Wrap It in Ridgeland! 🎁

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Wrap It in Ridgeland! 🎁

Wrap It in Ridgeland! 🎁

When the holidays come knocking, we all look forward to meaningful family time, lively get-togethers, and plenty of spirited cheer. In addition to dazzling light displays, fresh-baked gingerbread, Nutcracker performances, and cozy nights in, the start of the season also brings the start of the yearly gift-buying frenzy.
For many, gift buying has become a burden or simply a thing to check off a busy holiday to-do list. No matter how convenient, clicking “buy” on an Amazon order just doesn’t have the same charm as hand-picking the perfect gift for a loved one. 

This year, put the joy back in gift shopping by dedicating a weekend to the pursuit in a charming setting sure to bring on the holiday cheer. There’s no better place to find something for everyone on your nice list than Ridgeland, Mississippi. The Hallmark-esque Southern town is the perfect holiday shopping destination. The city’s Wrap It in Ridgeland promotion encourages visitors to create the perfect weekend itinerary complete with plenty of shopping, as well as delicious eats and spirited drinks to keep you joyful no matter how heavy your bags get. 

Shop til You Drop!

From your picky mother-in-law to your sports-obsessed nephew, Ridgeland’s lineup of local retailers and charming boutiques has everything you may need. Here’s where to shop for everyone on your list: 

For the Self-Care Slayers

Know someone who could use a little self-care? Have any ladies in your life who are always up-to-date on the latest skincare trends? For the self-care kings and queens, a spa experience at one of Mississippi’s premier pampering destinations is the perfect gift. Voted Mississippi’s best spa for the past 20 years, Aqua Day Spa is all about rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. The 6,000-square-foot spa offers massages, facials, scalp treatments, manicures and pedicures, body peels, hand and foot treatments, and more. Be sure to check out the Aqua’s holiday gift card specials to get even more bang for your buck. For the lash and brow lovers, opt for a gift card to Drench Day Spa and Lash Lounge.

For the Fashionistas

While it may not be Paris or New York, Ridgeland has more than its fair share of stylish boutiques stocked with the season’s hottest trends and styles. Head to Hemline for women’s designer apparel, accessories, and shoes from favorite brands like Love Shack Fancy, Nicole Miller, Citizens of Humanity, Diane Von Furstenberg, Show Me Your MuMu, Alice & Olivia, and more. We all know a shoe addict, and you can feed their addiction at Arco Avenue. From smart leather loafers to thigh-high boots and playful sneakers to sophisticated pumps, there’s something for everyone. Libby Story is a great place to pick up trendy tops and chic skirts for teens and young adults looking to dress to impress for a college tailgate, sorority event, or night out. And since everyone needs a great coat to rock once the temperatures drop, head to CoatTails to for something cozy, chic, or a bit of both. 

But it’s not just women’s fashion that Ridgeland can help with. At Kinkade’s Fine Clothing, men are the stars, and the mission is to make every man look dapper no matter the occasion. From office wear to casual fashion and even wedding attire, Kinkade’s has it all. The store’s team of fashion consultants can help you pick out your husband’s new favorite shirt, your father’s new lucky tie, or the best pair of pants your brother has ever worn. 

For the Active Adventurers

Because we all know someone who just can’t seem to sit still, this is the category for them. Whether they’re running a half marathon, hitting the slopes, or catching a wave, Ridgeland’s sports stores have them covered. Fleet Feet specializes in running shoes for every type of runner, from ultramarathoners to trail runners and those just getting into the sport. In addition to their huge selection of shoes, you can also pick up other athletic apparel and accessories that will keep them fully outfitted and ready for adventure. Sportique is all about two extremes: sunny sand and surf and frigid slopes. Head to this outfitter for top-of-the-line ski gear and apparel, as well as a huge selection of swimsuits perfect for catching some rays. 

