Greenwood - Indianola - Leland - Greenville July 31, 2009

Day 1


an early start for our “See the Delta” trip – we’re always a little concerned about allowing enough time for all the side trips we want to take. As it turned out, we were in Greenwood by 10:00 a.m. because there wasn’t anything enticing along the way. There were plenty of enticements in Greenwood, however. There is a nice little shopping strip downtown (Howard Street), with cute stores that all seemed to be having sales. Add to that the fact that it was “no tax day” there, and the buys got even better.

Greenwood’s Alluvian Hotel is on the same street, and I must say, it’s snazzy. It’s also pricey, but for folks coming to do business with Viking (which is right across the street), the hotel has to be a wonderful surprise. The lobby is striking in a very contemporary/almost-minimalist-modern sort of way, and the ladies’ room is gorgeous – really beautiful. The Viking Spa is also across the street. While that wasn’t on our agenda, it must come as another wonderful surprise to travelers.

We had wanted to tour Florewood River Plantation, but sadly, it’s closed – apparently due to some disagreement between the owners and the state or something like that. It’s a shame, as it got great recommendations and looked really interesting. We had to appease the tourist in us with a trip to Cottonlandia Museum. It was interesting, but in a school field trip kind of way. Nice stop, but once is enough unless you have little ones with you.


From Greenwood we moved on to Indianola for lunch. We were looking forward to eating at The Crown, Evelyn Roughton’s downtown restaurant. She catered Amy May’s wedding in 1994 (Amy is my goddaughter, the daughter of Karen Cooper and Robert May), and I still remember the food because this woman is so fabulous. She makes a catfish pate that is out of this world. I used to buy it at a specialty store here (that, sadly, went out of business) and I’ve really missed being able to serve it at parties – the look on people’s faces when you tell them that they haven’t been eating smoked salmon, they’ve been eating catfish is priceless. (People from other parts of the country, especially the east coast, are afraid of catfish, you know. A friend in Chicago actually thought they were poisonous. Despite that, I’ve been told that her catfish pate has won national awards at some of the big food shows. I guess food critics are more savvy.)

Anyway, we had a wonderful lunch and it’s a charming place. The restaurant exhibits the work of local artists, and has a small toy store and book store. They prepare catfish every way but fried, serve yummy beer breads with the meal, and they had a dessert table (for $2!) that contained no less than 6 pies, a trifle, and a pavlova. They serve prepared versions of the prepackaged mixes they sell (Taste of Gourmet), so it’s kind of a tasting. Also, Evelyn is the hostess-with-the-mostess that every restaurateur should be.

We walked around downtown Indianola and saw BB King’s hand and foot prints on the sidewalk at the spot where he first played for locals when he was just 17.

Then we took Evelyn’s advice and drove along the bayou. What a surprise! We didn’t really know what we were looking for, but we certainly weren’t looking for a swamp in a nice neighborhood. That’s what is it though. It’s just off the downtown area, and it is a long body of standing water with cypress trees and their knees sticking up out of the water. (Did you know that the knees rise above water to take in oxygen? I read that in a tourist brochure.) There are also bird houses planted on long sticks in the water (gotta be to lure mosquito eaters). The water is covered with some of the loveliest slime I believe I’ve ever seen – a beautiful shade of bright, light green, and as gross as it sounds, it’s very appealing. (Karen says that it is probably duck weed, a real problem, so I guess it’s not always green.) But it’s just so unexpected to come upon a sight like that! I couldn’t help worrying about mosquitoes though, what with all that standing water.

Marian -- This picture of the Bayou can be taken anywhere down Main Street in Indianola. You can see the bird/duck houses on stilts in the water. The light green is slime, the dark green is lush grass...beautiful, but, also unsettling. Something made a ripple in the lime green slime just as we got out of the car. I choose to believe that it was a frog -- Kermit?


Next stop was Leland, Mississippi, and the Kermit the Frog/Jim Henson museum. Marian’s got a thing for Kermit; I’m a Miss Piggy fan myself. The nice woman at the museum was incredibly knowledgeable; she knew a lot about Jim, and she really knew her muppets. We had our photo made with a giant Kermit, bought a couple tee shirts and were on our way.


