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Trip Report Trip Report - Touring South East USA

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A very big thanks to all of you who helped us plan our trip and to let you know that we had a great time. We couldn't fit in all your recommendations but we tried our best. We were there from April 6th to May 4th with flooding and tornados all around us but, fortunately, apart from a big thunderstorm in Memphis we were OK. In fact we had blue skies and sunshine for 26 days out of the 28. I only have time to give you a brief overview of our trip but I'm happy to answer any questions if anyone would like more details. I have done a report on most of the hotels/B&Bs we stayed at, on TripAdvisor. The only one I was disappointed with was Le Richelieu in New Orleans.

6th April - Stayed overnight in Best Western Hotel & Suites Airport South, Atlanta, before picking up our hire car, a Nissan Pathfinder (SUV) and travelling to Charleston where we stayed 3 nights at BW Plus Charleston Downtown. Toured the Historic District using the Dash (free trolley) and walking. Bought a combo ticket for Magnolia Plantation and Drayton Hall - good contrast. Loved Magnolia, beautiful gardens and great swamp tour on a little train. Recommend Pane e Vivo restaurant. We tried Hyman's Seafood as well but the waiting list was too long.

10th April - On to Savannah where we stayed at the BW Plus Savannah Historic District for 2 nights. Made very good use of the Savannah Walking Tour and Guide Book, purchased at the Visitor Centre for $6. Enjoyed eating at Huey's down by the riverside.

12th April - Cut across country on the 84, listening to Dixie Country Radio, to stay at BW Plus Wakulla Inn & Suites, south of Tallahassee.

13th April - Travelled along the 98 to Daphne nr Mobile and stayed at the Microtel Inn & Suites Mobile/Daphne. Stopped at Seaside for lunch. Bought some shrimps at a shack by the beach. Absolutely beautiful white sand, turquoise sea, but tasteless shrimps.
Ate at Bimimni Bobs overlooking Mobile bay - good.

14th April - Spent 2 nights in New Orleans at Le Richelieu Hotel on the edge of the French Quarter. Might have stayed outside the French Quarter if we'd realised how good and cheap the tram sytem is ($5 for a day pass). Ate at the Marigny Brasserie both nights as we enjoyed it so much the first night. Unfortunately, on the second night we had a problem with our waiter but food still good.

16th April - Drove to Thibodaux to stay at Naquin's B&B for 3 nights. In hindsight not the best location for what we wanted but Joyce and Frank Naquin made up for it, being wonderful hosts. We did manage a trip to Avery Island, Grand Isle and a swamp tour.

19th April - Followed the 61 up to Natchez to stay 3 nights at the Deveraux Shields House or rather at an annexe called Aunt Clara's Cottage, just down the road - probably our favourite hotel/B&B. Loved Natchez - great for walking round and for driving with lots of free parking. Favourite eating place - Cotton Alley. Bought a combo ticket for 3 plantation homes, Longwood, Rosalie and Stanton - great combination. We also paid $20 each to see the gardens at Monmouth. It does include a brochure and a Mint Julip but the gardens were disappointing, barely 15 mins including a short trail through the woods and what few flowers there were, were mostly dead. Sorry Stu.

22nd April - Up to Vicksburg, partly by the Natchez Trace Hwy, staying at Aherne's Belle of the Bends for 3 nights. Did the sunset sail on the Yazoo River & Mississippi and also enjoyed our visit to the National Military Park which was free on Easter Saturday. Being in Vicksburg on Easter Sunday wasn't good - everywhere was closed including most of the eating places. We had to eat in the Casino. Lost $1 35cents on the slots - last of the big spenders!

25th April - Back on the 61 to Memphis, stopping in Clarksdale for lunch. Visited the Blues Museum first and then asked for directions to Ground Zero, only to be told that it was just next door but closes at 2pm on Monday and it was 2.05pm. We went to have a look at it and tried the door. It was open and a guy called Abraham confirmed that they were closed but agreed to let us have a look around and took our photo on the stage. He then insisted on making us a Catfish sandwich and coffee. How about that for good ole' Southern hospitality!

Stayed at Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis - Beale St. for 3 nights. Visited Gracelands, Stax Records, Sun Studios and the National Museum of Civil Rights. Thoroughly enjoyed them all.

28th April - On to Nashville via Shiloh (to visit the battle field) to stay at the BW Plus Belle Meade Inn & Suites for 3 nights - a little out of town but it worked well for us. Highly recommend Porta Via, an Italian restaurant 2 miles down the road. No problem parking in Nashville, in fact someone gave us their parking receipt so it didn't cost us a thing. Enjoyed the trolley tour, driven by a really interesting guy who is also a session musician. Also enjoyed the tour of Ryman's Auditorium.

Went down to Franklin and visited the Carter House - a memorable, evocative tour given by a young man there who clearly knows his stuff.

1st May - Headed south for our last stay, 3 nights in Chattenooga, at the Chanticleer Inn on Lookout Mountain. Quite a lot of storm damage here but our B&B not affected and most places starting to reopen. Visited the Battlefield Centre at Point Park on the Mountain (once the tree blocking the road had been removed) and then on to Chicamauga for the Civil War Battlefield. There is an excellent Centre here that shows a time line with a brief description of the relevant action in each theatre of the war, bringing it all together.

We also visited the Aquariums (sea & river) which were very good. Not normally our thing but it was raining. (Made use of the free trolley from near the Choo-Choo Hotel as we found parking difficult and pricey). Would recommend eating at the Terminal Brewhouse also next to the Choo-Choo Hotel.

4th May - Finally, back to Atlanta and, sadly, our flight home.

So much for the brief overview!!

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