For the Treasure Hunters

There are those special people in our lives who are too unique to be put in a box. And often, you have no idea what to buy them until the moment you see it. For the eclectics who seem to march to the beat of their own drum, as well as any antique or vintage lovers, your digging will best be done at Repeat Street or Antique Mall of the South. Repeat Street offers 17,000 square feet of hand-selected furnishings and fashion. Explore the booths of dozens of vendors displaying gifts, food, clothing, furniture, and much more. Antique Mall of the South is the perfect place to shop for one-of-a-kind home and décor items. From collectible china to vintage furnishings, you’ll definitely experience the thrill of the hunt while perusing the megastore’s many aisles. 

For the Home Chefs

Whether it’s your grandma who specializes in comforting homemade casseroles or your sister-in-law who’s recently been inspired by the “Great British Bake Off,” Ridgeland has your home chefs covered. The Everyday Gourmet has everything you could possibly need for the kitchen, including common tools, tableware, cutlery, gadgets, and even cookbooks. For the home cook who has it all, inquire about one of the shop’s private or public cooking classes. Your favorite foodie can take time to sharpen his or her skills while learning to make a new recipe. 

For a gift of the edible variety, look no further than J. Olive Fine Oils and Balsamics. Specializing in top-quality oils and balsamic vinegars, your loved one will be forever thankful for the way these bottles of magic will elevate their dishes. While truffle, harissa, or wild Fernleaf olive oil—if you can dream it, J. Olive probably makes it. 

Once you’re sufficiently starving from a long day of shopping, it’s time to wine and dine! Here’s where to go for dinner, a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or late-night cocktails. 

Refueling in Ridgeland

Similar to Ridgeland’s shopping scene which has something for everyone, the town’s dining scene is just as diverse. If you prefer a casual atmosphere but intend to make no concessions for the quality of food, Walk-On’s or Crab’s Seafood Shack are ideal. At Walk-On’s, Drew Brees’ lively restaurant and sports bar, experience a taste of the Big Easy with traditional Cajun and creole dishes like duck and andouille gumbo, crawfish etouffee, catfish Atchafalaya, and bayou pasta. Talk about soul-warming food and spirited good times! If you’re looking for more of a picturesque vibe for post-shopping supper, don’t miss Crab’s Seafood Shack. Located on the Reservoir, Crab’s Seafood Shack offers dinner and a view. It’s all about the seafood at this waterfront eatery that boasts the “best legs in town” and offers a huge menu of fried, steamed, and grilled fish, oysters, crab, and more.  

If you’re looking to celebrate a successful day of shopping with a little more fanfare, trust chef Derek Emerson to make your dinner plans. His upscale restaurants Caet and Local 463 are both excellent choices for chef-driven food and expertly paired drinks. At Caet, opt for fresh seafood or a decadent steak. At Local 463, the Dr. Pepper-Braised Beef Short Ribs or a specialty burger are the way to go.  

When you’re ready to toast to a fairytale holiday weekend in Ridgeland, raise a glass at Dogmund Tavern or E.A.T.S. Diner. Both offer their own distinct vibe, but each offers just as much fun. Dogmund Tavern is known for its craft beer selection and commitment to creative cocktails in a kitschy atmosphere complete with board games and science fiction references galore. If you like a sweeter drink, the Sugar Pony, made with Irish cream, blue curacao, banana liquer, lemon and cotton candy, should do the trick. For something a little stronger, the Mister Tall Hat packs a punch with habanero-infused bourbon, sugar, and bitters (perfect for warming you up on a chilly winter’s evening!). In search of a bit of nostalgia? Step back in time at E.A.T.S. Diner, a classic diner serving up the best burgers and dogs, blue plate specials, and breakfast offered all day. At the E.A.T.S. bar, order from a list of old-school cocktails and five frozen drinks. For the most festive way to celebrate, try the Poinsettia (cranberry and champagne). 

Ready to plan your holiday shopping weekend in Ridgeland? Visit www.visitridgeland.com/wrapit for more information. 

Holiday Fun in Tupelo, Mississippi

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Tupelo Trace Blog

Holiday Fun in Tupelo, Mississippi

Holiday Fun in Tupelo, Mississippi

One of the wonders of the Natchez Trace that make it so special are the featured communities along the parkway. Tupelo, Mississippi, is one of those amazing communities. Not only is Tupelo important to the Natchez Trace but it is a lively city in northeast Mississippi with plenty of attractions, events, restaurants and shops for everyone to enjoy. 

