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  1. #1

    Default Deep South scenery, civil rights and civil war

    Hi RTA experts and fellow forummers – we’ve just booked a couple of weeks (last week of August, first of Sept) to explore a little of what will be a relatively new area for us, the Deep South.

    We fly into Atlanta, head for Memphis then make our way down the Mississippi before flying out of New Orleans. Compared with recent trips I think it’ll be relatively easy in terms of miles per day and, while I’m keen to keep it that way, I’d appreciate any advice on places/attractions we may be unaware of.

    Based on existing advice gleaned from forum advice and RoadTrip Routes I think we’ll spend a first night at Warm Springs. Heading west, there’s the March route (albeit the wrong way) from Montgomery to Selma. A night in the Peabody appeals, as does the Shack-up Inn.

    Heading south I think we’ll look to take in Vicksburg (incl. Windsor Plantation), Canton (Cypress Swamp / Casey Jones Museum), Natchez (and the Trace), the Old Spanish Trail, the antebellum mansions of Plantation Alley and of course New Orleans itself.

    I’m sure we’ll happen upon other things along the way but if anyone has any recommendations in terms of food, photography, accommodation, alligators, Blues clubs, history and suchlike, that’d be great.

    Thank you!


    P.S. We did consider side trips to either Tallahassee or Little Rock but decided we wanted to make sure we had time to stop and fully explore / experience what's on the route described above. But happy to be advised that a day trip ‘off-piste’ would be worthwhile!

  2. #2

    Default Well, I'll be

    Hello Peter,

    At first blush, with recollection of your fondness for music, I was going to suggest a trip to Clarksdale might be in order. The Crossroad, Highway 61, etc. But, Lord Have Mercy, son, I didn't know about the ShackUp Inn. I reckon that's pretty much got everything covered. And a visit in August, no less. As we say in the South: Best be careful what you wish for; you're liable to get it.

    Seriously, that looks like a great stop. Seems as though I've read of some live music venues in Clarksdale, but that information escapes me at present. A little farther north, Nesbitt, MS is the town where Jerry Lee Lewis has lived for a long time, and just a little south of there is Sledge, MS, the hometown of Charley Pride. I did field work (as an exploration geologist) around Sledge for a few months in 1978, and the only notable thing about the experience was that Sledge didn't then have so much as a sign noting it was where Pride grew up, yet he owned hundreds and hundreds of acres of prime Delta farmland nearby. I would hope for more recognition today.

    You'll be close to Shiloh, and an interest in Civil War history would indicate a stop there, as well as Natchez and Vicksburg.

    The central part of the Natchez Trace is very nice, passing through gently rolling countryside. The tiny community of French Camp was in the midst of another of my exploration field areas, and there is actually an open-pit lignite coal mine operating today (the direct outcome of the exploratory drilling I was a field manager of) a bit north and east of French Camp, near the Jeff Busby campground/picnic area.

    Not too far east of the Trace lies Philadelphia, MS, where the civil rights workers were murdered and their bodies buried in an earth fill dam, giving rise to "drove my Chevy to the levee" in Don McLean's "American Pie". I don't know if there are civil rights sights or exhibits or a museum there, but there might be.

    There is a lengthy rail-trail (railroad grade converted into a hiking/cycling pathway) running from downtown Hattiesburg, MS for some 40 miles northward, so if you're into that sort of outdoors experience, that may appeal. Having worked outside in Mississippi for two consecutive summers, however, I shudder to think of a long cycle ride in August.

    When she goes annually to the Jazz Fest in New Orleans, my wife and her friends always book a suite at the Provincial, in the Garden District, and the photos I've seen of the rooms and courtyards are quite nice. It's far enough removed from the French Quarter for the permanent odor of bacchanalian excesses typical of the French Quarter to be absent.

    Just last week I was pondering passing through Mississippi enroute home from an early August wedding in Houston, and I was reminded virtually the whole state is "dry" on Sundays, quashing my thoughts of a live music evening in Jackson or Natchez. I'm going to Hot Springs, AR instead. Just something to remember as you travel the South: If you're looking to whet your whistle on a Sunday, plan for it on Saturday evening.

    Oh, and by all means, fire up your FM and AM radio on Sunday afternoon. The sermons broadcast offer a slice of Americana you just won't find anywhere else (with the possible exception of Eastern Kentucky, Southwestern VA, and East Tennessee).

    I look forward to reading about your trip!


  3. #3

    Default Dry Sundays

    Thanks Foy,

    The only time we've passed by this region before, we arrived in Tupelo on a Sunday evening, unaware that 'dryness' even existed. They had beers on display in the hotel bar, huge stacks of beer in the gas station, but sorry, no, none was available for sale. To add insult to injury, other guests were busy carrying cold boxes full of beer up to their rooms, and to cap it all, we ate at an Australian themed restaurant that night. I shudder to think what a visiting Aussie would have made of a beer-free Sunday night!

    Ever since this experience, and visits to the Indian Nations, we've always made sure we've had back-up in the trunk.

    Many thanks for the tips - the Provincial looks an excellent choice and, yes, I love listening to the Sunday morning preachers wherever we are; it's good to have a break from Rush Limbaugh and Dr Laura (I know she's gone now) every now and again.


  4. #4

    Default Same thread, different question: photography concern

    One thing that's been concerning me - the combined effect of A/C and southern humidity on photographic equipment ...

    Does anyone have any advice on how to overcome the challenge of taking a camera/lenses out of an air conditioned car into the heat and humidity of swampland? Firstly, it's going to mean misty optics and secondly there's the risk of moisture build-up inside the equipment. I'm reckoning on taking a load of silica sachets - will this be enough?

    Any advice/tips appreciated!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default More about Clarksdale

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    But, Lord Have Mercy, son, I didn't know about the ShackUp Inn
    Foy, great advice as always.... I guess you've missed my frequent posts about the ShackUp Inn? Well, here's a first-person report from another RTA member, (Kathyk) who enjoyed the experience.... And there's none better than Scott Stanton for finding those out-of-the-way places for music along the Blues Highway. Or as Scott describes Clarksdale.... birthplace of Muddy Waters, childhood home of Sam Cooke, and where Bessie Smith drew her last breath.


  6. #6

    Default Missed everything!

    Correct you are, Mark. I hadn't a clue.

    NICE writeups!


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