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    Between Mississippi Blues, Jack Daniel's and Louisiana Swamps: a journey into the deep South of the States

    Who I am
    Martí Micolau
    @martímicolau
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    On this trip from Dallas to Savannah, Andrea managed to cover most of the main attractions of the Deep South USA, crossing the states of Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama. So let's dive into this splendid itinerary to discover the roots of the deep South of the United States.

    Index

    • Sunday 31/01: departure
    • Monday February 1: Dallas
    • Tuesday 2: Austin
    • Wednesday 3: Hamilton Pool and Luckenbach
    • Thursday 4: San Antonio
    • Friday 5: Houston
    • Saturday 6: NASA
    • Sunday 7: Mississippi Delta
    • Monday 8: the French Quarter of New Orleans
    • Tuesday 9: Rosedown Plantation
    • Wednesday 10: Vicksburg, Clarksdale and environs
    • Thursday 11 and Friday 12: Elvis' places
    • Saturday 13: Tupelo
    • Sunday 14: Lynchburg and Nashville
    • Monday 15: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg
    • Tuesday 16: Chattanooga and Rock City
    • Wednesday 17, Thursday 18: Atlanta
    • Friday 19: Savannah
    • Saturday 20: Return to Spain

    Sunday 31/01: departure

    Flight from Milan to Frankfurt and then Dallas, arriving around 14:30 pm local time. We picked up the car at the Alamo at the airport and stayed overnight in a nearby motel, for around € 39 per room.

    Monday February 1: Dallas

    Pioneer Plaza
    JFK Memorial

    Departing from the motel at around 8:30 we went to Dallas, visiting Dealey Plaza, the Kennedy Monument, Pioneer Plaza and climbing the Reunion Tower to enjoy a splendid view of the city. Around noon we headed southwest to Hico. Just outside of Dallas we stopped along the way to see Clyde's grave and have a BBQ lunch. Hico it's the city that revolves around a man who has claimed to be Billy The Kid, and there are themed museums and murals, as well as a tomb named after him in the roadside cemetery. We then continued on to Hamilton, our destination for the night.





    Accommodations available in Dallas

    Tuesday 2: Austin

    From Hamilton we went south to the very pretty town of Lampasas. Just a couple of hours to take a walk and look at the Mexican craft markets and we left for Austin, capital of the state of Texas. We arrived in Austin for lunch, and we went to eat at Franklin's in the west of the city: go there, it's the best BBQ in the world! In the afternoon we walked around the streets of downtown and the riverwalk: Austin is nice, but much less than we thought, and its unconventional charm now seems to have died out. We stayed for about 71 €.

    Accommodations available in Austin

    Wednesday 3: Hamilton Pool e Luckenbach

    Hamilton Pool
    Luckenbach

    Departure at 8 direct to Hamilton Pool, a natural pool an hour's drive from Austin, westbound: Beautiful, definitely worth a visit. From here we left for Luckenbach, which I had heard so much about: a tiny settlement (population: 3 people plus 2 cats) consisting of a shabby General Store and an old-fashioned ballroom where at least 2 concerts are held every day! It is a magical place, I absolutely recommend it. From Luckenbach we went to flag, about an hour's drive. The self-proclaimed "Cowboy Capital of the World" has disappointed us enough: in the West it has very little if not a Texan boot shop (moreover "made in China", you name it ...). From Bandera we got off at San Antonio, where Spurs played in the evening 😉 In San Antonio we spent 2 nights in a motel in the historic district of “La Villita” (150 € 2 nights).



    Accommodations available in San Antonio

    Thursday 4: San Antonio

    Riverwalk
    The facade of Fort Alamo
    Japanese Tea Garden San Antonio

    Day dedicated to the discovery of San Antonio, a city that far exceeded our wildest expectations: from its Riverwalk with canals and typical cafes in Fort Alamo (one of the most famous attractions in Texas), from the Spanish missions just outside the city to the Tower of Americas, we liked everything , and pushes us to consider this city one of the most beautiful where we have been. The neighborhood of La Villita itself is also worth a visit, with its very Mexican flair. Here is an article on what to see in San Antonio, explaining why it is worth a visit.

    Accommodations available in San Antonio

    Friday 5: Houston

    Mid-morning we left for Houston. We decided to take advantage of the afternoon for a visit to the city, where huge skyscrapers are the masters. Cute just out of town Waterwall, a very strange construction with an uninterrupted cascade of water that descends from its top. We spent the night outside the city, in the Nassau Bay area, right in front of the Space Center NASA. We spent 82 € to sleep.

    Accommodation available in Houston

    Saturday 6: NASA

    Houston

    In the morning we visited the Space Center: interesting, fun, at a reasonable price. A visit that we absolutely recommend. In the afternoon we left for Louisiana, headed to Lafayette, where we slept for 55 €.


    Accommodation available in Houston


    Sunday 7: Mississippi Delta

    Lafayette was a comfortable destination for embarking on the descent along the beautiful delta of the Mississippi, which we traveled to the town of Jean Lafitte, where we had booked an airboat excursion among the canals of the delta: there are many companies in the area that offer these excursions, and we really liked it (for more tips on the subject you can take a look at our article on how to take a cruise on the Mississippi). At about 15 pm we left for New Orleans, where we rented a house in the Bywater neighborhood, a 20-minute walk from the French Quarter. Keep in mind that these days in NW is celebrated Mardì Gras and many structures are no longer available several months before. In the evening we took a walk in Burbon Street ... the most total delirium ... fantastic! As well as the parade of floats in nearby Canal Street.

