Following our whistlestop tour of Memphis, it was time to move on. We were essentially following the Mississippi River south along route 61, ‘The Blues Highway’ to Clarkesdale, the ‘Home of the Blues’. We travelled for about 60 miles- across the Mississippi Delta which is miles upon miles of farm land. The wind was quite strong and it was blowing dust across the highway and we barely passed another town in 60 miles.
We whooped as we crossed the state line into Mississippi and our hearts began to swell as we pulled into our home for the next evening, a very traditional wooden house, complete with porch and now turned into guest house called the Clark Inn.
All our accommodation so far had been basic motels, so this was really exciting. Our little annex room was delightful, and we were excited to learn the history of this pre civil war property. It was the first house built in Clarkesdale and had been restored lovingly by the innkeeper and her family, who had left a couple of recommendations for food and music. With it being Sunday, choices were more limited than say a Saturday, so we wasted no time, showering, and making the short walk into the the main town square to eat. Our recommended restaurant, had a guitarist singing a mix of country and blues, and the food was amazing, we had Catfish – straight from the nearby Mississippi river and Keith had shrimp too. After dinner we enjoyed a drink on the decking as the sun set- it really felt like small town America here, no tourists – and we LOVED it.
Morgan Freeman lives nearby and has a blues club here. Sadly it was closed but we took some pictures here.
The general feeling of the town looked run down, but we think its been left like that as a nod to the original look that stood here at the birth of the Blues.
We went to Reds Lounge, a very cool shack type venue which inside was a little blues club. Just wow.
I’ve never been to such an intimate venue before- cash only, the guy grabbing beers out of a cooler and U Shaped seating around a small stage. Black walls and neon lighting gave the small room a theatre vibe – it was absolutely charming and wonderful. We were lucky enough to enjoy live music from a guitarist and singer called Mark Mule, who used to be a warm up act for BB King. He was BRILLIANT. Great story telling between songs, and he played a mix of originals and more well known blues songs. He brought his own moon shine, which we shared with us- very smooth indeed- and we had an absolutely BRILLIANT night.
Next morning after a decent grab it yourself breakfast, we hit the road south another 3 hours or so to Natchez, also in and ON (the) Mississippi River. On our route we stopped at the historic devil’s crossroads
and Vicksburg, a historic town on the river with a place on the battlefields of America map.
Keith would have liked to have taken the Battlefield drive, but time wasn’t on our side unfortunately and it needed at least a 2 -3 hour commitment from us really – which we didn’t have so we did a quick tour of the historic downtown instead,
The final part of our journey took in some of the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, an old bison route stretching from Nashville to Natchez- 444 miles! Given more time it would have been good have traveled on more of this for sure. In Natchez, our accommodation for tonight was another traditional house turned into guest house, and we were lucky to have a great view of the river from our porch and bedroom window.
In Natchez, our accommodation for tonight was another traditional house turned into guest house, and we were lucky to have a great view of the river from our porch and bedroom window.
Our hectic schedule was beginning to catch up with us at this point of the trip, so we had a nap before taking a scenic and lovely walk down the side of the River to Natchez under the Hill and more notably Under the Hill saloon.
Once a former brothel, this very traditional saloon bar was buzzing with locals enjoying an after work drink amongst friends. We met the sheriff and enjoyed some more live music courtesy of a lady singer on guitar. I tried the local vodka- and Keith enjoyed a couple of local beers.
We moved next door to The Camp, a restaurant and brewery and enjoyed an evening at the bar chatting to locals and a couple of guys on their motorbike who had rides from California and were on their way to Nashville. We ate catfish again,- when in Rome! – this time in tacos – ooph it was so nice, and had a thoroughly lovely evening. We just love these small towns in America, we really really do. I got to try a Mississippi which pleased me and my taste buds. We could have easily spent an extra night at both Natchez and Clarkesdale really but by Tuesday morning it was time to make our next push into Louisiana.
Until Next Time