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Advice needed on a trip south this summer

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Advice needed on a trip south this summer

I am planning a trip south this summer with my 2 children (girl 7 and boy 9) and would appreciate any and all advice re visiting Mississippi as well as other states in the south.

We are interested in historic spots: battlefields, historic homes and plantations, art museums as well as natural delights, hiking trails, etc. We would love recommendations on places to stay as well as spots to visit. We often like B&Bs or unusual inns that are not too expensive.

Thank you in advance.

NH Mom

Franklin, TN
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1. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

I'm a native Mississippian living in Tennessee, so I thought I could recommend a few things for both places.

First, on your way south stop in Franklin, TN the site of the Battle of Franklin in Nov. 1864. Downtown Franklin is very quaint and very "walkable." The Carter House has an excellent tour where you can see visible remainders from the War. Additionally there's Carnton Plantation which served as a battlefield hospital and it's supposedly haunted. Of course, Nashville is right up the road with the Grand Ol' Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.

When you head to Mississippi, be sure to take the Natchez Trace. There are ancient Indian Mounds, waterfalls, and wondrous views. You can get on the Trace outside of Nashville and take it all the way over to Tupelo where you can visit Elvis' birthplace!

Jackson has a nice zoo, the state capitol adn the Governor's Mansion are beautiful. Also the Natural Science Museum is a worthwhile stop.

If you have time, continue on to Natchez to get your fill of "Antebellum Mississippi."

while the Coast is still reeling from the affects of Katrina, I would still suggest passing through, if nothing more than for the "eyewitness view" of the devastation. There are many places that are open and others will be by summer, so y'all come on down!!!

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2. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

Thank you for your double

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3. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

Oops. That was supposed to say: Thank you for your double-state advice.

Mississippi
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4. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

How nice of you to show your kids the south! If possible come through the Smoky Mountains near Knoxville,TN (Children's Museum, UT campus, great restaurants, art boutiques), then down to Chattanooga (Tennessee Aquarium is one of the best anywhere! also check out Lookout Mountain with Rock City on the way up - kids love it - and the military park at the top), then you can continue either to Nashville as the other post recommends or down to Birmingham (McWane Center for kids). Another alternative is southwest to Huntsville, Alabama where the NASA Space Flight Center is a great experience for kids. They even have weeklong summer camps for kids if you're there that long. The Natchez Trace through Mississippi is a lovely road but may drive your kids nuts, as it is probably 350 miles long at a speed limit of 50 mph. In Mississippi the kids would enjoy Jackson (great Science Museum with dinosaur from the Field Museum in Chicago) and Vicksburg (lovely military park). Memphis also has many neat kid places - the Pink Palace Museum and the Memphis Zoo. The Gulf Coast used to be lovely with a great aquarium, but all has been destroyed by Katrina. Farther east the beaches at Destin are still beautiful. All of these suggestions obviously depend on your driving route. Let me know if you need specific lodging, etc. suggestions.

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5. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

Thank you so much for all your great ideas. Once I get the intinerary down, I may write again for lodging advice.

Jackson, Mississippi
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6. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

I've only a few moments to jot this down, so here goes a brief piece on five or six or seven must-see places in Mississippi.

1) Oxford: Visit the home of Nobel laureate William Faulkner and picnic in "The Grove" on the beautiful Ole Miss campus. Oxford is considered to be the best college town in America by more than just a few folks who know about such things.

2) Natchez: Among all of Natchez's greatest collection of Antebellum homes in the South, make sure to see unique Longwood, the un-finished, five-story, octagonal mansion with quite an interesting history. Later on, go on down "Under-the-Hill" and feast on catfish as you watch Ol' Man River keep rolling on by while the sun goes down on Natchez and the Cathederal bell tolls and marks another day in the life of the oldest city on the Mississippi River. Yes, even older than New Orleans. Natchez borders on Louisiana. Cross the bridge to Vidalia, LA and have some shrimp and catfish at The Sandbar where Jim Bowie, of Alamo fame, fought the duel which made his knife an American frontier legend.

3) Vicksburg: Gibralter of the confederacy. When it finally fell to Union forces on July 4, 1863, the day after Gettysburg, that was "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down". Also, Independence Day was not celebrated in Vicksburg until President Eisenhower finally persuaded the very stubborn citizens to do so in the early 1950's. Coca-Cola was first bottled in Vicksburg. The US Army Corps of Engineers has a fantastic model of the Mississippi that you can see. The Battlefield is a two day event if you really want to do it right.

