Interview: Rebekah Staples, Season 6 of HGTV’s Home Town

In Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, a love for our hometown is a through line for many of our current and former residents. Rebekah Staples is no exception. Friend to Erin Napier, Rebekah Staples is a Laurel native who has a deep appreciation for Jones County. We’re chatting about her episode of HGTV’s Home Town (Season 6, Episode 5), about coming back to the town that shaped her, and where to eat, shop, and play in our hometown.

HGTV Home Town Season 6, Episode 5, Grand Millennial | Rebekah Staples

Photo courtesy Laurel Mercantile Co.

Visit Laurel & Jones County: Laurel has gained a reputation for being the best small town in the US. Part of this is due to the people here. What people have made a difference in your experience? 

Rebekah Staples: Oh gosh, the people here are simply the best. Even within the state of Mississippi, which is known for having friendly residents, I think Jones County natives are among the most welcoming. I would describe our residents as having a healthy mixture of hospitality, good-nature, strong independence, and a touch of contrarianism. (We are the Free State of Jones, after all!) My dad is the youngest of fourteen children, so the people that have most impacted my life are my family members (Mom – Kay, Dad – Sam, brother – Jonathan, sister-in-law – Hope, niece – Sydney, nephew – Jon Caleb, aunts, uncles, dozens of cousins, etc.). I often joke with political friends that my large family constitutes at least one-quarter of the Jones County electorate. Beyond my family, I love the can-do spirit of Laurel business owners, the accessibility and genuine care of our local elected leaders, the thriving arts and music community members who bring unique activities to the area (from trivia night to live music to arts festivals), and the dedication of Laurel Main Street staff and volunteers to ensure our city is fun for both visitors and residents alike. 

 

Visit Laurel & Jones County: It’s that sort of people who prove that Laurel is a place where hospitality shines. What does hospitality mean to you?

Rebekah Staples: I have a long history with hospitality, from growing up in The Hospitality State to being crowned the state’s “Miss Hospitality” years ago (and, yes, I was in fact legally bound to be hospitable to others for a whole year!). Hospitality is more than a nickname for Mississippi; it’s a way of life. My non-southern friends are surprised when I wave at passersby and always ask, “do you know that person?” Often, my response is “no,” and yet it feels only natural to wave at the stranger driving down 16th Avenue or walking down Oak Street. That’s what Mississippi hospitality means to me – treating others like friends, whether or not an actual relationship exists. 

 

VLJC: It seems like your love for the state is obvious, so there’s no surprise you live here. But why have you chosen Laurel specifically to be home?

RS: As many folks know, I split time between Laurel, my hometown, and Jackson, our state capital.  About four years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase a Laurel homestead with roughly 16 acres (that also happened to be an eight-minute drive from my parents’ house) and jumped at the chance to purchase Jones County real estate. Spending much of my recent time in Laurel has been a treat: getting to attend special events with my niece and nephew, calling my brother to help me clear trails in the woods, hanging out with my lovely sister-in-law, and driving my parents crazy as I search for food at their house are experiences I had missed out on by not living locally. I’m loving every minute of it. 

 

VLJC: Let’s get down to sharing your love for Laurel with others. Time for some lightning round questions…. 

 

VLJC: What’s your favorite shopping spot in Jones County?

RS: This is such a tough question.  I love all things downtown, of course, with particular affection for Merle Norman. The ladies in that shop are so friendly, knowledgeable, and fashionable – what more could I ask for from a make up shop?  Also, their pink exterior and highly decorated storefront is just adorable.  

 

VLJC: What is your favorite meal in Jones County?

RS: There are so many places I love to eat in this county, so it mostly depends on my mood.  I very frequently dine on the edamame at Sake Café and enjoy the brunch at 320 Fifth Street.  A personal favorite dining spot is David’s Grocery, located outside the city limits in the Myrick community. David’s is off-the-beaten-path but worth the drive; I recommend their large salad with shrimp (and ranch dressing, of course) along with a sweet potato side.  

 

VLJC: Where is your favorite outdoors spot?

RS: My favorite outdoor dining spots are 320 Fifth Street (they have a great courtyard out back) or Bird Dog Café on Short 7th, which is a fun place to take furry friends. 

