My mom and her friends often laugh at some of the modern traditions of having a baby: things like gender reveals, push presents, and babymoons. This type of fanfare just wasn't part of pregnancy for them like it has become for us. Of course, neither was straying away from deli meat or chicken salad, things that grace the no-no list for pregnancy today.
Although I just came back from my second babymoon, I sometimes feel cliche or cheesy talking about it. But, I find the heart of it to be wise and wonderful. No matter what our life circumstance, it's important for Woody and I to consistently invest in our marriage, and in the weeks before welcoming a new member to the family, I find it especially valuable to take some intentional time away together. So, babymoon, it is!
Before Fox was born, we combined our babymoon with our anniversary trip, and we traveled to Fairhope, AL, to stay at The Grand. With Baby Girl, we also wanted to have a babymoon, and decided to do something low key and close. It was important to stay budget-friendly, and we didn't take as much time away as before since we have Fox and needed to figure time away from him and childcare into the equation.
This narrowed us down to the Southeast, and there are several places that are old favorites, but we wanted to try something new. We ended up choosing Laurel, MS, a decision which left many people asking, "what's in Laurel?"
We're longtime fans of HGTV's Fixer Upper (which inspired us to buy our own fixer upper), and when it went off the air, we decided to take a chance on the new HGTV show, Home Town based in Laurel, MS. We don't watch much TV, and Fixer Upper felt like big shoes to fill, so we didn't immediately fall in love with Home Town. We kept watching though, and it quickly became a favorite of ours.
We love the hardworking attitude and authenticity of the show's couple, Erin and Ben Napier. As old home owners ourselves, we also enjoy seeing historic homes come back to life. Both of us having lived much of our childhoods in small towns, there was something about the homegrown, Southern community of Laurel that took us back to our roots. On top of that, we caught up on most of Season Two of Home Town during this pregnancy, so making a trip to Laurel in person felt like a real treat.
We picked Labor Day weekend, and fortunately, most things in Laurel had regular hours that weekend. If it continues in a similar direction as Waco, TX, after the years of Fixer Upper filming there, it won't be long before Laurel becomes busier and more booming. While it's been a charming town for a long time, I really loved the idea of getting to visit while it's still in the smaller stages of growth and notoriety that can come once there is a TV show about your town.
We had a great stay, and we already can't wait to return! Part of the beauty of visiting a new place is finding your own way and creating adventure, but I love having some solid recommendations, too, so here's a glimpse of our trip to Laurel:
We took this selfie right as we arrived. We were so excited to finally be on our babymoon! Our first stop was the Laurel Mercantile, and they had this adorable guide to Laurel from Erin and Ben of Home Town. I had already researched places we wanted to go, but this guide added to our list and confirmed some we already had in our plans.
We booked the Sweet Somethings Bed & Breakfast through Airbnb. The space looked just the right size for us, was at a great price point, and was nestled into the heart of downtown making it a convenient and enjoyable way to experience Laurel.
Upon arrival, we ended up meeting Joseph, the owner of Sweet Somethings, and he was so kind! He gave us our keys, showed us to our room, told us about the property, and let us tour some other rooms at the B&B. He also helped with dinner recommendations. It was just the start of the Southern hospitality we would experience all weekend long.
We lived in a downtown loft our first three years of marriage, so this took us back! We loved it. It was spacious and comfortable. Also, included in our stay was breakfast from the bakery. All we had to do was walk downstairs where we were greeted with tasty smells and cinnamon rolls blanketed in icing.
Eating, shopping, & SightSeeing
I reached 32 weeks pregnant with Baby Girl on this trip, and it was special having her tote along for all the fun.
We first saw Pearl’s Diner on the show, and as big fans of Southern cooking, we knew we had to make a stop. We ended up getting to ride out a quick afternoon rain shower as we feasted on some delicious fried chicken, the sweetest sweet tea, and more Southern hospitality.
We got several recommendations to visit Guild and Gentry, a men’s store downtown. Woody enjoyed shopping, and I enjoyed the “Ladies Lounge” pictured below. Taking a moment to rest my feet was just what I needed to refuel for the afternoon.
We also got to meet Caroline, the owner of the shop. We talked as if we were old friends, and she is also expecting a baby girl about a month after we are! She and her husband’s home was renovated on Home Town, so it was fun talking to her about that. She is investing back into the Laurel community as they grow their men’s store with a barber shop and humidor room, and she shared some of the town’s history with us. Woody also got a pair of pants while we were there, and they’re some of his new favorites.
We did eat things other than Southern food (I promise!), but another delicious stop for some Southern cooking was Estelle’s for Sunday lunch. We both got the buffet and filled our plates with classic Southern favorites and a few nostalgic childhood dishes like creamed corn and jello.
The new Scotsman General Store opened a week before we arrived, and it was a treat to go see it in its early days. We bought old, classic candy and sodas, and got to stand around and talk with some of the owners. Again, everyone was so friendly and easy to talk to. It’s not hard to see why the town of Laurel is growing and thriving with such kind people caring for and investing in it.
You can see into Ben’s wood shop from the General Store. I liked looking at the pieces in progress. He wasn’t building while we were there, but it was interesting to see the place where so much hard work and artistry happens.
Other spots that we loved, but I don’t have photos of include:
Lee’s Coffee and Tea: this was my favorite! I had a delicious sandwich, chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookie, and the perfect iced latte.
Mimmo’s: Garlic Knots. Enough said.
Boutique on Central: I found some adorable, unique pieces at a great price, and of course, the staff was as sweet as can be.
Southern Antiques: one of many home decor stops. I love designing rooms, and these home shops were like a playground!
We ended our stay with a sweet stroll around Laurel’s historic neighborhood. Walking neighborhoods is one of our favorite things to do, and it was nice spending the last little bit of our trip holding hands, avoiding puddles, and talking. We got to see several of the homes that we’ve seen renovated on the show, too. I really enjoyed getting a feel for the heart of the place that we’d previously only experienced on a screen.
We highly recommend a trip to Laurel. It was simple and enjoyable. We ate well, rested well, and shopped well. We met great people and felt like we found a home away from home where we can return to enjoy so many of the things we love about small towns and Southern life.
I’m happy to answer any questions about our trip, and I also always love favorite destination recommendations from you!