Day Trip to Laurel, Mississippi

Saturdays are made for exploration and relaxation. Recently, my mom visited from Alabama and we decided to make a Saturday trip to Laurel, Mississippi to explore and have some fun in this lovely Southern town.

I’ve visited a few times and wanted my mom to experience the charm and hospitality you find when you explore “the city beautiful.”

We arrived in town early and decided to start at Peddler’s JUNKtion Antiques and Vintage. The store was voted Laurel’s #1 Best Place to Find a Bargain in 2017 and #2 Best Gift Shop! So if you’re into antiques, anything vintage this is a great place to explore. Plus they have a boutique inside with jewelry and fashions.

Our next stop in town was the Laurel Mercantile. The store is owned and operated by Erin & Ben Napier, of HGTV’s Hometown, and two other couples who put a lot of love and attention to detail into this store.

Here’s the story behind the launch of the store, from the Laurel Mercantile website:

““In 1901, the Laurel Mercantile Co. opened in downtown Laurel and was a bastion of commerce in our city, supplying dry goods and work wares until the 1930s. As industry changed, so did the needs and eventually the doors closed. Many decades have passed and “The City Beautiful” is seeing a revival as a haven for entrepreneurs, artists, and makers. In 2016 a partnership was formed between the Napiers, Nowells and Rasberrys, 3 couples made up of family and long-time best friends. They used their combined expertise in history, design, historic preservation, organizational management, finance and accounting to reopen Laurel’s bygone hometown store. The doors of the new Laurel Mercantile Co. opened on Front Street in December 2016. LMCo. is the only place to find our signature collection including Scotsman Co., the store’s flagship brand of Ben’s handmade reclaimed furniture and gentlemen’s workwear, American-made heirloom wares and durable goods for home and life.”

— – Kind regards, Erin & Ben Napier, Emily & Josh Nowell, Mallorie & Jim Rasberry”

The mercantile is a perfect reflection of the warmth and charm of this town. As we walked in the door we were greeted by a very sweet woman who offered to help us find anything we needed.

We spent a lot of time shopping and as we were headed out the door the same sweet lady who greeted us, hugged us as we were leaving.

She asked if we were headed to lunch and when we told her we were open to suggestions she immediately said we had to eat at The Pearl Diner. Great food and Miss Pearl Campbell, the owner of the diner, was featured in an episode of Hometown. We had to eat at Pearl’s place!

We strolled down the block and entered The Pearl Diner to find there was already a long line forming.

The diner is open Tuesday- Friday from 11am until “the food runs out.”

I’m glad we got there soon after 11 because before we finished our meal, they were already out of a few options.

You can understand why the food goes so fast when you walk in and begin to breathe in the aroma of the chicken and vegetables being cooked in the kitchen.

The Pearl Diner is the standard for diners in the South. Meats, sides and a dessert option.  And of course…sweet tea!

My mom had BBQ chicken with greens and I had baked chicken and lima beans.

I know that sounds like a simple choice but I wish the  photo of my food had scratch and sniff capabilities so you could smell this food!

Lord have mercy, the bake on this chicken was perfection. Crispy and well seasoned on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside!

If you visit Laurel, get yourself to The Pearl Diner for the divine chicken and stellar service.

After lunch we knew we needed to walk off some of those comfort food calories so we decided to walk around downtown Laurel.

We explored a few downtown stores and then headed to the Historic District.

According to Main Street Laurel, the city’s Historic District is:

“the largest, finest, and most intact collection of early 20th century architecture in Mississippi.

Beginning in 1899, stately homes along 5th Avenue were constructed by the lumber barons with development of cottages, bungalows and larger houses on side streets and avenues following quickly.”

Here are just a few of the stunning homes you see as you walk the historic district.

After exploring the district, we were ready for some AC and a cool treat.

We headed to The Knight Butcher to escape the heat, buy a gift for a friend and to get a cool treat.

Yes, you can get all of that at the local Laurel butcher!

Along with this local butcher shop’s selection of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb, they also make jerky in house.

From mild, spicy, atomic and teriyaki – there’s a selection for all preferences.

The Knight Butcher is also known for their house made fudge, Knight Sugar.

Every kind you can imagine from classic to banana pudding to pistachio and many more!

They also sale cool treats we were looking for…LoblolliePops! They’re hand made in Laurel.

The perfect treat as you explore the South on a hot summer day!

Before we left the city beautiful for the day, we stopped by Lee’s Coffee and Tea for coffee. We’re those people who love and drink coffee no matter how hot it is!

We always try to support local coffee shops and it’s easy at Lee’s. Their coffee is perfection and it’s a warm and family friendly environment where you can relax.

In fact, everything about Laurel is warm and family friendly. That’s why I love exploring this city whenever I can.

And you should too!


Explore Laurel, Mississippi

Laurel Visitor Center

401 Central Ave, Laurel MS, 39440

Phone: (601)342-2102
Hours: Monday – Friday 10am- 4pm


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