 

In terms of general outdoor activities, I love a few different spots:  Mason Park on 7th Avenue (which is shaded and also has a dog park); Gardiner Park on the corner of North 4th Avenue and West 7th Street (which has a walking track, a play area for kids, picnic tables, and a large field for recreational activities); and Bogue Homa Lake (an 882-acre lake that’s great for fishing, picnics, and boating and/or other water activities).

 

VLJC: Tell us about a place you like to take out of town guests.

RS: Naturally, I enjoy inviting out-of-towners to my Laurel property, where we can fish at the pond (which is stocked with bass, catfish, bream, and white perch); practice shooting targets in the woods; view wildlife (so far I’ve spotted deer, geese, ducks, raccoons, and even a single turkey in the yard); and enjoy the new deck and screened-in porch. Within the city limits, I love taking my friends to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, PDI / Phillip’s Drive-In for milkshakes, Lee’s or Bird Dog Café for coffee, and Pearl’s for fried chicken.  My friends also enjoy visiting the historic district to see Home Town houses – and a trip to Laurel wouldn’t be complete without a stopover at Scotsman General Store and the Laurel Mercantile.  

 

VLJC: What’s your favorite souvenir to recommend or gift?

RS: I really love the items at The Laurel Shop in downtown.  They’ve got mugs, t-shirts, the works. I also love the locally-made pottery available at Southern Antiques (also in downtown Laurel). 

 

VLJC: Ok lastly, let’s talk off-the-beaten-path in Jones County – what’s your favorite secret spot? 

RS: I think the Carpenter Bros. Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots in Ellisville is the coolest (and probably most underrated/unknown) shop around the county. They’ve got so many interesting “whatnots” – vintage antiques, art, handmade items, furniture, clothes, and more. I’d highly recommend checking out this shop, as one visit here is like stepping back in time.

 

For more information on Rebekah’s episode of Home Town, check out Laurel Mercantile’s blog with stunning photos, plus be sure to watch Season 6, Episode 5, Grand Millennial on HGTV or Discovery+.

Home Town Fans: Your Second Visit Itinerary

You’ve been to Laurel & Jones County to see the sites, but now you’re back for round 2! We love hearing how many fans of HGTV’s Home Town come back again and again to shop, dine, and play in Laurel & Jones County, Mississippi. If you’ve seen the highlights of our hometown, here are some great spots to add to the itinerary of your second visit. 

HGTV's Home Town's Ben and Erin Napier on Porch Swing

First Trip Recap 

For your first visit, you’re definitely going to hit the highlights of what you’ve seen on the show. We’ve got your perfect itinerary here, but let’s recap. 

  • Of course you’ll shop at Ben & Erin Napier’s stores, Scotsman General Store & Woodshop and Laurel Mercantile Co
  • You’ll peruse the Historic Downtown, and you’ve taken your picture with at least one blue truck and a few murals. 
  • You saw the Arabian sign at Laurel Little Theater and took a tour of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. 
  • We’re hoping you grabbed some delicious food and one too many desserts while you were here! 

 

Back for Seconds

Your second visit will likely still include much of what you saw during the first time through our hometown (we’re hoping you brought some new folks to show Laurel & Jones County, after all), but here are a few ideas for things to add to your itinerary during Round 2. 

 

Something Old, Something for You! 

As you likely already discovered, our town is full of plenty of unique antique malls and stores. Antiquing in Laurel & Jones County is no amateur sport. Whether you’re looking for high end antique furniture, unique vintage collectibles, or funky finds from days gone by, the treasure you seek is definitely in our plentiful shops. Here are a few waiting for you to peruse: 

 

Carpenter Brother’s Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots & Hole in the Wall Food Joint – A step back in time located in Ellisville 

Rusty Chandelier – So many booths, you could spend the whole day perusing! 

Peddlers’ Junktion – From furniture to clothing to niche finds like knives and silver, you’re sure to find something to take home! 

Southern Antique Gift Mall – Be sure to head upstairs for antique booths, including lots of furniture.

Bookstore in the Window – Located on Central Avenue, fans of used books will enjoy browsing. (Note: the store features new books and other gift items as well).

