Artistic Weekend Escape
Craving a little more creativity in your life? Ready to escape the ordinary and explore your inner artist? Or perhaps you’d just like a quick refresher course in the art of enjoyment. An Artistic Weekend Escape in Ridgeland is the beautifully simple, simply beautiful solution.
Where to Stay
For your weekend escape, you’ll want to get away from the average, and that begins with accommodations offering special touches, like Drury Inn’s free 5:30 Kickback® featuring savory soups and salads in a revolving menu that also includes spirits and soft drinks. If you enjoy your own culinary artistry, the suites at Extended Stay of America support your creativity with full-size appliances and complete supply of kitchenware. You’ll love the setting of SpringHill Suites by Marriott, in the heart of The Township at Colony Park, a masterpiece of New Urbanism. You’ll also love the fresh atmosphere in a SpringHill Pure suite that uses state-of-the-art filtration for air that’s 99% free of allergens.
What to Do
As you plan your trip, begin with a visit to the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi to choose a craft class. Operating out of the sleekly modern and inviting Bill Waller Craft Center, the Guild offers the masterworks of more than 400 artisans for sale. A collector’s dream, these beautiful pieces can also serve as inspiration for your own creations when you sign up for any of the Center’s more than a dozen craft classes designed for novices and enthusiasts. Try your hand at batiking, calligraphy, pottery, stained glass or wire wrapped jewelry. Carve your own masterpiece in the power carving class, or create fly ties that big snag fish but are also so beautifully eye-catching they’re often used as Christmas ornaments. There’s even a blacksmithing class.
An Artistic Weekend Escape isn’t just about looking at life differently, it’s about experiencing life at a new level. That’s also true of the area’s exceptional array of museums that move far beyond “looking and seeing” with extraordinary experiences that engage and delight. At Mississippi Museum of Art, the spectacular space design breaks down visual and symbolic barriers to genuine art appreciation. Even better, there’s plenty to appreciate in world-class collections and exhibitions that include exciting new works as well as bold-faced names like O’Keefe, Westin, Eisenstadt, Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker, along with towering Mississippi talents like Theora Hamblett, William Eggleston, Walter Anderson and more.
Architectural genius abounds in downtown Jackson, so after the Museum of Art you won’t want to miss the Old Capitol Museum. A National Historic Landmark, and one of the nation’s leading exemplars of Greek Revival public architecture, the Old Capitol Museum is a truly grand experience that is also free of charge. Smaller structures offer a more intimate view of Mississippi and architectural history. The Oaks House Museum, a Greek Revival cottage, is one of the oldest homes in Jackson and one of the few structures to escape the torch when Jackson was burned during the Civil war. At the Manship House Museum, built in 1858 by master artisan Charles Manship, the gorgeous ornamental painting and graining have been painstakingly restored. Less than five minutes away, in the heart of historic Belhaven, another National Historic Landmark, the Eudora Welty House and Gardens, provides an intimate glimpse into the life of the internationally renowned writer and photographer.
Cutting edge technology, carefully curated archival materials and a storytelling eye for detail bring compelling history to life at the nationally renowned Mississippi Museum of Civil Rights. The Museum of Mississippi History takes a longer, broader view of the state, with exhibits stretching back to the first Native peoples and offering a full sweep of history with intimate and vivid touches like the music of Mississippi blues greats filling the air in a meticulously recreated Delta juke joint.
From the Mississippi Museums, it’s quick drive down I-55 (just 8 minutes) to the LeFleur Museum District. In the District’s collection of family-friendly museums, the artistry is exceptional throughout, from the authentic touches of the recreated small town, farm stead and general store at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, to the lively and delightful (and authentically educational) activities at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. At the Museum of Natural Science, vast outdoor acreage and natural trails set the stage, while the 100,000-gallon aquarium network inside is just the beginning of the adventure. For sports fan, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is also well worth a trip.
Where to Eat
Naturally, an arts-loving city like Ridgeland serves up culinary creations with flair. A four-time semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Best Chefs of the South award, Derek Emerson has made a name for himself, and for Ridgeland dining, with the elegantly simple cuisine at Local 463 Urban Kitchen. Early bird specials, weekend brunch and an extensive wine list make Amerigo’s an anytime treat. The finest steaks and seafood have been a Ridgeland tradition and a Koestler family tradition for over 20 years at Koestler Prime. Be sure to peruse the curated wine list; you may also want to buy a bottle of Koestler Prime seasoning for your home endeavors. At Tico’s Steak House, you’ll savor steak house fare par excellence—no surprise since proprietor Tico Hoffman, a seasoned restauranteur and avid amateur golfer, has honed his game, both on the links and in the kitchen, for 30 years. Greek baker Angelo “Pop” Primos opened his first restaurant in this region in 1930, and today Primos Café upholds the mouthwatering mantle with breakfast all day, as well as lunch and dinner favorites like the Tumbleweed Burger, featuring black angus beef, melted jack cheese and shoestring onion rings. Artistry on a bun, in a city where the art of enjoyment comes with the territory.