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Mississippi in one week: where to start, what not to miss.

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Feb 10th, 2011, 07:08 AM
  #1
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Mississippi in one week: where to start, what not to miss.

Husband and I planning to spend last week of March in Mississippi where neither of us has ever been. Flying from Chicago. Looking for suggestions on where to fly in and out of and routes/highlghts.
Natchez is certainly on the list. Renting a car (obviously) and looking for quirky, historical, interesting roads, places, food and comfortable ($200) lodging. Thanks.
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Feb 10th, 2011, 07:45 AM
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Pretty wordy (a trait I can't shake) but the second half or so of a trip report I did a few years ago might be of use.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-the-lobby.cfm
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Feb 10th, 2011, 02:17 PM
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Flown into both Memphis, TN and Jackson, MS for trips in Mississippi. Think Memphis is a better airport and more choices of flights.
As for don't miss spots...Natchez as you say is one, Vicksburg and the historic downtown along with the battlefield park are good stop. My top don't miss however is the Delta Tamale Trail (http://www.tamaletrail.com/)very different. Also a Blues museum in Clarksdale. There are many Civil War battlefield parks worth a visit if you're interested in that era. Some great plantation homes around Natchez.
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Feb 10th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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Gardyloo I will check it out. Boom (if I can be so informa), this is exactly what I was looking for re the airport info. thanks much. and the Delta tamale trail...will be sure to include. Thank you.
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Feb 10th, 2011, 04:49 PM
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You won't be able to do Mississippi justice in just one week.

For history, visit the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, along with the New Capitol (which is now over 100 years old). There's also Beauvoir (in Biloxi), the home of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy.

For quirky, visit the Mississippi Petrified Forest in Flora, north of Jackson. It is the only petrified forest east of the Mississippi.

You can see Elvis's birthplace in Tupelo (a little two-room house).

Meridian is home to, among other things, the Jimmie Rodgers Museum and Rose Hill Cemetery (where the Gypsy King and Gypsy Queen are buried).

Vaughan, near Yazoo City, is the site of the famous train wreck that claimed the life of engineer Casey Jones. There used to be a museum there, but it closed and most of the artifacts were moved to Water Valley.

Rodney is between Natchez and Vicksburg. It is now a "ghost town" because the Mississippi River changed course, stranding the town "inland". The old Presbyterian church has a cannonball, fired from a Union gunboat during the Civil War, embedded in its front wall.

Also in that vicinity are Windsor Ruins, the remains of what was the largest plantation in Mississippi (Mark Twain was a guest there). It survived the Civil War, only to burn down in 1890 due to a wayward cigar or cigarette. All that's left are the 23 huge columns. The large iron exterior staircase is now at the chapel of Alcorn State University in Lorman, just down the road.

And Port Gibson is another possible stop - it was spared during the Civil War, and the Presbyterian church has a steeple topped not by a cross or weathervane, but by a large gold hand pointing to heaven!

Finally, Vicksburg is where Coca-Cola was first bottled, in 1894, and you can visit the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum (formerly the Biedenharn Candy Company) where it took place.

Enjoy!
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Feb 10th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Here's something not to miss in Vicksburg: "Gold in the Hills", the world's longest-running melodrama. This year marks its 75th anniversary!

It will be presented March 18-19 and 25-26.

Are you visiting specifically for Pilgrimage in Natchez? Be sure you reserve your accommodations ASAP! Depending on how much you like historic homes, you easily could spend half your week there.

Also, Jackson is much more centrally located for Natchez and Vicksburg than Memphis is. Just something to consider when booking flights.
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Feb 10th, 2011, 06:37 PM
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In Jackson, will second both the Old and New State Capitols, both excellent. Also consider the Mississippi Museum of Art (surprisingly nice moderate sized collection of work by Mississippi based artists). Did not get to see the Governor's Mansion, which is supposed to be worth seeing as well. That should occupy a full day's sightseeing.
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Feb 10th, 2011, 11:06 PM
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Baton Rouge is a good airport to fly into to visit Missippi. It's only 1 1/2 hours to Natchez. March is the busiest month for Natchez. Natchez unofficially sided with the North during the Civil War and therefore, most of the pre civil war (Antebellum) homes survived. March is also when the locals put on a pagent depicting life before the war. There are more homes on tour than at any other time. The Azaelas are in bloom and they are spectacular. If you haven't booked a room, it's probably too late for a hotel or motel. You may be able to get into a bed & breakfast. I know that Shantybellum has a website and most of the homes on tour also double as B&Bs. Don't miss Longwood. There is no other home like it in the US. The tour of the city cemetery is interesting.www.Shantybellum.com
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Feb 11th, 2011, 04:19 AM
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I lived in Jackson for five years and Oxford for two, as an employee of the University.

