Hattiesburg gained its nickname, the Hub City, in 1912 as a result of a contest in a local newspaper.
Named because it was at the intersection of a number of important rail lines, today this Mississippi city of the Gulf South is working on its persona in an effort to become a Hip City.
Home of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (Conference USA), Southern Prohibition Brewery and the recently opened Hotel Indigo, if your Hattiesburg visit is timed correctly, you’d have the opportunity to enjoy all three.
The Hotel Indigo, which opened its doors in Hattiesburg in the fall of 2018, is a global boutique hotel brand that delivers a refreshing and inviting guest experience that is truly reflective of the local community. From the locally inspired murals to the renewal program where the music, scent and menu items change throughout the year, each Hotel Indigo hotel delivers a vibrant, engaging and genuine boutique experience that gives guests the confidence to step out and explore the local neighborhood. Each Hotel Indigo property is unique and designed to reflect the local culture, character and geography of the surrounding area. No two hotels are the same. In Hattiesburg, the hotel rooms are spacious, hip and super modern.
The Hattiesburg location includes Brass Hat Midtown, a restaurant/bar located within the hotel. It features chef-driven small plates, handcrafted cocktails and a well-curated wine list. Part of the first and only Hotel Indigo in Mississippi, the restaurant brings a modern setting that pays homage to the city’s distinctive railroad heritage. The Hattiesburg restaurant is reminiscent of a 1930s railroad dining car, a tribute to the town’s timber and rail industry. It is an ideal choice for travelers truly looking to experience Hub City.
“The menu includes specialty items sourced right here in Mississippi. From smoked catfish dip to Gulf shrimp to Delta Blues Rice grits, it’s a great—and delicious—way to showcase Mississippi cuisine,” said Daniel Mann, food and beverage director for Brass Hat Midtown. “There are at least seven local purveyors on the menu, with possibly more to come.” Brass Hat Midtown also holds special weekly events for guests, including Monday Game Nights and Live Music Fridays. I can recommend the crab cake sandwich and one of their specialty cocktails, with the beverage serving either as a pre-dinner drink or as dessert.
Southern Prohibition Brewery, otherwise known as SoPro, boasts a taproom where you can try beers named Suzy B, Bro Flo IPA and Mississippi Fire Ant Imperial Red. They have weekly events that include activities such as yoga and crawfish boils.
Once a year Hattiesburg is also home to the Mississippi Gravel Cup Series (MGCS), a series of four gravel road races and fun rides around the state. The race course in Hattiesburg is in the nearby Desoto National Forest and on Camp Shelby, which is primarily a military training location preparing soldiers to deploy to areas such as the Middle East.
If you want to plan your trip to Hattiesburg at a time that you can stay at the Hotel Indigo and also ride a bike in the MGCS, the time to visit is January 26, 2020. The Mississippi Gravel Cup empowers gravel fans of every ability to experience the unique terrain found in Mississippi. Riders are invited to challenge themselves on distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles. This is an opportunity to experience unique gravel on winding Mississippi roads in a place which is so proud of its welcoming, inclusive culture that it named itself ‘The Hospitality State’.
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Cover: The essence of the gravel roads in the Desoto National Forest and the racing community being built in Mississippi.
Photo Kirk Giessinger
Selena Swartzfager is a cycling enthusiast who spends her free time on either a mountain bike or gravel bike.