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Deep South Road Trip Feb/March 2013

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My wife and I are planning to fly from Manchester in the UK in early Spring 2013 to spend 2 weeks in the Deep South. We've travelled a lot around the USA, but this will be our first in the southern states apart from one night each in Atlanta, Charleston and Nashville. We're planning on flying into Austin, Texas, then driving to San Antonio. Then we'll either drive to somewhere on the coast (suggestions please) partway to Baton Rouge or Lafayette, or we'll take a short flight into Louisiana where we'd like to see New Orleans. So far so good. But we've never experienced Alabama, Mississippi or Arkansas so we're thinking of a drive through AL and MS, up to Memphis and across to Little Rock (or maybe there are better places in Arkansas). We fly home from Little Rock. Now, here's the rub. I'm finding it difficult to drum up much enthusiasm for Alabama, Mississippi or Arkansas. Can anyone come up with some good places to visit? We'd like to experience country, cajun and blues music. Also local food, shopping, maybe a historical site like a civil war museum, art galleries and one of the plantations.

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