We got to Greenville about 4:30 and checked into a new Hampton Inn near the country club. What a nice hotel! We dropped off our stuff and then headed across the Mississippi River to Lake Village, Arkansas, to a store that is supposed to offer fabulous shopping. Sadly, it was a mecca for “Made in China” housewares, so we soon came back across the bridge.

Speaking of the bridge, it’s very old and doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, but there is a new bridge being built that is spectacular. I imagine the Mississippi is hard on its bridges, what with the current and all.

On the way home, we stopped at Warfield Park Landing and climbed the lookout tower to get an incredible view of the Mississippi. Now, all things are relative and this is the Delta, so the “tower” is really only three or four stories high. Still, it doesn’t need to be any higher – we could see for miles! There was also an old, rusting paddlewheel boat parked not far from the “tower.” It was built in 1924, and had a full and busy life before being purchased for $1.00 and brought here. Hopefully, they will come up with the money to restore it while there’s still time. It would be a shame to lose it.

By this time, it was nearly 6:00, and we had 6:30 reservations at Doe’s Eat Place. For years (decades, maybe) we have both heard how wonderful Doe’s is, how it has the best steaks in the world, blah, blah, blah. Seldom does anyplace that gets such hype live up to it, so we were wary, but determined to eat there and put an end to thinking about it. I do believe that Doe’s is all it’s cracked up to be though. I’ve never had a better steak. Ever. It was incredible. Marian had fried shrimp (the only way I don’t like shrimp) and her shrimp was delicious. So light and flavorful, I could hardly believe it.

That said, the place gave us a fright. It’s rumored to be a dump, but that’s almost flattering. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where I would eat their food, yet didn’t want to use their bathroom. You enter through a kitchen – a really hot kitchen – with stoves going and supplies piled up everywhere. Then they seat you. There are several rooms: the side room, which you can find because the wood sign over the door says “side room,” the back room (same thing), a main room, and a few tables along a wall in a second kitchen. That’s where we sat, in the second kitchen. Our table was right on the dividing line between the kitchen and the main room, and it sloped down toward the main room. I sat on the kitchen side, but Marian sat on the main room side and she looked about two feet tall. The table came way up her chest.

The waitress came to us with a pitcher of water, and then stood there holding her tablet and pencil and looking at us. We looked back, but we didn’t know what to do. Finally, we told her we hadn’t gotten a menu, and she said that was because they didn’t have menus. She reeled off a few things and I ordered a filet and Marian ordered shrimp. I have no idea what all our choices were, but from my handy-dandy kitchen seat, I did see spaghetti, shrimp pasta, tamales and a few other things go out.We were right by the big stove where this woman cooked batch after batch of fries that had obviously been hand-cut. She had a cast iron skillet going, and that’s pretty much all she did. They were wonderful. Another woman dipped and fried shrimp. Other people buttered bread and toasted it, etc., so we had some entertainment with our dinner.

We also got a good look at their pans, and they aren’t for the faint of heart. There is so much grease cooked/caked on the outside that I don’t believe it is even possible to clean them. Seriously. I’m glad I couldn’t see the inside. What I could see was everything under and behind the stove (I’m looking into hypnosis to help me forget what I saw), and the walls and ceiling, which had electric cords running all along them. Some were in metal tubes, others just painted over. I don’t know how the place has stood so long (the sign says since 1941) without burning to the ground. It’s a miracle, a real miracle, but so was that steak. I can’t get over it.

Marian here...I have to second Susan's assessment of Doe's. To all of those who told me that Doe's has "gone down" since their heyday....obviously you were speaking of the building...NOT the food! The shrimp was better than I've ever had on the coast...any coast, any where, any time. I tasted Susan's filet. WOW....melt in your mouth, no seasoning to mask anything, 3" high and fork-tender, filet. The food definitely was fabulous. The building is still etched in my mind. The two are not a match! The wall we sat next to leaned toward the street ....the outside of the building appeared to have had a new coat of paint...maybe the paint will keep that place together -- this place needs to be preserved!

Marian and I headed back to the Hampton Inn then, fat and happy, and slept like logs despite the fact that – lucky us – we had gotten to town in time for a Little League baseball tournament and the hotel was full of 9 year olds!