4) Laurel: The City Beautiful. Visit the Lauren Rogers Museum and see some of the smallest baskets in the world. Stroll through the George S. Gardiner HS campus (two city blocks with a stream, scattered oaks, magnolias and pines that surround the brick bleachers built into a hillside of the football practice field). The main HS (now R.H.Watkins) still uses yet another brick stadium of a unique design from the 1930's. The best example of a "planned city" in Mississippi, Laurel's "Historic District" features grand homes and stately old trees shading its sidewalks and alleys.

5) Onward: "The Teddy Bear" legend actually originated here when President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a chained black bear cub.

Well, that lil' smidgin's gotta do it for now, but I'll post some more recommendations if you've a mind to have me do that for you.

One important note. The Natchez Trace starts in Natchez, MS and ends in Nashville, TN. I've driven literally hundreds of thousands of miles on it and have visited each and every site. To fully appreciate the subtle geographical, botanical and altitudinal changes which make "The Trace" so beautiful, one should navigate it from South to North. The great majority of travellers on The Natchez Trace walked back to Nashville after selling the flatboats in which they had floated to Natchez. I suggest avoiding The

Trace until your return home. Split your trip into legs with overnight stops in 6) Kosciusko (Oprah Winfrey) and 7) Tupelo (Elvis Presley). You will not regret so doing.

Enjoy your trip,

Pygmy71

Port Gibson
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7. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

You can't visit Mississippi with out visiting Port Gibson the 3rd oldest incorporated city in Mississippi. Located on the Natchez Trace between Jackson and Natchez. "Too Beautiful to Burn" General U.S.Grant-May 1863. It has also been called the town of churches.

marshall, Illinois
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8. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

You must visit Vicksburg Ms. They have the most interesting, informative Civil War Military Park. The have a movie to see in the gift shop and many books as well. Then you can tour the Park, which is just fabulous. There is an antique Doll and Toy museum downtown and it is fascinating to see also. I may add that there are many historic homes in Vicksburg and the host are extremely knowledgeable. You may even choose to stay in one of the homes, as many of them are also Bed and Breakfasts. I stayed at "The Annabelle," and it was most comfortable. I also recommend a trip to New Orleans. Everyone needs to see what the people of NOLA have endured. A tour of Jackson Square, and the French Quarter, by carriage ride is incredible also. One can always find many treasures at the French Market. A day trip down River Road may be exciting to you. Touring all of the Plantation homes along the route. I wish you a very wonderful summer vacation, I'm sure touring the south will be most enjoyable for you and your family.

Vicksburg, MS
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9. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

When you arrive in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the kids will enjoy going through the Cairo (Union Ironclad

sunk by Confederate torpedo)and Fort Hill in the National Military Park.

In downtown there is a small park the kids might like next to the flood wall with many murals, the Old

Courthouse Museum, and even a Coca-Cola and a Doll Museum.

If you arrive on a holiday weekend, there are usually reenactors at the McRaven Tour Home at the end

of Harrison street.

Rusty's, Walnut Hills, and Borello's are good places to eat. Rusty's has Fried Green Tomatoes and the

best cheeseburger in the state. Walnut Hills' Blue Plate Special is a best buy. Jacques in the Battlefield

Inn is great for an evening meal and sometimes his specials are better than what's on the menu.

If you don't want to stay in a motel in Vicksburg, there are a number of excellent Bed and Breakfasts

and some have rooms designed for families traveling with children (such as Stained Glass Manor's Polk

Room - and several other places)

If you get to Port Gibson, take time to go 12 miles west of town and visit the Windsor ruins. The 23

columns - in various stages of decay - are both magnificent - and a photographer's dream. Nothing else

in the South symbolizes the loss of the Old South as well. Natchez's mansions show the success of

"King Cotton" very well. Windsor shows the loss of a brilliant past.

If you get to New Orleans, take the kids to the Audubon Park Zoo - that was one of the best in the

world before Katrina. And just take them for a ride on the St. Charles Avenue Trolley.

Greenville, MS
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10. Re: Advice needed on a trip south this summer

Vicksburg - McRaven house is a must. It is not only a house with furniture but with items used "during the day". The tour guide, if you express the interest will explain the use of a courting candle, show you where recently a cannonball was removed from a wall (One exploded in another house, so it was removed for safety reasons), a lot of very interesting information.

2nd - The park is great. Go when the kids are tired. Mine loved to climb up a freshly mowed hill and roll to the bottom. It sure burned off a lot of energy, then we were free to go enjoy the park as it was intended!

MS Gulf Coast and New Orleans - This is something you would not believe even today. People are still living in tents in many areas tryng to rebuild their lives. Not only do you need to see what devastation, but they really need the tourist trade back up.

Hope it helps.