The Remnant – Your go-to place for used clothes, plus some household items 

 

Veterans Memorial Museum

Did you know that the Veterans Memorial Museum in Laurel holds a piece of the USS Arizona which sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor? It’s one of only three private museums in the world that feature a piece of the Arizona! Fans of Ben’s Workshop will remember this from the episode where he builds a new display for the museum. Stop by to see this and more including thousands of artifacts, memorabilia, weapons, uniforms, vehicles, and educational materials related to the armed forces and military history of the ​United States.

 

More Murals, Please 

How many murals can you count? You’ve seen them on the small screen, but we’re adding even more! The new observation deck at Scotsman General Store & Woodshop (coming soon!) is sure to be a crowd favorite and a must for an Instagram-worthy pic while you’re here

 

We can’t wait to welcome you to our hometown! For more ideas of where to shop, eat, and stay while you’re here, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

Laurel, MS: Experience the Filming Location of HGTV’s Home Town

 

Get a firsthand peek into HGTV’s Home Town with a tour of the area where the show is filmed: Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi.

The HGTV’s Home Town Experience

On HGTV’s Home Town, the darlings of Mississippi, Ben and Erin Napier take old houses and turn them into dream homes as they lovingly welcome people to Laurel, MS. With hotels, local Bed and Breakfasts, and Air BnBs, there’s plenty of room to make our hometown yours for the weekend so that you can enjoy Laurel, MS beyond the TV screen. Here’s a list of must-see places to complete your HGTV’s Home Town experience.

 HGTV Home Town Laurel MS | Ben and Erin Napier

 

Take a Historic Home Tour

Start your Laurel experience at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art or the Laurel Welcome Center where you’ll find the official Laurel Walking Tour brochure. Wandering the oak-lined streets of the Laurel Historic District will give you and up-close-and-personal view of so many historic and stunning homes, plus the beautiful parks and streets you’ve seen on episodes of HGTV’s Home Town.

Shopping

Laurel Mercantile Co in Laurel MS

Downtown Laurel is basically its own character on the show. Episode after episode, viewers will see the twinkling lights, plus watch Erin grabbing fabrics, antiques, knickknacks, and more from the darling shops throughout the town.

To truly get a sense of the style showcased on Home Town, start your shopping at Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman General Store. Style and American Made are the theme of Laurel Mercantile Co. This retail store includes apparel, candles (oh the candles!), sundries, kitchenware, bath-ware, home décor including pillows, fabrics, vintage finds, and art for your walls back home.

Meanwhile the Scotsman General Store is a step into Southern days gone by. An ode to general stores that were known across the south decades ago, visitors will find apparel, preserves (and other delicious perishables), soda pop, and a peek into Ben’s woodshop. Pro Tip: stop by during the filming of HGTV’s Home Town to watch him create custom pieces featured on the show!

For more places to find toys, apparel, accessories, and antiques, check out our list of where to shop in Laurel and Jones County.

 

Dining

If there’s one thing we Southerners know how to do, it’s gather around a table, so it comes as no surprise that there have been many dining establishments featured on HGTV’s Home Town. Here are a few fans may remember.

Sweet Somethings Bakery in Laurel MS

  • Pearl’s Diner is Southern cooking at its best. From fried chicken to mac ‘n cheese and everything in between, you’re sure to get your fill of both mouth-watering fare and sweet Southern hospitality.
  • Lee’s Coffee & Tea is the perfect spot to grab a cup of soup, a sandwich, fresh baked goods, and (as the name implies) a hot cup of coffee or tea.
  • The Loft on Central Avenue features seafood, steak, and pasta in a beautiful setting. Settle in for a perfectly cooked steak in the courtyard, and you’re guaranteed a perfect Southern night.

Beyond the show, Erin and Ben regularly feature all the best spots to grab a bite in Laurel on Instagram.  They’ve named many local favorites including Café La Fleur, David’s grocery, The Knight Butcher, Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar, PDI / Phillips Drive-In (we hear Ben gets the #3), Mimmo’s Restaurant, Sweet Somethings Bakery, The 5000 MS, and more!

For a full list of restaurants in Laurel and Jones County, head to our Where to Eat page.

 

Local Favorites Featured on the Show

Erin dropped the sweet tidbit that her parents went on their first date at The Little Laurel Theatre, and it’s definitely a must-see sight in Jones County, MS. Located in the heart of Downtown Laurel, Laurel Little Theatre features a varied season of shows every year, so check out what shows are playing during your visit. Be sure to nab a pic under the neon Arabian sign during your visit!