Greenville - Cleveland - Merigold - Clarksdale August 1, 2009



Our first stop on Day 2 was Cleveland. We were looking forward to it as neither of us had ever seen Delta State and the town is supposed to have good shopping. Delta State was much bigger than either of us had thought, and it’s a truly beautiful campus – we were both impressed. Sadly, it was Saturday morning and the campus store was closed; we had wanted to buy one of their “Fighting Okra” tee shirts. They’re really the Delta State Statesmen, but some kid came up with the “fighting okra” and it caught on. It is not popular with alums apparently, but it’s cute. We did find the shopping all it was rumored to be in Cleveland, and we ended up buying a lot of gifts.


Our second stop was McCarty’s Pottery in Merigold. My, it’s well hidden. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to find anything in Merigold, but it is. I suspect that it might be the one ugly house in a pretty old neighborhood, because they’ve hidden the house behind a wall of bamboo. Even knowing the house number, you really have to look for the large number of cars parked across the street to spot the place. We met Mr. McCarty and looked around, but neither of us was in a pottery-buying mood, so off we went.


Next on the agenda was a visit to the Shack Up Inn, just outside Clarksdale. For those who aren’t familiar with it, some guys around our age hauled some former sharecroppers’ cabins to the Hopson Plantation, set them in a line, plumbed and wired them, and opened a B&B (Bed & Beer) sometime around 2000 as I recall. I stayed there in 2002, and it’s an experience. My shack was as clean as it could be (but not as clean as clean could be) – its age and history pretty much preclude the use of terms like “pristine,” “sparkling,” “antiseptic,” or even "clean" if you're totally honest. We’re talking peeling linoleum, old plank floors, etc. They wasted no money on furnishings, paint or anything like that; they kept the shacks in their original state and (apparently) used whatever furniture they found by the side of the road. The sheets (which don’t necessarily match) are worn and faded, and the towels look like those your grandmother had – with all the terry nubs worn off so that you can see through some places. The bed was comfortable, as I recall, but everything else is “to the period” so to speak. My room (my sister and I splurged on the two-bedroom shack) had a Hi-Fi that worked and plenty of records (some nailed to the wall as decorations). Our refrigerator was an old Coke machine, our kitchen and bathroom sinks had the biggest rust stains I have ever seen, and the kitchen wall was covered with newspapers from the 1960s that had been glued on for insulation – they advertised $5 dresses and stuff like that. One cute thing though: when we checked in, we found a mini Moon Pie on our pillows. (Sadly, they’ve stopped doing that. The guy at the desk told me that it turned out that rats love Moon Pies. I can only imagine.) Marian here -- Any of you who know me know that this cute little story completely ruled out any possibility in this life of my staying at this Inn. In fact, Moon Pies are also off my list...just to be safe.

Almost all the porches have an old couch, the back seat of an old car, a broken recliner or plastic chairs (something to sit on), and an old washing machine, a big console radio, a refrigerator or some other broken-down appliance. We had an old refrigerator sitting on our side porch, and various items in disrepair on the front porch. Outside walls are further decorated with hub caps or things like a large shard of broken mirror or really, any hangable piece of junk.

The Inn stays full – you have to book months in advance. When we were there, it was all booked up (except for two shacks with other guests) by a family’s family reunion. They had even booked most all the (nicer) hotel-room like rooms in the big building (the Cotton Gin Inn). There is a new luxury suite in that main building too, with a view of the stage from the room! It’s a really nice room too, and will probably be constantly sold out when there is entertainment going on. This picture of the luxury room shows a very nice flat screen television mounted on the wall above the air conditioner beside the comfy rocker. Sorta makes you want to settle down and relax a while, doesn't it? -- Marian

The Shack Up Inn isn’t for everyone (my husband wouldn’t stay there – period), but it’s an experience. When I stayed there, I couldn’t help but think of all the people who had lived (and been born and died) in my shack…what their lives had been like, how the world had looked to them…things like that. It raised my consciousness a good bit.

