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Weekends Away: Ocean Springs
Country Roads Magazine White sand beaches, local art galleries, and fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood&hel
Country Roads Magazine
White sand beaches, local art galleries, and fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood…Ocean Springs has them all. Travel writer Tracey Minkin shares why these charms, as well as the “offbeat and resolute spirit” of this seaside town, made her want to move there.
“I may have discovered the best and most beautiful small town in America. And quite by accident. Like an explorer who went looking for a trade route and stumbled onto a civilization, I went looking for a beach getaway along the gentle arc of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and stumbled onto Ocean Springs.”
City Guide: Jackson, MS
Design Sponge Jacksonian and designer Shana Bearden’s city guide highlights what makes the ca
Jacksonian and designer Shana Bearden’s city guide highlights what makes the capital city so unique: its strong arts community, cultural heritage, and plenty of outstanding food and drink. The guide includes several timeless attractions, as well as a few new arrivals.
“Mississippi is like a good cocktail. You have to drink it slowly, and savor its layers and simplicity. There is a great appreciation of traditions and history here. So many places will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, and so many creatives use this atmosphere as a foundation for new endeavors. We mix the best of the old and the new for something truly special. You are sure to experience these charms for yourself when you visit Jackson, Mississippi.”
Mississippi Freedom Trail
The 15th marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail was unveiled in McComb last week. This latest marke
The 15th marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail was unveiled in McComb last week. This latest marker is in honor of C.C. Bryant, best known for his contributions to the Civil Rights and Voter Registration Movement, both in Mississippi and across the nation. In 1954, Bryant was elected president of the Pike County Chapter of the NAACP, followed by his election as vice president of Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP under the leadership of Aaron E. Henry and Field Secretary Medgar Evers. In 1965, Bryant testified before the Civil Rights Commission to eliminate discriminatory voting practices. His testimony, along with that of other civil rights leaders, helped pave the way for the passing and signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
But Bryant is only one of the courageous men and women that the state of Mississippi is recognizing for their dedication to the fight for justice and equality.
In commemoration of those heroes and Mississippi’s pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement, the Mississippi Freedom Trail was created in 2011. This unique cultural initiative offers a virtual tour of the state and an in-depth look at the people and places that played a pivotal role in the fight for justice and equality.
Both a visitor attraction and an educational tool, the Mississippi Freedom Trail recognizes the bravery and courage of the men and women who were a part of the movement in the 1950s, '60s and beyond. It serves as an acknowledgement of the state’s dark past, but most importantly, the trail is a reminder of Mississippi’s thriving present and bright future.
The first Freedom Trail markers were unveiled in conjunction with the Mississippi Freedom 50thFoundation’s 2011 reunion activities for the 1961 Freedom Riders. The trail will also be a welcome complement to the state’s forthcoming Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, slated to open in 2017.
To date, markers have been placed in honor of Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, James Meredith and other pioneers. Markers are also in place around the state to recognize pivotal locations or events, like the one at the site of Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Miss. That site is where young Emmett Till was accused of whistling at a white woman, resulting in his murder), an event which is said to have sparked what we consider the modern Civil Rights Movement.
For more information about the state's Civil Rights heritage and the Mississippi Freedom Trail, click here.
Greetings from the Governor
Welcome to the great state of Mississippi! Every region offers one-of-a-kind experiences that you ca
Welcome to the great state of Mississippi! Every region offers one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t get anywhere else. We relish life in Mississippi and want to share our passion with you through song, literature, food and art.
As you scroll and click your way through our online resources, we think you’ll feel our enthusiasm, too. We invite you to explore our official tourism website and to start planning your journey through the Magnolia State today.
On behalf of the people of Mississippi, we look forward to having you as our guest. We hope that you’ll return again and again for the real, down-home experiences that you can only get right here.
