Natchez Trace Parkway featured in USA Today

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Natchez Trace Parkway featured in USA Today

USA Today asked local experts to name one great scenic drive in each state and the District of Columbia in time for summer road tripping. The Natchez Trace Parkway was chosen in USA Today’s “51 Great Scenic Drives.”

Click here to see the article.

 

New Split Rail Up at Meriwether Lewis Site

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New Split Rail Up at Meriwether Lewis Site

In March 2011 the National Park Service put up a new split rail at a section of the Meriwether Lewis site to delineate the Old Trace along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

As visitors left the section of the Old Trace that ran through the forest and came out into the open area of the cabin grounds, most people could not differentiate the Trace from the grounds. Therefore, the National Park Service decided to build this split rail to make it easier for visitors to easily see the boundaries between the Old Trace and the Meriwether Lewis site. The split rail is also commonly used on the Natchez Trace Parkway as a historically and pleasing way to mark areas of interest.

An exciting concept of the Meriwether Lewis site is that the actual section of the Natchez Trace Meriwether Lewis traveled on is still there. There are also new split rails at both entrances to the site, and it is used elsewhere on the Parkway for boundary purposes. The Natchez Trace Compact is excited about this new split rail and we hope visitors enjoy it, as well.

Photos taken by Terry Wildy.

Meriwether Lewis Projects Near Completion

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Meriwether Lewis Projects Near Completion

Meriwether Lewis Cabin

We are excited to announce the Meriwether Lewis projects are close to completion. In 2009 the Natchez Trace Parkway began construction on a $3.5 million dollar rehabilitation project at the Meriwether Lewis death and burial site (Milepost 386).

Natchez Trace Parkway staff coordinated the engineering, design, and aesthetics of the site. Numerous projects were included in the overall site rehabilitation.

Projects include but are not limited to: rehabilitation of two restroom facilities to current accessibility standards, construction of one new restroom facility and one new parking lot, planting of hundreds of new trees, replacement of all picnic tables and grills, repaving of the entire site, installation of new directional signage and split rail, placement of power lines underground, addressing deferred maintenance on existing  structures, rehabilitation of the 1935 ranger station/cabin, design and construction of new walking trail and the installation of a new solar voltaic array which will generate enough electricity to power most of the site. New exhibits on Meriwether Lewis are being designed and will be installed in the cabin and on the new walking trail. Two entrance signs have been installed. These projects should be completed within the next six months.

All of these projects were funded by the American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos taken by Terry Wildy.

Elvis Presley Birthplace Renovation

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Elvis Presley Birthplace Renovation

Elvis Presley's Birthplace

An exciting expansion project at Elvis Presley’s Birthplace in Tupelo has just been announced! The expansion will include an event center, a theatre, a snack bar and two patios where guests can relax in comfort. The project is being funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the City of Tupelo, the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation, the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Carpenter Foundation. Construction on the expansion project is set to begin this summer.

The Natchez Trace Compact Launches a New Website

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The Natchez Trace Compact Launches a New Website

The Natchez Trace Compact has a fresh look! We’ve launched our new website at www.scenictrace.com. The user-friendly site features a calendar of events, information about all of our 19 communities such as lodging, restaurants, and attractions, travel itineraries, and our blog to name a few. You’ll find everything you need to know about the Natchez Trace Parkway and its communities.

Enter to Win a $1,000 Gift Certificate from the Natchez Trace Compact

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Enter to Win a $1,000 Gift Certificate from the Natchez Trace Compact

We are giving away a $1,000 gift certificate to a Natchez Trace Facebook fan!


Simply go to our Facebook page and click the “Like” button. Then, click the “Click to WIN!” tab to the left to enter. You will have to allow our app, but this is only so we can contact you if you win. Your information will not be shared to any third parties.


One lucky fan will win a $1,000 gift certificate to The Bike Rack to purchase a bike of his or her choice to enjoy on the Natchez Trace Parkway, courtesy of the Natchez Trace Compact. This is the perfect time of year to ride outside and enjoy the warm weather and scenic beauty of the Parkway. This gift certificate can be used to purchase any items inside The Bike Rack. The winner will be announced July 1, 2011.


The Bike Rack is located in Flowood, Mississippi. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates. Good luck to all of the Facebook fans!