The city of Tupelo is located in the middle of the parkway and is home to the Natchez Trace Parkway Headquarters and Visitor Center at milepost 266.

Known at the birthplace of Elvis Presley, visitors may tour his home, a museum that chronicles his life, and the church he attended. An Elvis’ Tupelo Driving Tour or Self-Guided Bicycle Tour takes you to 14 places, including the Birthplace, that were an important part of his formative years in Tupelo.  

Tupelo is more than just Elvis, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Travel through a herd of buffalo and visit over 260 exotic animals at the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo.

Explore the city’s three distinct shopping districts including Downtown Tupelo which is home to many unique, local boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and more. 

Listen to live music in the birthplace of an international icon. It will be easy to find a great artist at one of Tupelo’s many live music venues throughout the week. 

There is always something fun to do in Tupelo. Listed below are some of the upcoming events we think you should check out. 

Public Ice Skating at Cadence Bank Arena – select dates November 25, 2022 – January 14, 2023
Ice skating at the Cadence Bank Arena throughout the winter. Skate rentals are included with entry fee.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Cadence Bank Arena – December 8, 2022
Celebrate the season with this holiday spectacular in Downtown Tupelo. Tickets are available at cb-arena.com.  

Tupelo’s New Year’s Eve Party – December 31, 2022
Held in a safe, secure environment, the event has something for all ages to celebrate at the start of 2023. KidsFest kicks off the night and the fun continues with live music, fireworks, and a countdown to midnight from the Fairpark Stage.

For more information on these events and more visit https://www.tupelo.net/.

Need a Budget-Friendly, Soothing Getaway?

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Trace Blog Blog

Need a Budget-Friendly, Soothing Getaway?

Need a Budget-Friendly, Soothing Getaway?

Ready for a Fall vacation but also looking to watch the budget? A Fall foliage trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway is a great answer for budget-conscious adventurers!

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a top U.S. destination for its naturally beautiful and peaceful atmosphere. Although we may not always be top-of-mind, this national park and All-American Road is worth spending some time exploring. Whether traveling by foot, bicycle or car, you can find communities along the way full of excitement and the tranquility of the Parkway along the way.  Experience it alone, with fellow explorers or with your family; it is an excellent idea for weekends.

So check out a few of the Parkway’s/communities’ budget-friendly activities:

Explore The History Of the Natchez Trace

Many families visit the Natchez Trace Parkway to experience its scenic views, outdoor activities and wildlife. However, its history is what sets it apart from other national parks in America. Some of our favorite spots on the Natchez Trace are the numerous wayside exhibits and interpretive signs. More than just a break from the trail, these sites offer a great way to learn while enjoying the natural, historic wonders of the scenic Trace. Follow the trek initially laid out by migrating animals, followed by Native American tribes for trading routes, then later developed into a state road by European settlers.

Enjoy A Walk In The Park With Your Dog

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a dog-friendly park! Hiking, biking, backpacking, and horseback riding are permitted on most of this outdoor adventure path. Backcountry campsites are also available for overnight stays by experienced campers who want to experience the park’s beauty and tranquility in a more secluded environment.

Experience The Beauty Of Nature

The Natchez Trace Parkway consists of 444-miles of greenway with lush forests, expansive meadows, open fields and an abundance of wildlife – which can be seen by those willing to get off the beaten path. Visitors will enjoy exploring this natural environment while taking a hike on one of many hiking trails or visiting a trailside museum.

Enjoy A Picnic At A Scenic Overlook Or Creek Bed 

Visitors will enjoy picnicking in one of over 100 picnic areas located along the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Sites are available on a first-come/first-serve basis and can accommodate both large and small groups – making it easy to plan a family reunion or company outing. Whether you prefer picnicking at an overlook or by a trail or creek – there are peaceful spots for everyone.

Visit For The Holidays And Enjoy Seasonal Events

Visitors will enjoy holiday events, including antique car parades, musical performances and special activities. Feel the holiday magic in communities along the way as Christmas lights decorate the towns.

