The Blues Highway from Clarksdale down to Natchez is just chock full of treats. We just naturally gravitated to the ones you’ll see here, but there were lots more things you could see if you had the time.
Let’s start with Leland, Mississippi, birthplace of two important Americans – Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog. Kermit really belongs to the world, as a Czech couple visiting in the museum reminded us. And here we all were, along with the retired librarian running the place, who taught little Jim in Sunday school. There is just nothing like a small town.
The building perches over the creek where Kermit was metaphorically conceived, and it is a real tribute to the great imagination of Jim Henson. One of his family’s favorite photos is the picture of him charming a garden hose. It’s also sweet to see him with his grandmother, who was the artistic one in the family. It was just a treat to be there.
Then on to Vicksburg, where the great siege of the Civil War took place, and the Confederates ultimately had to surrender on July 4, 1862. It seems they don’t celebrate July 4th here to this day.
On a lighter note, we first went to the Coca-Cola museum, where they also claim to be the first bottlers of Coke. It seems they didn’t have the contract that our friends in Chattanooga had, but this story obviously requires further research. Lots of great Coke artifacts, in the original candy store where it was bottled and sold.
But you can’t avoid the important part of the Vicksburg story. This charming town perched on high bluffs over the Mississippi endured a 49-day siege that had a devastating effect on the inhabitants and a great impact on the ultimate outcome of the war. Like all the Civil War battlefields we have seen , this one is a beautiful park that makes it hard to believe that 8,000 soldiers died there.
We were struck by the number of Ohio monuments that we saw. Makes great sense when you remember that Grant and Sherman – both good Ohio boys – were there with their armies. Being the (somewhat) loyal Ohioans we are, we show you the battlefield through those monuments, along with a view from one of the Confederate ramparts over the river. There is also a monument of the USS Cairo, a Union ironclad that sunk but was recovered relatively recently. It’s quite a thrill to actually go into the framework.
And as we got closer to Natchez, we absolutely had to stop in the little crossroads of Lorman, where Alton Brown declared he had found the best fried chicken in America. Ooops – forgot to take a picture of the actual chicken because it somehow just disappeared. But Mr. Arthur Davis and his country store are not to be forgotten – along with his heavenly chicken.
Down the Natchez Trace we rolled, after a day of excitement on one little highway in the middle of the Mississippi Delta.