The Crafts & Culture Tour
DAY 1 MEMPHIS TO MOUND BAYOU 100 miles
MOUND BAYOU TO MERIGOLD 5 miles
MERIGOLD TO VAUGHAN 111 miles
VAUGHAN TO CANTON 15 miles
CANTON TO RIDGELAND 17 miles
Total - 248 miles
Travel south from Memphis to Tunica, to begin your crafts and Mississippi culture tour. Visit the Tunica Museum, where can you view artifacts and exhibits about Tunica from the days of Spanish explorers to the Native Americans, Delta blues musicians and the arrival of Las Vegas-style gaming. After the Tunica Museum, continue on to the tiny Delta town of Mound Bayou and Peter’s Pottery. Here the talented Woods brothers mold animals, candlesticks and dinnerware of Mississippi clay, and are known for their exclusive glaze, Blue Bayou. Peter’s Pottery is a favorite of collectors worldwide; President George W. Bush is the proud owner of a Blue Bayou elephant. The Woods brothers learned their craft at McCarty Pottery, another famous studio just down the road in Merigold. The McCarty collection includes dinnerware, wind chimes and candlesticks, but the McCartys are best known for their family of Mississippi clay rabbits. Enjoy lunch served on McCarty dinnerware at a local restaurant. Your next stop is the town of Vaughan to visit Harkins Woodworks. Craftsman Greg Harkins makes rocking chairs and primitive furniture by hand, using techniques passed down from the mid-1800s. Harkins’ famous chairs have graced the homes of Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Jimmy Carter. Place your own order on the Square in Canton at Harkins Family Bakery. Canton’s Allison’s Wells School of Arts and Crafts was the nation’s first arts and crafts school with a formal artist/craftsman incubator center. The teaching center today offers workshops and association meetings. Your visit here includes an opportunity to participate in a crafts seminar or workshop, a great glimpse at Mississippi culture. Canton is also home to the Canton Flea Market, a twice-yearly arts and crafts extravaganza that attracts some 1,000 vendors and 60,000 shoppers. The Canton town square is home to a number of crafts shops and gift boutiques, including The Market Gallery, a year round showplace for crafts from the Canton Flea Market. Just a short drive from Canton in Ridgeland, you can browse at the V.C. Originals Studio and Outlet of ceramic artist Vicki Carroll. Visit the Mississippi Crafts Center off the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland. The center displays and sells jewelry, baskets, woodcarvings and other original fine art made by members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. Browse in the gallery and observe demonstrations by local artisans.
DAY 2 RIDGELAND TO JACKSON 9 miles
The day's activities might include a visit to the Manship House, the home of Jackson’s Civil War-era mayor, Charles Henry Manship. Manship was an early practitioner of ornamental painting, specializing in the same type of “faux finish” work popular in homes today. Manship transformed the inexpensive lumber used to trim the home’s interior into rich wood grains and fine marble. Other downtown Jackson attractions include the Old Capitol State Historical Museum, the Governor’s Mansion and the Mississippi Museum of Art.
DAY 3 JACKSON TO HATTIESBURG 88 miles
Take Highway 49 South to Hattiesburg, home of the University of Southern Mississippi. If you’re visiting in summer, take a stroll through the campus’ fragrant All-American Rose Garden, where some 750 patented bushes create a riot of color and fragrance. Hattiesburg’s 115-acre Historic Neighborhood District showcases a number of architectural marvels constructed between 1884 and 1930.