Tag Archives: Natchez

Day 8 Road to Clarksdale

Today was the day of the longest drive of the holiday. We set out along a road called the Natchez Trace which was the old travelling route used by the local Natchez Indians and later by everyone else travelling between Natchez and Nashville.  It’s a scenic route and therefore a slower road but there are lots of historic places to stop and its a rather beautiful drive. We stopped briefly at an old wooden inn (Locust Inn, see pic) which is I think the only one still remaining, it was someone’s home that was also used as an inn for travellers who had taken their boats down river but had to walk back because the boats couldn’t go up river.  We saw the odd random tortoise walking along the road lol along with a few deer and different birds etc.

First stop was a ghost town called Rodney, which contained many abandoned buildings and churches. We think there was perhaps one house there that is still lived in but for some reason the rest of the town/village was simply abandoned when the Mississippi river changed course and left to rot pretty much. Rather eerie and awkward to get to. Actually I think they abandoned it cos the road into town was such a nightmare :p

Lunch today was at the unique and delightful Old Country Store. It was a buffet style lunch, as much as you can eat and gave us the chance to try their gorgeous fried chicken, corn, mustard greens, okra, black eyed peas, corn bread, candied yam and then an amazing peach cobbler for desert, all washed down with sweet tea. Super delish, if ever you are passing you have to stop by. The owners son just randomly breaks into song whenever he feels like it and even chose to sing a song for me lol. Super friendly people and great food. We were seriously stuffed!

Back on the road again for the most monotonous drive. Flat Mississippi countryside, thousands upon thousands of acres of flat farmland and straight, never ending roads. Very depressing lol, I guess they are lucky they don’t have cliffs here cos people would be flinging themselves off :p

Finally we arrived in Clarksdale which is a very unusual place. Very rundown and a bit intimidating for me really but we heard such good things about it since its the home of Blues really. We went to Ground Zero Blues Club which is part owned by Mogan Freeman. Again a very rustic place, pretty rundown but meant to look this way. We stayed for an hour or so to listen to a local blues band. I think this would be an amazing place to visit if you are a huge Blues fan, since all the greats seem to have been here but it just wasn’t what we expected.

Tomorrow we are onwards to Memphis, here we come Elvis!!!

 

Day 7 Natchez

Today we did some more exploring around Natchez.  It really does have some beautiful historical buildings interspersed by less impressive structures.  Natchez felt like a real town of opposites, some wonderfully well preserved antebellum properties often right next door to a place that was literally falling apart.

We decided to walk along a couple of the trails advertised, starting with the nature trail. Yeah, don’t bother, there is more nature in our postage stamp of a garden. Although this trail ran along the Mississippi river there were trees on that side so you couldn’t see the river, just trees and the other side was a huge concrete wall. Worst nature walk ever lol although there were plenty of mozzies so maybe that’s what they were referring to lol. After lunch we went to the huge local cemetery and had a drive and walk around there, it was 100 acres, so huge and very quirky in layout with different areas (in no particular place or order lol) for different religions.

After that some cake and tea (or in Glens case coffee) was called for. Luckily Glen had done his research and found the Steampunkmobile in Natchez town, which was a really cool coffee shop, small old building with a porch outside with rocking chairs that were currently hosting two men and their guitar, that sold any kind of coffee you can think of made in a beautiful big copper coffee maker thingy (that’s the technical term) and served some proper tea for me 🙂  With a homemade large banana and pecan muffin (which was super beautiful made using local pecans), it really was just what the doctor ordered since it was raining off and on today.

In the evening we went to try our first ever tamales at Fat Mamas Tamales (see pic, very orange lol)  which I was really excited about. Unfortunately they were a bit spicy for me and Glen wasn’t impressed either. Ah well, can’t win em all.  Last night in Natchez tonight. Tomorrow we are off to Clarksdale to ‘meet’ Morgan Freeman. Xxxx

Day 6 Angola Penitentiary

Today we had a visit to Angola Penitentiary planned. When we turned up we found out that we couldn’t join that mornings tour because it was for basically naughty children who had been sent there as a deterrent to future bad behaviour and the insurance wouldn’t allow us to go too. So we ended up having a personal chauffeur who was the Director of the museum lol. This had both good and bad points for us. The good thing was that we got personal service and the freedom to ask all the questions we wanted. We were driven around parts of the 18000 acre site, which holds over 6000 prisoners, the majority of whom will never be released. They also have approx 60 prisoners on death row there. Other than the death row prisoners, the others have the chance to earn some kinds of freedom within the prison, so all of them have to serve at least 10 years working in the fields and then, if they have behaved well they have t the chance to apply for different jobs. They have a huge variety of jobs available depending on your skills or desires so there are cowboys that take care of the cattle, people that take care of the horses or other animals, people who train the dogs to be drug dogs etc (and some of those get to live in separate houses near their dogs), carpenters, groundwork, basically any trade you can think of they have here. They have a rodeo every year where the public are allowed in and the prisoners take part in the rodeo and sell their crafts, foods etc.  Some of the prisoners run cafes etc on site which the people who work there use. Some of the people that work there live on site with their families too, it’s basically a huge, pretty much self sustaining city in its own right, with its own postcode etc. Many people that work and live here have never lived anywhere else and come from generations of people who have worked there. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the prison food since we weren’t on the proper tour and I think the visit was tailored to show it in as good a light as possible really. For a prison it really was a beautiful place and many of the prisoners had a lot of freedom but it is still a prison and some people, who weren’t able to adapt to their situation still live behind bars. It was a really interesting and eye opening visit for us though.
After the prison visit we made our way up to Natchez. Stopped in at Mammys Cupboard and tried a Reuben sandwich, without the sauerkraut, which we both loved, with blueberry lemonade followed by a banana caramel cream pie, also yummy!  Natchez is full of old buildings and a lot of antebellum houses so we had a little look around those and went to a bar for another daquiru before an early night.
No photo’s today from inside the prison 🙁 but we have some from the museum, the hearse was made by prison inmates and is used even now at the funerals of inmates, the wooden coffins are also made by the inmates as previous to the present prison govenor, cardboard coffins where used and one unfortunate inmate fell through the bottom of a damp cardboard coffin.
Tomorrow, more exploring of Natchez. Until then, later gators.  Ps root beer, daquiru and laffy taffy are now my new favourite things, oh and ruebens and crawfish…. there could be a long list here soon.

Vewier discretion is advised!