Explore Nature At Its Best & Coolest During The Winter

While some outdoor parks close their gates when temperatures drop, the Natchez Trace Parkway remains open 365 days per year. Even during the colder winter months, cycling, hiking and bird-watching remain popular activities!

Plan Your Trip Now!

Start building your itinerary now, and let us help organize all there is to do along the way ad within the communities by using our interactive map.

No matter what time of year you decide to visit, the Natchez Trace Parkway and communities along the way stay ready to offer you family-friendly, budget-friendly experiences.

Changing Seasons and Popping Color

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Trace Blog Blog

Changing Seasons and Popping Color

Changing Seasons and Popping Color

Every year as the air begins to cool, we become immersed in the beauty of the new fall season and fall foliage. Fall signifies many changes, not just shorter and colder nights. 

America’s beloved sport plays on our screens again. Friends and family come together every weekend to passionately cheer for their favorite team. 

Deep orange squash replaces the vibrant flowers and lush greenery of summer months. It takes over our doorsteps, grocery stores, candles, sweets and even our coffee drinks.  

As an unfamiliar crisp cool breeze rushes through the air, we slowly bundle up with long sleeves, light jackets and fuzzy blankets. 

However, out of all the changes we experience, there is only one change that truly represents fall, and we all look forward to. 

The changing of color. 

Fall foliage will quickly fill the world around us. Red, yellow and orange are the first signs that the new season is here. These colors will paint the sky in an amber hue and cover up any remnants of summer green still on the ground. 

The beauty of fall foliage is coming to Natchez Trace Parkway. 

A trip along the scenic route of Natchez Trace Parkway highlights every part of nature. Whether you simply travel in your car looking out the window or stop along the many trails, you will see the brilliant fall colors around you. Experience firsthand the changing of seasons and colors by planning a trip now. 

Our friends at NPS even have a few suggestions on where to enjoy the foliage as well as an updated fall color report.

Oprah Daily Features 20 Breathtaking Places to See Fall Foliage

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Oprah Daily Features 20 Breathtaking Places to See Fall Foliage

Oprah Daily recently featured the Franklin, Tennessee portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway as one of the top 20 breathtaking places to see fall foliage this year.

“The Natchez Trace Parkway has long been considered one of the most scenic drives in America; and there is no better time to see it than fall. One of the best pit stops along the drive is in charming Franklin, TN, especially the Natchez Trace Bridge. The structure is one of the most iconic photo stops for a reason: the views from the base of the bridge and the bridge itself are equally breathtaking. Leave time for a hike at Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary as well, where you might spy a few of the namesake creatures if you’re lucky.”

Read the full article on OprahDaily.com.

Detour implemented near Tupelo, MS on July 19

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Detour implemented near Tupelo, MS on July 19

Release Date: July 15, 2021
Contact: Mandi Toy, mandi_toy@nps.gov, 662-680-4017 

Detour implemented near Tupelo, MS on July 19 

Temporary closure from Milepost 257 to 262 

TUPELO, MS – The Natchez Trace Parkway and nearby Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail will close to all traffic including vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians beginning July 19, 2021. A detour will be implemented from Milepost 257 to 262. 

The detour will provide safer site conditions for construction workers who are paving the motor road, access ramps, and scenic pullouts. It will also enhance safety for park staff and national park visitors while the work is in progress. The detour will be in place from Pontotoc Parkway (Milepost 257) via Highway 45 to McCollough Blvd (Milepost 262). The closure includes the Cliff Gookin Blvd and Main Street parkway access ramps. Travelers are encouraged to follow the signed detours to navigate around the closure. 

The Blackland Prairie section of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail will be closed from the Jackson Street Trailhead to McCollough Blvd. Hikers may still enjoy the Northern most section of trail from Old Town Overlook (MP 263.9) to the Northern Terminus Trailhead (MP 266). 

The closure is anticipated to last until early October. This is the first of two planned closures that are part of a road improvement project around Tupelo, MS. The second closure will be north of Milepost 262 and near Park Headquarters later this year. Updates to the road status will be made when available on the park website at www.nps.gov/natr and on Facebook @NatchezTraceParkwayNPS, or call (800) 305-7417. 

www.nps.gov

These Are The Greatest American Roads You Can Travel By Motorcycle

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These Are The Greatest American Roads You Can Travel By Motorcycle

Hitting the road on a motorcycle is truly a freeing experience, and these All-American roads are exactly the escape you need.

