The Natchez Trace Parkway: Shadows of Southern History

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The Natchez Trace Parkway: Shadows of Southern History

The Natchez Trace Parkway was featured in RoadRUNNER magazine, a national travel publication for motorcyclists. Take a look at this great article right here.

Goodyear Prepares Motorists for the Most Scenic, Comfortable Drives This Fall on America’s Byways

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Goodyear Prepares Motorists for the Most Scenic, Comfortable Drives This Fall on America’s Byways

In news just released by Goodyear, their national survey reveals 70% of Americans are planning at least one fall road trip. Goodyear has issued a list of 50 Comfortable Touring Drives, and they’re on America’s Byways!

AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 30, 2010 – According to a new national survey from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and America’s Byways®, 70 percent of Americans are planning on taking at least one road trip this autumn, and a combination of stable gas prices and abundant scenic routes should contribute to opportunities for weekend road trips or getaways.

The survey, completed by Kelton Research, also finds that most travelers want their journey to be something that is beautiful and unique, not just another trip on a superhighway. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people (80 percent) would opt for a scenic, touring drive rather than driving directly to their destination. Unlike summer road trips, which focus on the destinations, fall getaway trips are built upon the overall experience of the journey.

“Our survey showed that 97 percent of Americans planning a fall road trip agree that their overall comfort is the key to enjoying it, so we joined together with America’s Byways to unveil a list of the 50 Most Comfortable Touring Drives,” said Gary Medalis, general manager for Goodyear consumer tires. “These top 50 touring drives encompass comfort and scenery to enhance the trip and are all within reasonable distance of major metropolitan areas.”

“This fall, for not a lot of money, travelers can skip the superhighways and exit to the smaller roadways to experience some of the best roads America has to offer,” said Derrick Crandall, spokesperson for America’s Byways and president, American Recreation Coalition. “While there are hundreds of fantastic drives along America’s Byways, we worked with Goodyear to create a list of some of the best, providing Americans with what they told us they are looking for – comfortable, nearby drives that provide scenic and unique landscapes.

50 Most Comfortable Touring Drives

* Delaware River Scenic Byway – New Jersey
* Merritt Parkway – Connecticut
* Great Lakes Seaway Trail – New York, Pennsylvania
* Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway – California
* Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway – California
* San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway – California
* Historic Route 66 – Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma
* Lincoln Highway – Illinois
* Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway – Delaware
* Historic National Road – Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia
* Blue Ridge Parkway – North Carolina, Virginia
* Journey Through Hallowed Ground – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia
* George Washington Memorial Parkway – Virginia
* Millstone Valley Scenic Byway (New Jersey)
* Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street – Maryland
* Woodward Avenue Automotive Heritage Trail – Michigan
* Red Rock Scenic Byway – Arizona
* Stevens Pass Greenway – Washington
* Chinook Scenic Byway – Washington
* Mountains to Sound Greenway – Washington
* Grand Rounds Scenic Byway – Minnesota
* Florida Keys Scenic Highway – Florida
* Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway – Florida
* A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway – Florida
* Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail – Florida
* Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway – Colorado
* Gold Belt Tour Scenic & Historic Byway – Colorado
* Ohio River Scenic Byway – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana
* Amish Country Byway – Ohio
* Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail – Ohio
* Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route – Illinois
* Mt. Hood Scenic Byway – Oregon
* West Cascades Scenic Byway – Oregon
* Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway – South Carolina
* Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi
* Connecticut State Route 169 – Connecticut
* Nebo Loop Scenic Byway – Utah
* Loess Hills Scenic Byway – Iowa
* Woodlands Trace – Tennessee, Kentucky
* Selma to Montgomery March Byway – Alabama
* Flint Hills Scenic Byway – Kansas
* Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway – Kansas
* Talladega Scenic Drive – Alabama
* Alabama’s Coastal Connection – Alabama
* Las Vegas Strip – Nevada
* Death Valley Scenic Byway – California
* Route 1 – San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway – California
* Santa Fe Trail – New Mexico, Colorado
* Turquoise Trail – New Mexico
* Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway

Additional results from the survey revealed 49 percent of Americans would sacrifice their GPS units, while others (32 percent) would sacrifice music and good gas mileage (29 percent) to experience a comfortable drive. Americans would even go to extremes to guarantee a satisfying, comfortable drive on a road trip – with 30 percent responding that they would endure the pain of stubbing their toe, or enduring a bee sting (18 percent), or even a root canal (6 percent).

