Driving the Mississippi
In May we are driving from New Orleans to Minneapolis following the Mississippi. We are taking 12 days and are combining some bike riding and just wandering. Looking for authentic places that represent the region. Would love any ideas. Thanks
On HWY 61, just south of the state line, is South of the Broder. I had an excellent shrimp and corn soup there a couple of years ago. It is, to me, an intriguing place because its food is closer to New Orleans cooking than anyplace else nearby. I was told that this was due to the local people having learned New Orleans food from the household staff of New Orleanians who had summer homes in the area.
Go to Biscuits and Blues in Natchez, MS. Go to Carriage House in Natchez for lunch and tour Stanton Hall. I second Old Country Store. Go to Rusty's in Vicksburg or Walnut Hills for good country food.
Biscuit's and Blues @ 315 Main St., Natchez, MS. 601 - 446 - 9922.
Carriage House Restaurant @ 401 High St., Natchez, MS. 601 - 445 - 5151.
Old Country Store @ 18801 Hwy 61, Lorman, MS 601 - 437 - 3661.
Rusty's River Front Grill @ 901 South Washington St., Vicksburg, MS. 601 - 638 - 2030.
Walnut Hill's Restaurant @ 1214 Adams St., Vicksburg, MS. 601 - 638 - 4910. *
Don't pass Greenville, MS without a steak and tamales for dinner at Doe's Eat Place. Go E to Greenwoodl, MS and stay at the 4 * Alluvian Hotel owned by Viking Range and have dinner at Giardinia's or Lusco's.
Alluvian Hotel @ 318 Howard Street, Greenwood, MS 662 - 451 - 1500.
If you want to try the best Clarksdale has to offer have an early lunch at Ground Zero which is owned by Morgan Freeman and two of his friends. Get a plate lunch or sandwich but eat light. The Blues Museum is next door. Before you leave Clarksdale, MS go to Hick's and get another light lunch of BBQ and tamales. This way you get the best of Clarksdale. Morgan owns Madidi's which is a fine dining restaurant a few blocks from Ground Zero if you would like to stop in for drinks and/or snacks before you leave Clarksdale, MS. It's very nice and highly recommended. The bar opens at 5 PM. There's an old neat store that sells a lot of junk across the street from Madidi's and plenty of places for the wife to purchase items to take home. I wish you could visit Oxford, MS. If not then plan 6/7 hours in Clarksdale. Have an early lunch at GZ, visit the Museum, walk around downtown and shop, get some tamales at Hick's. After lunch head back S on Sunflower by the river and stop at Hick's just to visit. Take a right on Highway 61 which is State St. Go across the river and Hick's is on the right in nice red brick building. Go in visit and get a cold drink. Talk to Eugene and look at his pictures when President Clinton visited. On your way N stop at The Ranchero and get a cold drink. Charlie Conerly who was a famous QB for the NY Giants lived in Clarksdale and there are all kinds of old sports photo's there of Conerly and some of his old buddies. It's a fun place and the food is outstanding.
Memphis, TN is up next unless you would like to detour to Oxford, MS and the University of Mississippi and home to William Faulkner.
I really hope you find time to visit Oxford. It's my favorite town in Mississippi. If so head N to Highway 278/6 E to Batesville/Oxford. It's about 60 miles to Oxford. When you get to Oxford you will come to a red light and Jackson Ave. going to the left. Go straight ahead and get off at the first Exit which is Coliseum Dr. Get off on right but turn back left and cross the highway. Take your first right by the Basketball Practice Facility on Hill Drive. You will see the football stadium straight ahead. Go to dead end at All American Drive turn right and go past N end of stadium. You will run into the Grove. Go to the left on University Ave. and you will go past the Grove on your right and run into the Circle. Go around the circle and you will see The Lyseum which is the oldest building on campus. The James Meredith riot started in the Circle. There's a monument of him behind the Lyseum. The street you came in on at The Grove is University Ave. Take it back E all the way to Lamar. Take a right on Lamar and go about 6 blocks and take a right on Old Taylor. Go about 3 blocks and you run dead into Faulkner's home. You can drive up the gravel road in front and park and go in and visit. Go back to Lamar and go N past University Ave. two blocks and park. You are now on The Square. The building on your left is Square Books which is very famous. John Grisham has a home in Oxford. You passed it on the right just before you got to town. It sits off to the right on a hill and it's easy to see. It's just before the car dealership before you get to the first red light. He's a frequent visitor to Oxford.
Park and walk around the Square. City Grocery is two doors down W of Square Books. Neilson's to your right on the Square is a nice department store. If you walk past City Grocery on the left you will see Waltz Restaurant after you pass the Pizza joint. Going around the Square you will find Ajax which is a good country food joint. There are a couple of nice ladie's shops on that side of the Square. Downtown Grill is on N side of Square. They have a nice bar upstairs. There's a Rebel junk store around on the N side if you want to buy a Rebel souvenir to take home. Go N on Lamar and Lenora's is on the left. Have dinner at City Grocery. CG has a nice bar upstairs and you can sit outside if you like. Tell Jim Weems the manager with a beard that Henry McCaslin said hello. He will take good care of you. If Jim is not there then a cute young lady named Lauren will take care of you. I hope you have a great trip.
City Grocery @ 152 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS. 662 - 232 - 8080.
Might be an interesting diversion, but up-River a bit, look into the Tamale Trail: http://www.tamaletrail.com/
The Delta is an interesting area of the US, and one could well spend a month, deviating from US 61 over to US 65 and back.
In my youth, my plan was to drive The Great River Road, from Tulane Ave (where Hwy 61 begins in New Orleans) all the way to Thunder Bay, Ontario, CA, and photograph the trip. It never happened, but is still in the back of my mind.
Enjoy, and travel safely,
River Road Cafe
3701 River Rd, Muscle Shoals, AL 35661
I would definitely stop in Natchez and spend a day touring the plantation homes there. Monmouth is an oustanding place for the night. The dining room there is superb. I would also check out The Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall for a wonderful lunch.
Rosswood is a great B&B between Vicksburg and Natchez.
Rosswood Plantation @ 2513 Red Lick Road, Lorman, MS 601 - 437 - 4215.