Driving to the John Whitmer history conference in Independence, Mo. last September, I made Doc drive past “the world’s largest ketchup bottle” in Collinsville, Ill. Okay, it wasn’t really that far out of our way. Our hotel for the night was just down the road…
The next morning we made a stop at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a UNESCO world heritage site. The city of Cahokia was inhabited from about A.D. 700 to 1400. At its peak, the city covered nearly six square miles and 10,000 to 20,000 people lived here.
On to Independence…
…where someone made a joke about the architecture of the temple being appropriate for a prophet who tried to “screw his way to heaven.”
While Doc attended sessions I went sightseeing on my own. I visited the Truman House.
And the historic city jail where the James brothers were held.
After the conference our first stop was an evening of music and barbecue in Memphis.
The next day we had lunch at the Main Street Market in Vicksburg–one of the best restaurants in town and certainly the most charming being located in an old historic home. We had red beans and rice and bread pudding before visiting the Vicksburg National Battlefield…
There are many anti-bellum plantations along the Mississippi. We visited Melrose, the only one operated by the National Parks Service. The Parks Service always gives the best tours. This one was an hour long–the longest and most history oriented of all the tours offered at anti-bellum homes along the river. Our guide was great fun! From Michigan, he wasn’t yet used to the heat and humidity of Mississippi.
We had a lovely lunch at Oak Alley Plantation.
After lunch, we drove to the Barataria Preserve run by the National Parks Service. A wooden boardwalk takes you out into the swamp. We had the place all to ourselves for most of our visit and saw many alligators that swam right up to us, perhaps seeking their next meal?
Arriving in the French Quarter, we checked in at the Place d’Armes — a beautiful boutique hotel with pretty hidden courtyards.
The next day, we had a marvelous jazz buffet brunch at the Court of Two Sisters.
One of the best meals of my life! The buffet was huge.
Hiding at the next table…we didn’t give him away.
Street musicians played on many corners. We passed several on our walk around the French Quarter.
We took a jazz dinner cruise on a paddlewheel steamboat.
The dixieland band was great.
And so was the sightseeing…
We also took a “Katrina Tour.”
And visited a famous cemetery.
Leaving New Orleans, we drove the entire length of the Natchez Trace stopping at the most intesting points along the way.
Walking through the woods, we came upon… tombstones? It was our first indication that there had once been a town nearby.
Also standing in the woods…a safe.
We found a church, built when this was still a town.
We explored the cemetery behind it just because we are both sort of cemetery buffs.
Did he commit suicide or was he murdered? We read the intriguing story of Meriweather Lewis’ last days in “The Haunted Natchez Trace.” Not exactly a scholarly work, but fun nonetheless to read along the road, stop by stop.
Our final vacation stop was the battlefield of Shiloh.