“Despite what some Americans may think, major sacrifices are not necessary to make their driving more comfortable,” said Medalis. “For those in need of new tires, drivers should consider Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring tires, which are built for a smooth, comfortable ride. These tires help give drivers a refined handling and performance driving experience, and deliver, on average, 20 percent more cushion than standard tires.”

For more information about America’s Byways, visit www.byways.org. For more information on Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring tires or any tire in Goodyear’s lineup, visit www.goodyeartires.com.

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs approximately 69,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

America’s Byways is a collection of 150 distinct and diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States.

Jeff Busby Campground Temporarily Closed on Natchez Trace Parkway

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Jeff Busby Campground Temporarily Closed on Natchez Trace Parkway

MS, AL, TN: Due to last week’s storms, the Natchez Trace Parkway is temporarily closing the Jeff Busby Campground, located at milepost 193.1, in Mississippi. The campground will reopen once damage assessments have been completed and mitigated.

For additional information and/or updates regarding the Jeff Busby Campground closure, visit www.nps.gov/natr or call (662) 680-4027.

Franklin Theatre Launches New Website

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Franklin Theatre Launches New Website

MESSAGE TO FANS: ‘DON’T STAND IN LINE. BUY ONLINE.’

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The legendary Franklin Theatre today launched its new web site at www.franklintheatre.com with a message urging moviegoers and music fans: “Don’t stand in line. Buy online.”

In unveiling the new site, the 290-seat theater made tickets available for its first month of current-run movies. All movie showings will be $5 for the first 90 days. Additionally, the theater revealed its first live-music performances, including:

  • Tuesday, June 7: Vince Gill and Amy Grant headline the inaugural “Green Nights,” a music series celebrating the Franklin Theatre’s commitment to community and environmental sustainability.
  • Saturday, June 11: Keb’ Mo’ plays the Franklin Theatre’s first Saturday-night concert, a new programming staple for the world-class live entertainment venue.

The Franklin Theatre, a 1937 historic landmark that closed its doors in 2007, re-opens on June 3 following a multi-million-dollar restoration. With just 36 days remaining, anticipation is building among fans who have waited years for the return of movies and music on Main Street.

“Interest is high and seating is limited,” said Lindsay George, Community Relations Director for the Franklin Theatre. “We’re asking all of our fans to be patient as we try to accommodate demand in the weeks ahead. The key is: Don’t stand in line. Buy online.”

The Franklin Theatre’s new web site — designed and developed by Franklin-based Birdsong Creative and JLB Works — features online ticket and merchandise sales powered by Agile Ticketing Solutions. Fans can sign up to receive email announcements and updates.

Check out the Franklin Theatre online for grand opening weekend details on June 3-5, including a 1930s-themed street party in downtown Franklin and screenings of film classics “Gone With the Wind” and “Casablanca.”

Storms Cause Severe Damage on Natchez Trace Parkway

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Storms Cause Severe Damage on Natchez Trace Parkway

On April 26 and 27, several major storms impacted the Natchez Trace. High winds damaged or knocked down approximately 30000 trees within the boundary of the Parkway. The most heavily impacted areas were in Choctaw and Webster Counties in MS. Several other sections were damaged between Jackson and Nashville. Through the outstanding work of the Parkway staff and volunteers, the roadway is open and damage assessments are ongoing. Trail users should be aware of the possibility of debris or flooded sections.

