Los Angeles Times

Road notes

Highlights:
Antebellum houses, Springfield (a Mississippi plantation), Indian mounds, Mt. Locust Stand (a restored inn), Port Gibson (Miss.), Old Natchez Trace remnants, old cemeteries, cyprus swamps, Oprah Winfrey Road, Confederate war memorials, Hinds County courthouse, Strand Theater (Kosciusko), Elvis' birthplace.

Road food:
Catfish (fried, baked, whole, nuggets), fried chicken, chicken strips, grits, fried green tomatoes, shrimp, fried oysters, pit barbecue, corn bread, quail, crawfish, butter beans, bread pudding, roast pork, biscuits and gravy, country ham.

Best courthouse:
Hinds County, Raymond, Miss.

Not on the Trace but real close:
Vicksburg and Shiloh battlefields.

Worst timing:
Missed by days re-enactments of the battles of Raymond and Vicksburg.

Best lodging:
Oak Square Plantation (Jefferson Davis room), Port Gibson, Miss.; $101.65, including full breakfast.

Surest conversation-starter:
"You surprised by the vote on the state flag?"

Best appetizer:
Grilled shrimp with tasso grits cake and Creole smoked tomato lima bean ragout, $8.50; Castle at Dunlieth, Natchez.

Best entree:
Abita Springs quail, with parsnip puree, wilted greens and citrus, $18; Park Heights Restaurant, Tupelo, Miss.

Best dessert:
Bread pudding a la mode, $2.50; Council House Café, French Camp, Miss.

Strangest munchy:
Fried dill pickle spears, $4.95; Old Depot Restaurant, Port Gibson.

Oddest museum exhibit:
Vernon Presley's hammer, purportedly used in building son Elvis' birthplace; Elvis Presley Museum, Tupelo, Miss.

Biggest puzzle:
How does every Waffle House in America have the same four waitresses?

Hard to resist:
Any cemetery old enough to have graves of Confederate soldiers.

Road best traveled:
A two-mile paved, driveable stretch of the Old Natchez Trace south of Hohenwald, Tenn.

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