To me, a hometown is a place where everyone knows you, supports you and loves you, even though they have seen the awkward stages of your life. It is a place where you cannot go to the grocery without bumping into someone you know.
I am fortunate enough to claim two beautiful Mississippi cities as my own. I was born in Laurel, but I went to high school in Hattiesburg, and my parents recently moved to Hattiesburg’s historic downtown.
Hattiesburg has a population of about 48,000 within the city limits and 140,000 in the greater Hattiesburg area. William Hardy founded the city in 1882 and named it after his wife, Hattie. Hattiesburg is known as the “Hub City” because it is within two hours driving distance to Jackson, New Orleans, Mobile and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The city has many attractions. The Hattiesburg Zoo is a family-friendly attraction with big cats, zebras and an interactive prairie dog exhibit, which is my personal favorite. The zoo has various special events and learning experiences for children as well as adults. The Longleaf Trace, a 41-mile paved trail, is another quintessential Hattiesburg attraction. The trail was built in 2000 and attracts bikers, runners and even equestrians. The secluded trail is perfect for exercise or just enjoying nature.
Recently, families and businesses are moving towards revitalizing Hattiesburg’s historic downtown. Many families have put efforts into restoring homes in the historic district to their former glory. Businesses have also moved downtown, and there are many new restaurants and events.
“I really enjoy the downtown area,” Hattiesburg native Will Stevens said. “The city has done well over the past several years in revitalizing it.”
I love to spend time shopping in the downtown area and eating at the local restaurants. My favorite lunch spot is The Depot. The Depot has a unique atmosphere with wonderful cuisine. Another local restaurant is Keg & Barrel. The bar offers meals with local ingredients and a wide selection of local beers. This is a popular spot for students and a great place to enjoy drinks with friends.
The city of Hattiesburg is a beautiful place with many wonderful restaurants and attractions. Even though it is a larger city, it still maintains the small-town feel and is a wonderful place to call home.
Rachel Gholson is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HottyToddy Hometown: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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