We crossed the world’s longest continuous bridge over water, driving over Lake Pontchartrain, on our way out of New Orleans towards Memphis. One could almost run a full marathon over it, coming in at 23 miles. Don’t you love all the running analogy coming from me!
Driving up the highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta, criss-crossing paths with the river, our first stop was Jackson. We must have listened and screamed aloud the Uptown Funk song at least 11 times just to say “Jackson, Mississippi”. Our lunch stop was a very local soul food joint – Bully’s Soul Food, where Ollie and Katie stuck out like sore thumbs, being the only white people in the place and for about 50 miles around. They both swore to get some more tan. The hosts were very welcoming and warm, and despite our unusual request of vegetarian food, they filled our bellies with southern goodness.
Our next stop was for coffee in the historic town of Vicksburg. (Notice how our stops are always for food, not sure we look for places to see or places to eat on the way!) This is where the Mississippi meets the Yazoo river. After visiting the museum where the first Coca Cola was bottled, we sat on the shore and watched a patriotic-looking paddlewheel Cruise set sail.
Juke Joint is an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking, primarily run by African American people in the southeast America. Po’Monkey’s is one of the last original juke joints, opened in 1963. Our GPS told us to “make a left on the unpaved path” as we drove into a huge cotton field and under a street light, we found the shack. This is actually his house, which he opens up to people every Thursday night. Scared again of standing out in the crowd, we were delighted to meet Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry, who is a very funny 75-year-old man. There was very good music being played while the crowd was being entertained by Po’Monkey himself.
Our night halt, in Clarksdale, MS, was yet another southern gem – the Shack Up Inn. Not easy to find, it was right behind the railway tracks running in the Hopson Cotton Commissary. This was one of the first cotton plantations to move to mechanical means of cotton picking, thus starting the “Great Migration” of 6 million African Americans out of the south and up north in search of more work. Our ‘Sunset’ shack was quite cozy, as we woke up to small airplanes dusting the crops, with our morning coffee on the porch. The otherwise wonderful stay was marred by the sighting of a cockroach, who always make an appearance when Katie is around!
Could we have asked for more southern charm and quirkiness in one day!? Next stop Memphis!
- Jackson, MS
- Vicksburg, MS
- Clarksdale, MS
Recommended Vegetarian Eats:
- Bully’s Soul Food (get all the veggie sides!), Jackson
- Lost Pizza Co., Cleveland