by Kara Kimbrough
After sharing information about the north Mississippi homes of famous Mississippi authors, I’d be remiss if I left out the Jackson home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty. It’s an interesting museum complex that includes the historic Welty House, Welty Garden and the house next door, which serves as the Visitor Center. It’s here in the historic 1925 Tudor Revival that Welty penned her prolific stories, including The Ponder Heart, The Robber Bridegroom and The Optimist’s Daughter, the short novel for which she was awarded the Pulitzer.
Located in the Belhaven neighborhood where Welty resided for 76 years, the house was declared a Mississippi Landmark in 2001 after her death. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2004. Two years later, the restored house was opened to the public by the Eudora Welty Foundation and Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Each room of Welty’s home includes personal items, including the author’s collection of books, artwork and furnishings. Highlights are a tattered set of Dickens and gifts from authors she admired, all of which share space with her beloved typewriters and books.
Not to be missed is the garden located behind the main house. Most people know Eudora Welty as a writer, but she was also an avid gardener. Today, the Welty Garden blooms year-round with roses, daylilies, flowering shrubs, native plants and trees and more than 30 varieties of Welty’s favorite flower, the camellia. The Eudora Welty Garden is recognized as an official stop on the American Camellia Society Gulf Coast Camellia Trail and a display garden for the American Daffodil Society.
Don’t miss the Visitor’s Center, where an intriguing exhibit based on Eudora Welty's memoir, One Writer's Beginnings, follows her path to becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning author through her own words and treasured artifacts from her life.
When it’s time for a meal, look no further than The District at Eastover not far from the Welty home. The modern complex is filled with shops and restaurants ranging from gourmet pizzas to burgers to steaks.
A fun, lively place is Fine & Dandy, named one of the “most Instagrammable spot in America” due to its eclectic décor with Mississippi touches. An even better reason to visit is the food, ranging from homemade biscuits and pear preserves to "Dad bod tots" and pan seared redfish and grits.
Fine & Dandy is open for brunch and lunch, but it’s dinner when most of the aforementioned food items shine. Starting off a meal in the evening with “bread & butter,” better known as Jessie Mae’s black pepper bacon cheddar biscuits with whipped molasses butter and Ms. T’s pear preserves ($9.90) is a decision you won’t regret.
Other noteworthy starters are spring onion bisque ($7), the Jackson salad topped with comeback dressing ($9) and my personal recommendation, Dad bod tots ($10.90), a plate of tater tots topped with pimento cheese, white barbecue sauce, bacon and green onions.
In addition to redfish, entrees are Instagram-worthy and delicious. Country fried ribeye ($28), cast iron petite filet ($34), chicken piccata ($19) and lamb chops ($34) are the stars of the eclectic menu.
Fine & Dandy is also known for its thick, juicy burgers, including the purist ($13.50), nobleman ($15.50), Fine & Dainty ($14.90) and the one you’ve likely seen on Instagram, Grandma Chick ($12.90).
It’s imperative to end a Fine & Dandy meal with one of its “different in a good way” desserts, like banana pudding bread pudding ($8), old fashioned cheesecake ($10) and everyone’s favorite, “birfday cake ($8.50), complete with sparkler.
If You Go:
The Eudora Welty House and Garden
Where: 1119 Pinehurst Street, Jackson
Visitor Center and Garden hours: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 12:30 to 4 p.m.
Guided house tour times: Tuesday through Friday 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m.; Saturday 1 and 3 p.m.
Contact: Reservations are required for tours. Call 601-353-7762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation and learn about admission fees based on group size and ages.
Fine & Dandy
Where: 100 District Boulevard, Jackson
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday brunch 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.