New Orleans, Natchez, Memphis

Old Sep 11th, 2010, 04:52 PM
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New Orleans, Natchez, Memphis

A friend and I are planning a trip to New Orleans and surrounding areas in April. We'll be in that part of the country for about 2 weeks and will be returning (back to California) from Memphis. We were thinking about 4 days in NO, maybe something in Vicksburg or along that part of the Mississippi, and then driving the Natchez Trace up toward Memphis or Nashville. I'm thinking that it might be too much to try to do Memphis and Nashville, and we do like to balance our vacations with some rural stuff as opposed to all cities. We are in the VERY beginning stages and would appreciate any direction those of you who are familiar with the area can offer! Thank you in advance!
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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I love New Orleans, but two days is just about all I can stand of it an any one time. The plantation tours are nice and you can do several on the trip north from NOLA

The Natchez Trace is very slow and can get boring after a half day. We have driven most of it, but never at one time.

I enjoy Memphis more than Nashville, but I expect that is a personal thing and others may feel differently.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 06:06 PM
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I think 2-3 days in each city is enough. Maybe a day or two more on the river road outside NO. I enjoy all of them. You are almost guaranteed to gain a pound per day. So you should be 14 lbs. heavier after two weeks.

Favorite places to eat

Memphis-
Gus Fried Chicken
Blues City Cafe
Rendevous
Brunch at the Peabody

Nashville-
The Loveless Cafe
Las Paletas Popsicles(best popsicles ever $2.50each)

New Orleans-
Mothers
Comanders Palace
Brennans
Mister B's
Cafe DuMonde
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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I've been to New Orleans twice for vacation (more times for work) and each of those times we spent 5 or 6 days there and we have plans to go back. We love that city, so the more days you have there, the better IMO

On our last trip we also spent some time in cajun country - Breaux Bridge, New Iberia, St. Martinville. That was a nice balance of cities and rural locations.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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Check out the Spring Pilgrimage in Natchez, Mrch 12 thru April 16. There are twenty-four antebellum mansions, all private residences, which open their doors to visitors during the five-week Natchez Spring Pilgrimage. Hostesses, in period costume, welcome visitors to three houses each morning and three or four more each afternoon. Three of the homes on tour are bed and breakfasts. There are other antebellum bed and breaksfasts in the area that are not on the tour. http://www.natchezpilgrimage.com/spring.htm
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 06:30 AM
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We enjoyed driving Natchez Trace and staying at Monmouth Plantation. We had dinner at the Plantation dining room, (must make reservations as it does not hold a lot of people) and truly felt like we were way back in history. Enjoyed it so very much! http://www.monmouthplantation.com/
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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I've been to NOLA, Memphis, and Nashville. With two weeks, you could easily spend the better part of one week in NOLA (there's plenty to do), and about 3 days each in Memphis and Nashville. Adjust to add in a few days driving and exploring time between NOLA and Memphis, and you've got your two weeks well accounted for.

If food is something important to you in your travels, NOLA has scads of great places (mainly Cajun/Creole and Italian) and Memphis has excellent barbecue.

From spirobulldog's NOLA list, will second Commander's Palace, Mr. B's (especially their bbq shrimp), Cafe du Monde, and Brennan's (mainly for break-the-bank breakfast, and note that this last has many naysayers both here and at Chowhound). Did not at all like Mother's when I went -- much preferred Johnny's Po-Boys and Liuzza's at the Track for this kind of food.

From spirobulldog's Memphis list, will second Gus's Fried Chicken (terrific) and Blues City Cafe (arguably the best bbq you'll find right on Beale Street). My favorites for barbecue were The BBQ Shop (on Madison), Neely's (on Jefferson), and A&R BBQ (downtown location, just north of Beale). Rendezvous was closed for vacation when I was there, or I'd have tried them.