Before and After Storm Damage on the Parkway

Franklin Theatre Unveils Grand Re-Opening Plans

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Franklin Theatre Unveils Grand Re-Opening Plans

1930s CLASSIC FILMS, STREET PARTY HEADLINE WEEKEND EVENTS

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The Franklin Theatre today unveiled plans for its grand re-opening on the weekend of June 3-5, including a 1930s-themed street party in downtown Franklin and a late-night screening of the Oscar-winning film classic “Gone With the Wind.”

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which owns the newly restored Franklin Theatre, announced plans to close Main Street on the evening of Friday, June 3, pending approval from the city of Franklin, to celebrate the historic movie house’s re-opening with a swinging ’30s-themed party. The Franklin Theatre originally opened in 1937.

“Beginning June 3, the Franklin Theatre will be back bigger and better than ever, and Hollywood will meet Main Street all over again,” said Heritage Foundation President David Garrett. “We’re going to throw the party of the decade to celebrate the theater’s rebirth and the return of movies on Main.”

Outdoor festivities — planned from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT that Friday — include extended hours for Franklin’s downtown merchants and restaurants as well as free live entertainment. A swing band will perform on a stage constructed adjacent to the downtown Square. Sidewalk beer vendors will cater to adults with proper I.D. And an old-fashioned speakeasy will operate in Gray’s Drug Store nearby.

Giant movie screens will create Franklin’s version of a Hollywood back lot. Side streets where Fourth Avenue crosses Main will feature free simultaneous showings of two classic ’30s films — the original “King Kong” (1933), starring Depression-era diva Fay Wray, and everyone’s favorite musical fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) in Technicolor. Both are listed on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) top 100 movies of all time.

Inside the Franklin Theatre, moviegoers will enjoy a late-night screening of “Gone With the Wind,” the 1939 classic starring Hollywood legends Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The nearly four-hour epic, set in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ‘30s film listed on the AFI’s top 100.

Friday night’s screening of “Gone With the Wind” is open to the public and begins at 9:30 p.m. CDT, immediately following a red-carpet reception for major donors who helped underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s multi-million-dollar restoration. An additional showing will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets in the 290-seat venue will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be purchased online when the theater launches its web site on April 28.

“Indoor and outdoors, we couldn’t think of more iconic films to set the stage as we raise the curtain on the new Franklin Theatre,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation. “We’re grateful to the city’s leadership for their support and efforts to make this very special night a reality for the entire community.”

Rounding out events for the theater’s grand re-opening weekend will be a Saturday morning kids’ movie on June 4, “Charlotte’s Web” (2006), followed by the additional showing of “Gone With the Wind” in the evening. On Sunday, June 5, the theater will offer two evening screenings of the film classic “Casablanca” (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Tickets for all of the grand re-opening movie screenings, as well as future movies and events, can be purchased online April 28 when the theater’s new web site goes live at www.franklintheatre.com.

RECAPPING: FRANKLIN THEATRE GRAND RE-OPENING

Friday, June 3

  • 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT: Downtown Franklin street party featuring live swing music, extended merchant hours, speakeasy at Gray’s Drug Store and outdoor screenings of “King Kong” and “The Wizard of Oz”
  • 9:30 p.m.: Indoor late-night screening of “Gone With the Wind”

Saturday, June 4*

  • Morning kids’ movie “Charlotte’s Web”
  • Evening screening of “Gone With the Wind”

Sunday, June 5*

  • Two evening screenings of “Casablanca”

* Times to be announced

Living History Encampment at Mount Locust

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Living History Encampment at Mount Locust

The Natchez Trace Parkway will host period re-enactors who will erect lodges (tents) on the grounds of Mount Locust similar to those used by frontiersmen for shelter during the years 1790-1810. Visitors are invited to view the encampment on Saturday, April 2, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30p.m. The public is invited to watch frontier lifestyle demonstrations that include cooking and tomahawk throwing. Period toys will be on display.

