{Pictured above:Alcorn State}

“One of the Prettiest Places in the Country.”

It’s easy to feel swept away by Jefferson County mansions.  At Rosswood Plantation Bed and Breakfast, the antebellum “Gone with the Wind” elegance infuses the atmosphere from floors to 14-foot ceilings.  And the elegance is authentic:  The Greek Revival structure is a Mississippi Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its historical as well as architectural significance. Rosswood has also been featured on the Travel Channel and named “One of the Prettiest Places in the Country.”  And if the 10 fireplaces, winding stairway and gorgeous antiques don’t carry you away to an earlier time, there’s the journal of the original owner, Dr. Walter Ross Wade, ready to immerse you in those stormy, romantic times.  In the journal Wade describes his courtship and marriage to Mabella Chamberlain, the balls and parties they gave, and the Civil War battle that turned the house into a field hospital.  (Even ghosts make an appearance in the narrative!)

At Springfield, one of the first colonnaded mansions in the Mississippi Valley, Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson Robards were so swept away they tied the knot before her divorce to her first husband was final.  The year was 1791, and Springfield had just been completed for wealthy planter Thomas Marston Green; the home may well have been one of the first examples of Federal architecture west of the Eastern Seaboard.

Back then, the Jacksons’ premature marriage set tongues wagging, but today at the Old Country Store in Lorman, it’s taste buds that are titillated, by the restaurant’s sensational ribs and fried chicken.  Once upon a time, the Old Country Store was just that, selling general sundries, but nowadays under the direction of Arthur Davis, the charming chef and proprietor, the establishment is beloved far and wide for its all-you-can-eat buffet served seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  “Heavenly” fried chicken is the standby, supplemented with catfish and ribs, along with feast of side dishes that includes cornbread and dressing, sweet potatoes, field peas, corn on the cob and turnip greens in “pot likker.”  Known to his fans as “Mr. D.,” the charming chef and proprietor serves them up for a song, and often with a song, as Mr. D. serenades you with a ditty about his grandmamma’s cornbread.

In Jefferson County, it’s an irresistible combination: romance at first sight, love at first bite.