By Kara Kimbrough
I felt a pang of envy last week as I watched news coverage of the picturesque town of Pomfret, Vermont. Attracting thousands of tourists from around the world is an abundance of fall foliage in vibrant colors of orange, yellow and green. One of the most sought-after spots is a private residence located in a valley called Sleepy Hollow Farm. As I watched the footage of tourists lining up in search of the perfect selfie (before being chased away by law enforcement), I felt a little sad that I wouldn’t witness anything as beautiful without a trip up north.
Then it hit me that while Mississippi is not on the self-proclaimed “leaf peepers” must-see list, we do have plenty of natural beauty in our state, including several waterfalls in picturesque spots. You read that right – there are close to 10 waterfalls in Mississippi. Most are in obscure areas, but worth the drive and a whole lot closer than Vermont.
Two of the largest and most beautiful areas in which to experience a Mississippi waterfall are Clark Creek State Park in Woodville and Dunn’s Fall’s Water Park in Lauderdale County.
The Clark Creek Natural Area in southwestern Mississippi is one of Mississippi’s most beautiful outdoor treasures – and well-kept secrets. Comprising more than 700 acres, the scenic oasis in the middle of the forest is highlighted by 50 waterfalls ranging from 10 feet to more than 30 feet in height. Bird-watching, hiking and viewing hundreds of native trees, flowering plants and rocks can be enjoyed on the established trails. And while it’s a rare sighting during daylight hours, the area serves as a habitat for Mississippi black bears.
Travel to east Mississippi in search of the Chunky River in Lauderdale County and you’ll find the Dunn’s Falls Water Park. The bluffs of the eastern bank of the river extend to amazing heights from which a natural majestic waterfall flows. The powerful flowing water serves as the source for the working water wheel before splashing 65 feet into the shallow river. Visitors can climb down winding steps on the steep embankment next to the falls and view the majestic water from below.
The park also features an 1857 grist mill, the historic Carroll-Richardson Gristmill which was moved from Cave Springs, Georgia in 1987 and reconstructed on the site of Dunn’s original mill. Other sites are a rustic homestead and mill pond home to catfish and ducks. Nearby nature trails wind through the woods and are home to wild turkeys, deer, squirrels and other wildlife on display for hikers.
There are a few more waterfalls spread throughout the state, but these two areas are considered to contain the most majestic. For a complete list, drop me an email and I’ll share it with you.
Speaking of fall, a friend shared her family’s favorite chili recipe with me last week. Despite its simplicity, it’s a thick, hearty version of one of my favorite fall dishes. So what if it’s still 90 degrees…just lower the air conditioning and dig in!
First Chili of Fall ’23
2 pounds lean ground chuck
2 medium onions diced, ½-inch
4 cloves garlic minced
28 ounces whole tomatoes with juice
14 ounces diced tomatoes with juice
1 medium green bell pepper, 1/4-inch
14 ounces tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
15 ounces kidney beans drained and rinsed (optional)
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
Combine half the seasoning mixture with ground beef and mix until well combined. Brown ground chuck, onions, and garlic until no pink remains; drain. Combine beef mixture with all remaining ingredients, including remaining seasoning, in a slow cooker. Slightly mash the whole tomatoes. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
If You Go Looking for Waterfalls:
Clark Creek State Park
Where: 366 Fort Adams Pond Road, Woodville
Hours: Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday; open Thursday – Monday
Contact: For more information, call 601-888-6040
Dunn’s Falls Water Park
Where: 6890 Dunn’s Falls Rd., Enterprise
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Sunday-Tuesday
Contact: Admission fees are charged; call 601-655-8550 for more information