Where is the best shopping in the Mississippi Delta?

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Lisa LaFontaine Bynum

Take a stroll down Main Street in any of the small towns that make up the Mississippi Delta and you will find a handful of locally owned gift shops that sell one-of-a-kind gifts.  However, there are a few notable places to check out while you are here.

The muted, earthy colors of McCarty’s Pottery in Merigold, Miss., is not only well-known across the state, but collections have been shown in art galleries all over the country. Proprietor Lee McCarty and his wife Pup began their pottery business in an old mule barn in the early 1950s. In fact, American writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner gave the couple permission to dig clay from the ravine behind his home — Rowan Oaks — for their first pieces. McCarty still operates his studio and gallery in the same original space. However, over the years a café has been added in addition to an elaborate garden that has the distinction of being inducted into the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Gardens in 2013. Each piece of pottery is fired using one of three glazes developed by McCarty himself. Most pieces can instantly be recognized by the trademark black wavy line, which represents the Mississippi River, and Lee McCarty’s familiar signature on the bottom.

For the music lover who has everything, pay a visit to Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art in Clarksdale, Miss. Owner Roger Stolle left a high-paying job in Corporate America to follow his love of blues music and open the eclectic record shop/bookstore/souvenir shop/art gallery. Stolle’s passion for the genre makes him a wealth of knowledge and worth striking up a conversation with if he happens to be in the store.

And as long as you are in Clarksdale, you’ll want to go one street over to the Delta Bohemian. Originally established as an online magazine literary magazine, a retail store eventually emerged that carries gifts, novelty items, vintage finds, clothing and fine art prints.

If you are looking for a one-stop-shop of all things Mississippi, you will definitely want to stop by Mississippi Gift Company in Greenwood, Miss. The store has an impressive inventory of over 750 food and gift items all made by in-state companies and artists — from locally produced gourmet food, pottery, art, books and health and beauty products.

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