Governor Phil Bryant
Beauvoir: A Post-War Legacy
Beauvoir – which means “beautiful to view” in French – has been a part of th
Beauvoir – which means “beautiful to view” in French – has been a part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast since it was built in 1852. The estate was the post-war home of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis from 1876 until his death in 1889. It is a Mississippi Historical Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of Davis and the Southern soldier. Thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world tour the buildings and landscaped grounds of the historic seaside estate every year.
Located on a 51-acre property in Biloxi, the mansion is restored to 1889. Both the Library Pavilion and Hayes Cottages have been replicated as well as a cistern behind the mansion. The grounds also include a Confederate Cemetery where the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier and the grave of Jefferson Davis’ father, Samuel, are located. The Rose Garden of Varina Davis (Jefferson’s wife) has also been restored.
Besides its magnificent antebellum buildings, Beauvoir maintained a large collection of items belonging to the Davis family, including furniture, art, textiles and archival materials. The property was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and five of seven buildings on the site were destroyed and the remaining two were damaged. The repair and restoration process is ongoing. But the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library recently opened to the public. And a variety of events, including Christmas at Beauvoir, are now being hosted on the property as fundraisers and community activities.
Beauvoir is open for self-guided tours from 9 – 5 seven days a week. Guided tours are also available every half hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. To get more information about admission fees and special events, visit beauvoir.org.
Camping Road Trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway
CampingRoadTrip.comFor the nature and outdoors enthusiast, there’s no place like the Natchez T
For the nature and outdoors enthusiast, there’s no place like the Natchez Trace Parkway. It crisscrosses three states for 444 miles, 300 of which are in Mississippi. Along the way, you can enjoy a number of activities, from cycling to fishing, and see a wealth of natural and cultural landmarks. This five-day itinerary highlights the must-sees on your trip.
“A road trip down the Natchez Trace Parkway can be an awe-inspiring experience. It may not hit you at first, but when you drive along the Parkway, you'd be traveling down the approximation of a 10,000-year-old pathway so steeped in history that, if it could, it would tell you tales of wonder you'd never read in any book.”
Discover Mississippi's History and Heritage
Whether you are a visitor or a resident of the state, Mississippi invites you to immerse yourself in
Whether you are a visitor or a resident of the state, Mississippi invites you to immerse yourself in our history. Enjoy a truly authentic experience watching a battle reenactment, learning about Native American culture firsthand or listening to oral histories about life during earlier times. It’s all here as Mississippians share our rich heritage with the world.
From antebellum homes and Civil War sites at Baldwyn, Brice’s Crossroads, Corinth, Columbus, Vicksburg, Natchez and Port Gibson to the Natchez Trace Parkway and its visitors center in Tupelo, you’ll find history preserved and celebrated across the entire state. African American heritage is showcased at festivals, museums and attractions throughout Mississippi, including the home of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson and markers for the expanding Mississippi Freedom Trail around the state. The history of the Choctaw Indians in Mississippi dates back to the early 1500s. Today, the Choctaw Indian Reservation covers 35,000 acres of tribal lands in 10 Mississippi counties.
The Civil War
Some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles of the Civil War were fought on Mississippi’s soil. Walking through the state’s museums and among the Civil War sites and landmarks is the only way to truly capture the essence of that conflict. You can gain a firsthand look at a part of Mississippi’s past while also learning more about pivotal battles and the people who took part in them.
Architectural treasures still stand, providing a glimpse of how luxuriously some Mississippians lived in the pre-war era and the opulent lifestyles that came to an end. Among these historical structures are the intricate Longwood, the largest octagonal house in America; Rosalie, where you can witness the grandeur of Mississippi’s past through an informative tour by knowledgeable costumed guides; and Beauvoir, Confederate president Jefferson Davis’ former home. Other Mississippi museums, historical homes and Civil War sites and landmarks are located throughout the state. Mississippi State University’s Library and collection of Ulysses S. Grant, the Vicksburg National Military Park and Corinth Interpretive Center near Shiloh National Military Park are two other must-sees for history buffs.
