Little Greenwood, Mississippi, and the surrounding Delta region are known to most as the birthplace of the blues. But a weekend visit to this hamlet of Southern hospitality is a surefire way to kick your wintertime blues to the curb. Grab some gals and head west into the center of the Magnolia state for a bliss-full mood boost courtesy of pampering, luxe accommodations, a little shopping, good food and, of course, great company.
A few steps into the sleek, shiny lobby of The Alluvian hotel, and you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that you’d teleported to some major metropolis. Gleaming marble under foot, swank décor and stellar service might not match your idea of what to expect at a hotel in small-town U.S.A. Yet this sophisticated property, located downtown and owned by the Viking Range Corporation that’s based in Greenwood, is working hard to change that fact and setting a new standard for comfort and style in a boutique hotel. After a complete renovation, The Alluvian opened in 2003 in the shell of a historic hotel that had shut its doors in the late 1980s.
Guest rooms, all 45 of them, are as impressive as the lobby, including touches like flat screen TVs, amply sized bathrooms, plush robes, Aveda toiletries and Kuerig coffee makers with a selection of gourmet k-cups to choose from, all amid rich colors and clean-lined contemporary furnishings. The real stars are the comfy, cozy beds decked in 300-thread-count linens that are covering soft, over-stuffed mattresses. www.thealluvian.com
If you and your gal pals are like a lot of the country’s female population and fell in love with Skeeter, Abilene and Minnie from wildly popular book and movie “The Help,” a visit to Greenwood in the coming months is a must. Much of the hit film was filmed in and right outside of the town, and The Alluvian offers packages that include a guided tour of movie sites, a hardback copy of the book and more. One package features the above plus a bridge club luncheon featuring some of the popular foods from the 1960s.
A variety of soothing, tranquil treatments designed to engage all five senses while rejuvenating body and soul are on tap at The Alluvian Spa. Indulge in services like the Deep South Cleanse facial, the Delta River Rock massage or a therapeutic bath like The Muddy Waters, a deep-cell purification that removes toxins and impurities and then is followed by a short massage. A full-service hair salon with mani and pedi offerings is also on site at the spa. www.thealluvian.com
Learn & Laugh
Whether you’re a seasoned home chef looking to hone your culinary skills or more of a “take out” and “eat out” kind of girl who’s in need of a tutorial on the basics of boiled water, The Viking Cooking School is a treat. The school’s motto: “Live, Laugh, Cook, Eat!” is an accurate description of what you’ll encounter during one of its hands-on cooking classes, with heavy emphasis on the “laugh” part. In gleaming, state-of-the art kitchen classrooms equipped with top-of-the-line Viking Ranges and appliances, expert instructors and notable chefs teach how to prepare everything from pizza to sushi to decadent desserts in a relaxed atmosphere. Choose a late afternoon class and enjoy the fruits of your labor for dinner. The Cooking School is also currently offering classes to go with its “The Help” packages. You’ll learn to make Minnie’s fried chicken and her famous chocolate pie.
In the front of the Viking Cooking School facility is the Viking store, a cook’s paradise overflowing bowls, pots, pans, handy gadgets, colorful whisks and spatulas, cute kitchen towels and other culinary accessories. Stock up on supplies and pick up a loaf of fresh-baked bread from the adjacent Mockingbird Bakery to take a taste of Greenwood home. Then walk down the street to find an array of gift shops and charming boutiques scattered throughout downtown. Don’t miss Fincher’s Antiques, Fincher’s, Inc., The Mississippi Gift Company (full of local art and Mississippi-made items) and Turnrow Book Co. (Grab a cup of coffee and sit for a spell with a book or magazine up in the store’s cozy loft.)
Opened in 1933, the Crystal Grill is a Greenwood institution and is most famous for its authentic tamales and its “mile-high” pies, thanks to copious amounts of sweet, airy meringue. Drop in for lunch here and leave full and happy. Lusco’s, another family-owned longtime Greenwood establishment, is a delicious choice for dinner. www.crystalgrillms.com
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