Friday, September 9, 2016

Aberdeen, Mississippi

One of the Jewels of Small Town Mississippi

When my partner and I first made a trip to the South to look at property, back in October of 2014, one of the main properties we were going to look at was "Green Leaves" mansion in Aberdeen, Mississippi. It's a small town under 7,000 people, and it's just outside of the "Golden Triangle" region that includes Columbus, Starkville, and West Point. The Golden Triangle is the three-city triangle where industry has moved in and is causing a resurgence in jobs and potential growth. Aberdeen is only 29 miles from Columbus, Mississippi, but it is off the main highway coming from the north, from Tupelo down to Columbus. And that is both unfortunate because you don't see Aberdeen unless you're looking for it and fortunate in a way because if you're looking for a beautiful, quiet, and peaceful place to call home, Aberdeen is off the modern beaten path. But Aberdeen is close to Columbus and Starkville and close to the same cities in Alabama where people from Columbus go to shop, which includes Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

If you've never been to Mississippi, and you just think of it as a poor state with right-wing politics, you'll be surprised how "off" such a perception is. A trip down from Tupelo to Aberdeen (off the main highway) or a trip up from Columbus to Aberdeen on the old Aberdeen Highway is a stunningly beautiful and well-kept area. Rolling hills, tree-lined highways, rivers, historic homes, silk-smooth roads everywhere. But best of all, you're in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area, and there's lots to do and see.

Elgin Theatre, Aberdeen, MS
A couple of months ago I went to Aberdeen to take a realtor friend of mine out to dinner.  Her name is Marsha Ballard, and her realty web site Southern Management and Realty Company is dedicated not only to selling new homes in the Aberdeen area, but she specializes in historic homes. You will often pay less than $50/square foot on well-kept, renovated historic homes. It is the first place to look if you're interested in purchasing a historic home. Marsha is also a great resource for information. She taught school in Aberdeen and knows the native citizens well. She is also extremely knowledgeable about the historic homes. Like Columbus, Aberdeen is rich in historic buildings and historic houses and it has a heritage homes tour of its own every year.

The downtown is well maintained and has a great selection of independently owned businesses. If you're interested in big box stores, they are out on the edge of Aberdeen and don't interfere with the downtown, where it's fun to shop and walk. Yes, there is a coffee shop and a diner, a candy and pastry store, a historic theater, where Morgan Freeman came one year to celebrate the Elkin Theatre's long history, which has operated since the 1930s. The town library is known, also, for the famous Southern writers who often come there. There is an active new-comers club that gets together every Tuesday morning at the breakfast diner or coffee shop. And if you're adventurous and want an absolutely Southern Living magazine dining experience, there is the Friendship House restaurant just north of Aberdeen a few miles. The chef and his catfish specialties has in fact been written up in Southern Living Magazine. When my partner and I went there one night while we were in Aberdeen, we went there, but we told people we didn't "like" catfish and so he ordered shrimp and I ordered steak, but the chef would not have it. He also served two different fillets of catfish, one grilled and one fried. After just a few bites of the catfish, both my partner and I set aside our other dinners and ate the catfish! That's saying something for two desert rats like us.

If you're really looking for a restful and beautiful place to retire to, don't take my word for it. Here is a promo video you might find enlightening. Forget about the Mississippi you think you know...

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