ThHGTV Home Town Stars Ben and Erin Napier | Discover Laurel MSe Loblolly Festival is one of the most annually anticipated events in Laurel. On the first Saturday of October, Laurel’s heritage as a sawmill town is the center of attention as folks gather to celebrate, shop, and eat. This free festival features arts and crafts vendors, live music, rides, and all of the best festival food (hello, funnel cakes and corn dogs). Demonstrations take place throughout the day, and the local shops are available for perusing as well.

 

The murals seen on the show are a big thing here in Laurel and Jones County. Literally a big thing. Covering walls and the sides of buildings, these gorgeous quotes are both charming and Instagram-worthy. See how many you can find (and be sure to tag us in your Instagram posts).

 

Whether visiting in the fall, spending the holidays in Jones County, or joining us for a quick weekend getaway to Laurel, we’re so happy to get to share our little corner of Mississippi with you! Welcome to our hometown!

 

Find out more about how to Visit Mississippi responsibly, and be sure to visit our FAQ page for the most current community and safety information.

Indoor Experiences in Jones County: What to Do on a Rainy Day

If the forecast is rainy during your trip to Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, no need to worry. There are plenty of fun indoor activities to experience in our hometown! When some of our outdoor attractions are off-limits, these unique spots provide plenty of fun for your whole group!

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Laurel MS

 

Buff City Soap 

Bath bombs, soaps, and bath whips! Oh my! All of your bath and laundry dreams come true at Buff City Soap in Laurel which offers delightfully scented, plant based soaps, handmade daily, in each locally-owned soap makery. Buff City Soap is on a mission to create handmade products that are free of harsh ingredients and full of nourishing plant based goodness. In store, Makers whip up enchantingly fragrant creations to share with customers. From iconic soaps and bath bombs to their swoon-worthy laundry soap, Buff City Soap’s products are plant-based and handmade daily so you can smell wonderful.

Axe Throwing  

Axe throwing has quickly become one of the most popular activities for friends and family to enjoy together, and Adventure Axe Throwing in Laurel is providing a one-of-a-kind place to enjoy a fun night or day in Jones County. An unforgettable and thrilling experience, your competitive spirit will come alive when it’s time to sling axes! 

HAND + made

HAND + made is an integrated retail and DIY experience located in Laurel. Stop in to shop in the retail store or make it a fun-filled day with a class! DIY-instructed classes are fun no matter your age or painting ability. Leave with a project that you’ve created and will treasure forever, plus memories that will last a lifetime!

Magnolia Soap 

At Magnolia Soap and Bath Co., experience hand poured, plant-based soap & beauty products. Magnolia Soap started as an alternative to traditional harsh soaps and now provides a way for people with sensitive skin to indulge in clean, perfectly-scented soaps and bath products. Stop in and grab hair products, shower steamers, body butters, scrubs, oils, and so much more. 

Scavenger Hunt at Museum 

One of Laurel and Jones County’s most visited attractions, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is an always-free museum located on beautiful Fifth Avenue. Museum patrons will take in traveling exhibits as well as a variety of permanent collections ranging from Japanese Woodblock Prints to classic European and American art.

If your crew is ready for a treasure hunt, be sure to stop by the front desk of the museum to grab an artBINGO card for an interactive exploration of the exhibits. Rainy day scavenger hunt? Yes, please!

 

For even more things to do during your trip to Laurel and Jones County, check out these fan-favorite spots to eat, shop, and play in the New State of Jones.

Plan a Budget-Friendly Vacation to Laurel and Jones County

They say the best things in life are free, and that can definitely be said of a vacation to Laurel and Jones County! Our small town is packed with free and budget-friendly events, activities, and dining options. Here are plenty of family-friendly things to do without breaking the bank. 

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Free and Cheap Things to Do in Laurel and Jones County 

One of Laurel’s most frequented attractions is the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Visited for the architecture, exhibits, and events, the always-free museum is a perfect family-friendly activity for rain or shine. For a unique way to view the museum, stop by the front desk and grab an artBINGO card for an interactive exploration of the exhibits! Kids and adults alike enjoy this interactive scavenger hunt.

