From the childhood home of Tennessee Williams in Columbus to the Neshoba County Fair near Philadelphia, the Pines region features a diversity of sites and events to please any traveler. In Meridian, you’ll learn about the father of country music at the Jimmie Rodgers Museum. Plan a group dinner at Merrehope and dine among the elegance of one of Meridian’s only remaining antebellum homes.
Neshoba County is home to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Visitors can witness their traditions year-round at a public heritage museum on the reservation. Don’t leave without authentic Choctaw souvenirs like hand-woven baskets, stickball sets, moccasins, pottery and dolls. The Choctaw Indian Fair is held every July, along with the World Championship Stickball Games.
For those who enjoy a good ghost story or an occasional sighting, the Pines region holds a trove of supernatural sites. Pass by Stuckey’s Bridge at night and keep an eye out for a spooky lantern crossing the bridge. Tour Columbus’ Friendship Cemetery, where townswomen decorated the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers’ with flowers in 1866, giving rise to Memorial Day. The “Tales from the Crypt” tour, held during the Columbus Pilgrimage, is a must-see for budding ghost hunters.
But the true essence of the Pines region is its wondrous natural beauty. This lush landscape is home to outstanding nature trails, state parks, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and scenic roads like the Natchez Trace Parkway. On the Trace, you can see prehistoric Native American ceremonial mounds. At the 48,000-acre Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Brooksville, look for the 254 species of birds that nest here. Several overlooks provide opportunities viewing a rich assortment of wildlife, including deer, Canada geese and bald eagles. Tee it up at some of the state’s most celebrated golf courses: the Azaleas and Oaks Courses at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw and Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point.
History buffs won’t want to miss French Camp Academy’s Historic District, where you can experience early American life on the Natchez Trace. Walk or drive, or make a reservation for a horse and buggy ride.
And when it’s time for a break, head for Peggy’s in Philadelphia. Enjoy some of the best fried chicken in the state, and leave your money in the basket that serves as a cash register — you’re on the honor system here! If you’re still hungry, you can fill up on barbeque at the Little Dooey in Starkville or sample the home-baked specialties at the Ole Country Bakery in Brooksville.