The year 2014 continues the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, and Mississippi is home to many of the Civil War Sesquicentennial activities and events being planned through 2015. The Civil War Trust lists 39 Mississippi sites on its Civil War Discovery Trail. The website,www.mscivilwar150.com, is an excellent resource for up-to-the-minute details about Civil War-related activities happening around the state.
The Civil Rights Movement
Travelers to Mississippi will be moved by the enduring spirit that conquered so many trials in Mississippi’s past. This rich culture of faith, music and food, along with unshakable determination, is tightly woven into and inseparable from the story of Mississippi. One of the best places to capture this intense heritage is at Mississippi’s African American cultural center, the Smith Robertson Museum in Jackson. It’s an ideal place where you can embrace the heritage of a people who have forever changed the history of Mississippi and the rest of the nation.
With 13 markers to date and more to come this year, the Mississippi Freedom Trail commemorates the bravery and courage of the men and women who fought for freedom and justice and is designed to educate the public about Mississippi’s Civil Rights heritage. The Freedom Trail markers in Jackson and other locations around the state represent an evolving complement to other heritage sites, like the Freedom Summer Trail in Hattiesburg, a driving tour of 16 historic sites of Freedom Summer 1964 and the Civil Rights Movement.
Native American Heritage
Another crucial ingredient to Mississippi history is the life of Native Americans. The word “Mississippi” is in fact a Native American word that means “Father of Waters.” Rich in plants yielding roots, nuts, berries, and herbs, as well as a plentiful population of deer, bear, buffalo, and fish, Mississippi was a comfortable home to a greater variety of tribes and had a higher Indian population that any other Southern state.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians maintains a proud presence in the state. The tribe’s casino in Neshoba County mix easily with its heritage. The famous Choctaw baskets, as well as other Choctaw crafts, can be found at the casino shop. Plan a visit in the summer where basket-weaving, the historic game of stick ball and native dance can be enjoyed at the Choctaw Indian Fair or visit historic burial mounds like the Winterville Mounds and Emerald Mound (the second largest ceremonial mound in the U.S.), and other cultural sites year round.
The state’s 13 Welcome Centers will also offer a glimpse into Mississippi’s cultural heritage through visual displays, costume exhibits and a myriad of resources like maps, tour guides, photographs and brochures to point visitors in the direction of discovery.
The diversity of the state’s history and heritage is rich and rewarding no matter where you travel in Mississippi. To begin planning your historical journey across the Mississippi, visit the trip planner tool here or call 1-866-SEE MISS.
Top 5 Ways to Use the New VisitMississippi.org
Welcome to the new visitmississippi.org! We’ve designed our new site to make it easy and fun t
Welcome to the new visitmississippi.org! We’ve designed our new site to make it easy and fun to plan your trip to Mississippi. As you move through it, you’ll be able to filter attractions by your interests, and by the area of the state that you’ll be visiting. You can save them to a custom trip itinerary, then email, print, or share it on social media. Read on for the top 5 things that you can do on our new site.
1. Discover what you can see and do in Mississippi.
If you’re new to Mississippi and want to know what you might do here during your trip, start with the Regions page. You’ll learn what each of the five regions of our state has to offer visitors. If you know which region(s) you’d like to visit, click into its page from the top navigation to see only the attractions in that region.
Click on “See & Do” to see all events and points of interest throughout the state, then filter them by region and topic. Hover over “See & Do” to view pages about focus areas, such as Music & Arts and Golf & Sports. Looking for something specific? Use the search bar at the top of the site. You can also translate the site into several different languages.
Interested in visiting places that have been covered by the media? Refer to the “As Seen In” section of the home page to see a few highlights, and find more Media Coverage in the Press Room.