Whether you’re a fan of HGTV’s Home Town or just a lover of beautiful locations, be sure to visit Scotsman General Store. Here, you’ll find the Scotsman Snowball Stand, Food Truck Park, and Scotsman Woodshop. You’ll also find Laurel and Jones County’s newest mural. It’s a great place to spend as little or as much as your budget allows, plus relax and enjoy the beauty of our small town life. 

Speaking of beauty, Laurel’s Historic Downtown is a must-see. Every Friday through November 18th, take a free tour of Laurel’s HIstoric District led by the art director of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art! Tours depart from the museum lobby at 10:30 and last approximately one hour. 

If tours aren’t available during your visit, take a free, self-guided Walking Tour of Historic Laurel Homes which features 23 stops taken at your own pace.

For even more ideas of free and cheap things to do in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, check out these 19+ historic sites, plus all of the ways to spend the day in the Great Outdoors without breaking out your wallet! 

Bosun Joes in Ellisville Mississippi | Budget Friendly Dining in Laurel MS

Affordable Dining Options: 4 Lunches under $10

When it comes to pleasing your palate, there’s no need to sacrifice staying on budget. Our restaurants offer plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for every budget. These four lunches under $10 are mouth-watering and utterly craveable. 

Note: prices and offerings are subject to change. Be sure to check with the individual restaurants for the most current menu prices

Comfort food-lovers searching for familiar Southern flavors will enjoy The Humble Place in Ellisville where you can find menu options such as The Big Daddy Chicken Sandwich with fries and a drink for $10.00. For even more Southern cuisine, try the Blue Plate Lunch Specials at Bosun Joe’s where you can find classic country entrees served with fries and a roll for $8.29. 

What next? After you’ve dined (deliciously!), stay in Downtown Ellisville to shop at Carpenter Bros Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots for a blast from the past. Explore the store to find unique, vintage treasures that are sure to bring back memories for the folks in your group. 

If burgers and fries are on your mind, be sure to check out the iconic PDI / Phillips Drive-In in Laurel, MS. The vibes and eats are nostalgic, and everything on the menu is under $10.00. If dessert is in your budget, don’t skimp on the milkshakes and malts. 

What next? After your meal, walk across the street to Hellfighters USA for a truly distinctive shopping experience. At Hellfighters, find everything from clothes, accessories, Christian books and decor, plus Mike’s Almost Every Day Swap Meet for thousands of priceless motorcycle parts. Even if you don’t spend a dime, Hellflighter’s USA is a must-see spot! 

Budget-Friendly Events in Laurel MS | Free EventsThe Knight Butcher is always serving up fresh cuisine, so head to downtown Laurel for decadent sandwiches and burgers. Grab steak kabobs, cold deli sandwiches, and unique burgers (hello, brisket!) served with chips and a drink for $8.50 or less. 

What next? While you’re downtown, wander around to shop local boutiques and antique shops or take a free, self-guided mural tour.

 

Free Events 

You don’t need to reach for your wallet to get your fill of fun things to do in Laurel and Jones County! Throughout the year, free events take place in the form of Downtown Movie Nights, parades, music festivals, and more! Be sure to check out our calendar of events to see what’s happening during your visit. 

 

 

Fall and Winter Fun in Laurel and Jones County

When you’re looking for fall fun and Christmas celebrations, add the holiday events in Laurel and Jones County to your fall and winter plans!

Fall and Winter Fun in Laurel and Jones County | Loblolly Festival

Photo courtesy Laurel Main Street

Can you smell the funnel cakes?

Loblolly Festival is back again this year! On October 1st, the streets of Downtown Laurel will be filled with arts & crafts, vendors, demonstrations, kids’ activities, fair food, and more! Mark your calendars and make your plans for October 1st!

 

Show us a Show!

The famed Laurel Little Theatre will feature a production of Ripcord this October. This Southern comedy is full of heart, and it is sure to bring a night of laughs.

 

Boo! It’s a Scarecrow Invasion!

Is it even fall in Jones County without the Scarecrows Invasion? If you don’t know, Scarecrow Invasion is a time when downtown Laurel community comes alive with colorful and creative life-size scarecrows. Beginning September 30th, wander downtown and snap a pic with your favorites at local storefronts, city buildings, and restaurants.

