Don’t let the frigid weather freeze your travel plans this season. Here are some of our favorite places to visit during the winter months.
With activities that cater to the whole family, DeSoto County, Mississippi, is a wonderful weekend getaway destination. Home to Hernando, Horn Lake, Olive Branch, Southaven and Walls, DeSoto County offers unique and varied experiences, all of which are just minutes from Memphis.
From small businesses to designer brands, DeSoto County boasts plenty of options for those looking for a little retail therapy. Tanger Outlets in Southaven has more than 70 stores on site, and the town boasts many locally owned boutiques such as Stella Ivy and Janie Rose in Southaven, Jimberly’s Boutique in Olive Branch or Pink Zinnia in Hernando, just to name a few. If you’re looking for unique pieces to elevate your home decor, Side Alley Gifts & Cafe in Hernando or Ultimate Gifts in Southaven provide just what you need to complete your space.
After working up an appetite, head to Olive Branch. It’s home to many locally owned establishments found just outside the town’s historic area. Visit the talented teams behind SideStreet Burgers, OB Pizza Co., Mississippi Ale House and Backwater Cider Company for delicious bites and drinks. Elfo Grisanti’s in Southaven is a must, too. If upscale dining is what you’re after, prepare yourself for a Northern Italian menu complete with original Grisanti family recipes. Finally, stop by City Hall Cheesecake at Silo Square in Southaven or on Commerce Street in Hernando for a sweet treat you won’t soon forget.
No weekend trip to the top of the Magnolia State is complete without outdoor activities and a little history. You can cast a line or bike along the Mighty Mississippi at the Hernando DeSoto River Park in Walls. Have a green thumb? Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery in Olive Branch is the largest of its kind in the United States and is devoted entirely to growing beautiful bonsai trees of all shapes and sizes. Speaking of trees, dig a little deeper into our roots with a drive along the Mississippi Blues Trail or by touring The Lewis Ranch, home of musical mastermind Jerry Lee Lewis.
Just minutes from Memphis, DeSoto County is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by … YOU! For more information, visit www.visitdesotocounty.com.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
There are more captive exotic cats in America than live in the wild. Fewer than 1,000 live in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos and sanctuaries. An estimated 6,000–9,000 live in often deplorable conditions in backyards, roadside zoos and sideshows. Many are held in speed-breeding private ownership facilities to supply the demand for cub-petting services. But what happens when the cubs become too dangerous? Many find their way into private ownership as pets. It isn’t long before the owners realize they bought a large and dangerous predator consuming 10 or more pounds of meat daily that at full size will weigh more than 400 pounds. They realize they have a predator, not a pet.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, located in Eureka Springs, and sprawling across 459 acres atop the Ozark Mountains is home for some of these victims. Their mission is to provide a lifetime refuge for abandoned, abused and neglected big cats. In 2021, the Turpentine Creek family rescued 18 animals over five rescues. As a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the sanctuary depends entirely on the support of donors to keep these animals fed and to provide the necessary medical care to ensure quality of life. With almost 100 animal residents, that is a hefty food and veterinarian care bill!
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has received accreditation through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) as well as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). They earned Guide Star’s Platinum Seal of Transparency in 2020. Charity Navigator scored them 100 out of 100 for their Financial and Accountability score. All of this makes Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge a great place to visit. Every dollar from admissions, gift shop sales and revenue from their unique lodging options goes back to caring for the animals. Through public education they work to end the Exotic Animal Trade, making sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek no longer necessary.
Together, we can preserve and protect these magnificent predators in the wild for our children’s future. So go WILD for wildlife and be sure to visit TCWR.org for more information about this amazing sanctuary, one of the best attractions in the nation and proud to be in Arkansas!
239 Turpentine Creek Lane • Eureka Springs, AR • 479-253-5841 • TCWR.org