Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Backroads Lagniappe

This is the third in a series of four posts I'm sharing about a recent trip my husband and I made to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. If you would like to read the first two posts featuring the Sunrise over Biloxi and Seagulls, you can click on the links.

We decided to veer off the beaten path on the way home, and detoured off U.S. Highway 49 onto Mississippi Highway 13, about 40 miles north of Gulfport.

I had read about a couple of places I wanted to see -- one in Columbia, Mississippi, and the other one near Morgantown. Columbia is the county seat of Marion County, and is home to a beautiful old courthouse.

The 100-foot wide main street was designed to accommodate horse-and-wagon U-turns.

An "institution" in Columbia is the old Hill Hardware Company (circa 1901), which still stocks plows, horse harnesses, a variety of crockery, kitchen implements, both old and new, and any kind of nails, hardware, and tools you can imagine or find a use for.

Although the outside looks modern, the minute you walk through its old doors and step on those weathered old wood floors, you'll feel like you've gone back in time. I wish I had taken my camera in, but, unfortunately, I left it in the car.

I'd like to go back to Columbia someday when I have more time. I'd like to see the restored mansion of former Mississippi Governor Hugh White ... and also the descendants of Governor White's cherished white squirrels that he raised over sixty years ago. Columbia is a pretty little town and I'm sure there's a lot more to discover there.

When we left Columbia, we went in search of one of Mississippi's best kept secret natural wonders -- a place called Red Bluff, also known as "Mississippi's Little Grand Canyon. Located on Mississippi Highway 587 about 15 miles northwest of Columbia near Morgantown, Red Bluff consists of three miles of canyon terrain featuring deep purple, yellow, red, and brown clays formed by the erosion of the west bank of the Pearl River. With elevations up to 400 feet, the area features incredible views of Mississippi's "Little Grand Canyon." Red Bluff is privately-owned, but can be viewed from Highway 587.

You can be sure that I didn't leave my camera in the car at this stop. Here are some of the pictures I captured of this beautiful natural phenomena.

As I said in a previous post, our trip was filled with lots of lagniappe, but the best is yet to come. I hope you will join me tomorrow as I share one of the most exciting photographic adventures I've ever stumbled upon in our backroad ramblings.

P.S. -- If you are planning a visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I think you are going to be pleasantly surprised by what you see. The beaches are beautiful, with dazzling pristine white sand, and are well maintained. There are signs of post-Katrina reconstruction everywhere ...

Most of the hotels are new or newly remodeled after Katrina, and most are family-oriented. If you enjoy casinos, there are several to choose from, but be sure to go see Beau Rivage -- it's beautiful.

There are still a lot of empty slabs where gorgeous houses once stood, but you also see inspiring signs like this one to remind you of the determination and positive spirit of Mississippians who continue to work together to rebuild their homes and their cities ... one board and one brick at a time.


Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Very interesting and as always beautiful pictures. DH and I have been to and through Columbia many times in the last 20 yrs, but I'm ashamed to say I saw more and paid attention to more through your camera than I did through my own eyes. I always loved the old court house but never took pictures.
My boys and Grandson played ball games over there or in areas around there, and we were always in a hurry.
And I have never been to Red Bluffs, but now, that is a most do on my list of places to see. Isn't it amazing how we will travel far to see God's beauty but forget to look in our own back door.
Thanks for being me home...

Tonja said...

Red Bluffs...that is amazing! I would love to go and see that. How unusual that it has the differing colors of dirt! I have not been back to the hurricane area since it happened. So glad the reconstruction is continuing!

RachelD said...

Just as I remembered---colorful and beautiful. I DO love the faces and facades of an old town, and this street is wonderful, especially when you mention that behind all that new paint, there's the same old atmosphere, the same old store, which helped make the town what it is.

Stepping back in time is a lovely thing, especially when you know you can step out again as easily, and stepping through your lens is magical.

Stacey said...

Simply gorgeous! I had no idea you had the bluff area in Mississippi. Looks more like Oklahoma. :)

Judy said...

We always stay at the Beau. After Katrina we didn't go back for about 3 years and it was sad to see all those slabs of concrete but now it's so neat to see all the reconstruction going on in Gulfport/Biloxi.

Great pictures (as usual),

Beth at Aunties said...

This beautiful red canyon reminds me of our own gorgeous red hills and canyons here in Utah.
Beautiful pictures. You pictures always makes me want to take the back roads to capture and taste the real life and feel of a town. Love the journies you take us on.

Deb said...

love all your photos from your would make a great tour guide...they should hire you to promote...

Lana Gramlich said...

I heard about Red Bluffs from (I think it was.) It's only an hour & 20 minutes from home (in Abita Springs, LA,) so hubby & I popped up to check it out today. How amazing is that view!?! I was absolutely stunned and very glad I came across it & we took the time to go! Just amazing!