Speaking of Boo!, Boo on the Avenues is a much-anticipated night of trick or treating. Thousands of children will gather on historic 6th Avenue for the Halloween fun!

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like the Jones County Christmas Open House!

Get ready to kick off your holiday shopping on November 6th at the annual Christmas Open House in Downtown Laurel. Join us in Downtown Laurel From home décor to trendy clothes and specialty gift items, you’re sure to find everything you need!

For even more holiday shopping, be sure to check out the Merry Marketplace on November 19th and Small Business Saturday on November 26th.

 

Holidays at Landrum’s Homestead and Village

Food, games, and family fun are on the itinerary on October 15th, during the Fall Festival at Landrum’s Homestead and Village.

The magic of the season comes alive at Landrum’s Homestead & Village‘s 39th Annual Christmas at the Village and Christmas Candlelight Tour. Experience Mississippi’s favorite old-fashioned Christmas celebrations! Get details at Landrums.com/events.

 

Magic in Lights and Parading Through the Streets

Laurel & Ellisville are known for having a holly jolly good time all December long. Start by watching the tree twinkle to life at the Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Laurel in December.

What’s more fun than pancakes and parades (we certainly can’t think of much)? The famed Kiwanis Pancake Day starts the morning of December 3rd and the Christmas parade in Laurel takes place on December 2nd. It’s sure to be a merry weekend in Mississippi!

 

More Fun on the Small Screen

Can’t get enough of the holiday season? Tune into Discovery+ starting Friday, November 11 for the Christmas movie featuring Ben and Erin!

Film follows Melissa Norwood (Katie Stevens), an ambitious Atlanta property stager who teams with her old high school crush, David Phelps (Victor Rasuk), to sell her mom’s home in their small Georgia home town. The two take on the project of renovating the house before potential buyers come to see it on Christmas Eve. Against David’s wishes, Melissa decides to spend a portion of her budget on custom projects created by a unique local couple, Henry and Sarah Wright, played by Laurel’s very own Ben and Erin Napier.

 

Want more information on fall events and things to do in Jones County, Mississippi? Be sure to check out the events calendar at VisitJones.com for fall and holiday small town fun.

 

Fan-Favorite Spots in Laurel and Jones County: Top Places to Eat, Shop, and Play 

If you’re planning a trip to Laurel and Jones County, we have plenty of tips and tricks to help you make the most of your visit. Whether it’s the top casual dining spots, a perfect itinerary for a couples getaway, or new things to do in Jones County, we have all the intel you need to dine, shop, and play like a local. But don’t just take our word for it! We have visitors who vacation in our hometown season after season, and they are sharing the best ways to explore Laurel and Jones County.

Shop Eat and Play in Laurel Mississippi

Insider’s Tips from Repeat Visitors 

Those who visit Laurel and Jones County fall instantly in love with our small town. For some, they keep coming back again and again, and we definitely don’t blame them! Here are some great tips from folks who have traveled here multiple times. 

Downtown Laurel is just as cute as what you see on the show…If you go to the museum, be sure to play the Art Bingo game. No prizes but it’s fun and a great way to really see everything. – Shellye C.

Definitely go to Lott Furniture! Great people, great furniture and accessories! Just down from Laurel Mercantile. Also, the Loft Restaurant is fabulous!! Make a reservation. We also LOVE 320 Fifth Street, casual dining and live music at 320 W Fifth Street with outdoor dining… -Barbara K. 

Be sure to check out Hellfighters…One of the best shops in town… jewelry, motorcycles, clothes, black rifle coffee, purses, yard art, etc…A wonderful staff that supports a great mission…the store itself is beautifully decorated!! You will be so glad you went by… -Gail B.

The walking tour is awesome! The guide is so knowledgeable and super fun. The weather in the spring was perfect and the flowers were so beautiful! -Delaney F. 

 

Fan Favorites Spots

Our community has a deep commitment to hospitality, so deciding where to eat and shop can be tricky since everywhere you turn, you’re sure to find a restaurant serving delicious cuisine and a shop ready to welcome you with souvenirs, clothes, home décor, and top-notch customer service. Our fans are dishing on their favorite spots to shop and eat during a Jones County getaway. 

