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Laurel, Mississippi Trip Part 1

Where We Stayed: The Laurel Cottages

This past weekend, my husband and I made the three and a half hour drive on US Highway 84 from our hometown of Opp, Alabama to Laurel, Mississippi. Our fourteenth anniversary was last week, so we thought we’d celebrate with a weekend getaway. The drive was uneventful; there really isn’t a whole lot between Andalusia and Laurel except one-stop towns, trees, open fields, and lots of deer. I’m sure being able to hunt along that stretch of highway would be a hunter’s dream if the number of deer casualties we counted (at least 12) on the side of the road were any indication. Note: be extremely careful on this stretch of highway at night. Apparently the deer are particularly attracted to motor vehicles here. Also note: cell service is spotty and picking up a radio station without static along that stretch of highway was extremely difficult. It is a pretty remote drive, so be prepared with a good playlist from Spotify or maybe a true crime podcast, if that’s your thing. (Jared and I gave the Crime Junkie Podcast a go for a couple of episodes, but when you’re driving along a stretch of highway with spotty cell service and not many nearby stops, listening to an episode about a trucker serial killer who called himself Dr. No is probably not a good idea if you don’t want to get a little spooked.) Maybe try the Laurel Mercantile Spring 2019 playlist instead. 

On  HGTV’s Hometown, Ben Napier mentions that Laurel had “fallen on hard times.” There is a little evidence of that when you first drive into Laurel from this direction. However, as you drive closer to the city’s historical district, the revitalization and preservation of the city’s historical homes and businesses becomes a focal point. The past ten to twelve years that they have been working on their Downtown Comeback has paid off. The homes are breathtaking. The streets are lined with old live oaks, attention to detail is evident in landscaping and home exteriors, and there is a sense of Southern charm that just oozes from the town. 

We chose to stay at The Laurel Cottages. The cottages are the guest quarters tucked behind the above home owned Jim and Mallorie Rasberry, who help with the design on HGTV Home Town and co-own the Laurel Mercantile and Scotsman General Store with the Napiers. 

 

First of all, I fell in love with the color of the large home and the matching guest quarters. The Rasberry’s rent out the bottom floor of the guest quarters (The Cottage), the top floor (The Carriage House), and an Airstream.  That wooden shake siding? So dreamy! 

When you first enter The Cottage, little touches of Laurel greet you! The styled bookcases housed framed prints of Laurel’s historical homes and buildings. There were vignettes set up showcasing the town’s city slogan and signage. I loved the collected look of these built-ins. It reiterated my own belief that one-of-a-kind, collected items that tell a story, that have significance from a time or place, really do make a house a home. This communicated to me that they are proud of their town, of where they come from. And not only were they proud of Laurel, but they believed in it, and that is evident by the work they’ve done to better it. 

Can we just stop a sec and admire this cute kitchen? I am smitten with the green paint color and might just have to utilize it in my next project! And while we’re talking about the kitchen, let me point out that it lacks for nothing. It had anything you’d need to cook a meal if you wanted. Also, Mallorie is a great hostess that wants her guest to feel at home so she includes snacks and beverages that you are welcome to. We did feel right at home! 

This plate wall is off to the side of the kitchen behind the dining table. It reminded me of a plate wall that I used to have hanging in my house a few years back and makes me want to re-think it to update it and re-hang. I definitely didn’t lack for design inspiration at The Cottage, or anywhere in Laurel for that matter. 

Another thing I loved about the cottage was that it had all of the modern amenities you’d want, but still retained the character of year’s past. It was updated, but wasn’t completely stripped of the original identity of the space. 

The bed and linens were super comfy and of fine quality. And I loved this cute gallery wall in the corner of the sleeping area. It felt collected, like amassing things together you’ve acquired during your travels. There were nods to their Mississippi heritage, as well as travels to Louisiana, Hawaii, and New York throughout the cottage. 

How cute is this tile in the bathroom? Classic black and white! 

Along the street where The Laurel Cottages are located, you can also see homes that were featured on HGTV’s Home Town. It said in the info book in the cottage that about 80% of the homes featured are within walking distance. Jared and I enjoyed our stroll on the tree-lined streets looking at the beautiful homes, but I didn’t take a ton of photos because I didn’t want to invade anyone’s privacy. So, these couple will have to do and you’ll just have to book your own trip to Laurel to see for yourself. 

I took so many photos while in Laurel that I decided to break the trip up in to a couple of posts so that I could do it justice for you.  My next post will feature where we shopped, ate, and what we did while in Laurel. And a third post will be what we bought in Laurel and how I decided to style those items in my home, and the design and decor inspiration I gained while in The City Beautiful. And in case you missed the links to the places and people above, here are some resources for you and how to book your stay in Laurel. We had a blast in Laurel. The people are so nice and hospitable. We can’t wait to go back! 

Book your stay: The Laurel Cottages

Follow along on Instagram: @the.laurel.cottages @malraz @jobforjim @erinnapier @scotsman.co @visitlaurel

Also, I’ve saved my Laurel stories to Highlights on Instagram. @cultivatecreateblog

Be sure to go check them out. There are videos and photos. And I’ll be sharing more today. 

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