There are destinations you visit, and then there are destinations you experience. The Mississippi Delta
falls into the latter category.
The small towns and cities that make up this region are not only rich in history, but also in culture and culinary offerings. However, what makes the Mississippi Delta stand apart in the South is even though the places share the same geographical region, no two are alike.
It’s this style that has provided inspiration to many; and who knows, just after one visit, it might do the same for you.
Here are four places to give you a sense of what the region offers.
If you only have time to do one thing Vicksburg
, tour Vicksburg National Military Park
. Not only is it a historic site, but a work of art as well. In fact, it is considered to be one of the world’s premier outdoor art museum. The park is also known to be one of the most accurately marked battlefields in the country. Don’t forget the view the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum
. Sunk in Yazoo River, the gunboat remained there, preserved by the mud, for 102 years until it was recovered, raised and restored. Also at the park is the Vicksburg National Cemetery
, the country’s largest burial site of Union soldiers.
Explore more Vicksburg by stopping in either Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum
, where the first Coca-Cola was bottled, or Old Depot Museum
, with over 200 ship models along with other displays.
View the Riverfront Murals
at the entrance to the downtown waterfront. The 32 pictorial murals detail different periods in Vicksburg’s history.
No visit is complete without lunch at Walnut Hills Restaurant
. The most popular dish is the fried chicken, but there are many other options on the menu, too. Be sure to save room for dessert.
Not only is Greenville
home to many notables in the literary world like authors William and Walker Percy, and Shelby Foote, but also characters as well. One being Holt Collier, known as the region’s greatest bear hunter and served as President Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting guide in Mississippi.
You can further familiarize yourself with the many writers that came from this part of the Delta at the Writers Exhibit
at the William Alexander Percy Memorial Library. The exhibit original works and more from the writers.
If you all haven’t noticed, the Mississippi River plays an integral part in this region. With all of the good, comes the not-so-good. The Flood of 1927 Museum
through artifacts and photographs details the affect the natural disaster had on the town and region.
Get a panoramic view of “Old Man River” when you climb the observation tower at Warfield Point Park
When it’s time to eat, discover why so many grab a table at Doe’s Eat Place
. Arrive early and hungry. And when you are leaving, don’t be surprised that you’re thinking you’ve just enjoyed one of the best steaks ever.
is the quintessential small southern town, don’t think it’s stuck in the past. The town is home to the Viking Range Corporation and the Viking Cooking School
, as well as the boutique hotel The Alluvian
. Spend late morning or afternoon exploring Turnrow Book Company
for a good book to read, and then head to Mississippi Gift Company
to find the perfect Mississippi-related item for you.
self-guided driving tour
to see the sites used in the filming of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.
If you want to more about the history of Greenwood and the Delta, tour both Museum of the Mississippi Delta
and Back in the Day Museum
. The Museum of the Mississippi Delta features the broad history of the area while the Back in the Day Museum focuses on the African-American culture within Greenwood and the region.
And being the Delta, there is a tie into the blues. Blues legend Robert Johnson briefly lived here and died here, but it’s a mystery about where he is buried. There are three markers at three different cemeteries
, all claiming to be the final resting place of Johnson.
Savor such fare as Black-Eyed Pea Cakes, House-Made Potato Chips, and Bourbon and Coke Fried Chicken Sliders at Delta Bistro
. Finish your meal with a hot fudge pie.
Home to the Crossroads (where, as the story goes, blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil), Clarksdale
is said to be where blues was born. Head to the Delta Blues Museum
where you can immerse yourself in everything blues, and see the cabin where Muddy Waters lived as well as his guitar. Different exhibits highlight other musicians, and the music and lifestyle in general.
Stop by Ground Zero Blues Club
, where you just might get a glimpse of Morgan Freeman, co-owner. If he isn’t there, still stick around for some food and music.
Looking for something different to take back home? Cat Head
is the go-to place to browse (and buy) folk art and catch some live music.
Forgo the typical hotel for one of the seven Delta Cotton Company Apartments
above Ground Zero Blues Club. And yes, it is above a blues club, so you’ll hear the music. Another unique option is overnighting in an authentic sharecropper shack at Shack Up Inn
. Each shack has its own theme.
When visiting Cleveland, you might see the slogan “Keep Cleveland Boring
,” and wonder why a destination would promote “staying boring.” Don’t worry this tongue-in-cheek campaign is pointing out that the town is anything but boring. As the future site of the Grammy Museum Mississippi
located at the Delta State University
campus, Cleveland is a happening town.
Start your visit off with a cup of coffee and a bite from Mississippi Grounds
, located inside an old service station.
Check out the Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden in front of the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta Sate University. Another point of interest is Ewing Hall, home to the “Cast of the Blues
” Masks. Around 55 in the collection, the masks are replicas of blues musicians’ faces. If you happen to be in Cleveland during a Delta State home baseball game, visit the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Baseball Museum
. The Mississippi-native was a pitcher for four years with the Red Sox and was teammates with Ted Williams. He later served as Delta State’s baseball coach.
The railroad was just as vital as the river to the region. Learn more about its history at the Martin and Sue King Heritage Railroad Museum
Stroll downtown and stop in the Delta Meat Market
to browse or pick up something to eat. However, leave some room to try tamales
at Delta Fast Foods.
Cleveland also claims to be the birthplace of the blues. Dockery Farms
, located a few miles outside of Cleveland is where numerous musicians like Howlin’ Wolf and notable others lived on or near the farm, and played and sang their music. You can listen to all of the stories as you walk around the grounds.
If you are in town on a Thursday night, round out your Delta trip with a visit to Po’ Monkey’s
juke joint, outside of Merigold. One of a few (maybe the only) juke joints remaining.