Monday, November 26, 2012

The Mighty Mississippi

I had to think very hard to remember where we'd come from this morning. We've covered so much territory in the last few days that I can hardly remember my own name!

We left Jackson (home of Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon) in teeming rain but once we'd found our way onto the Natchez Trace Parkway the sun came out and allowed us a chance to enjoy the beautiful woods on either side of the road. It was awesome to get off the highway, especially after a near miss just out of the city when a car in front of us lost control and slammed into the barrier. The speed limit on the parkway is a sedate 50 miles an hour. It was like a glorious Sunday drive and I finally felt myself relaxing for the first time since we got in the car. We made a point of stopping at every historical marker and learnt a remarkable amount about the civil war as we went. It was along this track that Major General Ulysses S Grant marched his troops before winning the siege of Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi.

We also stopped at the Locust House, an original inn turned plantation house. How remarkable to imagine that in it's heyday this house was a thriving farm, complete with slaves, as witnessed by the slave cemetery down the path behind the house.

At the end of the Parkway we found ourselves in Natchez itself and got another view of the mighty Mississippi river. Natchez is an interesting town, full of magnificent antebellum homes. Seriously, these houses are jaw droopingly beautiful. I had to shake my head a couple of times because I was so sure I saw Scarlett O'Hara settling her crinoline under the shade of a magnolia tree outside one of them! When we stopped tonight I realised I had been in so much awe of them I hadn't even taken a photo.

We wandered down the main street, that like a lot of the towns we have visited in the South , was pretty much deserted. Taine thought all his Christmases had come at once when we visited a curio shop full of christmassy things and yummy fudge. I just enjoyed listening to the lilting accent of the girl behind the counter who referred to her boss as Miz Lisbeth.

After a lunch of ribs, pulled pork and sloppy joes, we decided to push on to Baton Rouge so we don't have as far to go tomorrow. We arrived just on peak hour so we had dinner at a Thai restaurant while we waited out the traffic. Again, the food was excellent and ridiculously cheap. Even with a 20% tip, the six of us ate for less than $100.

1 comment:

  1. ... followed you here from Fodors. How fun to read about the USA from another's perspective! I'm a New Englander, but lived (verrrry reluctantly) in Texas (Austin and Houston) for five years... Can't say I'd ever want to go back, but it was really fun reading about your doings there. Interested to hear what you think about the Northeastern part of the country when you get up here. Very *very* different from the South! Hope to make it to your beautiful part of the world someday...