admonition to love and care for your parents. He named his last homesite, located in Lambert along the meandering Possum Bayou, “The H&H Ranch,” which stands for “Health and Happiness.” Long live Mr. Johnnie’s teachings! They surely live on through his his talented apprentices turned professional blues musicians: Arthneice Jones “the Gas Man,” Anthony “Big A” Sherrard, Lee Williams, “Big T” Terry Williams, Billy Gibson, and many, many others. They also live on in unexpected directions like the Mighty Quapaws. In honor and respect of Mr. Johnnie, may his gift of Health and Happiness reach you wherever you are!
- John Ruskey, Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
4. April 2013 06:59
Picayune On Stage Presents: "The Ladies of Harmony" Dinner Theater
Date: April 12, 2013 - April 13, 2013
Event Description: "The Ladies of Harmony" Dinner Theater at Hide Away Lake Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.
Event Location: Dinner Theater at Hide Away Lake
Date/Time Information: Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. show at 8:00 p.m.
Hide Away Residents Reservations: 601-798-1484, Non Residents: Call 601-799-1714
Fees/Admission: $33.00 gratuity and tax included Show at 8:00 p.m.
Picayune On Stage Presents: "The Ladies of Harmony"
Date: April 19, 2013 – April 20, 2013
Time: 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Date: April 21, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Event Description: Picayune On Stage Presents "The Ladies of Harmony"
Event Location: 322 West Canal, Picayune, MS 39466
Date/Time Information: 8:00 p.m.
Contact Information 601-749-5551
Adults $ 10.00, Seniors $ 8.00, Students $ 5.00
4. April 2013 06:40
Please join us for our Spring Street Fair, if you happen to be in Picayune this weekend (April 6 & 7). We will be open from 9:00am – 5:00 pm daily. We will be displaying the finest Artisans in the South all along East & West Canal Street, North & South Main and Highway 11 South. There will be Free LIVE entertainment, Children’s activities, arts, crafts, antiques and food vendors. On Saturday, the Boulevard Cruisers Car Show & on Sunday, Fat Boyz Cycles/Motorcycle Show.
4. April 2013 06:25
Mr. Ed Hahn, originally from New Orleans now a resident of Carriere, MS is the Executive Chef for Paul’s Pastry. Ed's passion is food and has worked as a chef for 35 years, but his real love is art. Ed has carved wooden duck decoys since he was a small boy with his grandfather. His grandfather, Mr. Earl Blappert taught him the techniques of repairing the decoys heads and bodies before each hunting season. He had no idea that his love for hunting would turn into this fantastic folk-art, developing his skill in painting and carving. Ed will be at the Pearl River County Welcome Center April 6, 2013 demonstrating his gifted talents.
16. March 2013 11:08
David Fred Smith will be demonstrating his quilting techniques every Tuesday and Thursday in March 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. He will have show quilts from the Mississippi State Fair and county fairs on display. These quilts won “Best in Show” at the State Fair in 2011 and 2012. Smith also has a quilt called “Storm Surge” on display at the White House. He sent it to President Bush as a thank you for all his help and consideration after Hurricane Katrina. Smith will have several books on display about Mississippi or written by Mississippi authors.