Few things compare to riding a motorcycle on the open road. The air feels fresh and exhilarating. Being outdoors and on the move boosts the mood. Sounds and sights seem closer. The experience puts the rider in closer contact with the surrounding landscape. That’s a huge advantage when taking a sunny summer road trip on All-American Roads. These are stretches of highway recognized by the national government as having scenic, natural, historic, recreational, archaeological, or cultural significance. In all, there are 39 All-American Roads, but these are some of the most astounding:

7. Natchez-Trace Parkway, Mississippi, Alabama, And Tennessee

Riding the Natchez-Trace Parkway from start to end non-stop takes about ten hours, but motorcyclists will want to spend longer. This stretch of road is 444 miles long. There are scenic overlooks like the Bird-Song Hollow Double Arch Bridge at milepost 348. Travelers can see Jackson Falls at milepost 404.

…continue reading from thetravel.com.

Credit: thetravel.com

Planned Road Repair near Tupelo, MS in Near Future

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News Releases

Planned Road Repair near Tupelo, MS in Near Future

Five mile sections of Parkway roadway will be completely closed to traffic between milepost 257 (HWY 6 / HWY 278)) and 266 (Visitor Center) starting some time around mid- to late July. The process of repair will take 4-5 months, depending on weather.

Read the alert from NPS here.

More from WTVA here, as well.

New superintendent named for Natchez Trace Parkway

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New superintendent named for Natchez Trace Parkway

National Park Service (NPS) acting Regional Director Pedro Ramos announced the selection of Douglas “Doug” Neighbor as the new superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway, Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site and Tupelo National Battlefield, effective Aug. 15.

Read the article from Lewis Herald County here.

“Doug is an established leader deeply committed to the protection and enjoyment of iconic national treasures, like Natchez Trace Parkway,” Ramos said. “He is poised to tackle the challenges of public safety, climate change, cultural heritage preservation and conservation there with creativity and resolve. We look forward to welcoming Doug as he builds on the park’s long-standing engagement with visitors, partners and neighbors.”

“I am honored to be selected as the next superintendent to lead Natchez Trace Parkway and its associated sites,” Neighbor said. “Although Natchez Trace Parkway is a thin ribbon passing through the great states of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, the park’s impact is wide. The incredibly rich history, cultural landscapes, cultural resources and historic structures are crucial to the gateway communities, affiliated tribes and key stakeholders and I look forward to collaboratively strengthening those ties.”

Neighbor is a 30-year veteran of the National Park Service with 27 years dedicated to the field of resource management. Since 2014, Neighbor has served as the superintendent for Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico where he is responsible for more than 46,000 acres, 119 known caves and an annual operating budget of more than $5.4 million.

Neighbor also previously served as superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, Big Thicket National Preserve and Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. He was instrumental in establishing the Gulf Coast Inventory and Monitoring Network, Exotic Plant Management Team program and the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit for the gulf coast spanning Florida to Texas. He has led impactful Indigenous community and tribal relations efforts, created a multi-partner forest restoration program, established a science and learning center, and developed a partnership initiative that resulted in the discovery of many species new to science.

Before joining the NPS, Neighbor worked with Texas A&M University as a research assistant and as a wildlife biologist with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department.

Neighbor is the son of a U.S. Air Force Vietnam War veteran navigator and fighter pilot whose tours of duty allowed his son to experience life growing up in five states, Zeist Netherlands and Goose Bay, Labrador. Thirteen relocations and a high school graduation later, Neighbor earned a Bachelor of Science in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University.

Neighbor looks forward to returning to the southern region and being in closer proximity to his father in Austin, Texas and four siblings. Neighbor enjoys hiking, photography, sailing, boat-building and other fine woodworking projects. He has hiked the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and anxiously awaits the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail.

Continue reading the full article from Lewis Herald County here.

