It takes a delicate touch to create a culinary masterpiece, patience and skill to weave a perfect basket, and vision to transform a lump of clay into a piece of graceful pottery. People with these talents and more have helped Ridgeland, Mississippi, grow from a small artists colony to a premier shopping destination with over 160 restaurants and quality accommodations. The city is home to the Mississippi Craft Center, unlimited shopping venues, exciting special events and now the Ridgeland Retail Trail.
Ridgeland will celebrate fine art and fine wine April 18-19 during the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival and Santé South Wine Festival, two signature metro area events held simultaneously at the city’s Renaissance at Colony Park. In its seventh year, this juried fine art show provides an opportunity for artists from across the U. S. to sell and patrons from across the Southeast to purchase fine artwork while interacting with artists in an informal and relaxed setting. The festival also seeks to further art education through its student gallery and Creative Craft Corner.
Santé South Wine Festival will take place Apr. 19 in conjunction with the arts festival. The ticketed event features vintages from the world’s premier wineries as well as some of Mississippi’s most succulent culinary delights. Since 2006, Sante South has grown into the largest wine and culinary extravaganza in the state and a signature event for the greater capital city area, generating proceeds for the Alzheimer’s Association® Mississippi Chapter. The event affords a rare opportunity for wine enthusiasts to speak directly with winemakers and features exceptional wines and fine food samplings from the state’s top restaurants for a worthy cause.
Ridgeland’s Renaissance at Colony Park, site of the events, is a lifestyle center masterpiece for shopping, dining and entertainment. Inspired by the old-world beauty and the grace of European and Mediterranean architecture, it offers a beautiful setting for enjoying fine art and fine wine.
The festival weekend will also feature a new event, Ridgeland’s One Behind the Other Tandem Rally. This inaugural event will highlight some of central Mississippi’s fantastic cycling routes, including the marquee ride along the Natchez Trace Parkway, a national scenic byway of the National Park Service that runs right through the City of Ridgeland.
A true national treasure, the Natchez Trace abounds with miles of scenic trails and a roadway perfect for motorcycling, RVing and bicycling. Highlights along the way include state parks, riding trails, Civil War historic sites, Native American artifacts, cultural and heritage opportunities and waterways such as the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
The 33,000-acre Ross Barnett Reservoir features parks, campgrounds, boating, fishing, swimming, paved trails, pavilions, disc golf and wildlife viewing. The perfect venue for picnics and relaxation, the reservoir hosts numerous events throughout the year such as the Dragon Boat Regatta and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Pepsi Pops.
Situated between the Natchez Trace Parkway and the reservoir is the 20,000-square-foot Mississippi Crafts Center, offering cultural experiences with true craftsmen. It showcases a colorful array of traditional and contemporary crafts created by artisans of the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild. The center houses a permanent collection of one-of-a-kind craft objects including an extensive Mississippi Choctaw basket collection, a sales gallery and meeting space.
Ridgeland’s numerous galleries provide plenty of opportunities to admire and purchase local art. The Ridgeland Retail Trail is a unique collection of specialty shopping malls, exclusive boutiques and antique stores, all within minutes of one another. A number of quality hotels in the area provide the opportunity recharge after a day of shopping, and many are just steps away from luxurious spas.
From white tablecloth to waterfront, Ridgeland’s restaurants can cure any craving. World-renowned chefs turn out the finest steaks and seafood, and options for casual dining and craft beer are close at hand. There’s no need to hop on an airplane to find authentic international dishes. From Mediterranean to French to Latin to Japanese, dinner in Ridgeland can be a global experience.
Ridgeland has all the charm of a small Southern town with the amenities of a larger city. With the metropolitan area of Jackson just across the street, it’s easy to plan an extended trip while staying in Ridgeland. To plan a getaway go to www.visitridgeland.com or call 800.468.6078.