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Old 05-14-2008, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
42 posts, read 142,816 times
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So I know this is a little unusual but I have always wanted to visit MS. Something about the deep south intrigues me and I imagine that MS is one of the regions of the country that still has a strong, local flavor. Not to mention I love BBQ and I'm curious about the blues history in MS.

That being said I'm wondering if it would be realistic and worth it to take a vacation there with my 10 year old son. I was looking at Riverboat cruises but they all seem touristy and I dont know if I'd want to be on a boat that much-I enjoy doing "off the beaten path" stuff.

I'm assuming we would fly to Jackson or Biloxi and rent a car-have no interests in the casinos. Is Natchez worth a trip?

Please share your thoughts and ideas with me about this. Look forward to hearing from "y'all".
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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Hi Ryan,
I lived in Philadelphia but have been in Mississippi for years. I really only know the southern part but I will try to help. Avoid mid-summer if possible. December can be iffy with cold and rain. Mid-October through late May early June are good.
If you like history and the southern ambience Natchez is a must see. The mansions and the atmosphere are splendid. Tour some homes--Dunleith--and don't miss Longwood--an octagonal house with a dramatic history. Check out
the Pilgrimage.
see this site
Natchez, Mississippi - The Official Natchez Tourism Web Site :: www.visitnatchez.com (http://www.visitnatchez.com/custom/webpage3.cfm?content=content&id=172 - broken link)
Visit Vicksburg and Corinth for battlefields and drive the Natchez Trace Parkway. Visit Holly Springs for the small southern town. (Cookie's Fortune with Glen Close was set there.)
Oxford and the Ole Miss campus and William Faulkner's house are also
definites.
For blues the Delta and Clarksdale. Someone else can tell you more about that. I have never been. (I need to get myself to the Delta one of these days.)
In the South there is the Stennis Space Center. This site might help with further planning. Good Luck!
Mississippi Believe It! - Facts about Mississippi Business, Medicine, Entertainers, Writers, Musicians, Athletes, Arts, Healthcare, Generosity and People.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
794 posts, read 3,224,515 times
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Yeah, Vicksburg and Natchez are a must for history. Vicksburg has a huge battlefield park, including a raised ironclad battle ship. The tour through the park is almost enough in itself. But the city has a dozen or more historic homes and plenty of other buildings like the Old Court House Museum that really delves into MS history.
Blues history is centered around the delta, Greenwood, Greenville, Clarksdale. But there is very little else up that way besides Tunica casinos and farmland. I would imagine there are blues museums, but I don't know of any first hand.
The Natchez Trace is a great nature tour, with hiking trails, creeks to play in, picnic areas, etc. There are some major hiking areas at Black Creek around Hattiesburg and Clark Creek west of Woodville in SW Miss.
Small town MS can best be found more in central and north central MS. The Gulf Coast area is getting pretty urban and a little more progressive, although you can't beat the drive on US 90 along the beach. You don't see a lot of that in Florida. You mostly see condos blocking the view of the ocean. You would also still see some damage and destruction left over from Katrina, so that could be a good lesson in nature. Go down there and let the locals show you how high the water got, especially in Hancock Co.

And I do agree, unless you're used to our heat and humidity, avoid the summer months. You'll typically do fine after mid September. October & November are almost perfect.
And for reference, it's about 3 - 3.5 hours from Jackson to the Gulf Coast, maybe 4 from Jackson to Memphis. So it's a fairly large state if you're thinking about driving a lot of it and stopping to see things in less than 2 or 3 days.
From what I've heard, the "real" riverboat cruises are expensive, and they do take up a lot of time. There are smaller short cruises, I think Vicksburg still has one, that lasts maybe an hour or so. There is also the excursion ferry out of Gulfport to Ship Island which is a lot of fun.
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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Since Darylwi mentioned Hattiesburg, let me add, if you do end up going to the coast and the islands and are heading through Hattiesburg--be certain to stop at Camp Shelby on HWY 49 for your son to see The Armed Forces Museum. It is a gem, interesting and highly informative. He will get a lot out of it.
Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby

Also if you get to the coast the USM research lab. is there and they have educational programs including Sea Camps. Your son might appreciate that opportunity as well. I don't know what is open to the public but these sites might get you started to find out.

