Mississippi is not a land of expansive vistas, so this is special. A pleasant hike brings you to the highest point on the Trace, all of 603 feet! This is also a picnic area and campground.
(On February 15, 1934, while serving as U.S. Congressman from Mississippi, Thomas Jefferson Busby introduced a bill authorizing a survey of the Old Natchez Trace. Four years later, the historic road was designated a unit of the National Park System. This area is named in Jeff Busby's honor to commemorate his part in the Parkway's establishment.)
An old sorghum farm and several related buildings are the occasion for a pleasant walk. Even if the little museums are closed - as they were on this late Summer evening - this is a nice stroll. Nearby is a Christian Academy for boys.
This was the one spot that made me want to travel the Natchez Trace Pathway in the first place.
You know that pull you experience while staring into Niagara Falls... I had that same pull here. I started fantasizing walking into the slime, with bricks in my pockets: half Virginia Woolf, half Creature from the Black Lagoon.
If you love swamps - and who wouldn't - this is just wonderful.
This one might as well be a hoax. The markers indicate that a thriving little town of 2000+ once stood here, which fell victim of erosion, yellow fever, and the boll weevil (take you pick, I guess).
Says who? There is nothing there except... two old safes!
However, there is a good section of the original road nearby, so it is definitely worth a stop.
This is a haunting segment of the original road. Imagine how many steps it took to give the path this distinctive curve. Many of the typical Natchez Trace photos are taken at this spot.
Unfortunately, it is a very short hike, a matter of a few minutes. I heard rumors that there exist long segments of the original trace, but they are unadvertised.
This is a well restored inn, and also a visitor center, where you can pick up the indispensable map of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Mount Locust is actually one of the oldest structures in the state, and it is the only remaining inn, out of many that used to stand along the path.It is very interesting to see what sort of building, kitchen, and bed awaited the travelers.
I wonder if a long-distance wayfarer in 1810 would have entered Mount Locust with the same resignation I experienced in all the musty, dark and drab motels I stayed in during this trip.
Vicksburg is in Warren County, western Mississippi and was founded in 1811. It is largely situated on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers which played a large part in the economy and building of the city. Today it is still a major river port and serves as a commercial and manufacturing centre for the surrounding cotton, timber, and livestock areas
Vicksburg contributed greatly to American history in the role she played in the Civil War. It was the scene of a 47 day siege by Union troops under General Ulysses S. Grant who captured Vicksburg and marked a turning point in the war. There is a lot of monuments, markers and memorials which relate to this period.
Port Gibson lies in the Kudzu (vine) covered hills of Claiborne County, just off the Natchez Trace. Union General U.S. Grant declared Port Gibson as "The town too beautiful to burn." during his drive to lay siege to Vicksburg. The city is a monument in itself to a prosperous time during the reign of King Cotton. There are many grand homes down tree lined streets and it is Mississippi's third oldest city.
Natchez had its beginnings almost 300 years ago and is the oldest civilised settlement on the River. Previously the area was inhabited by prehistoric Indians then later by the Natchez Indians.
The French settled first in 1716, followed by the British in 1763, the Spanish in 1779 and finally by the Americans in 1798. Much of her rich history is the nation's history and is preserved in her wonderful buildings and antebellum homes. Natchez covers 14 sq miles and is the county sea of Adams County.
The city sits about 195 feet above sea level and so does not suffer problems with floods as many of other southern cities do. Natchez became the first capital of the Mississippi Territory in 1798 and was the first capital of the new state of Mississippi in 1817.
Biloxi is the oldest French settlement in the Mississippi Valley. Since its discovery, Biloxi has changed hands many times and served under eight flags (French, English, Spanish, West Florida Republic, Mississippi Magnolia, Confederate States, Mississippi State, and the United States).
The name Biloxi means 'First People' and was first settled by the French looking for the mouth of the Mississippi river. It is one of the oldest cities in the United States.
There is a rumour that a pirate treasure is buried around Biloxi and on nearby Cat Island. The Barg's Root Beer originated in Biloxi. It was first bottled in 1898 and is now the most popular root beer in the country. Biloxi is also one of the largest canneries of shrimp and oysters in the world. The fishing nets and boat sales manufactured here are marketed all around the world.
Gulfport is located in Harrison County on the Gulf of Mexico. It lies near Biloxi along Highway 90. William H. Hardy and Joseph T. Jones were Gulfport's founders. Between them they wanted to create a port town and a railroad to draw on all the acres of pine in southern Mississippi. Jones invested several million dollars in the project and Gulfport was incorporated in 1898. The harbour became a working seaport in 1902. Financial problems prevented the railroad being completed though.
Today Gulfport is a residential community with a diversified economy and the fast growing in the State. It is the 2nd largest city in Mississippi and has nearly 7 miles of man-made beach along the Gulf of Mexico. Gulfport is home of the annual ?Worlds Largest Fishing Rodeo.
Pascagoula got its name from a band of peaceful Native Americans (Pascagoula means 'bread eaters') who first inhabited the area. Unfortunately they are now extinct after having drowned themselves chanting as they waded into the deepening river waters when they were about to be enslaved to the fierce Biloxi, the enemy. This sad event has resulted in Pascagoula also being known as the "Singing River" city by the sea.
Its has a rich history of being a European settlement dating back over 300 years when it was inhabited first by the Spanish, followed by the French and English settlers. This was the gathering place of nations who came here to trade, build or buy ships and has now become Mississippi's premier and busiest port.
The states largest shipbuilding employer is here as well as other industries such as a Chevron refinery, First Chemical Corporation, BP/Amoco and Goldman Offshore just to name a few. The Pascagoula Naval Station is located on the Singing River Island and is the homeport to several Navy warships as well as a large Coast Guard contingent. Pascagoula is Mississippi's 8th largest city and is the County Seat of Jackson County. There are roughly 30,000 residents here.
As we entered Mississippi from the west, we first came across the city of Vicksburg, followed quickly by one of the most decisive battles of the War between the States. This battle was a 47 day siege, with the victor gaining control of the Mississippi River, which would be a crucial battle in winning the war.
One of the most interesting things about this park is that it is located in the South, yet very much slanted toward the depiction of the war from the North's point of view. This is because the Federal Government comissioned the park, and only the North's statues and commemorations were paid for using Federal dollars. The South's memorial is only depicted through donations from the public. Similar to the reasons the two sides fought the war, the North's statues tend to be gawdy and impractical while the South have very modest respectable memorials.
You will need a whole day to get through most of the park, as the driving tour contains many spots to stop and review the battle in your mind.
If you visit Vicksburg National Military Park, you need to take the scenic road. A sixteen mile TOUR ROAD parallels Union and Confederate siege lines, with three interconnecting roadways, fifteen TOUR STOPS, waysite markers and exhibits, short SPUR TRAILS to points of interest, one primitive TWELVE MILE SCOUT COMPASS TRAIL, and 7 and 14 mile HIKES that follow the park tour road.
Per Vehicle - $8.00 (valid 7 days)
Per Individual - $4.00 (Pedestrian, biker, motorcycle, jogger, etc.)
Bus Passenger/Church Van - $4.00 per person
Visitor Center (Clay Street):
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
U.S.S. Cairo Exhibit and Museum:
October — March: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
April — September: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
If you end up visiting your aunt or grandmother in Tupelo, you must go see the tiny white house that is Elvis' birthplace. While I am not an Elvis fan, it would not have been American to be there and not see the birthplace. Make sure someone has a camera to take your picture so you can prove you've been there. Then sit with iced tea on the porch or patio and have a good visit, until it's time to go for a fried catfish and hushpuppy dinner.
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