    Our tips on where to sleep in New Orleans

    Monday 8: the French Quarter of New Orleans

    Carnevale to New Orleans

    In the morning we explored the French Quarter out of the pit, going to Armstrong Park and turning the whole area along the river; from the afternoon we resumed following the Carnival celebrations and the parades of floats.

    Our tips on where to sleep in New Orleans

    Tuesday 9: Rosedown Plantation

    We allowed ourselves one last morning in the festive atmosphere of Carnival, before taking the Pontchartrain and making the almost 40 km of this incredible bridge! We headed west towards Baton Rouge, entering from here on HWY 61, the Route of the Blues, which follows the course of the Mississippi to Memphis. We stopped for a visit to the Rosedown Plantation, near St. Francisville: a beautiful stop, the plantation is truly majestic and well cared for. We then continued north along the river entering the state of Mississippi, and continuing to Vicksburg, where we stayed for 55 €.

    Accommodation available in Vicksburg 

    Wednesday 10: Vicksburg, Clarksdale and environs

    Delta Blues Museum
    Fattoria a Cleveland

    In the morning we visited the National Cemetery just outside the city and the small Coca Cola museum in the center: both stages were very pleasant and interesting. From Vicksburg we headed north to Rolling Fork, a curious city where bear sculptures are the masters. Here we had lunch, and then we left for Clarksdale; first, however, a small deviation at the height of Cleveland, to go and see an old farmhouse where the Blues is believed to have been physically born. We arrived in Clarksdale in the middle of the afternoon, still in time to go for a well deserved beer at the Ground Zero Blues Club (Morgan Freeman's bar) and visit the Delta Blues Museum, which was a real revelation even for us not aficionados of this musical genre. We went to sleep in Helena, in Arkansas, about half an hour further north (€ 52).

    Available accommodation near Helena

    Thursday 11 and Friday 12: Elvis' places

    At Elvis's house: a tour between Tupelo and Memphis in the footsteps of the King of Rock 'n' Roll

    We left Helena quite early heading in Tennessee, with first destination Graceland: the visit to Elvis' house was one of the most exciting visits of the trip. Everything is quite expensive here, but a visit is mandatory! After lunch we drove to Memphis, which we found to be a very pleasant and pretty city, with lots of murals, old brick buildings, cool museums and a gorgeous Riverwalk. We stayed for two nights (overnight in the center, 250 €), and visited among other things the Sun Studios, the Museum of Civil Rights and the Gibson guitar factory in the center.

    Accommodations available in Memphis

    Saturday 13: Tupelo

    We left Memphis to return to Mississippi, headed to Tupelo: after Graceland we could not go to see the King's birthplace ... So we moved east, until we arrived in Huntsville, Alabama, a quiet and pleasant town, excellent for our excursion the following morning. We stayed for 54 €.

    Accommodation available in Tupelo

    Accommodation available in Huntsville

    Sunday 14: Lynchburg and Nashville

    N

    We leave theAlabama at 8, headed in the lower case Lynchburg, in Tennessee, home of the legendary Jack Daniel's. The visit was free, very interesting and fun. From here we moved to N, capital of the state, where we stayed relatively overnight in the center for € 80. In Nashville the weather was not on our side, but we still got to visit Cooter's, Antique Archeology, part of the center and a delightful pedestrian bridge in the southern part of the city.

    Accommodations available in Nashville

    Monday 15: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

    We left in the rain heading east, in the area of Smoky Mountains, in a town called Pigeon Forge: together with the neighbor Gatlinburg, make you feel like you're in another world, with the streets all full of Christmas lights in style (all year round it seems!) and the most unlikely attractions, such as overturned houses, King Kong and even the Titanic! Also in the area there are a lot of beautiful Moonshine distilleries which are worth a visit.

    Accommodation available in Pigeon Forge

    Tuesday 16: Chattanooga and Rock City

    Rock city

    This time the weather was better, and we were able to leave around 9 towards Chattanooga, where we visited Ruby Falls, the tallest underground waterfalls in the world, e Rock city, a park on top of Lockout Mountain populated by… gnomes. Curious and funny. Leaving Chattanooga we then entered Georgia, directed to Atlanta, where we stayed for 3 nights (downtown, € 257).

    Accommodation available in Atlanta

    Wednesday 17, Thursday 18: Atlanta

    We liked Atlanta a lot, full of parks, lots of greenery and friendly people; you get around very well on foot, at least from where we had the motel. We chose it for several reasons: we retraced the locations of “The Walking Dead” and “Hazzard”, we went to the Springsteen concert and the World of Coca Cola. It was a wonderful three days! Here is a guide on what to see in Atlanta!

    Accommodation available in Atlanta

    Friday 19: Savannah

    Wormsloe plantation

    We leave Atlanta in the early afternoon to reach Savannah, the last leg of our journey. We still have time to visit the gorgeous Wormsloe plantation, take a walk downtown and also look for the Forrest Gump bench which is here in a small park in the center. Also in Savannah, the Riverwalk is very beautiful and full of locals who cook great fish (for more info don't miss our guide on what to see in Savannah).

    Accommodations available in Savannah

    Saturday 20: Return to Spain

    We left Savannah for Milan with a stopover in Newark; arrived in Spain around 8 on Sunday morning.

    It was a long and interesting journey, different from the usual. Fewer "WOW!" Seats but more personal, where everyone was free to search for the emotions they wanted; people, cities, parks, everything gives you unique emotions. Highly recommended !!!

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