Leipers Fork, TN to Muscle Shoals, AL: 7 Adorable Country Towns To Experience

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Leipers Fork, TN to Muscle Shoals, AL: 7 Adorable Country Towns To Experience

On a clear April day, the lazy Buffalo River near Linden, Tennessee, was even lazier in the warm sunshine, its steady current breezily pushing our kayaks along the green-covered shores.

Read the article from travelawaits.com.

Along the banks, a couple of fat cows startled as we floated on by, and the indignant squawk of blue herons punctured the vast quiet of this rural Tennessee landscape. While not as impressive as the massive Tennessee River, the Buffalo River is Tennessee’s longest tributary of the Duck River, weaving 125 miles along the rolling hills of central Tennessee.

Our guide this day was Michael Dumont, a Rhode Island native who, along with his wife Kathy, purchased the old Commodore Hotel in the heart of Linden. The couple bought the architectural gem in 2007, and Michael’s background as a developer helped the couple restore the building to its current boutique hotel status. 

In addition to hosting guests at the hotel, which was named one of “Six Great Places to Stay in Tennessee,” the Dumonts also rent and lead kayak tours of the scenic river through the hotel.

…. continue reading on travelawaits.com.

Journeys of Discovery: Exploring the possibility explorer Meriwether Lewis didn’t commit suicide

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Journeys of Discovery: Exploring the possibility explorer Meriwether Lewis didn’t commit suicide

Historian Tony Turnbow (second from right) talks with journalists in front of the Grinder House on the Natchez Trace in Monument, Tennessee. Photo credit: Ryan French

Article courtesy of kcbx.org.

Franklin, Tennessee historian and attorney-at-law Tony Turnbow, investigates the possibility that Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, didn’t commit suicide in 1809. Turnbow shares compelling circumstantial evidence that Lewis was actually murdered and robbed while traveling along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee.

Turnbow also shares fascinating insights about Aaron Burr and how he might have been involved in Lewis’s murder. Turnbow, the author of Hardened To Hickory—The Missing Chapter in Andrew Jackson’s Life also shares fascinating tales about Jackson and his connection with the Natchez Trace military route from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi.

Underwriting support for Journeys of Discovery provided by Nashville’s Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast.

Journeys of Discovery: A conversation with Franklin, TN historian–From Civil War to Civil Rights

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Journeys of Discovery: A conversation with Franklin, TN historian–From Civil War to Civil Rights

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Eric Jacobson, CEO of the Battle of Franklin Trust. Jacobson talks about the last major battle of the Civil War, The Battle of Franklin in Middle Tennessee, November 30, 1864.

He also shares insights about the complex legacy of the Civil War—from advances in medicine to the advent of the KKK. How the 1915 Hollywood film Birth of a Nation and the 1939 debut of Gone With The Wind propelled the advocates who believe that the war was actually a “War of Northern aggression”.

But most importantly Jacobson shares his optimistic faith in the critical thinking skills of the generation of Americans who came of age in the post civil-rights era.

The town of Franklin and the Tennessee antebellum St. Peter’s Episcopal Church located on the outskirts of Mt. Pleasant are featured destinations along the fabled Nashville’s big Back Yard tour route featuring small towns along the Natchez Trace National Parkway all the way down to the legendary Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.

Underwriting support for Journeys of Discovery provided by Nashville’s Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast.

Natchez Trace Parkway Named A Top Family-Friendly Campground in the US

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Natchez Trace Parkway Named A Top Family-Friendly Campground in the US

The Natchez Trace was named one of the top-family friendly campgrounds from travelpulse.com. Read the full article here.

Exploring the history and natural beauty of the Natchez Trace — once the most important travel route between Mississippi and Tennessee

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Exploring the history and natural beauty of the Natchez Trace — once the most important travel route between Mississippi and Tennessee

This historic spot is the Natchez Trace, once the most important travel route in the Old Southwest. While only a smattering of the original path exists today, the trail and its rich history are preserved via the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway. Built between 1938 and 2005, the parkway follows the path of the original Trace, winding northeast from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee.

Read the full article from chicagotribune.com

Remembering the Chickasaw Homeland and Tennessee’s “Trail of Tears”

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Remembering the Chickasaw Homeland and Tennessee’s “Trail of Tears”

Read the full article from the memphis100.com.