New Section of the Multiuse Trail on the Parkway

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Itineraries

New Section of the Multiuse Trail on the Parkway

Multiuse Trail

The newest section of the Multiuse Trail gave bikers and walkers something to cheer about. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Friday, January 21, 2011 at 11:00am along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The National Park Service, the City of Ridgeland, and Federal Highway Administration jointly opened the new section of the Multiuse Trail at Reservoir Overlook, Milepost 105.6 along the Parkway.  The public were invited to attend.

Multiuse Trail with bridge

The Multiuse Trail is perfect for biking, jogging and walking. Nature-lovers can appreciate the beautiful plants and greenery that surround the path. Weekends and warm weather make a popular time for friends and family to enjoy the trail.  Strollers and pets are welcome, as well. You’ll be so pleased with your time on the Multiuse Trail, you’ll forget you’re getting exercise with such a graceful scenery. Citizens of all ages can experience the beauty of the Natchez Trace. The trail is 10-feet wide, allows access for wheelchair users and is designed to preserve the scenic cultural landscape of the Parkway.

“The completion of this segment represents another great partnership effort between the National Park Service, the City of Ridgeland, and the Federal Highway Administration,” said Parkway Superintendent Cameron Sholly. “Current and future segments of the Multiuse Trail will continue to enhance the quality of life for visitors and residents of this entire area.”

Family enjoying the trail

The Multiuse Trail projects are funded through the Park Roads and Parkways program within the Federal Lands Highway Program. The National Park Service recently completed two sections of multiuse trail. The segment between Highland Colony Parkway and Livingston Road included three miles of trail and the section between Old Canton Road and the Reservoir Overlook included 2.3 miles of trail and three bridges. The new segments connect to 2.1 miles of trail already completed by the City of Ridgeland from Highland Colony Parkway to Old Canton Road.

Construction on new segments of the Multiuse Trail continues, providing opportunities for safe and enjoyable recreation along the Natchez Trace Parkway in the Jackson Metropolitan Area.

For any questions about the event call (662) 680-4027. Visit www.scenictrace.com and find us on Facebook and Twitter to join us in the conversation.

Photography by: Sandi Kavanaugh and Bob Felker

What Can You See in Tennessee?

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Itineraries

What Can You See in Tennessee?

Wondering what to do and see in Tennessee along the Natchez Trace? Take a look at these sites and attractions:

  • The new Wayne County Welcome Center – In Collinwood, the center welcomes guests to Tennessee as friendly volunteers tour attractions like Collinwood’s Old Depot Library, the only surviving building associated with the Tennessee Western Railroad. Tour the small museum at the Welcome Center, learn about local festivals and enjoy rural attractions like canoeing, fishing and hunting.
  • Sweetwater Branch – Continue with a walk among the wildflowers along the banks of the free flowing stream at Sweetwater Branch, a popular destination for locals and visitors.

    Meriwether Lewis Monument
  • Meriwether Lewis – From SweetwaterBranch, it’s a short drive to the grave of early American explorer Meriwether Lewis, who met his mysterious death, possibly by suicide, on this spot in 1809.  It was Lewis, along with his partner William Clark, who first documented vast areas of the Louisiana Purchase.  At the gravesite you’ll also find a campsite, picnic area, with self-guided walking trails and restrooms.
  • Leiper’s Fork – On from the Lewis site, the road crosses over the Tennessee Valley Divide, which served as the boundary between the United States and the Chickasaw Nation when Tennessee joined the Union in 1796.  From there it’s on to Leiper’s Fork, a delightful village that is a Registered National Historic District and a great place to kick back and relax.
  • Lawn Chair Theatre – Today, in Leiper’s Fork, you’ll see historic homes that have been converted into antiques stores, cafes and artists’ shops. Break out your blankets and watch outdoor movies with the whole family at the Lawn Chair Theatre.
  • Civil War site – In nearby Franklin, the road leads to the site of a dramatic Civil War battle that has been called the “bloodiest hours” of the entire war.  The Carter House, which served as Union headquarters, is a Registered Historic Landmark, with over 100 bullet holes in its sides, is open as a museum and interpretive center with a video presentation.

    The Carnton Plantation
  • The Carnton Plantation – Only a few miles away, the scene was equally brutal, as wounded Confederates filled every inch of the house and lawn.  After the war, when a neighbor’s field containing the remains of some 1500 soldiers was going to be plowed under, Carnton owners John and Carrie McGavock offered the services of their beloved Carnton, making Carnton the largest privately held Confederate cemetery in the nation.
  • The Factory at Franklin – History has always run deep in Franklin, TN. The Factory retains many of the architectural features and feel of the old premises while providing a picturesque venue for dining, shopping, galleries and even theatre.
  • Double Arch Bridge – You’ll soon cross over an actual bridge linking the small town charm behind you to the bright lights of Nashville ahead.  This remarkably innovative double arch bridge, an architectural and engineering landmark is the only one of its kind in the world.

