Happy Independence Day to all of you! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend, celebrating our freedom in America. We are going to see fireworks at our local lake here in Acworth and looking forward to the festivities.
We recently went on a hosted trip to Coastal Mississippi, which I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. We had a great time touring coastal cities in MS, which is a state I’ve never explored before. It was fun and informative and since we were heading to the coast anyway, decided to stop in Laurel, MS as our first stop on a week long trip.
We’ve been watching Home Town, the HGTV show starring Ben and Erin Napier since the beginning and have loved all the episodes. They are tackling the revitalization of their hometown by renovating so many homes and businesses around this small town and it definitely shows. They actually started renovations way before the show started, but the show put them on the map. If you haven’t watched Home Town, it’s one of the best renovation shows out there. My favorite at the moment for sure. I love that Erin has adopted Grandmillenial style and proudly uses vintage finds mixed with modern and traditional style.
It was my pleasure to meet Ben and Erin back in 2019 at the AdThrive conference I went to in Austin, TX. They were speaking at the conference and I got a pic with them. They were such down to earth folk.
We so enjoyed our one day visit and even though it was short (less than 24 hours), we packed in as much as we could see before we headed on to the coast. Come along and I’ll show you what we saw and did.
We stayed at a cute Air BNB right in the historic district and I’ll share that below. It was the perfect spot for us and within walking distance of downtown. Of course, the first thing we did was walk around and take pictures at all the iconic murals around town. These really add to the charm of Laurel! We took Daisy with us everywhere we went and she did great.
Don’t you love the murals? It was a hot and sticky day in MS but we made it.
Mark, me and Daisy.
We of course had to visit Ben and Erin’s stores, Scotsman and the Mercantile are both their stores. Ben’s workshop is right in town by the railroad tracks and his pretty vintage blue truck is displayed out front.
I didn’t realize he had a retail shop attached to the woodshop until we visited. There’s a big picture window separating the two spaces and you can watch what is going on in there. We didn’t spot Ben that day!
I’m sure there are plenty of people like us who are just curious about Laurel and stop in for a look while on a road trip. I’m glad we got to visit!
The town is charming and you can tell that people are proud of their little town.
Inside the Mercantile is a big poster of Ben and Erin. It was fun to see the town after watching the show for 5 seasons.
The Mercantile had lots of hand made items and was fun to browse.
We stopped in a little park that had astroturf grass for a little break from the heat.
It was a nice respite from the sun.
I snapped a few pics of downtown and looked for shops that I recognized from the show.
Shug’s caught my eye and I remembered see it on the show.
A candy shop with cookie dough.
Such a charming little sweet shop.
One thing that took us by surprise was the construction going on downtown. Apparently the brick streets were installed in the 70’s and were never meant to be driven on, so they are taking all of those out and paving. I think there were water issues too I heard. Anyway, there were construction barriers everywhere downtown and piles of rubble. The historic streets have the old brick, but these were not old. I asked someone what was going on and that was the answer I got from a few people.
More art in some of the old buildings make a colorful statement.
Here’s a peek at the little cottage we stayed in. I found this Air BNB online and it was perfect for us. There’s a queen bed and lounge area with TV in the room with a kitchen and small bath. It was just right for us. It’s called the Blue Rabbit Hole in Laurel, MS and Sally is the hostess. If you stay here, tell her I sent you! None of this is sponsored, just sharing our little trip.
A few of the places that were mentioned on the show were closed on Monday or not open for dinner, so we found this place close by our cottage, Blue Crab Grill.
We both got fried shrimp and it was very tasty. Got us in the mood for more coastal seafood on our next destination.
We were right in the historic district so took the opportunity to walk the streets and that was the best part of our trip, I think. Several people told me where Ben and Erin live and it was so easy to find. I won’t share their house publicly but it’s a well known secret in town, I’m sure. There’s a sign up in the yard saying no photographs and their house was just around the corner from where we were staying. They just had a new baby girl so I’m sure they are enjoying the time with her as a family. We had some rain but we managed to get plenty of pics between rain drops.
This cute cottage above is one of the ones they renovated for someone and it was literally just around the corner from where we stayed.
We so enjoyed walking around and I loved taking pics of these beautiful historic homes. I hope you enjoy seeing them too and you may recognize some of these from the show. I don’t have a great memory on which houses they did, but a few of them I know.
