We're still hanging out along the Mississippi River, most recently taking in the historic cities of Natchez and Vicksburg. While exploring Natchez we had a comfortable spot at the Natchez State Park about ten miles north of the city. The campground with electric and water is a reasonable $13.00, with the “old guy's discount” that is. It was a quiet, forested home for a few days.
We began our Natchez time looking around the city, poking into anything that caught our attention. Had catfish for lunch at a grill “Under the Hill”, the area under the bluff where shipping took place when the river was a major transportation hub of the country. The Natchez community presents a vivid historic picture, the barges gliding down the river, the blues bars and restaurants, the stoic old churches, the preserved mansions and the contrast of the poorer areas of the city. Actually, in the early 1800s, 13 of the 16 millionaires in the country lived in Natchez due to the economics of cotton. To get a little better flavor of the history, we visited the Natchez National Historic Park which preserves the spacious and impressive Melrose Plantation. This grandiose home and its grounds are picturesque.
All this reading and thinking sure makes one hungry, too. Wanted to say that if you are in Natchez a great place for bar-bq is The Pig Out Inn on Canal Street downtown. Enjoyed it.
The next stop was Vicksburg, just 75 miles north of Natchez on Highway 61. We stopped for the night at the AmeriPark Casino RV park. The rate is $22.50, including two breakfast buffets worth $14.00. The park's a friendly and clean place and the casino's food was excellent.
Continuing our history touring, we decided to visit the Vicksburg National Military Park. The Battle of Vicksburg was critical to the outcome of the Civil War. Control of the Mississippi meant the passage of troops and supplies. The horrendous siege lasted 46 days, until the Confederates surrendered on July 4, 1863. It's a long and sad story told well in the visitors center and by a huge number of markers on the battlefield explaining each event. Taking the 16 mile tour of the battlefield lined with memorials is a sobering trip. There are bunkers built to defend the city of Vicksburg by the Confederates and trenches where the soldiers made their shelters. As you drive, it's plain to see the terrain that would have been treacherous for those poor men, all of them desperate for victory.
We're moving up the highway again now, following Highway 61, the Blues Trail. See you down the road.