    The Parthenon in Nashville, TN
  • The Parthenon – In Centennial Park, you can stand in awe before a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon; inside, you can look up for what seems like miles at the Athena Parthenos, the tallest indoor structure in the entire world.
  • Country music – Nashville is the heart of country music, where stars come to make their mark and fans come to see their idols. From venues like the Blue Bird Café, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Grand Ole Opry, which is continuing its more than 80-year tradition, Nashville hums and strums with excitement.  The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the many unbeatable attractions on Music Row.
  • Art – The Frist Center for the Visual Arts has world-class rotating collections of fine art. At Cheekwood Botanical Garden, 55 acres of botanical gardens, a sculpture trail and museum of art make for a captivating excursion.

    The Hermitage
  • The Hermitage – But no trip up (or down) the Natchez Trace would be complete without a visit to the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s Nashville home.  Perhaps no other single individual has been as closely associated with the history of the Trace as the man who was U.S. President as well as the namesake for Mississippi’s capital. Costumed interpreters are stationed throughout the house to guide visitors and to provide context—though some of the best context a visitor might find would be on that road, the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, where Andrew Jackson, along with so many other Americans, found his way.

For visitor information: 866—TRACE 56 (866-872-2356)    www.scenictrace.com

Attractions along the Parkway in the Jackson, MS Area

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Itineraries

Attractions along the Parkway in the Jackson, MS Area

Downtown Jackson at nighttime

Get ready to take the plunge:  Music, art, crafts, history, museums galore, hot nightlife, cool neighborhoods, literary legends, shopping, shopping, and more shopping. And then there are those 33,000 acres of gorgeous water for boating, swimming and fishing. The Clinton, Jackson, Ridgeland area is so welcoming it will make you feel like home before you can spell Mississippi.

  • Clinton Visitor Center – Located on the Parkway, when you roll into Clinton don’t be surprised if they’re playing your song at the Clinton Visitor Center on the Parkway.  Requests are welcome at the monthly jam sessions of the Mississippi Olde Time Music Society.  Even if you don’t make the jam, there are plenty of other tasty Mississippi-made treats available at the Center and historical exhibits to devour.

    Mississippi College
  • Mississippi College – This Christian University was the first institution of higher learning in Mississippi, and the first co-ed college in the nation to award degrees to women. On your stroll through campus, be sure to stop at the Samuel Gore Art Gallery and Statue Garden.
  • Clinton Community Nature Center – Take a hike through the 33 acres of lush native trees, ferns and foliage.  There are benches for relaxing, or you can follow a piece of the Old Natchez Trace that winds through the center.
  • Mississippi Museum of Art – Construction is complete on the newly renovated MMA creating a beautiful new home for the Museum and its permanent collection of extraordinary art. The renovation project, which took just under a year to complete, marks a historical day for Mississippi and its artistic legacy.
  • Museum of Natural ScienceInside the park, the Museum’s buildings and grounds feature a 73,000-square foot complex overlooking a 300-acre natural landscape, 2.5 miles of nature trails, and an open-air amphitheater. It has a variety of exciting exhibits, including: a series of life-size displays of the state’s diverse habitats, a 100,000-gallon aquarium network housing over 200 living species, and a 1,700-square foot greenhouse.
  • The Agriculture and Forestry Museum – The Ag Museum sits you smack in the middle of an 1860s working farm and on the streets of an old-timey Mississippi town. Begin your journey through time as your guide reveals how agriculture and forestry molded the history and heritage of the State. Your travels would not be complete without savoring some good Southern cooking and hometown entertainment.
  • The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum – This museum willput you up to bat with stats, bios and trivia in interactive exhibits on Mississippi sports legends from Dizzy Dean to Archie Manning to Jerry Rice to Brett Favre.

