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  • Writer's pictureJay Hicks

A Laurel Surprise

Sometimes, a low-key afternoon can be delightful. Often, I just like to go places to see how it would feel to live there. If you like old southern towns, you are going to love Laurel, Mississippi. The tree lined streets, general stores, antiques, local dinning and quiet living can all be found in this corner of the state.

Perhaps most importantly in recent years is the pride the town displays towards one of their favorite couples, Erin and Ben Napier. The Napier’s have been featured on the Home and Garden Channel for many years via the show Home Town.

Arriving from southeast Mississippi through the slightly rolling hills of the De Soto National Forest, you come to an abrupt clearing, about the time you hit Interstate 59. For the uninitiated, I-59 runs from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi, dissecting Laurel along the way. Surprisingly larger than we thought, Laurel sports several bed-and-breakfast and lots of restaurants to check out.

Surprisingly, we caught up with Ben at the Scotsman General Store and Woodshop, on Spec Wilson Boulevard. After the obligatory photo opportunity of the sign and Ben’s old truck, we went inside to check out their brand name southern comfort items. Traversing the delightful display of handmade wooden goods, clothing, snacks and sweets, we were delighted to get a glimpse of Ben being filmed through a glass window in his workshop. We had hope to get to meet him or Erin. Regrettably, all we obtained was a photograph, as we could not interrupt filming.

After leaving the store, we scoured the downtown area for any traces of the show. It turns out if you go up Fifth Avenue from the town circle, towards fourth fifth and sixth Street, you will recognize several of the homes from the show.

The downtown area was quite cozy, and we even found a bite to eat. The golden yellow leaves still clung to the trees next to the newly draped Christmas decorations along the downtown streets. We enjoyed exploring the shops and walking during this cool Mississippi day.

We highly recommend this quaint little town if you happen to be in the area. It is not too far out-of-the-way if you are heading to Jackson, Mississippi and it is easy stopover if traveling from New Orleans. Perhaps you will get to see more of Erin and Ben than we did, but we understand they are changing venues to Wetumpka, Alabama for the 2021 season. Maybe will try our luck in the Yellowhamer State next year.

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