Most Recommended Restaurants 

 

Most Recommended Shops

 

Are you already a repeat visitor? If you’re planning your second (or third or fourth) trip to Jones County, here are some great spots to add to the itinerary of your next visit

 

 

Explore Jones County: What to Do in Ellisville, MS 

When you’re ready for a small town getaway, Ellisville, Mississippi is an ideal place for the whole family to enjoy. Get ready to dine and play in Jones County! 

Downtown Ellisville, Mississippi

Where to Eat 

If you’re anything like us, much of your travel plans revolve around where to eat next. Fortunately, a jaunt through Ellisville, Mississippi, also means being surrounded by fabulous restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

No Southern vacation is complete without something expertly fried and served in heaping portions. In Ellisville, the must-stop spot for just that is Charlie’s Catfish House. Open Thursday-Saturday, Charlie’s Catfish has been voted best catfish in the state by Mississippi Magazine for good reason! Regulars will tell you the recipe for the catfish hasn’t changed since it opened, and that’s the highest compliment since customers – locals and tourists alike – have flocked to Charlie’s Catfish for generations.

Barry’s Burgers is a new spot by the same owners of PDI / Phillips Drive-In located in Laurel. Since they opened in 1948, the PDI has been serving up some of the best burgers in Mississippi, so you know Barry’s Burgers is a must-try. Burgers, sandwiches, and salads are on the menu for lunch, while breakfast options are delectably Southern treats such as chicken and waffles, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, and more.  Check out the full menu here.

The Humble Place may be too humble to brag, but we will happily do it for them. Delicious, Southern cuisine and excellent hospitality are on the menu. With a full playground and kid-approved food options, it doesn’t get much more family-friendly than The Humble Place. No matter how filling your lunch or dinner is, make sure to try the bread pudding – trust us! 

 

The Great Outdoors 

In our corner of the country, we’re surrounded by hard working people with wonderful small businesses. We have endearing shops, crave-worthy restaurants, and beautiful historic districts, but the charm doesn’t stop there. We’re lucky here in Jones County, Mississippi to be home to the DeSoto National Forest. Year-round recreation opportunities abound for the hiker, bicyclist, camper, canoeist, horse enthusiast, hunter, and fisherman. Discover this treasured piece of nature during your Jones County getaway.

The outdoor fun doesn’t stop there – there are more opportunities to cast your line. Bogue Homa Lake is a 882-acre lake located in Jones County, offering a beautiful fishing retreat just minutes away from the downtowns seen on the small screen. Fish from the shore or on one of three piers for bluegill, crappie, catfish, and largemouth bass. 

 

Arts & Culture 

This April, music will fill the air on the campus of Jones College. The Spring Recital Series gathers musicians from the region and music from around the world. The series continues on Friday, April 8, when guests can catch a performance of The Impromptu Piano Trio. April 22, will feature Keys, Bow, an da Slide, and the series ends with A Mezzo’s Three Course Meal, on Friday, April, 29, 2022. All concerts are free and open to the public. Be sure to follow the Jones College School of Art, Music, and Performance for details.

Jones College has an active calendar of fine arts and sports throughout the academic year. Visit JCJC.edu for more information.

 

New Things to Do in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi

In Laurel and Jones County, there’s always something new to discover, and that is truer than ever this year! From art to nature to shopping, we’ve got plenty of new things to see and do during your next Mississippi vacation! 

Lodge at Sweet Water Studios

Photo courtesy of Lodge at Sweetwater Studios

Ride in Style 

You can’t feel blue when you’re cruising through Laurel wrapped in pink! Laurel Home Tours takes visitors through the Laurel Historic District, iconic Laurel sites, and famed attractions in a hot pink stretch hummer. This unique tour is not only fun, but informative! For more information or to book your pink limo tour, call 601-319-3210. 

Looking for more tour ideas for your Laurel and Jones County vacation? Check out our walking historic home tour or our mural tour.

 

Your Nature Retreat Awaits

You’ve seen it on the small screen and you’ve heard us wax poetic about Laurel and Jones County. The shopping, the dining, the unique attractions, but there’s also a great opportunity to explore the great outdoors when you’re here. 

