Image by Judy Rushing / Getty Images


Flanked by the mighty Mississippi River along its entire western border, the Magnolia State encompasses many identities. You'll find palatial mansions and rural poverty; haunting cotton flats and verdant hill country; honey-dipped sand on the coast and serene farmland in the north. Often mythologized and misunderstood, this is the womb of some of the rawest history in the country. And that's why the state is worth an extended visit. The novels, music and art birthed here tell deeply personal stories. They're not always easy to hear. But there's a compelling sense of connection – even joy – in the sharing. See for yourself in a late-night blues club in the Delta. Or on a wander through the homes of the state's great novelists. Or during a quiet moment inside an artist's cabin where bright murals depict the wonders of nature here. Immersion sparks conversations and will challenge your assumptions.

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