J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Gulfport, MS
469 posts, read 2,675,244 times
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MS is an odd vacation destination in a way -- you could spend months here exploring but the best experience is to stay with friends and/or family and have them show you around. If you're interested in Civil War history, Blues music, Southern cooking, etc. then MS will be a dream come true for you.

The antebellum homes of Natchez are unspeakably gorgeous. Of course, I was born in the city, so I'm a little biased! Visit Monmouth Plantation and boggle at the thought that people actually lived in this magnificent home.

The Gulf Coast is still recovering from Katrina, but there's lots to see and do. The beaches, the casinos (Beau Rivage especially has cool live shows if you don't care about gambling), the food. The GC has kind of a different flavor than the rest of the state -- a lot of the early residents were originally from New Orleans, and you'll see more Catholics with French surnames here than upstate. Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis home, is now open for tours. There's also a great place called Cajun Crawfish Hut in Long Beach which serves delicious gumbo and gator!

Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads of Hwy 49/Hwy 61 in Clarksdale. The actor Morgan Freeman also owns a blues club in Clarksdale called Ground Zero.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:29 AM
 
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If you want BBQ and the blues, you need to come to Clarksdale, Miss. We have the best BBQ in Mississippi. Their is plenty for you son to see and do. The Delta Blues Museum, the Friars Point Musem, there are two museums in Tunica County just north of Clarksdale. Are worth seeing. You can also take a short riverboat ride in Tunica. If you have never been on the mighty Mississippi River, you need to do it at least once to experience its awsume power. Canoe trips on the Mississippi are also available.

Check out Clarksdale and Coahoma county. We also have a blues club GROUND ZERO owned by Morgan Freeman and a good friend of mine.

If you like friendly people come to Clarksdale.

H Kittle.
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:06 AM
 
483 posts, read 2,029,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanwex View Post
...

That being said I'm wondering if it would be realistic and worth it to take a vacation there with my 10 year old son. I was looking at Riverboat cruises but they all seem touristy and I dont know if I'd want to be on a boat that much-I enjoy doing "off the beaten path" stuff.

I'm assuming we would fly to Jackson or Biloxi and rent a car-have no interests in the casinos. Is Natchez worth a trip?
Riverboat - kind of expensive for me, but think of your son - it might be the last time he or anyone else will ever get to do something like that. Be sure to read some Sam Clemens before or during the trip.

Train - that would be another experience that may not exist much longer. If you have the time, take AMTRAK. You'll both get to see the scenery, and for a 10-year-old, being able to get up, walk around, and visit the snack car is a big plus. You can always rent cars wherever you stop.
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:29 PM
 
67 posts, read 336,838 times
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The best BBQ in MS is in Hattiesburg at Leatha's BBQ.

There is a book called something like "Off the Beaten Path in Missisippi." You can probably get it on amazon.com. I used it a lot when I lived in MS, and it led to some very interesting weekend trips! North MS is probably the best for seeing small towns (Oxford, Holly Springs, Como, Water Valley), though Natchez and Vicksburg in south MS are very nice. Also, coastal MS, Pass Christian and Bay St Louis are quaint. There is still so much storm damage that it is hard to believe.

MS is a great place to visit. Stay in B&Bs when possible, and ask locals for the best places to eat in small towns. Don't miss the little fried catfish joints on back country roads. You'll see the most interesting folks there. Also, if you go to Holly Springs, you have to go meet the obsessive compulsive guy who turned his whole house into a collection of everything Elvis, including an entire room devoted to TV guides with highlighted lines for every Elvis movie aired. It is called "Graceland, too," and its in that book I mentioned. Try to time your trip for one of the small town festivals. There are a lot in the fall or spring.
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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Ryan Vicksburg has casinos so avoid them. But the National Military Park is a must to visit. In fact u could see the Cairo and such. But the battlefield is still a big draw. Now I would love to visit NYC. But beware some in Vicksburg would still like you "Yankee." By that way that is duh.
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Telford, TN
1,065 posts, read 3,730,276 times
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Go to Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA for a nice taste of the deep South; you'll have more fun.
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