I would fly into and out of Memphis and drive south through the Delta on Highway 61, the famous Blues Highway. Stop in Clarksdale and other Delta towns -- the Delta is a unique place -- and maybe spend the night in Greenville, depending on when you arrived in Memphis.

Go south again to Yazoo City (send postcards to your friends who won't believe the name) and on to Vicksburg, where you can tour battlefields and spend another night. Day 3 will take you to Natchez to tour as many mansions as you can stand. Probably spend another night here.

I would then go to Jackson, spend a night, and do some of the things described above before taking the Interstate north to Oxford, where you can enjoy the town and visit the home of writer William Faulkner. From there you could go east to Tupelo to see the Elvis birthplace, if that is of any interest, or you could go to Holly Springs, an interesting Victorian town, on your way back to Memphis.
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Feb 12th, 2011, 06:42 AM
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Wow! What a wonderful resource you all are. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. Will report back on final route, but can't tell you how helpful you've all been.
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Feb 14th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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I would fly into Memphis, TN and take Highway 61 S to Clarksdale, MS. Have breakfast or lunch at Blue and White in Tunica on your way to Clarksdale. Blue and White is on the right as you go through Tunica. It's Blue and White and used to be a service station. Clarksdale is about 50 miles from the casinos. When you reach Clarksdale you will be on U. S. 61 which bypasses the city. Take a right just N of Clarksdale to downtown and you will be on N. State St. You will pass a big cotton gin on your right then you will see The Ranchero on your right. Abe's will be on your left just up the road. Past Abe's you will come to Sunflower which is just before the Sunflower River Bridge. Turn right and go N on Sunflower to the railroad tracks. Go back to your right just past the RR tracks and you will find Ground Zero and The Blues Museum. Madidi's is a few blocks to your N. Hick's is on N. State St. so go back S on Sunflower to N. State St. and go to the right cross the bridge and Hick's is on your right. President Clinton had lunch with Eugene before he left office but Hick's was in an old location back near the RR tracks. Ask for Eugene and ask him to show you his President Clinton photo's. He loves to show them.

Abe's BBQ @ 616 State St., Clarksdale, MS 662 - 624 - 9947. *
http://www.abesbbq.com/
Ground Zero Blues Club @ Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS 662 - 621 - 9009. *
http://www.groundzerobluesclub.com/
The Ranchero @ 1907 State St., Clarksdale, MS 662 - 624 - 9768. *
http://www.theranchero.com/
Delta Blues Museum @ 1 Blues Alley Lane, Clarksdale, MS 662 - 627 - 6820.
http://www.deltabluesmuseum.org/
http://www.hickstamales.com/

