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Trip Report Trip Report: Natchez Trace Parkway

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I'm kind of a pushover. I love almost any good road that I'm driving on, but the Natchez Trace Parkway is really a great road.

Maybe it's just that the kids were behaving exceptionally well (Tip #1 for Roadtropping with Kids: Start 'em Early and Oftenn) -- they're either beaten down and resigned to the fact that they're going to spend 50% of their lives in the back seat, or they like it. These days, it seems like they like it.

We flew in to Nashville and rented a car, headed to New Orleans via the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The northernmost 50 - 100 miles are a little windy-curvy but after that, it's nothing but gentle curves, gradual inclines, nice road surface, ZERO LITTER... This would make a fantastic bike ride.

We worked a bunch of educational stuff for our 7 year old to tie in to the things he's working on in class, so we found all of the stops especially useful.

Here's a good tip: If you're driving the Trace (or exploring anywhere in Mississippi River country, buy and read Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi before you go. Twain is such a wonderful describer of things and people that it really helps to make the trip fun and interesting for parents and kids alike.

Here's another tip for road tripping with kids: keep a running tab of animals that you see. We saw tons of turkeys (literally, tons). Which maybe isn't such a surprise. But we also saw a lot of other animals too. Guess which is the strangest animal we saw.
Give up?

It was a camel.
We saw a camel in Alabama.

Spent the night in Tupelo at the Hilton Garden Inn. $139/night for a King suite. Tom slept under the desk with a sheet draped over it (Hotel Room Fort-making 101) and Lilly (3 yrs) slept on the fold out couch. Visited Elvis's house and watched all of the other tourists.

Next day we took our time along the trail to Jackson before cutting south to New Orleans for a business conference. Fantastic BLT (with home made garlic-Tabasco mayo) at French Camp. We give French Camp an unequivocal "Eat lunch here if you drive this road."

The Mississippi Arts Center was our last stop before switching to Interstate. Great stuff, not cheap. But 'Life on the Mississippi' was only $3.50, which I consider cheap.

We can't say enough how much we enjoyed this drive. We'll probably take it back to Nashville as well.

There are photos and videos at our blog.


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