Photos: Fondren's own James Patterson for The New York Times

A New York Times travel writer has told her city – and all of the world, for that matter – that, if given 36 hours in Jackson, Miss., there’s much to see and do. The piece, which popped up online yesterday and will run in Sunday’s print edition of the Times, highlights dozens of restaurants, shops, historic sites and other activities that you might fill a day and half with in Mississippi’s capital city.

The article began by talking about 2010’s “transforming of the streets of the trendiest neighborhood” (that’s Fondren) to film scenes for ‘The Help’. Brent’s is mentioned before the end of the first paragraph. The writer, Laura Tillman, describes Jackson as having the “familiarity of a big country town.” We’ll take that, Ms. Tillman. She further proclaims “there’s never been a better time to visit the self-proclaimed ‘City With Soul.'”

The article makes for a great “see, I told you so” sort of piece to send to your out-of-town friends who have yet to grab on to your hype for all things local. In short, it got Jacksonians excited about Jackson.

In three sections (out of eleven, mind you), the Fondren neighborhood and our businesses are lovingly called out for their uniqueness. John Evans’s “love affair with books” should make any one toss their Kindle. Walker’s Drive-In is said to be “considered by many to be the best meal in Jackson.” Certainly one of them, Ms. Tillman, we would agree. Words like creative, charming, throwback and even snarky (yep, she’s talking about your shirts, Swell) pepper three paragraphs of literary love given to our little city within a city.

News crews visited Swell-O-Phonic and Brent’s where their managers, Drew Mellon and Leslee Foukal, respectively, confirmed the things we as Jacksonians already know. There’s something different here, and if you look – and not even that hard – you’ll find it. Social media was (and still is) abuzz with pride and humble “aww shucks” chatter that The New York Times would find our city so worthy of such a write up. Some on Twitter told boutiques like Fondren’s Blithe & Vine “we don’t need to read the #newyorktimes to know your fabs!!”

But the truth is, we do. Sometimes it takes an outsider looking in to wake you from your apathetic “this is my hometown and I love it” slumber. Tillman wrote beautifully of the things we have in our grasp on a daily basis, and, quite possibly take foregranted. She pointed out the treasures found in our century old neighborhoods that, as we look for activities to fill our time, we often forget about. She awoke our civic pride.

Thank you, New York Times, for getting Jackson excited about what’s right outside our front doors.

And to you, the reader: Explore. Discover. Find your own little piece of Jackson and shout it from the rooftops (or from your Twitter account). Either way, let’s create a stir in our city like never before.

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