2. Find out about upcoming events.
Did you know that Governor Phil Bryant has declared 2014 the Year of the Creative Economy? That’s why we launched Mississippi Homecoming, a statewide celebration of the arts, culture, music, and food that make our state like no other place on earth. Learn more and find a Homecoming event for you, or see all events listed on our site.
3. Stay current on what’s happening around the state.
At the bottom of the home page, you’ll see a news feed (What’s Happening) with stories related to tourism around the state. On the blog we feature upcoming events, points of interest, and culture, and we can bet that you’ll discover something new. In the footer of our site, you can find us on social media, where you can see up-to-the-minute updates and participate in giveaway contests. Check out the Press Room for our press releases, and media coverage of Mississippi tourist destinations.
In the footer, you can get to know our Tourism Partners, the convention & visitors bureaus and associations around the state. Visit their websites for events and attractions local to each area.
4. Order a free tour guide.
The 2014 official Mississippi tour guide features Clarksdale resident and Ground Zero Blues Club owner Morgan Freeman in its cover story. In the guide, you’ll find feature articles on some of our state’s most fascinating attractions, including tours of working farms and movie locations, Civil War sites, and outdoor adventures. The best part of the tour guide? It’s free to download or receive by mail.
You can also request a variety of other free materials by mail: a golf guide, a Civil War Historical Sites Map, a Blues Trail map, and a blues festival calendar.
Now it’s time to start planning your trip! The Trip Planner tool is designed to help you build a custom itinerary quickly and smoothly. When you click on a bookmark, you’ll be prompted to enter your email so we can save your itinerary and send it to you. Our “smart site” will also keep track of your interests so it can suggest things to do that are most relevant to you.
We invite you to stop in at one of our 13 Welcome Centers, located on the perimeter of the state as you enter Mississippi. Have a cup of hot coffee on us and let our friendly staff know what you’re looking to experience while you’re here.
Thank you for stopping by the new visitmississippi.org! Feel free to Contact Us with feedback on the site, or for anything else that you need.
5 Must-Eats in Mississippi
It’s not only Delta blues music that draws visitors to Mississippi: It’s the food. Authe
It’s not only Delta blues music that draws visitors to Mississippi: It’s the food. Authentic Southern fare abounds in the Hospitality State. You’ll find homegrown specialties like spicy, creamy comeback sauce (The Mayflower, in Jackson), fried dill pickles (The Hollywood Cafe in Robinsonville) and for the adventurous eater, pig ear sandwiches (Big Apple Inn in Jackson). Read on for five classic foods that you simply can’t miss when you visit Mississippi.
Taylor Grocery in Taylor started as a dry goods store in 1889, and it reopened as a restaurant in the 70s. This place radiates an authentic Mississippi vibe, with its wooden interior, friendly faces, and great music. It’s a must-stop for any traveler around the Oxford area (just 15 minutes south, down Old Taylor Road). Eat the fresh catfish blackened, grilled, or fried. And don’t forget to write your name on the wall when you’re there!
Jerry’s Catfish House in Florence is not what you’d expect from a country restaurant, at least not from the outside. Housed in a giant white igloo, Jerry’s is like no other place you’ve eaten. Its catfish is so good that you’ll put the “all you can eat” offer to good use, with sides of slaw and hush puppies.
The Crown in Town in Indianola offers “New Southern” cuisine and boasts the motto“Eat Like A King”. Since opening in 1976, The Crown has perfected its offerings, particularly the Catfish Allison. A fancy flair on a southern staple, the Catfish Allison is a fillet gratineed with a sauce of parmesan cheese, butter, and green onion. Who said a catfish plate can’t be fine dining?
You may be surprised that tamales are a traditional part of Mississippi fare. According to the Southern Foodways Alliance, tamales likely became part of Delta cuisine in the early 20th century, when Mexican migrant workers came to harvest cotton. Today, you can travel Mississippi’s Hot Tamale Trail, stopping to try tamales at restaurants throughout the state, or indulge at October’s Delta Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville, the Hot Tamale Capital of the World.
