Wednesday, May 26, 2021

On the Road Again…Finally!

Finally, a real road trip albeit a short one… Laurie and I headed south, picking up her sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill after they flew into the airport in Birmingham Alabama.  Our primary objective was to visit Laurel Mississippi, the town where the HGTV series “Hometown”, is based.

This continues one of our travel trends…visiting the home of various HGTV, DYI and Food Channel television shows.  We’ve been to Roanoke VA (Black Dog Salvage), White Sulphur Springs WV (Barnwood Builders), Waco TX (Fixer Upper) and Pawhuska OK (The Pioneer Woman).  We had visited Laurel in 2015, but that was before the changes wrought by the advent of Erin and Ben Napier’s fame via “Hometown”.

Laurel Mississippi’s City Hall opened for business in November of 1914.  The structure once housed all of the town’s officials to include both the fire and police departments.  It’s an interesting example of eclectic Mediterranean classical style blended with a touch of craftsman, the latter being a dominant housing style used in town… The city hall is a contributing element of the Laurel Central Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.

This sign sits high and proud in front of Laurel’s City Hall.  The problem is that you have to look up to see it…and one’s butt hugging pants might fall down if you lose your concentration!  Love it!

We visited many of the locations featured on Hometown…but we did miss going into and enjoying the baked goods at “Sweet Somethings”!  Part of the problem was that the street with brick pavers in front of the bakery was under construction and not easily accessed.  I would have devoured one of their sticky buns or cinnamon rolls if I’d remembered the bakery in the morning… Check out their menu at Menu (

As it was, we did venture into that construction zone on our first evening.  It was time for dinner!  Laurie and I remembered a very favorable evening meal on our last visit to Laurel and we wanted to revisit the Loft Restaurant with Bonnie and Bill.

It was a Thursday night and The Loft was very busy.  It must be noted that The Loft Restaurant was also really busy when we visited it back in 2015, pre-Hometown and the Napiers’ fame.  It’s not a fancy place but it is large and it does offer outside dining for those so inclined. 

I took this photo of Bonnie and Bill perusing the menu.  They had some tough choices to make!

There was one appetizer that Laurie and I knew we were going to order if it was still on the menu.  Why it’s named the Norwood Appetizer, we haven’t a clue.  We were happy to see that it was still featured… It features Cajun seasoned BBQ shrimp floating in an amazing sauce and served with toasted and seasoned pieces of French bread for dipping.  It was excellent!  Sometimes you can repeat a great experience from the past.  We would dip just about anything edible in that amazing sauce…

I’m not into mushrooms but everyone else at the table was.  This second appetizer, hand battered and fried mushrooms, was another winner.

Everyone also enjoyed this platter of Fried Crab Claws… They were easy to eat and tasted as good as they looked.

Believe it or not, we actually ordered 4 appetizers.  I failed to take a photo of the Breaded and Fried Asparagus spears.  Somehow, the breading completely adhered to the asparagus.  The texture and flavor was very nice but at $2.00 per spear, this appetizer seemed a bit pricy for what you got…

After all those appetizers, especially with all the ‘bread dipping’ in the Cajun BBQ sauce, Laurie and Bonnie were stuffed after all the appetizers and couldn’t eat any more.  However Bill and I soldiered on!  Bill had a side salad and then enjoyed this beautiful nicely seasoned "Roxanne" redfish filet…

As for myself, I ordered this large pounded and deep fried pork chop!  At least I sided it with a little steamed broccoli for a bit…just a bit…of healthy dining.  I don’t remember what that sauce on the side was, but I dipped every bite of that pork chop in it!  The chop was juicy and perfectly cooked.

We were all too stuffed to order desserts all around…but we just had to try The Loft’s bread pudding.  Unfortunately it was the one item that we ordered that we didn’t care for… It was just sort of bland.

All in all, our dining experience at The Loft was top notch.  Our server, whose name was, believe it or not, Laurel, did a great job.  Like every restaurant we visited on this trip, they were shorthanded but given the pandemic and the current employment situation, we understood the problem.  To learn more about The Loft, go to The Loft on Central Ave - Home | Facebook.

After dinner, I convinced the ladies to pose in front of an ivy covered wall right across from the restaurant.  They do look happy!

Then of course, they had to take a picture of me with Bill.  It’s amazing but we’re both sort of smiling…a rarity.  Our wives sometimes refer to us as ‘twins’ given our mutually svelte figures, our lack of balance, infrequent smiles and appetite for food.  My smiles are there, but they’re internal!

I’ll end this post with this colorful Laurel postcard style sign featuring some local folks who seemed to like me taking their photos.  We encountered friendly people everywhere in Laurel…

There are at least 7 downtown wall murals in downtown Laurel.  Three of them were designed by Erin Napier.  They do brighten up the town!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!  It was great to be on the road again…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. wow You guys for sure had a good time. The city hall house looks great and I love that funny sign.
    I love those appetizers that you ordered..those fried crabs look to die for, Dave. Sorry that bread pudding was disappointing.

  2. Glad you enjoyed your return meal. I'm with the girls - How could you order after all of those appetizers.

  3. What a fun time...lots of good appetizers sometimes do make a meal. Thanks for including the mural too! Now I'm hungry!

  4. good sign: "pull up your pants".... 👍👍

    you all seems have a good time, .... love to read your "adventure"...

  5. Ha! I get you with the smiles, I'm not a "smiley" person at all and remember Dad telling me when I was young to smile. Bill always looks like he's smiling. I've never watched HGTV and don't even watch the food channel anymore. Those mushrooms look delicious as does your pork chop! Appetizers don't make a meal for me though. Good post!

  6. It was nice to see that you were not only able to have a family get together, but also a fun (and delicious) road trip, Dave. I could see the resemblance between the sisters and you and Bill could be related, almost. All the food looked wonderful and after feasting on appetizers we might have skipped an entree as we have often done. The sign in front of the city hall was a good one, but how many of those in need of pulling up their pants would actually read it and do it.

  7. Lovely see you on the road again dear David and you and Laurie look really happy , yes you and Bill like something similar, and I know you are smiling inside!! Hugs to Laurie!