http://www.madidires.com/

If you want to try the best Clarksdale has to offer have an early lunch at Ground Zero which is owned by Morgan Freeman and two of his friends. Get a plate lunch or sandwich but eat light. The Blues Museum is next door. Before you leave Clarksdale, MS go to Hick's and get another light lunch of BBQ and tamales. This way you get the best of Clarksdale. Morgan owns Madidi's which is a fine dining restaurant a few blocks from Ground Zero if you would like to stop in for drinks and/or snacks before you leave Clarksdale, MS. It's very nice and highly recommended. The bar opens at 5 PM. There's an old neat store that sells a lot of junk across the street from Madidi's and plenty of places for the wife to purchase items to take home. I wish you could visit Oxford, MS. If not then plan 6/7 hours in Clarksdale. Have an early lunch at GZ, visit the Museum, walk around downtown and shop, get some tamales at Hick's. After lunch head back S on Sunflower by the river and stop at Hick's just to visit. Take a right on Highway 61 which is State St. Go across the river and Hick's is on the right in nice red brick building. Go in visit and get a cold drink. Talk to Eugene and look at his pictures when President Clinton visited. On your way N stop at The Ranchero and get a cold drink. Charlie Conerly who was a famous QB for the NY Giants lived in Clarksdale and there are all kinds of old sports photo's there of Conerly and some of his old buddies. It's a fun place and the food is outstanding.
I really hope you find time to visit Oxford. It's my favorite town in Mississippi. If so head N on State St. to Highway 278/6 E to Batesville/Oxford. It's about 60 miles to Oxford. You should be there around 3PM. When you get to Oxford you will come to a red light and Jackson Ave. going to the left. Go straight ahead and get off at the first Exit which is Coliseum Dr. Get off on right but turn back left and cross the highway. Take your first right by the Basketball Practice Facility on Hill Drive. You will see the football stadium straight ahead. Go to dead end at All American Drive turn right and go past N end of stadium. You will run into the Grove. Go to the left on University Ave. and you will go past the Grove on your right and run into the Circle. Go around the circle and you will see The Lyseum which is the oldest building on campus. The James Meredith riot started in the Circle. There's a monument of him behind the Lyseum. The street you came in on at The Grove is University Ave. Take it back E all the way to Lamar. Take a right on Lamar and go about 6 blocks and take a right on Old Taylor. Go about 3 blocks and you run dead into Faulkner's home. You can drive up the gravel road in front and park and go in and visit. Go back to Lamar and go N past University Ave. two blocks and park. You are now on The Square. The building on your left is Square Books which is very famous. John Grisham has a home in Oxford. You passed it on the right just before you got to town. It sits off to the right on a hill and it's easy to see. It's just before the car dealership before you get to the first red light. He's a frequent visitor to Oxford.

Park and walk around the Square. City Grocery is two doors down W of Square Books. Neilson's to your right on the Square is a nice department store. If you walk past City Grocery on the left you will see Waltz Restaurant after you pass the Pizza joint. Going around the Square you will find Ajax which is a good country food joint. There are a couple of nice ladie's shops on that side of the Square. Downtown Grill is on N side of Square. They have a nice bar upstairs. There's a Rebel junk store around on the N side if you want to buy a Rebel souvenir to take home. Go N on Lamar and Lenora's is on the left. Have dinner at City Grocery. CG has a nice bar upstairs and you can sit outside if you like. Tell Jim Weems the manager with a beard that Henry McCaslin said hello. He will take good care of you. If Jim is not there then a cute young lady named Lauren will take care of you. I hope you have a great trip.

City Grocery @ 152 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS. 662 - 232 - 8080.
http://www.citygroceryonline.com/

If you have time stop by Greenwood, MS where you will find some outstanding casual local dining at Lusco's, Crystal Grill and Giardinia's. Giardinia's is in The Alluvian Hotel which is a 4 * hotel owned by Viking Range. The Crystal has good plate lunches, seafood and steaks. Giardinia's and Lusco's both have outstanding seafood and steaks. Lusco's is old style in a fairly rough neighborhood but safe with lots of history and famous names that have been there. Everyone dines in a booth with a curtain same as Giardinia's. Spend the night at The Alluvian and dine at Giardinia's or Lusco's for dinner.
Alluvian Hotel @ 318 Howard Street, Greenwood, MS 662 - 451 - 1500.
http://www.thealluvian.com/
Crystal Grill @ 423 Carrollton Ave.,Greenwood, MS 662 - 453 - 6530.
Giardinia's @ 314 Howard St., Greenwood, MS 662 - 455 - 4227.
http://www.thealluvian.com/restaurants.html
Lusco's @ 722 Carrollton Ave., Greenwood, MS 662 - 453 - 5365.
Stop in Greenville, MS if you have time for dinner at Doe's Eat Place. Greenville, MS is W of Greenwood, MS on Highway 82. Doe's Eat Place is not to be missed. You enter the restaurant through the kitchen where you can watch the steaks being prepared. In the center of the main dining room there are stoves at which the fries are made and salads are prepared there as well. In most cases, one steak there easily feeds two.
Doe's Eat Place @ 502 Nelson Street, Greenville, MS 662 - 334 - 3315.
http://www.doeseatplace.com/
You can head S on Highway 49 to Yazoo City and take Highway 3 to Vicksburg, MS. If you are in Greenville, MS you can go S on Highway 61 to Vicksburg, MS.

