Sweet Mississippi Summertime: What to Do this Summer in Laurel & Jones County

Mississippi barbecue isn’t the only thing bringing the heat! Summer is here, and we’ve compiled all the best ways to enjoy longer days surrounded by sweet Southern hospitality. From tasty ice cream and fresh lemonade to exploring downtown Laurel on a golf cart or relaxing at the spa –  are you ready to summer love and have a blast in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi?

Refreshing Sweet Treats:

In our opinion, the best way to beat the heat is by indulging in a delicious sweet treat. If you are in the mood for ice cream – order a scoop (or 3) from Betsy’s on Magnolia or a spectacular banana split made with homemade custard from The Laurel Creamery! Also, check out the newest ice cream shop in Ellisville – Bennie & Mae’s! 

Need something more on the refreshing side? Scotsman General Store serves up great snowballs, and right down the road in Ellisville at The Coffeehouse, you can find a special kids’ refresher drink menu, and while you’re there, pick up an iced latte for mom. 

Outdoor Fun:  

Jones County has many ways to fill your pockets full of sunshine during your visit. Spend a day exploring historic downtown Laurel on a Golf Cart from Puttin’ Around Rentals, then stop at Trustmark Art Park and sit under a shaded oak tree for a picnic. If spending your day playing a round of golf is more your style, visit the Dixie Golf Club; you’re guaran-tee-d to have a great time. Are you hungry yet? Stop by 320 Fifth Street, sit on the patio, and listen to live music with a refreshing cocktail and tasty appetizers. 

Indoor Fun:  

If you want to have fun out of the sun while in Jones County, try Renew Medispa to relax and get pampered or kick off some friendly competition at Adventure Axe Throwing Co.. We even have a place for our art and history buffs, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, filled with beautiful cultural exhibits and collections. You can also create your own work of art at one of their Summer Watercolor Workshops to bring a piece of Laurel & Jones County back home with you. The Laurel-Jones County Black History Museum & Arts Laurel-Jones County Black History Museum & Arts is a great place to visit to gain insights into the history and contributions of African Americans locally and nationally. 

If you want to get crafty, HAND+Made in downtown Laurel will fulfill all your DIY dreams. Last but certainly not least, this is for all of our HGTV Home Town fans – Scotsman General Store & Woodshop. This is where all the magic happens when Ben designs and curates the wood structures shown on the show; you could even run into the star himself. 

No matter how you decide to spend your time indoors or out, with a refreshing snack or a sweet treat, you’ll be sure to have a summer sweeter than tea in Jones County.

For even more information about what to do, see, and eat in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, be sure to check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Interview: Amanda Mathews, Season 1 of HGTV’s Home Town

Some dreams come true right in your hometown. Amanda Mathews was born and raised in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi. She moved off, but couldn’t stay away for too long. After moving back, she has reunited with old friends, her favorite restaurants and shops, and the sweet Jones County hospitality + she has a newly renovated home. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on Laurel / Jones County living and her HGTV Home Town experience (Season 1, Episode 7). 

Photo courtesy Laurel Mercantile Co.

Visit Laurel & Jones County: Tell us a little bit about your episode on HGTV Home Town. 

Amanda Mathews: My episode was from Season 1 “Front Porch Dreams” Ben and Erin gave me two dreams: a front porch on the prettiest street in Laurel and a custom calligraphy table! They captured my style perfectly and I still love my home to this day.

 

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? 

Amanda Mathews: Certainly moving back closer to my family has been wonderful, but I think some of my favorite friendships are with Aly Smith and Brooke Warren. Brooke and I moved back around the same time and ended up working in the same school together. This journey just wouldn’t be the same without having her as a friend! And Aly! There is just too much good stuff to say about Aly! Her wit and her genuineness are at the top of the list. She is really one of my favorites!

 

VLJC: What is your favorite thing about living in the South? Mississippi? Laurel?

AM: No doubt the hospitality. I think kindness just flows through the people here. I love that about southern culture. There is always a hello, a hug, or a how ya doin’? Waiting for you! 

 

VLJC: What does hospitality mean to you?

AM: For me, it’s creating space for people. We are all busy. Life gets in the way, but I think as a community we have been intentional about loving our people but also creating space for people to move to Laurel and feel welcomed. Ultimately a sense of belonging is so important and I think hospitality is what begins to create that for each of us.

 

VLJC: Why have you chosen Laurel to be home?

AM:  For me, it made sense to come home. I wanted to invest in the community that gave so much to me. I am close with my family and have really loved being near them.

 

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

AM: Southern Antiques. I actually think Andrea curates her store with me in mind! 😉 Okay that’s a stretch, but really I love everything about her store. It’s my go-to for all things gifts!

 

VLJC: What is your favorite meal in Jones County?

AM: This is such a tough choice! I think I’d have to go with biscuits and gravy from Vic’s! But the club with fries from Café Le Fleur is a close second!

 

VLJC: Where is your favorite outdoor spot?

AM: Aside from my front porch, the walking track at Mason Park. I love walking through the entirety of the park.

 

VLJC: What makes you want to stay in your hometown? 

AM: I appreciate small-town culture so much and love to feel connected to so many people.

 

VLJC: What is your favorite new (or new-ish) thing about Jones County?

AM: The Scent Library. I am 100% obsessed with the concept and about 5 scents. I just think it’s such a fun store.

 

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

AM: I love to take them on a downtown walking tour through the shops and restaurants and especially to the museum. I think it is such a gift to have the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in our community. We also have to go to my sister’s candy store Shug’s! Honestly we probably start and finish there. 

 

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

AM: I love the Laurel or Gardiner park candle from Laurel Mercantile/Scent Library or any Laurel shirt that you may find! 

 

VLJC: We’re talking off-the-beaten-path in Jones County – what’s your favorite secret spot? What is something – or somewhere – people haven’t heard about that is a must-

see/eat/do? 

AM: I’d say grab a burger from Barry’s on 84 and head to Big 10 campgrounds for a picnic! Scenic and relaxing!

 

For more information on Amanda’s episode of Home Town, check out RTR MEDIA’S detailed list. Be sure to watch Home Town on HGTV or Discovery+.