Living the Sweet Life: Having Some Fun at Wisteria

By Alisa Murray Nationally recognized portrait artist and award-winning columnist.

Hey Sweet Lifers! Oh, I just love watching HGTV, and my mother-in-law did, too. Both of us have always had a knack and passion for decorating, and for me, a sincere appreciation for old houses. I got the chance to spend some time in Laurel, Mississippi as B and I have been setting up our second home, and we spent the night in this beautiful house on our way back to Texas.

Many of you know Ben and Erin Napier from their many shows they host in Laurel, their home town. It is a quaint place, and we really enjoyed the small town feel and the historic homes restored to their glory days there.

The front doors of the Wisteria Bed and Breakfast in Laurel, Mississippi.

The Wisteria is a bed and breakfast in Laurel, and having been to many over the years, we found it to be a really special experience. The home was built in 1901 for Silas Wright Gardiner, one of the founders of Laurel. He was a lumber baron, and he and his brothers set up the Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Company. The Wisteria was he and his wife’s second home, and they spent seven months each year in Mississippi. The house is decked out with extensive libraries, fine art and collections. Each of his homes were completely furnished so that all he had to do was pack up personal things and go. My kind of travel these days!

The formal living parlor.

Brian and I met the current owners of the Wisteria Bed and Breakfast, Mr. Schneider, who purchased the home in 1972 and raised his children there before converting the bedrooms into what it has become today a wonderful respite for travelers looking for a quaint and off the beaten path sleeping experience. First of all, the home is painted in what my Aunt Lona would have called the “perfect purple.” It stands out against other homes in the historic area of Laurel and is literally across the street from the museum and the Episcopal Church, so y’all know I was totally “at home!”

The original bathroom at Wisteria Bed and Breakfast.

I got to grab a bath in the original tub, and every detail by way of antiques to the lace curtains was thoughtfully put together to create the ambiance one would expect in staying in such a place. From the creaky floors to the sleeping cats, I was, to say the very least, happy and content. We even set up the Astros on our computer and watched our guys win another game while enjoying our choice beverages!

The morning breakfast was the best we have ever had, complete with crystal goblets filled with fresh orange juice and coffee served with silver spoons.  I’m telling you this Wisteria House is my kind of place and a must sleep if you find yourself in Laurel for the night. Over breakfast we met a couple from Germany, another from Alabama, and the owner told stories about his Laurel before HGTV came to his “Home Town!”

Take care of you, and stay “sweet!”