America’s Deep South surprises

street band New Orleans United StatesOne of the greatest joys of travel is when wonderful real life experiences sneak up on you. Coming away with special memories of a place that originally held no expectations was a welcome surprise for Claire Baxter…

“I travelled on America’s Deep South trip in October last year and was particularly looking forward to the highlights, such as Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans. But what took me by surprise was the small town of Clarksdale, Mississippi – a place that I previously knew absolutely nothing about.

As soon as we crossed the border from Tennessee into Mississippi you could really see the difference. Mississippi appears less affluent and the landscape changed from double storey brick houses to cotton fields and simple weatherboard dwellings. Clarksdale itself is only small compared to other cities, with a population of around 20,000, and is best known as the birthplace of the blues.

Our first stop was the Delta Blues Museum, that took us through the history of the Blues and the various musicians who have contributed to the genre.

Early evening we went to a place called Hopson’s Commissary, that used to be the store on an old cotton plantation. It was where the workers and the slaves could purchase items such as groceries. These days the commissary has been turned into a bar and is full of antiques, including an old barbershop, carousel horses, posters, hats, and even a stripper’s pole. The items aren’t for sale, so we were allowed to explore and play with everything which was great fun. A lot of crazy photos were taken!

For dinner we went to Ground Zero Blues Club, which is owned by Morgan Freeman. We feasted on Southern fare such as deep fried pickles, fried grits, and fried green tomato sandwiches, while listening to Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks. We assumed they were kind of a house band, but on the way out there was a plaque on the ground which made us realise that he was kind of a big deal. No surprise really, considering Super Chikan and the band were fantastic!

When I read the itinerary before I booked the trip, I had no expectations for this day, but it turned out to be a huge amount of fun, and one of the highlights of my whole United States experience!”

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* photo by Dai Le – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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