Take Your Pick
Biloxi, MS
Jefferson Davis' Retirement Home (Beauvoir) - Beauvoir is the retirement home of the only President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis (1808-1889). Beauvoir means "beautiful view" in French, and it is where Jefferson Davis wrote the books, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" and "A Short History of the Confederate States of America". Hurricane Katrina in 2005 completely wiped out the first floor of the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, but Beauvoir survived albeit with damage of its own. It reopened in May of 2008 and barring another direct hit from a hurricane, should be there today.
Biloxi, MS
Cast Iron Lighthouse
Biloxi Lighthouse - Standing in the middle of Highway 90's four lanes is the Gulf Coast's most photographed landmark, the Biloxi Lighthouse (also displayed on the Mississippi license plate). Built in 1848, this is the south's first cast iron lighthouse. While his Round Island brother fell during Hurricane Katrina, the Biloxi Lighthouse survived with only minor damage. Near the lighthouse is the Katrina Memorial, casinos, the Mardi Gras Museum, the Ohr O'keefe Museum of Art, and miles and miles of beautiful white sand beach.
Church Hill, MS
Rockin' at the Stand
Mount Locust - Built in the 1780s, Mount Locust served as an inn or "stand" on the old Natchez Trace. It is the only remaining stand of more than 50 that lined the 500 mile Trace between 1785 and 1830. It is located about one days walk from Natchez, so travelers would stop in for food and lodging while heading to or from the Mississippi River. Mount Locust was restored in 1810 to its current appearance and was also used as part of a cotton plantation. Behind the house is a Slave Cemetery where several people were buried, but only one unmarked grave remains.
Clarksdale, MS
Blues Alley Monkey
Delta Blues Museum - Located in the Clarksdale Freight Depot, the Delta Blues Museum celebrates, preserves and gives perspective on this uniquely southern sound called the Blues. The highlight of the museum is the Muddy Waters exhibit featuring the house he lived in near Clarksdale. Inside the house is a life-sized replica of the master holding his vintage guitar. Some other big names in Blues grew up near Clarksdale, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Sam Cooke and Junior Parker to name a few. They are all well represented in the museum.
Edwards, MS
World's Only Cactus Plantation
Cactus Plantation - While traveling along I-20 through Mississippi you'll see several billboards advertising the "World's Only Cactus Plantation". George isn't the only curious monkey, so I had to stop in. Yes, I was expecting rows and rows of saguaro cacti, but found several greenhouses filled with over 3000 different types of the prickly plants. If you come this far, you might as well buy a few. The property is also on the Register of Historic Places because of the Civil War battle fought here called "Champion Hill".
Greenwood, MS
What is this Cotton Pickin' Thing
Cottonlandia Museum - The Cottonlandia Museum displays the history of cotton in the Mississippi Delta region as well as some other interesting exhibits. Inside you will find an Agriculture Hall with antique plows and sewing machines, the Archeology Room with hundreds of Native American artifacts, and my favorite, the Swamp Room where you hear and see all types of Mississippi swamp animals.
Holly Springs, MS
Me and the Biggest Elvis Fan
Graceland Too - Graceland Too is home of the world's biggest Elvis fan, Paul McLeod. He's such a big fan he named is only son, Elvis Aaron Presley McLeod. Now that's a fan. Paul has welcomed nearly a quarter million people to Graceland Too from all over the world. They come to see the walls filled with Elvis records, Elvis dolls, Elvis photos, and anything Elvis may or may not have touched. It is tough to know what is fact or fiction within the walls of Graceland Too, but I want to believe it all.
Jackson, MS
Southern History and Food
Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum - The Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum is a 39 acre complex containing over 40,000 square feet of exhibition space dedicated to these two important industries. Step back in time in the Small Town Mississippi Museum, farmstead and National Agriculture Aviation Museum (amongst others). Here you will find crop duster airplanes, early farm implements, farm animals, even an "old timey" hearse. The southern style country food is fantastic!!!
Jackson, MS
The Magnolia State Capitol Building
Mississippi State Capitol - The Mississippi State Capitol was completed in 1903 and is the third capitol building in Jackson. It is even still referred to as the "New Capitol". On the first floor are portraits of all the governors since 1798, on the second and third floors are the various chambers and offices of the Mississippi government, and the forth floor is for public viewing. The gilded gold leaf eagle adorning the Capitol's dome and shining in the sun is over eight feet tall and fifteen feet wide. The grounds are filled with large flowering magnolia trees (the state tree), statues and artillery items.
Kiln, MS
Engine Testing Ground
John C Stennis Space Center (NASA) - Testing of the Space Shuttle's main engines are done at the John C Stennis Space Center. Touring the site you receive a half hour narrated bus ride through the surrounding area and then hop off at the StenniSphere, where you can view engines, fly a Space Shuttle simulator, and climb aboard the International Space Station. The testing facility is surrounded by a 125,000 acre acoustical sound barrier so as not to disturb man or monkey. The interesting thing is several communities were moved in order to create this testing facility. Abandoned streets and buildings still remain for your viewing.