Check out my food experiences in NOLA and Memphis:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...experience.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...experience.cfm
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 09:05 AM
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Thank you all so much!! I like the idea of some rural experiences in the cajun country. Hadn't heard about the Spring Pilgrimage, but it sounds like our timing would be just right for that. Bachslunch, your itinerary suggestion seems like something that might work out well for us also. We definitely love any kind of eating experience so all of your recommendations will be taken seriously! As far as the Natchez Trace, do you think we could get a good sampling of it by doing only part of the total length? Also, it does seem that a car rental is a must for everywhere we'll be traveling. Is public transportation something to think about for NO? Again, all of your comments have been a huge help. Thank you.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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You won't likely need (or want to use) a car when doing NOLA sightseeing. Most everything is within walking or public transportation distance from the French Quarter. A car is a good idea for exploring the plantations outside of NOLA and Baton Rouge, as tours are spotty and unreliable here.

I did not need a car in either Nashville or Memphis, either.

To make this work in Nashville, it's wise to stay downtown, within walking distance of the central city bus terminal located right by the State Capitol Building. Most attractions in Nashville are located downtown or can be reached via city bus (or in the case of The Hermitage and Belle Meade plantation, via Gray Line Tour).

Most folks apparently use a car when visiting Memphis (note that attractions tend to be spread out in this city) but one can manage without, especially if you're staying downtown near Beale Street. There is a free shuttle that links up the Rock and Soul Museum (located within a block of Beale), Graceland, and Sun Studio. A streetcar line runs down Main Street from the central city bus terminal to the north to the Amtrak station and National Civil Rights Museum to the south. A few attractions cannot be reached via bus (Ornamental Metal Museum, Slavehaven--Burkle Estate), but most of the rest outside of the immediate downtown can be reached this way. The buses in Memphis are more or less on time, not the cleanest buses I've seen, and something poor folks tend to ride, but if these issues don't bother you, I say go for it.

You'll of course need a car to explore the area between NOLA and Memphis in the least detail.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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This is a great trip. We were glad we included Lafayette in our itinerary, mainly because it included a swamp tour on the way and a really good Cajun meal at Prejan's.

I urge you to include both Nashville and Memphis in your itinerary. They both have very worthwhile attractions.

HTTY
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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I agree that you wont need a car in New Orleans - it is easier without one anyway. It is a city best seen on foot and parking is a real pain.

Our 1st trip to New Orleans, we did a tour to see a couple plantations, but if you are taking a road trip leaving from New Orleans, you can easily stop and see a couple along the way.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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I agree with htty, Prejeans is really a great place. I haven't eaten breakfast there but have had dinner. Hope to eat breakfast there next month.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 03:59 PM
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Again, y'all (just practicing!) are so helpful. Seeing a plantation or two on the way out of town makes sense. I hadn't considered Lafayette, but it sounds interesting too. Does anyone know if Vicksburg or Oxford are worth a look? Your transportation experience will save us a lot of trial and error, Bachslunch. Thanks to all.
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 06:49 AM
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If you're at all interested in Civil War history by all means stay briefly in Vicksburg and visit the National Military Park: http://www.nps.gov/vick/ What I found interesting is that only Union soldiers are buried in the cemetery there. The Confederate soldiers are buried elsewhere in the city, I believe it is Cedar Hill Cemetery:http://www.civilwaralbum.com/vicksbu...g_cemetery.htm
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Old Oct 12th, 2011, 04:11 PM
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Bookmarking for planning.

Ps. I consider myself well read/travelled. Why have I never heard of the Natchez Trace before? Have I been living under a rock? When we drove New England in the Fall of '09 we pretty much knew what scenic places to head for, the same for driving the Pacific H/way in CA etc.. I'm so excited to have 'discovered' this drive ;-), its exactly what dh & I enjoy doing. Wonderful info thanks one and all.
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Old Oct 16th, 2011, 11:56 AM
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aussiedreamer, I believe the speed limit of Natchez Trace is 45 MPH so it does take a while to drive, also there are a lot of stops along the way that tell you about the area which also takes a lot of time, so don't be in a hurry You might want to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy as there are no restaurants on the Trace, you would have to exit the Natchez Trace and then get back on. Enjoy!
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