Home Away From Home: Laurel Mississippi
Recently, my family and I have enjoyed watching the HGTV shows Hometown and Hometown Takeover where Ben and Erin Napier flip old houses and businesses to become revived and timeless living spaces. On the drive to the audition
for Belhaven University’s Dance program, a billboard displayed Ben and Erin from the Hometown and Hometown Takeover shows saying that drivers should stop at Laurel, their own hometown they helped to bring more life too. My parents and I decided then that if I was to attend Belhaven, we would have to stop by! Sure enough, I chose Belhaven and it’s amazing dance program! We concluded that this summer would be a great time to visit Laurel on the way to Belhaven. We planned out our trip to Laurel based on the special places that we wanted to go to, and we were not disappointed.
Our first stop was at Pearl’s Diner for lunch. My dad remembered watching Ben on an episode of Hometown talking about how good Miss Pearl's food was, recommending that visitors had to try her fried chicken. The day that I was properly introduced to a fried chicken southern meal was the day I ate from Miss Pearl’s diner. I had dark meat fried chicken with green beans, mac and cheese, and some corn bread. It was so so so good! The mac and cheese just melted in my mouth and the fried chicken breading was absolutely the perfect crunch; not to mention the amazing atmosphere. The staff at Pearl’s, including Miss Pearl herself, were all so welcoming and kind; they made sure we got our food in a timely fashion and that it tasted good. Walking into the Diner felt like walking back in time with all original flooring, adorable booths, and classic all American diner decorations.
In the Scotsman General Store & Woodshop you can actually see through the glass to where Ben and all of the other employees build and work for the Hometown show. It is so cool to see how this old abandoned town was changed into a lively, supported, joyful neighborhood.
Next, we went to Lee’s Coffee & Tea for a refreshing drink to sip while we looked at the neighborhood houses that Ben and Erin flipped for the families in Laurel. I got an iced matcha and my mom got an iced coffee; she said that it was one of the best iced coffees ever! The houses were so beautiful, unique, and special to the families in their own ways. Here are some of the beauties that we got to see!
After we looked at the houses, we walked around some more, looked at more murals, and got a treat from Shug’s Cookie Dough and Candy Bar. I got a scoop of smores cookie dough and cookie monster, My dad got caramel milkshake, and my mom got a scoop of smores cookie dough and their original cookie dough. It was so so so yummy! The cookie dough had the perfect amount of sweetness and the flavors were up to perfection, especially the smores! Some cookie doughs that I have tasted in the past were too sweet and overpriced, but this dough was absolutely perfect!
If I ever need to move somewhere in Southern Mississippi after college, you’ll see me in Laurel! The Southern hospitality, kind people, good food, and historical town all make Laurel a beautiful home away from home. I highly recommend the next time you are in Mississippi to stop at Laurel--you won’t regret it!