Many of these look like they could have been on the show, so let me know if you recognize any.
It’s a charming town and I can understand why everyone would want to live in this historic district.
Several people told me they stayed at the Wisteria Bed and Breakfast and it was just a block away from where we stayed.
You couldn’t miss it and its purple glory!
Looks like a very charming place to stay.
There were so many photo opps along these streets. I guess the residents are getting used to their houses being gawked at all the time now.
The huge oak trees created a beautiful canopy of trees up and down the streets.
This house was so interesting with the huge oak tree limb hovering over the sidewalk right in front of the front porch. I tried to take pics from all angles.
Here’s the street view.
Someone said when I posted this house on video that it was one of the houses they did.
This looks like it could be one of theirs too.
We watched this episode (above) the night we were there and then the next morning saw the house in person.
Several told me this is Mallorie’s house, Erin’s best friend who is married to her first cousin. They own the Mercantile with Erin and Ben and here’s a little about Mallorie from the HGTV page.
This one looks familiar too.
So that’s our quick tour of Laurel, MS. Hope you enjoyed coming along with us. It’s definitely worth a stop if you are heading that direction and I’m glad we got to visit. I’ll be sharing a lot with you soon of our coastal MS trip and all we saw and did there too. It was a fun trip, we were gone almost a week and it took me almost a week to rest up. Traveling is great, and while it does wear me out, we are determined to see all we can see before we get too old to enjoy going places.
We also ended our trip in Covington, LA where my sister and brother-in-law have just moved. We stayed with them a couple of nights and saw their lake lot that they hope to start building on soon. The dock and boat house plans are coming along and they will be able to enjoy the lake this year even though they aren’t there yet. Hopefully in about a year, they will be in their new house and I’m excited to see that happen. I’ll be sharing all of that with you too!
Debbie A Thacker says
I can’t wait to make the trip to Laurel! I had no idea there was so many homes there! You did an awesome job of describing it to us! Thanks so much!
Debbie in Birmingham
You were very thorough. I live in Mississippi and haven’t been that way. Guess I’ll go now! Love it and I love HomeTown!🙌🏼✨
Enjoyed the tour of the little town. Hoping to one day take that trip – in the cooler time of the year. It looks like if Erin and Ben haven’t fixed up all the houses, they’ve inspired the “fixin’ up”. Think my favorite was the smoky blue house with the pumpkin-colored door…..different! Thank you for sharing!
Lovely post. You have inspired me to go see Laurel, MS.
Linda Hickey says
I absolutely love their tv show, I have seen every episode. Also there new show, where they done all the new construction in that little town in Alabama. I just love and adore them both. Hopefully I will be able to visit both these towns soon. Thank you for showing.
diane in northern wis says
Thanks alot Rhoda! I loved all the houses, the streets, the trees. What a great place! Thanks for taking us along with you on such a fun trip. Can’t wait to see your visit with your sis and her husband!
Love your tour through Laurel. I could live in every single one of these homes … big or small … they’re so charming. It might take me a while to get used to the heat and humidity though. I’m glad you found an explanation for the brick street removal. When you mentioned it on IG it seemed odd. But now it makes sense. I look forward to making a trip to Laurel one day. I adore Ben and Erin and their passion for renewal. xo
My late father in law lived nearby in Hattiesburg, MS and we would always drive through Laurel on our drive home to VA. We spotted many of the homes that Ben & Erin have renovated on their show HOMETOWN. It truly is a beautiful little southern town and they are blessed to have such a gold mine of charming homes all in one little town.
We stopped in their store Merchantile as well and although they weren’t in that day the young lady working there was so pleasant and sweet. I told her how genuine Erin and Ben seemed on camera and she confirmed they are exactly the same in real life. Blessings to their family on their newest addition! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip to coastal MS.
P.S. My favorite little town on the MS coast is Bay St. Louis. It really got torn up during Hurricane Katrina.
Karen Haas says
We are planning a trip to Laurel and Wetumpka and enjoyed your post very much!!!!
We also have watched every episode of Ben and Erin’s show, and continue to watch old episodes every week. I tend to say “ That is the one they choose to redo” since I’ve seen them all several times. I laughed when you said to pick out ones you think they made have redone. I quickly eliminated the ones with iron porch railing because I feel that Eric would quickly replace those! And I I surprised to realize how many houses had steps up from the sidewalk or street. Makes me wonder if the land was hilly or if the houses were built up to have crawl space underneath. Thank you for taking us along on your adventure. Would love to visit in person someday.
