Just ten minutes east of Flora, MS on Highway 22, Livingston appears to have shot up out of the earth overnight – the rebirth of a town long abandoned and swallowed by the elements. Creepy. When you think about it.
I’ve taken this route many times over the years and was stunned when I made the trip a few months ago to find, not an empty highway intersection in the middle of nowhere – the Mississippi equivalent of the Bermuda triangle, but a small, rustic community with an artsy, old-fashioned mercantile at its hub.
Damned if Livingston isn’t something of a local destination now.
It all started, apparently, with a farmer’s market, followed by plans to redevelop the long abandoned town-site. Originally the Madison county seat and trade center for nearby plantations, Livingston was nearly deserted by the Civil War. By all accounts (Wikipedia and references therein) nothing remains of the original town but a cemetery and the foundation of the old court square.
You couldn’t have proved that by me – anyone driving by would have seen no evidence that there had ever been anything there at all.
So, Livingston is a historic site with new buildings, fortunately designed with respect for the history of the site, and the pastoral setting. It is a place, in fact, where geese wander at liberty among the trees.
There are two restaurants (The County Seat and The Gathering – word is, they’re good), wine and sweet shops (Livingston Cellars and Livingston Sweet Shop), a “floral and goods” boutique (Tulip), The Farmers Table cooking school (yes, really! – must investigate for myself), The Cellar Door (currently on hiatus), and the Mercantile. It may not be old, but it’s as good as, with a delightful mix of edibles, craft items, gardening and fishing items, and more. Check it out….
And, last but not least, the cutest little chicken coop/herb garden I’ve ever seen at the center of the green.
For those traveling north to Memphis from Vicksburg, MS, Interstate 55 is the usual route. Highway 22, which connects Interstate 20 to Interstate 55, is an enjoyable drive past green, rolling pastures and everything from humble cottages to custom homes. And this will take you right past Livingston. Just in time for lunch, if you time it right.
If you’re looking for something to do on a Thursday evening – starting in April – you definitely want to check out the Farmer’s Market – a mix of vendors, music, food and families. Good old fashioned fun. Community style.
I think I’m gonna plant me a town….