The Alluvian in Greenwood, Mississippi, is the South wrapped up in one perfect package. Plan to go with girlfriends for a few days; I did, and as soon as the stars align, I’ll be back for an encore weekend. While I have been to the Alluvian for special events, even New Year’s Eve once, my favorite weekend in Greenwood was with my sisters-in-law. Our personalities are as different as the men we married, but the three of us slipped away for a girls’ retreat at the Alluvian, a full-service hotel that offered something for everyone’s individual taste, all within one block in a charming Delta town.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon (after a short 2 ½-hour drive from Memphis). Delta Dog Trot: Landscape Askew West by artist Bill Dunlap greets you in the lobby, an introduction to the artwork and fine art photography on display throughout the hotel—collectively, a visual narrative of the region. The Alluvian commissioned Mississippi artists (or artists with Mississippi roots), to create artwork with the theme, “The Alluvial Plain,” from which the name of the hotel was derived.
We retired to our rooms to freshen up for our cooking class at The Viking Cooking School across the street. There we learned from a world-class instructor how to cook a tropical-style meal. (In the Deep South, how about that!) Equipped with complimentary champagne, the proper searing of fish was a main part of our lesson. That is where I learned the “cool” and safer way to slice an onion – you know, with the skin folded back and then used like a handle.
By the end of the evening, surrounded by all of the wonderful Viking equipment, every cooking gadget you could desire, an engaging teacher, and my fun cooking team (aka, three travel companions), I came away with Iron-Chef confidence in my ability to replicate what we had created together. A stop in the Viking store on our way out allowed us time to grab a few of the primary cooking accessories we had learned to work with that night.
The next morning, we all booked services from The Alluvian Spa for the morning. When you go, consider a good Southern facial enhancement such as the “Cotton Blossom,” the “Sweet Magnolia” or a “Mississippi Mud Pie” treatment. After the spa and lunch at a quaint café, on to shopping. The neighborhood is trimmed with aged architectural elements and persuasive storefronts. Antiques and estate jewelry are plentiful here, a boutique-size New Orleans.
Saturday evening began with Cosmopolitan martinis in Giardina’s bar while we waited for our table in the restaurant. The bar features some of the dark wood from the original 1936 restaurant. The modern Giardina’s simultaneously gives a nod to the past and a bow to the present in presentation and setting. In keeping with The Alluvian’s overriding theme, the cuisine at Giardina’s is contemporary Southern style. Sunday’s departure would come too soon, but our destination had proven itself to be an ideal place for slowing down together, if only for a few days.