The Inn is especially popular during the Blues festivals, and with songwriters. The guy behind the desk told me that many songwriters want to come down there for a month or more, but that they don’t ever have that kind of availability. So…they are opening a Shackominium development across the road. Seriously. He showed me this awful looking shack that will be part of it, and then told me that the shack is beautiful on the inside. These new shacks are meant to look bad on the outside, but people can buy them and decorate them nicely or in keeping with the Inn. At first it sounded like nonsense, but a little further thought made it sound pretty good. The price will be right, and it’ll be a place to kick back or rent out to long or short term guests. With our huge generation retiring, it will probably do real well.


We tore ourselves away from the Inn to go to Clarksdale for lunch. We ate at Morgan Freeman’s club, Ground Zero, and what a kick that was! It’s a big, barn-like place downtown, and the first thing you notice when you walk in is that the walls are covered in graffiti. And, we mean covered. All the walls are covered, people have even signed the glass on framed photos, the windows, the load-bearing columns, the mirrors, walls, stalls and ceilings in the bathrooms – everything is covered in writing. Neither Marian nor I had ever written on a wall – it’s something that had never occurred to either one of us to do – but hey, we’re getting on in years and need to experience these things, so we scribbled our names (small and lightly) and now we have actually written on a wall. By the way, the club has great catfish. The picture above shows the grafitti...written in magic marker (be sure to take one with you when you visit...) almost all the way up to the top of the 12' ceilings. -- Marian

The picture above shows the ladies' restroom. I just don't know how to explain this....ladies normally are much neater than this! Even the mirror had grafitti on it. -- Marian

Next we moseyed down the street to a country store and looked around, but by then it was raining and it was mid afternoon, so we decided to forgo any further touring and head home. So off we went, and...guess what we saw out our car windows when we pulled out of Clarksdale?!? The exact same thing we had seen since we hit Greenwood the day before!!! Really, the exact same view!!! Cotton fields, corn fields, soybean fields, and barren fields – all flat as a flitter. Not a hill, not a bump, not a knoll, not a lump. Just “miles and miles of miles and miles.” That’s the Delta, for sure.

Aberdeen -- Columbus -- Amory May 7, 2009

How about a day-trip to the cities of Aberdeen, Columbus, Amory?

We took the old Highway 45 route into Aberdeen – driving by Ernie’s, a hamburger joint that used to have the best frozen custard in the world. Memories...always tied to good food and good friends.

One of the first signs that caught our attention was on a little shop called Monogram Magic. Monogramming...something that we both love to do. It looked like a neat place to get some gifts, and, boy, we weren’t disappointed! The store was crowded with baby gifts, little girls’ dresses, shoes, purses, jewelry, and things to monogram.

August of 1929 postcard of Commerce Street in Aberdeen -- costs a penny to mail it!

Aberdeen has beautiful tree-lined streets and some of the prettiest antebellum houses in the state.The downtown area still needs some spit and polish, but we drove around a while and then went on to Columbus, home to Mississippi University for Women. What a beautiful place and campus! Susan was a student there for the first two years of college - back when the place was known as MSCW.

Susan – I’ll take us on this little jaunt down memory lane. There is a new – very pretty – entrance to the ‘W’ now. At least, I don’t remember there having been one before. I hadn’t been back in at least 15 years, and the last time I was there, I was struck by how gorgeous it was. In fact, I was stunned by what a beautiful campus it was. I was stunned this time too, but this time it was because it looked so different.

Most all of the dorms that I remember from forty years ago are still there – Fant, for instance. It’s looking old, but doesn’t seem to be in bad condition. The old sophomore dorms over by the former dining hall (Shattuck Hall) are empty and in poor shape – Shattuck’s empty too. The two sophomore dorms were among the newer dorms when I was there, and it seems odd that Fant – which was ancient even when I was there – is still used, and not the two high rises. The old house on campus – possibly the president’s house? – is deserted as well and that really is a shame – it’s gorgeous and should be saved. Apparently, there was a tornado that touched down on campus a few years back, and it did a good bit of damage. They’ve done some nice landscaping, but it’s obviously new and doesn't have that old- growth look that made the campus look so elegant.