In the Mississippi Delta, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville has been serving up the same all-beef tamale recipe since 1941, and the restaurant still has an old-time charm. Doe Signa, Jr., grew up working in the restaurant that his father founded, and he has since taken over for him. Try the tamales topped with homemade chili for a meal to write home about.
Tony’s Tamales in Jackson serves three kinds of tamales, ground beef, turkey, or black bean (vegetarian). The handmade tamales are always fresh and well-seasoned. If you’re hungry, order the Chili Tamale Dinner with six tamales covered in chili, cheese, and onions.
At Fat Mama’s Tamales in Natchez, you can accompany your tamales with a famous “Knock-You-Naked Margarita.” You can eat the handmade tamales by themselves, or in a Gringo Casserole covered with chili and cheese. And once you’re back home, you can order vacuum-sealed tamales by the dozen.
3. Fried Chicken
Two Sisters Kitchen in Jackson made Food & Wine’s list for “Best Fried Chicken in the U.S,” and its signature dish does not disappoint. Find it at the all-you-can-eat soul food buffet, surrounded by fluffy biscuits, grits, and Southern vegetables like collard greens. Two Sisters is housed in a two-story Victorian home, so after you climb the stairs to find a table and enjoy your lunch, you can relax afterward in a rocking chair on the front porch.
Visitors drive for hours to eat the fried chicken at Peggy’s Restaurant in Philadelphia. Renowned chef Robert St. John has called Peggy’s “one of Mississippi’s greatest treasures”. Fill your plate at the buffet with comfort food — try the creamed corn and butter beans — and leave your money in the basket by the door when you’re done.
The Shed in Ocean Springs was literally started in a shed built by the Orison family on the Gulf Coast. It has grown into a landmark that has been featured on national television, including a reality show on The Food Network. Visitors from around the world travel to The Shed to eat the BBQ ribs and meet the colorful Orison family. Check out the “Junk-Free” marinades and rubs in the Shed Store, which contain only ingredients that you’d find in your kitchen.
Ubon’s BBQ of Yazoo is a family-run restaurant that has received national recognition. Owner Leslie Roark Scott is a BBQ competition pitmaster known as “The Barbeque Princess.” Ubon’s award-winning BBQ sauce recipe dates back at least five generations. Find it for sale in the Ubon’s store.
Leatha’s Bar-B-Que Inn of Hattiesburg is a quaint, rustic place that all the locals, including Brett Favre, know and love. The BBQ is some of the best in the state, complete with classic Southern sides.
The Little Dooey in Starkville began in 1985 when Barry and Margaret Ann Wood started selling their homemade BBQ at a local service station. They opened the location in Starkville soon after, where you can order their distinctive pulled pork sandwich with baked beans and potato salad, as well as their signature sauces and rubs.
5. Gulf Coast Seafood
The famous Mary Mahoney’s Old French House has been family owned for more than 50 years. It operates out of what is believed to be the oldest home in Biloxi, built in 1737. Try the house specialties: the flounder imperial, a whole flounder stuffed with lump crabmeat, and the St. Patrick, a baked shrimp dish with garlic and butter, topped with lump crabmeat.
Shaggy’s has two locations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: Pass Christian and Biloxi. Its baskets are full of hand-breaded Gulf specialties, such as shrimp, oysters, and catfish, and served with jalapeno hush puppies.
Every dish at the Blow Fly Inn is topped with a quirky signature garnish: a small, plastic fly. The Blow Fly has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives for its bayou fare, including smoked sausage and gumbo. Lunch specials include jumbo lump crab cakes and Gulf Coast shrimp & catfish.
Other eats not to miss are the charbroiled oysters at The Half Shell in Biloxi and Gulfport, and the fresh po-boy sandwiches with hand-battered shrimp at B.B.’s Po-Boys and Seafood in Ocean Springs.