Monday, May 3, 2010

Dinner at an Old Country Store

Late last Thursday afternoon, my husband and I traveled to the tiny town of Learned, Mississippi, which is about 30 miles southeast of Vicksburg. Someone had told my husband that there is an old country store in Learned that serves "out of this world" steak dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, so we decided we would go check it out.

Established in 1892, the store is called "H. D. Gibbes & Sons," and has been owned solely by generations of the Gibbes family. When the current owner, Chip Gibbes, is asked how long he has lived in Learned, he answers, "Since 1836. That's when my family first moved here, so that's the date I go by."

Even though the building is 118 years old, its floor, walls and ceiling were constructed of sturdy, rare heart pine, and its structure is remarkably sound. From the moment we walked through the old screened doors on the porch, it was as if we had stepped back in time.

Once inside the doors, you are welcomed by this old Coke chest which is filled with ice and cold drinks.

As you can see in the above picture, the walls on both sides of the store are lined with shelves which are filled with new items for sale, as well as vintage collectibles which are for display only.

There are also old glass cases filled with smaller items, and I wouldn't doubt that some of the older things date back to the early days of the store.

Open year-round, "except for holidays and funerals," Gibbes' store may be the only old country store in Mississippi, where you can sit down to a delicious steak dinner with all the trimmings, and stop on your way out and buy a fishing pole and bait.

Or pick up some groceries, produce, or cleaning supplies ...

I was just wide-eyed at the things I saw, and couldn't wait to put my order in for dinner and get back up and capture some of it with my camera (I asked permission first, of course).

Everywhere I looked, there were wonderful old treasures to be seen. I wish I had had more time to really look at everything, but I was trying to take as many pictures as I could without being intrusive. We arrived a little after five, but it didn't take long for several more parties to arrive. Here are a few of the things I was able to capture while my steak was cooking (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like).

I loved this old library ladder which reached to the ceiling and ran on a cable beside the shelves all the way to the back of the store.

And just look at those old aluminum cups. I remember drinking Kool-Aid from some like that when I was child, and it just didn't get any colder than that. Also notice the pretty red and white rose dishes (and corks).

In the next shelf, faux, I hope, deer antlers mingled with dishes and vintage pottery pieces.

There were some truly beautiful old treasures scattered amongst the novelties, like this old spool cabinet.

And this unique "church-shaped" radio:

I was delighted to see "Miss Elsie" perched high on a shelf ...

And couldn't help but smile at this sign ...

As I rambled toward the back of the store, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this old stove pipe heater.

And I've saved my favorite treasure for last ... it's the beautiful old cash register which is still used for the store transactions.

Notice the "H. D. Gibbes & Sons" embossed on the name plate. What a treasure!

After dinner, we rode around Learned (which consists of only a few blocks), and I captured these pictures of some of the old buildings and houses near the store. Again, you feel as if you have traveled back in time to a world where things were simpler and, perhaps, kinder and gentler, than they seem in today's world.

This is the Learned United Methodist Church, which was founded in 1892, the same year as the Gibbes Store.

Aren't these two houses pretty! They seem to beckon you to come sit in one of those rockers and "visit a spell."

This old building is down the street from the store, and I'd love to know its history. It reminds me of a building you might see on a Hollywood set.

And across the street is this old treasure, which is almost identical to the above building.

I would like to know the story behind this old sign, too.

I love this view from the back ...

I wouldn't take anything for our visit to Learned. It was truly a wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it to our visitors to Vicksburg, as a "side trip." The steaks alone were worth the drive, service was excellent, and the atmosphere was the "icing on the cake."

I'd love to go back sometime and spend more time exploring the store and those old buildings that are so full of character. I know I left a lot of pictures there.


kittrellphoto said...

Great pictures, Janie! But you didn't tell us how good the steak was!

Julie @ Sweet Chaos said...

I was wondering about the steak too! Its a long drive from Cincinnati for a mediocre steak... but you made me want to make the trip! Love the old false-fronts on the buildings.

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Oh Janie, I had completely forgotten about Learned, my Hubby and I went through there several years ago. I love old Country Stores...they are passing from out country side too fast. Love your pictures.

racheld said...

What a lovely trip into nostalgia! The facades of the old stores---we had an old ramshackle building full of bits and bobs of farm stuff. It had that big flat face on the front, and you could still see the faded letters of "COMMISSARY" on the weathered wood.

It's lovely to see part of Home which I've never seen before . . .

This is the second time today I've seen a stack of those wonderful old aluminum glasses---so colorful and the drink DID seem colder in those.

I DO love your adventures!

PAT said...

This was fun, Janie. Looks like a place we would enjoy!

Unknown said...

I have eaten the buffet lunch and the fried chicken at the old store in Lorman, but had never heard of this one. I guess I will have to fire the Harley up and make a road trip

Randy Fought said...

Love the pictures. An innkeeper in Raymond, MS just told me about Gibbs Store. Looks like the little town of Learned, MS is about 2 miles from the Natchez Trace Parkway. Does anybody know if the roads have an exit onto the Trace?

Anonymous said...

Just finished dinner there tonight, my girlfriend suggested it since it will be crowed everywhere on Valentines weekend. I drove 40 miles from Madison,MS to find out they sold the last ribeye steak before me. I settle for the hamburger steak, since I refuse to eat a filet, worst cut on the cow. The waitress told me that has never happen that they ran out of ribeyes and lambchops. I think the best part of the meal is talking to different people around you. I didn't enjoy a hamburger steak for dinner but the ambiance and the conversation was wonderful. I think I will return to get my ribeye steak or my lambchops.

Mark said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your experience in Learned. I went there yesterday looking for a cemetery. I stepped into the store to ask for directions. I was amazed! But, when I asked if I could take some pictures was told emphatically, "No!" by the woman running the store. I like to think I look pretty clean cut, so I don't know what prompted her response. I will have to check out a steak for sure. :-)

shannon i olson said...

well we are planning a trip to MS in the Fall, We have never been here but putting it on the list!! My dad and step mom live in Ellisville so we are planning on making a day trip out of it! She pinned this and told me to look it over.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting all this information about the Gibbs Store. I've heard such great things about it, so now I am putting it on our calendar to definitely go there for dinner!

Country Lady said...

Went to Gibbs Store and had the steak dinner and it was absolutely the most tender steak and very tasty. The whole meal was very very good. The guitar player and singer was entertaining and a very good singer. Will definitely be back for another meal.

GranMarty said...

Reminds me of one of my favorite movies - "Trip to Bountiful."

merckywaters said...

is this the same Gibbs family as the George W. Gibbs who served in the mississippi regiment and is buried in Raymond?