Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greenville MS to Natchez MS

Greenville MS to Natchez Trace State Park, Natchez MS
Sunday, October 16, 2011

We were on the road by 9:30 and drove to downtown Greenville before heading south. We needed to find the Great River Road and it was US1. We found the MS visitor center but they had no nice guide to GRR like TN had. The woman there told me the GRR Group did not print them anymore so it is probable that I got an old one at the Wickcliffe Visitor Center in KY since it was a rather remote location. Too bad they do not print them because they were excellent guides. 

The levee is just a block off of the main street of downtown Greenville. We drove up on the levee to look at the Mississippi – the only way you can see it now other than when crossing a bridge.  There were tows as usual – even on a Sunday morning.  

One of the sites mentioned at the Visitor Center (modeled after a River Boat and was used as the Mississippi Exhibit for the World’s Fair and then brought here to serve as the visitor center) was that Leland – just before reaching Greenville is the home of Jim Henson the creator of the Muppets. We saw it as we can into Greenville last evening but it was already closed.

 Kermit was created here near Greenville

Heading south on US1 we saw cotton, cotton, and more cotton. Occasionally we caught sight of the levee. It was interesting to see the piles of debri between the fields of cotton and many of the transformer boxes still had sandbag protection around them. This area must have had some flooding in the recent past.
We arrived at Vicksburg and since we had just toured the Battlefield Park when we went to Texas in 2009 we did not visit the park. We did go down to the river and took some photos at the flood wall and photos of the casinos. The river is wide and far below the town that is primarily on the bluffs.  
 Mississippi from Bluffs in Vicksburg

 We stopped at an unusual place – The Tomato Place – for some local color and food. We split a catfish po-boy and some sweet potato fries.  Very good on both counts. They had produce, local crafts, bread, jellies, peanuts, and lots of colorful decorations. 

 Bottle Tree at The Tomato Place

We had two options for tonight one was Grand Gulf Military Park and Campground near Port Gibson and the second was Natchez Trace State Park near Natchez. We elected to pass up Grand Gulf and drive 50 miles down the Natchez Trace Parkway and stay at the state park.  

We passed through Port Gibson – a small town known as “too beautiful to burn” by General Grant. The homes were beautiful and we photographed the Presbyterian Church with the golden hand pointing to heaven on the top of its’ steeple. I am not a Monty Python fan but they say it is in one of his films. 

 First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson

Driving down the Trace was quite different than the cotton fields along the GRR. It is natural landscaping with pine and oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.  We stopped at Mount Locust Inn which was a stopping place for travelers on their journey down the Trace from Nashville to Natchez. The national park ranger told us it was the usual thing for groups of 15 – 25 to stay the night at the location. Often they stayed on the porch of on the grounds since the home was 3 bedrooms and the family had 11 children! There were many of these inns along the Trace but this is the only one still standing.

  Mount Locust Inn on Natchez Trace
We continued down the Trace for another 15 miles or so and drove to see Emerald Mound. This was another Mississippian  Indian Mound. This one said to be the second largest in North America – Cahokia being the largest. 

Nearby was Natchez Trace State Park. We found a site we liked and set up for some relaxing. We are both tired and Ben thinks we will just stay here tomorrow and do nothing. Staying may be a good idea particularly if we can drive around and find a site with cell service. We have it one minute and not the next…so a site on slightly higher ground may work better.  We cooked dinner and had a very quiet evening.  The evening entertainment was watching an armadillo root around in the campsites nearby. Another interesting thing to watch is the variety of camping set ups that people have. 

 Our Campsite at Natchez Trace State Park

 Easy to track Armadillo

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