In 1837, the 4th of July wasn’t a day of celebration for the 3,000 Chickasaw people gathered in Memphis that day. Instead, as part of the Great Removal under President Andrew Jackson, they were forced to gather their possessions and leave western Tennessee on what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

Considered one of the “Five Civilized Tribes,” Chickasaw families followed the paths of other Indigenous peoples like the Creek, who had used Memphis as the transit point across the Mississippi River.

The Chickasaw Nation ultimately claimed new territory in Oklahoma, but their legacy still dots the Tennessee landscape.

– Carlisle Willard, Contributor

Camp, hike, paddle and fish: Enjoy the outdoors at these 5 great places near Jackson

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Camp, hike, paddle and fish: Enjoy the outdoors at these 5 great places near Jackson

From visiting a town that no longer exists to exploring a swamp, there’s a lot to do in the outdoors within a short drive of Jackson, including the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Read the full article from clarionledger.com here.

‘Fighting Devil’s Backbone’: A story about the Natchez Trace

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‘Fighting Devil’s Backbone’: A story about the Natchez Trace

Read the full article on williamsonherald.com.

A widow with two sons and no family to help her, Sarah Perkins faced a bleak future remaining in Pennsylvania with her boys in 1809, so she got them passage on a keelboat to Nashville.

From there, they would take the Natchez Trace, which ran from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi and the southwest Mississippi frontier.

“Imagine the courage that took,” said Tony Turnbow, a Williamson County attorney turned historian and author.

Just eight years earlier, in 1801, President Thomas Jefferson sent soldiers to convert the Natchez Trace, an old Indian trail running from Nashville to the busy seaport of Natchez, Mississippi, into a wagon highway. It was one of the first highways built by the federal government.

In his first children’s book, “Fighting the Devil’s Backbone; The Shadow of E.Z.’s Fear,” Turnbow brings that piece of history to life with tales of “cutthroat” bandits, Indian raids and spies who terrorized those traveling along the Natchez Trace, better known as the “Devil’s Backbone.”

Perkins and her boys traveled down the Cumberland River to Nashville, where they disembarked and the boys experienced the first of many new adventures.

After meeting other families heading for the Natchez Trace and a new life, they joined their wagons and continued on to Franklin, staying at Whites Tavern on Margin Street — where the Old, Old Jail, aka the McConnell House, is now located — and waited for a few more families to join them. Meanwhile, the boys had a number of encounters, adventures and learned more about the wilderness they were about to enter.

“The [original] Natchez Trace had several different trails and roads,” Turnbow said. “At that time, it started at Granny White [Pike], and the Indian Trail ran through Franklin to Leiper’s Fork at Garrison Creek and continued southwest from there. This is an early period of our history — a missing part the early history of Franklin.”

In 1809, the southwest frontier offered land and possibilities. Many influential people came through the Williamson County area on their way to New Orleans and other Southern towns, Turnbow said.

In “Fighting Devil’s Backbone,” E.Z. (pronounced “Easy”) and his younger brother, David, find as the “men of the family” they have to quickly learn survival skills to provide for their mother and the community of people with whom they travel the dangerous route.

“The Natchez Trace became the ‘Cradle of Southern Culture,’ where people from the Northeast and East Coast started out heading further southwest to find homes,” Turnbow said. “People wanted the opportunity to own their own land. All the good land had already been purchased in the East.”

…. continue reading on williamsonherald.com.

Blackland Prairie Trail gets a facelift

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Blackland Prairie Trail gets a facelift

Natchez Trace Parkway has partnered with the Southeast Conservation Corps to improve Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail sections and increase stewardship awareness. Last week, with a generous donation from the City of Tupelo through the Healthy Hometown Award, the crew rehabilitated the raised boardwalk near Chickasaw Village.

“The help of our partners and nearby communities is critical in keeping the trails open and safe and developing a sense of stewardship. We encourage people to get outside and enjoy them” noted trail coordinator Logan Mikus. 

The Parkway maintains over 60 miles of hiking trail designated as Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act “to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities.”