One great chance to do just that is by visiting the Lodge at Sweetwater Studios, located south of Laurel and Ellisville. This tent lodge, yoga, and arts center brings together creatives, outdoor enthusiasts, and yoga lovers for a unique retreat. Book your time at The Lodge to experience glamping in canvas tents, a greenhouse spa, lake and nature trails, plus a yoga studio, and more! Start planning your retreat.

 

A Journey to Healing 

Located in Laurel, Brush Strokes is a unique art studio with a mission for healing. Founded on the belief that art is therapeutic, Brush Strokes provides a distinctive place for its guests to partake in art therapy workshops and events, as well as take art lessons through a variety of mediums. To find out more about events, classes, and workshops taking place during your visit to Jones County, or to get details on commissions available, be sure to check out BrushStrokesJourney.com.

 

Stump Jumpers Junktion

Antique lovers will be happy to see another amazing shop added to our thriving array of vintage and antique stores in Laurel. At Stump Jumpers Junktion, shoppers will find gifts that are truly one of a kind, antique furniture, collectibles, items from days gone by, plus new merchandise such as shirts, candles, and jewelry.

Tip: if you’re looking for even more vintage, thrifting, and antiquing fun, be sure to check out our full list of antique shops in Jones County as featured in this itinerary.

 

State of the Art

Our ever growing city is doing it again! Scotsman General Store and Woodshop is expanding, and with the expansion comes a new mural! The beautiful mural, painted by Laurel’s River Prince of Prince Sign Co. is located atop the new observation deck. Swing by to check the art out now, and be sure to follow along with Scotsman General Store for details about the opening of their new addition! 

 

4 Reasons to Visit Laurel & Jones County

If you need a reason (or five) to visit Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, we definitely have you covered! Let’s talk about why you should plan to eat, play, stay, and explore The City Beautiful! 

 

4. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 

If a girls’ weekend is in the works, Laurel should absolutely be the destination. Split an AirBnB or stay at a name brand hotel, and get ready to eat, shop, and take pics to document the fun! From coffee to wine and pastries to pasta, there’s plenty to please your palates while you dine at our local restaurants. Ready to shop? Hit our cute boutiques or spend the day discovering antiques. Museums? Check. Casino? We’ve got it! TV-worthy Historic District ready to be explored? Of course! We’ve got it all for your next girls-only getaway! 

Start planning your Girls’ Weekend

Reasons to Visit Laurel & Jones County

Photo courtesy haless_yeahh_ via Instagram

 

3. Love is in the Laurel Air 

Grab your sweetheart and hit the road. A road trip with a stop to cozy up in a B&B and explore a charming small town like Laurel, MS? Now that’s Nicholas Sparks-level romance. Discover treasures as you peruse our unique shops, dine deliciously at our local eateries, and don’t leave without visiting one of our bakeries or candy stores downtown for a sweet treat! 

Start planning your Couple’s Getaway

Reasons to Visit Laurel & Jones County

Photo courtesy lisaann_rippy via Instagram

 

2. HGTV Fans Can’t Get Enough 

We’ve heard it time and time again, fans of HGTV’s Home Town come for the as seen on TV experience, but they come back again and again because they simply can’t get enough of our small-town charm! And we really don’t blame them. In Laurel & Jones County, the food is fantastic, the shopping is undeniably charming, and everywhere you turn, we’re serving up Southern hospitality in helpings as big as a side of mac and cheese at Pearl’s Diner! 

Plan Your HGTV Home Town Fan Vacation 

Reasons to Visit Laurel & Jones County

Photo courtesy hometownrealtor_with_heart via Instagram

1. We Really Do Want You Here

Whether you call it Stars Hollow or a Hallmark Channel movie, Laurel, Mississippi is a tv-worthy setting (literally). We really are the kind of town where please and thank you are heard. Where family, helping out your neighbors, and making things beautiful are taken seriously. We have a deep affection for pancakes in December, we think the loblolly is the best darn tree this side of the Mississippi, and we’ll take any excuse to gather downtown and celebrate something or nothing as a community. We’re proud to say we’re from here, and even more proud to show you around. We love our visitors and take care to make them feel welcome. We hope you’ll be next! 

Find out more about why we love our hometown

Reasons to Visit Laurel & Jones County

Photo courtesy allyelyse04 via Instagram

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