In Vicksburg you could tour the old antebellum homes and the Vicksburg National Military Park.
Have lunch/dinner @ Rusty's River Front Grill @ 901 South Washington St., Vicksburg, MS 601 - 638 -2030.
or @ Walnut Hills @ 1214 Adams Street, Vicksburg, MS 601 - 638 - 4910‎ for southern cooking.
Stop in Greenville, MS if you have time for dinner at Doe's Eat Place @ 502 Nelson Street
Greenville, MS 662 - 334 - 3315.
http://www.doeseatplace.com/


I would definitely stop in Natchez and spend a day touring the plantation homes there. Monmouth is an oustanding place for the night. The dining room there is superb. I would also check out The Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall for a wonderful lunch.
http://www.stantonhall.com/
http://www.monmouthplantation.com/

Here's a link to visiting the Delta.

http://www.visitthedelta.com/

I would visit Clarksdale, Greenwood, Vicksburg and Natchez. A night in Clarksdale, Greenwood and Vicksburg would be nice. Two in Natchez and maybe one in Jackson should be fine. Good luck.
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Feb 14th, 2011, 12:33 PM
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I am so happy that Neilson's is still in business in Oxford! Littleman, you have made my day!

In a perfect world, Kaye's Barbecue would still be in business also, but the ceiling was falling down even 30 years ago. I took a friend from Jackson once, and he said, "Well, this is the kind of place you would want someone to take you to who had been there before." But people used to fly their planes to Oxford airport and pick up a load to take home.
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Feb 14th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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A couple of people have advised you to spend "a day" in Natchez. Given that you will be visiting during Pilgrimage, that's a little like telling someone to spend "a day" in New York or Boston or Chicago (to exaggerate just a bit).

In all seriousness, though, you should make the most of the timing of your visit. If you have not already, be sure to take a look at the Pilgrimage website

http://www.natchezpilgrimage.com/spring.htm

If you are REALLY into antebellum houses, you can spend the entire week just in Natchez in order to see everything that goes with Pilgrimage (not just the houses, but all the other events as well). Otherwise, pay close attention to the schedule of which houses are open when, so that you go on the day(s) that allow you to see the homes that interest you most.

And as a reminder, if you have not booked a place to stay, do so ASAP. Pilgrimage is a very big deal in Natchez.
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Feb 16th, 2011, 08:43 PM
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Here's an interesting place, or at least an interesting place name: Hot Coffee, MS

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ng...ultimedia.html

You can stop by Martha's Kitchen in Mount Olive. It is run by German Baptists (called German because of their roots in Germany), who have some similarities to the Mennonites and Amish. As an aside, when I stopped in Seminary, MS, in December I saw a man and woman who looked an awful lot like Martha and her dad (that was before I had seen the National Geographic video, so I didn't stop them to speak to them). There isn't much to Seminary, so not sure why they would have been down there!

Mount Olive is also one of the first planned communities in the US (1899) - its wide main boulevard seems a little odd until you know that fact.

And in Collins, the county seat, you can visit the Pope Company General Store (established 1913). Collins is a fairly typical county seat town, although the courthouse is not the most impressive.
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Feb 16th, 2011, 08:55 PM
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Here's something that is quirky and historical: The Howcott Monument in Canton, dedicated to those slaves who went to war with their masters and fought for the Confederacy.

http://www.mscivilrightsproject.com/content/278

You might search through the entire Mississippi Civil Rights Project site to look for places and information that are important to African-American history in Mississippi.

Canton itself might make for an enjoyable day - it has a pretty courthouse square, and several movies and TV programs have been filmed there. There is a Multicultural Museum, too.

http://www.cantontourism.com/index.html
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