Kosciusko, MS
Oprah's Birthplace
Oprah Winfrey's Birthplace - Oprah Winfrey was born in a small wooden house on this spot on January 29th, 1954. Originally she was to be named "Orpah" after a Biblical character, but her name was misspelled on her birth certificate. Since then she has grown up to be one of the most influential women in America. Her biography includes being a former teen beauty queen, news anchor, actress, philanthropist, magazine producer and host and producer of her own "The Oprah Winfrey Show". Her show reaches millions daily and is the longest running daytime talk show in the United States. It has even launched the career of Dr Phil, but I won't hold that against her.
Natchez, MS
The Facade of Longwood
Longwood - From the outside Longwood looks complete in every way. It is an eloquently designed octagonal antebellum mansion topped with a 16 sided onion-shaped dome. Upon entering the lower floor the illusion continues, but as you make your way skyward through the rough-cut stairs reality sets in. It is mostly a facade. Construction started in 1860 by the owner Dr. Haller Nutt, but was halted by the Civil War in 1861. For over 100 years the descendents of Dr. Nutt lived in the finished lower floor. Then in 1970 it was donated to the Pilgrimage Garden Club under one condition, that it never be completed.
Natchez, MS
Second Largest Temple Mound
Emerald Mound - A National Historic Landmark, Emerald Mound is the second largest temple mound in the United States (the largest is Monks Mound in Cahokia, Illinois). It rises over 35 feet from ground level and encompasses nearly eight acres. Built by ancestors of the Natchez Indians between 1250 and 1600 AD, the flat-topped mound most likely supported a residence of the high priests as well as religious temples.
Ocean Springs, MS
Visit Fort Massachusetts
Gulf Island National Seashore(Mississippi) - Gulf Island National Seashore is comprised of mainland Davis Bayou and the Ship Islands (East and West), Horn Island and Petit Bois Island. The most interesting island is West Ship Island which houses Historic Old Fort Massachusetts. Built after the War of 1812, Fort Massachusetts was created to defend the Gulf Coast from attack. The Confederacy took the fort in 1861 in its first act of war. It is reckoned that Fort Massachusetts got its name when the Johnny Reb fired upon the Union ship Massachusetts in July of 1861. Later the fort was used as a Union staging area in its capture of New Orleans.
Oxford, MS
Home of William Faulkner
Rowan Oak - Rowan Oak was built in 1848 and subsequently owned by novelist William Faulkner from 1930 to 1962. He named the house himself after the Rowan Tree which symbolizes protection and peace. Faulkner was a prolific writer and is only second to Shakespeare as the most studied. Some of his works include, "The Sound of Fury" and "As I Lay Down". To supplement his income he also wrote two critically acclaimed screen plays for the films "To Have and Have Not" and "The Big Sleep", both starring Humphrey Bogart. On the square in downtown Oxford there is a bronze sculpture of Faulkner sitting on a bench, smoking a pipe, and wishing he had a sock monkey.
Port Gibson, MS
The Lonely Ruins of Windsor
Ruins of Windsor - Where now stand 23 Romanesque columns of the Ruins of Windsor, once stood a monumental structure on a 2,600 acre plantation. Windsor was built between 1859 and 1861 by Smith Coffee Daniell II a wealthy farmer/land owner. Only weeks after completing the mansion, at age 34, Mr. Daniell died. During the Civil War, Windsor was used as a Union hospital and observation post, helping it to survive during a time when so many houses were destroyed. But on February 17, 1890 Windsor was lit ablaze by a careless house guest's cigar.
Tupelo, MS
Unknown Confederate Soldier
Thirteen Confederate Gravesites - Along the Natchez Trace Parkway at mile marker 269.4 near Tupelo are Thirteen Confederate Gravesites. The Old Trace had nearly been abandoned by the Civil War, but like the rest of the South you will find encampments, battle sites, and of course gravesites. The thirteen unmarked gravesites here are no more significant than anywhere else, just a poignant reminder of what it takes to make a nation stronger.
Tupelo, MS
A National Treasure
Natchez Trace Parkway - The Natchez Trace Parkway is one the most beautiful roads in the entire United States. The Trace runs 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee (briefly touching the corner of Alabama). Along the way you will see rolling hills and canopy trees, hear the wind and birds sing and feel the heart beat of America. What you won't see are convenience stores or traffic lights. This is truly a step back in time. The speed limit is a loping 50 mph which allows you time to enjoy the entire trip. There are picnic areas, battleground sites, and hiking trails along the road, but the most enjoyable part is the stunning natural scenery.
Tupelo, MS
Birthplace of the King
Elvis Presley's Birthplace - Elvis Presley was born in this two room shotgun house, built by his father Vernon, on January 8, 1935. His mother Gladys gave birth to twins that day, Elvis Aaron and Jessie Garon, but Jessie was stillborn. Elvis went on to sell over one billion records world wide with songs like "Hound Dog" and "Viva Las Vegas" and act in dozens of films. The house is part of a 15 acre Elvis Presley Park that includes a, walk of life, story wall, fountain of life, and museum. The most popular day to visit is the Elvis birthplace is on August 16th, the anniversary of his death in 1977.
Vicksburg, MS
The Battle for Vicksburg
Vicksburg National Military Park - The Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the 47 day battle between Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. In the park are 16 miles of roads, 20 miles of trenches, reconstructed forts, 1,300 monuments/markers, a Union gunboat, a museum, and a National Cemetery. The Union's victory at Vicksburg was a game changer; it gave the north control of the Mississippi River and divided the Confederacy in half. Vicksburg is one of the finest military parks in the nation with outstanding monuments and a well planned tour route.