    Mississippi Governor's Mansion
  • The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion – The Governor’s Mansion introduces the fascinating story of Mississippi history. And should you run into him, say hello to the governor, too.  He lives there, in the second oldest continuously occupied residence in the U.S.
  • The Jackson Zoo – The Discovery Zoo, the children’s area at the Jackson Zoo, has been named by the New York Times Travel Guide as one of the top five children’s zoos east of Mississippi, and now with the $8 million addition, called the Wilderness Mississippi Area, you can see tigers, black bears, river otters and beavers in habitats of the latest design.
  • Historic neighborhoods – You can check out Belhaven where the Eudora Welty House Museum is located and the quaint Fondren District where residents greet each other on the sidewalks,  in the unique shops, galleries and showrooms, and of course – the trolley.
  • The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi – Founded in 1973, this non-profit organization of craftsmen is interested in preserving contemporary, folk and traditional crafts of Mississippi. The Guild members, who now number more than 400 professional artisans from all across the Southeast, create every sort of beautiful item imaginable and have been named Best of Jackson for “Best Place to Find Unique Gifts” for 2010.

    The Renaissance in Ridgeland
  • The Renaissance at Colony Park – You’ll admire the view sitting at one of the outdoor cafés or on one of the wrought iron benches of The Renaissance at Colony Park. This massive outdoor lifestyle center offers an out-of-ordinary retail experience that’s about premium brands and much more. Modeled after an old-world European village, the Renaissance features luxurious touches like tiled roofs, fountains, lush greenery, and a village green for concerts and other events.

    The Reservoir
  • Ross Barnett Reservoir – The Reservoir is a huge attraction, 33,000 acres of water to be exact, in Mississippi. It’s a sportsman’s paradise on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, a man-made wonder. Fun and relaxing restaurants are located on the bays of the Reservoir, ideal for anybody who enjoys a water-front view along with a tasty bite to eat. It’s perfect for sailing, boating, swimming, fishing and bird-watching with miles of hiking trails on the Natchez Trace.

For Visitor Information: 866-TRACE-56 (888-872-2356) www.scenictrace.com

Franklin Theatre Marquee Lighting Ceremony

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Franklin Theatre Marquee Lighting Ceremony

It has been more than 40 years since the Franklin Theatre’s marquee has lit up 419 Main Street in Historic Downtown Franklin, and on Jan. 29, 2011, at 5 p.m., the marquee will once again shine. The Next Generation of the Heritage Foundation, comprised of 21-40 year old Heritage Foundation members, has made a $100,000 pledge to fund the replica of the original 1937 Franklin Theatre Marquee.

In honor of this special occasion, the Next Generation Heritage Foundation is sponsoring a “Champagne and Shopping Hour” beginning at 4 p.m. in many of the shops on Main Street. Participating shops include Avec Moi, Bathos, Bob Parks Realty, Bink’s Outfitters, Dion’s, Franklin Tea, The Heirloom Shop, Serendipity Skincare, VueOptique, Whats-In-Store, Yarrow Acres, and many more!

At 5 p.m., the ceremony will begin on the street in front of the Theatre. Main Street will be closed for the event beginning at 4 p.m., and parking will be available in Downtown Franklin’s two free parking lots located at 2nd Avenue South and 4th Avenue South. Don’t miss this moment in Franklin history!

Contact Deborah Warnick:  deborah@visitwilliamson.com

The Natchez Trace Parkway Welcomes Firehouse Community Arts Center for Black History Month

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The Natchez Trace Parkway Welcomes Firehouse Community Arts Center for Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, the Natchez Trace Parkway will host the Firehouse Community Arts Center of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance (MBAA) on Saturday, February 12, 2011. Using the performing arts of drama and music (song and instrumental) and visual media projections, the Firehouse Community Arts Center will offer education and entertainment for this year’s Black History Program. The program will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, located at milepost 266, near Tupelo, Mississippi.

The MBAA will weave a multi-media musical story based on the rich synergy of music, drama, and daily life of these groups. African, Native American, Negro spirituals, and jazz will be presented.

Performers will include Naomi Williams Moody, Kent Suggs, and Carl S. Slappy. Ms. Moody has enjoyed a career in theatre for over twenty-five years, performing as a singer, actress, and master teacher of voice at the Memphis Black Arts Alliance. Ms. Moody is co-founder and producer of The Bluff City Tri-Art Theatre Company. Mr. Suggs, a world–traveled musician, plays and instructs students in blues, jazz, and Christian instrumental and vocal music. Once the director at B.B. King’s club on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, he now focuses on teaching students of all ages and providing musical direction for several local churches. Mr. Slappy has worked as a Light Designer for the Elijah Pierce Gallery and Martin Luther King Arts Complex, and is a founding member of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance.

This program is free to the public. For additional information, please call the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center at 1-800-305-7417.