Family-Friendly Fun from Baton Rouge to Jackson
The third and final destination for our trip was Jackson, Mississippi, which is about 175 miles from Baton Rouge. When planning trips, I check our driving routes carefully to see if there is anything along the way (or slightly out of the way) that we'd regret missing. I literally enlarge Google Maps and 'drive' the route, checking for anything that needs further investigation. I've found a lot of interesting things this way.
And it is exactly how I discovered that the Mississippi Music Museum in Hazlehurst was just a mile or two out of our way.
The Mississippi Music Museum is housed at the historic Hazlehurst Train Depot. Outside, you'll find tiles that make up a who's who of Mississippi music. The tiles are color-coded by genre.
If you're from out of state, they'll ask you to sign a guitar. I signed along the left-hand edge.
The MS Music Museum is small, but they've packed enough stuff inside to fit in a much larger space. You could spend a long time at this free museum and still not see everything.
We continued on to Jackson and stopped for lunch at local favorite Hal & Mal's.
The food is delicious, but order less than you think you need. The portions are enormous.
After lunch, we headed to the Mississippi State Capitol.
We found the liberty bell replica right away. I like when they're displayed prominently at the state capitol.
Mississippi's Capitol has great resources for visitors. I love that they offer free souvenir pins. They sit in a ceramic dish shaped like Mississippi. Cool!
There are lots of resources for children, too. We worked together on a fun (but challenging!) picture scavenger hunt that had us looking at tiny details in the architecture and artwork.
The Capitol was still wearing its holiday decorations when we visited. Simply gorgeous.
That's not a tiny tree Trevor and I are standing behind. It's very tall, reaching up from the lower level.
You know what isn't tall in Mississippi's State Capitol? The doors to the restrooms.
Future Governor deRosier of Mississippi? Probably not.
Our next destination was the Smith Robertson Museum, just a quick walk down the street from the Capitol. The building was constructed in 1894 as Jackson's first public school for black students. Author Richard Wright is their most famous graduate. The school closed in 1971.
The website doesn't mention an admission charge, but there is one. I don't remember the exact amount, but it was around $20 for the three of us. It is worth it. Also, don't be surprised if you arrive and the museum door is locked. Ring the bell and the caretaker will let you in.
Inside you'll find all sorts of exhibits about African-American history, struggles, and achievements. I loved the display about quilt codes.
It was powerful entering a model of a ship carrying enslaved people.
So was this display with White and Colored Only bathrooms and drinking fountains.
Here are Steve and Trevor, learning about sit-ins at Woolworth Luncheonette counters across the country.
The Smith Robertson Museum is packed with artifacts and information. I highly recommend a visit.
From there, we checked in to our hotel, the Old Capitol Inn. The building dates to 1952, when it was home to the YWCA. The dorm-style rooms housed women from across Mississippi who had come to Jackson to work.
Now those rooms house travelers, like us. The four doors you see in the photo below lead to a small balcony, a closet, the bathroom, and an anteroom with a desk and chairs.
Here's the view from our balcony.
The courtyard area is lovely. I imagine it gets a lot of use during warmer months, but it wasn't exactly sitting outside weather when we were there. There's a roof-top garden as well that's open seasonally.
Once we were unpacked and settled, we went out to find dinner. We ate at the highly-recommended Pig & Pint. YUM.
The next day, New Year's Eve, would be our last full day in Jackson. We made the most of it! I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.