A beautiful American town. What dreams are made of–Thanks for sharing.
Adele Haney LeChien says
Wonderful photos Rhoda. Great tour of the town. I have a brother who has a restaurant in Como (The Thai Hut). I’m not sure how far away that is but if I ever get over there to MS I will surely take a look around this great town of Laurel. -Adele
Sue Reynolds Bowling says
I really enjoyed my”trip” through Laurel Mss. with you and Daisy!! Love Ben and Erin and their show Hometown!! Enjoyed the tour of the homes and thought I recognized a lot of the houses.Thanks a bunch for the ride!!!! Sue Reynolds Bowling from Danville,Virginia.
Rhonda Weigandt says
We have lived in Mississippi most of our lives and raised our children and have eight Grandchildren. Mississippi is a great state to live in don’t believe it if anybody says otherwise if You get a chance to visit our state you will see that Mississippi has a lot to offer and is one of the most economical states our cost of living is very low compared to many states and if you visit then have a nice time and Ya’ll come back now.
Hi, Rhonda, MS from what I can see is a great place to live, I can see why you brag on it. The coastal area was a lot of fun to tour.
My husband and I just got back from Laurel visiting during the Porch Party. What a lovely little town it was and bigger then we expected. The Loft is a great restaurant to visit & next time you go it’s a must with excellent food. I loved all the huge oak trees and 5th, 6th & 7th st. Which I do believe you took alot of those pics on.
HI Shan, we enjoyed our little stay in Laurel as well and yes those streets you mentioned were where we took the majority of the pics. Such a pretty historic area.
Thank you for showing some of the very positive aspects of our Mississippi. I’m a Georgia transplant, but the MS Coast is my “54 years” home. Your pictured tour of Laurel is a blessing for those of us who haven’t had an opportunity to get out and explore lately. We have friends and family there, but I’ve never stopped to see the view you’ve given us. Also, I hope you enjoyed and will visit again, my hometown of Ocean Springs. Also, I hope you were able to continue down Washington Ave. to the beach. That’s my morning-peaceful place for prayer and meditation.
Hi Anita, I’m so glad you enjoyed! We loved Ocean Springs and as soon as I can compile a post with all we saw, I’ll definitely be sharing. Stay tuned, Ocean Springs was our favorite stop and we got to stay in The Roost, what a treat that was. We could walk to town and the beach.
We chose the 4th of July weekend to visit Wetumpka, Al! Very charming town and it had a main street blocked off to do road repair and Coaches Restaurant was closed due to computer issues. We visited the “barber shop” that updated by Ben and Erin, it is now a book store. We saw the outside of the “Big Fish” house, it was very charming. I would like to visit again when hopefully the Coaches Restaurant is open and none of the streets are blocked.
We chose the 4th of July weekend to visit Wetumpka, Al! Very charming town and it had a main street blocked off to do road repair and Coaches Restaurant was closed due to computer issues. We visited the “barber shop” that was updated by Ben and Erin, it is now a book store. We saw the outside of the “Big Fish” house, it was very charming. I would like to visit again when hopefully the Coaches Restaurant is open and none of the streets are blocked.
Becky in 'Bama says
My husband and I went to Laurel, MS before it was really BIG on HGTV. Even though it was still progressing, we enjoyed our day. We ate at “Pearl’s Diner” and had our photo snapped with her.
It is such a charming and BOOMING location. I hope the economy holds up for them. We were there on a Monday, and many of the business were closed – as they are open on Saturday.
Best of all – we came up on a remodel they were working on – staff and production crew on location, and there on the sidewalk were Ben and Erin. We drove by slowly and waved but did not attempt to harass them for a photo. 🙂 would like to go back in the fall when the leaves have changed color. Thanks for the photos.
Becky, that sounds like a fun trip, so glad you spotted Ben & Erin. They are such a great couple!
Oh how I loved this “trip” through Laurel! (Hometown is my fave HGTV show, too.) I would give much to live in a shady historic district of one of the many gracious Southern small towns. They just speak to me. Keep taking trips, Rhoda, Mark, and Daisy!