Tours of the historic Mount Locust Inn will also be available.

Mount Locust is located at milepost 15.5 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, about 15 miles north of Natchez, Mississippi. These programs are free to the public.

The Natchez Trace Parkway Presents Traditional Music by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association

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The Natchez Trace Parkway Presents Traditional Music by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association

A special program of dulcimer music will be provided by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Parkway Visitor Center located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi.


The North Mississippi Dulcimer Association teaches dulcimer history, tradition, craftsmanship, and music by sharing its knowledge and talents. The Appalachian mountain dulcimer is the first instrument developed in the United States. Dating back to the early 1800s, the dulcimer is an instrument whose very name means “sweet sound.” The National Park Service and the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association invite everyone to listen to the soft sweet sounds of the dulcimer and learn of its extensive history.


This program is free. For additional information, call 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417.

Cancellation of Program by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association

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Cancellation of Program by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the scheduled program by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association on Saturday, February 19, 2011, at the Parkway Visitor Center has been canceled.

The next scheduled program by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association will be from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Parkway Visitor Center located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi.

For additional information, call 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417.

Pioneer Day at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, February 26, 2011

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Pioneer Day at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, February 26, 2011

The Tombigbee Pioneer Group will perform living history demonstrations that show the challenges faced and creative solutions developed by those Americans who lived in the area from the 1700s to 1840. The demonstrations will take place at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center (located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi) from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 26, 2011. The public is invited to watch pioneer lifestyle activities that often include corn-shuck doll making, basket weaving, beading, and quill pen demonstrations. Leatherworking and mountain dulcimer demonstrations will also be offered throughout the day. Children are invited to participate by dressing up in pioneer clothes and trying these activities firsthand.


This program is free to the public. For additional information, please call the visitor center at: 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417.

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.

Pioneer Day at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

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Pioneer Day at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

October 23, 2010

The Tombigbee Pioneer Group will perform living history demonstrations that show the challenges faced and creative solutions developed by those Americans who lived in the area from the 1700s to 1840. The demonstrations will take place at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center (located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi) from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 23, 2010. The public is invited to watch pioneer lifestyle activities that often include corn-shuck doll making, basket weaving, beading, and quill pen demonstrations. Leatherworking and mountain dulcimer demonstrations will also be offered throughout the day. Children are invited to participate by dressing up in pioneer clothes and trying these activities firsthand.

This program is free to the public. For additional information, please call the visitor center at: 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417.

Natchez Trace Parkway Hosts Meriwether Lewis Arts & Craft Festival

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Natchez Trace Parkway Hosts Meriwether Lewis Arts & Craft Festival

The Natchez Trace Parkway will host the annual Meriwether Lewis Arts and Craft Festival at the Meriwether Lewis Monument Site (Mile Post 385.9). The festival is sponsored by the Maury County Arts Guild and will take place October 9 and 10, 2010, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. In addition to shopping for traditional arts and crafts, National Park Service staff will be on site to answer questions and present formal programs on the life of Meriwether Lewis.

Programs will be offered at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. each day. The North Mississippi Dulcimer Association will also be on site to play dulcimer music in the traditional style throughout the day. The Eastern National bookstore will be open in the log cabin and offer educational materials on the Parkway and Meriwether Lewis.

Pioneer Day at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, November 27, 2010

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Pioneer Day at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, November 27, 2010

The Tombigbee Pioneer Group will perform living history demonstrations that show the challenges faced and creative solutions developed by those Americans who lived in the area from the 1700s to 1840. The demonstrations will take place at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center (located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi) from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 27, 2010. The public is invited to watch pioneer lifestyle activities that often include corn-shuck doll making, basket weaving, beading, and quill pen demonstrations. Leatherworking and mountain dulcimer demonstrations will also be offered throughout the day. Children are invited to participate by dressing up in pioneer clothes and trying these activities firsthand.

This program is free to the public. For additional information, please call the visitor center at: 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417.