We had a nice uneventful drive from Hampton, AR. into Natchez. We took the slightly longer but easier drive on I-20 as the back roads in Arkansas were a little too winding with lower tree branches that Tom hates to hit. I-20 while well used is a 4 lane divided highway with wildflowers still in bloom along the way.
We stopped for lunch at a rest stop where Tom had his now favorite “quick stop lunch”, sardines and crackers. Between Tom’s sardines and Pansy’s Tuna in Gravy, the RV smells like a fish market. Thankfully we have our Scentsy room air freshener plugged in with some real beautiful scents to cover the fishy aroma; my favorite Titanium. We continued on crossing the Mighty Mississippi where I again had to get a picture of the bridge. I love taking bridge and river pictures so what could be better than this?
We pulled into the Natchez State Park about 8 miles north of Natchez about 5:00 and found our site, #35, a 51 foot back-in with water and electricity. It was a perfect spot, not too close to neighbors, so quiet that we almost couldn’t get to sleep, and a beautiful view. The only down side was we had a low phone signal and a couple of calls were dropped. Funny thing was, the data signal was good. Go figure… it’s Verizon. We ate left-overs: Patty Chance’s wonderful Mac’n Cheese, Teriyaki chicken and corn. Delicious.
The next morning we drove the short distance to the Ranger Station and signed up for another night. For $13 a night this park just can’t be beat.
We then drove into Natchez and by this time, 11:30, we were getting hungry. I had checked all the best rated restaurants in Natchez and we chose Biscuits and Blues – a perfect choice. I had dry-rubbed BBQ chicken with 2 sides, sweet potato casserole and corn casserole. Just writing about this makes my mouth water. It was large enough for leftovers so I brought home exactly half and had the rest for dinner that night. Tom had a Shrimp Po-Boy and called it delicious.
We then drove over to the visitor center, saw a movie on Natchez, picked up a lot of brochures on what to see in Natchez and talked to Bobby, the lady in the information booth. What a delight. She was a native Mississippian and we talked about Natchez and its history for quite a while. We meet the nicest, friendliest, interesting people as we travel. It had just started to rain as we left the Visitor Center and the patio area looked so pretty.
We then took a drive around Natchez to get a feel of where we would be visiting in the next couple of days. One of the feature buildings in Natchez is the Grand Hotel.
Other areas, not quite so grand, but every bit as interesting was the downtown area. Tom found the architecture interesting in how the builders solved the sloping street and the level doorways problem. I just found it artistic. What do you think?
We drove down to the area of Natchez which is along the river called Under the Hill. This is where the gamblers, ‘ladies of the night’, dance halls and other businesses would take the hard earned money of those who brought their goods to Natchez or New Orleans on flatboats, sell everything and walk back up the Natchez Trace to Nashville and points north.
Today it is the Casino riverboat that takes the hard earned money of gamblers.
Our main destination this day was the William Johnson House. Johnson was called the Barber of Natchez. He was a freed slave whose story is incredibly interesting, mostly because he was a blogger. Oops, a journalist. He would journal every day about his business dealings, the events of the day which included stabbings and killings in Natchez, and his family. Seventeen binders of his writings were found in the attic long after his death and have been the source of many African American studies since. We visited the museum and house, part of the National Park System.
We then walked around the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.
After all that walking, looking for a cache that we could not find, we were ready to drive back to the Natchez State Park for dinner, Blue Bell Ice Cream and a little TV before bed. Tomorrow – Natchez Day 2.
NOTE: We are on the Natchez Trace right now with no phone/data signal. We will try to post these blogs as we get near a town and a signal.