We ate at the Goose, the college’s snack bar, because the cafeteria was closed. Anyway, the Goose has changed very little since I first saw it on a Girl Scout trip in 1960 – it has been expanded a bit, but the general layout and the mailboxes are the same. After lunch, we headed toward the back of campus to see the Magnolia, the private dorm. It was fairly new when I was there, and was the lap of luxury. The lap of luxury is gone. I don’t know why, but there’s not a brick left. They’ve built some new dorms at the back of campus – nondescript high rises. They’ve also built new facades on some buildings that are too modern for what used to be a stately old campus. The whole campus seems to be fenced in, and I get the feeling it’s a security fence rather than a decorative one. Marian may have thought it was beautiful, having never seen it before, and maybe I would too if I had never been there, but for me it was kind of a depressing experience.
Downtown Columbus is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful – I give it 4 stars. The buildings have been updated with bright paint, awnings, and ironwork. Boutiques, clothing stores, a cafe, a coffee shop, and a consignment shop – just to name a few places to shop/see downtown. I think Columbus has done it right on their downtown revitalization plan.

Going west from Columbus we took Highway 82 to Highway 45 Alternate to an interesting-looking antique shop just north of the Egypt community. (This is one of those places that I have always wanted to stop when Barry and I return from the coast, but testosterone doesn't stop for shopping.) This store has a beautiful building with many, many antiques, but, they close a bit early (4:00) and we felt rushed to complete our “tour” before the doors closed behind us.

Hey, we still had some daylight left, and, so on to Amory! I remembered a previous trip to Amory to visit a garden full of irises…and we spent quite a bit of time driving through the residential area looking for the house. Although we never found the house, we certainly didn't waste our time – honestly – this town is beautiful! The homes – while they are not antebellum – have been lovingly restored, and the gardens are beautiful! Also, we found the old depot and an interesting log cabin that both had already closed for the day.

Hunger and lack of daylight made us give up on the iris-yard, but not on Amory....so, we drove through the downtown area looking for dinner. The young lady we asked highly recommended the Wilson's Family Restaurant – she may have been a relative, but heck, she knew her country food!

The restaurant was pretty empty when we went in, but, the aroma of home cooking was enough to make us realize that this place was for us. There was a buffet of chopped steak, gravy, green beans, salad, cornbread – food was just like Grandma used to cook. The atmosphere was welcoming and down home. (They host a music and singing program on Thursday nights – and, by the time we left, we could tell that it was very well attended.)

I asked the waitress what they added to the ground beef to make the chopped steak taste so good? She got the sweet lady who did the cooking to come out to talk to us. She said that the steak had no fillers, nothing was added except fresh ground beef (they grind it themselves fresh everyday)...she packed the beef tightly and grilled the steaks before they added them to the pan of gravy. One more hint was – don't turn the steaks too much and don't press down on the cooking patties. I've tried her “recipe” but the secret must be in the fresh meat – or it could be the years of experience.

For desert they offered homemade peach cobbler on the buffet and the cook sent us out some of her special chocolate cobbler. Wow!

We got back to Tupelo around 7:30 – and went for a 3 mile walk.

One major note: Amory is somewhere that we have to re-visit. There are many, many things that we have missed and, heck, Wilson's Family Restaurant serves home cooking almost every night.

Belmont - Woodall Mountain - Iuka - Corinth - Blue Mountain March 26, 2009

Marian and I started our adventure in Belmont, where we planned to have breakfast at the Belmont Hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel wasn’t open, which is a shame because it looked charming (which was our whole reason for wanting to go there for breakfast). It has only about 15 rooms, and operates more as a B and B than a standard hotel. If they don’t have any guests, it probably functions just as the owners’ home – supposedly he is a local pastor. We had planned to try to visit again during Belmont’s “high season,” when there would be a better chance of it being open, but since then I’ve read online reviews that mention something about there being Pop-tarts for breakfast, so…maybe not. 

We don’t care for Pop-tarts. I don’t know if it’s because we think of them as a processed food product rather than as real food, or if it’s because they taste bad, but regardless, we don’t care for Pop-tarts and certainly don’t plan to drive all the way to Belmont to eat one. At any rate, the hotel is an old beauty built around 1924, when there was real craftsmanship involved in building. A peek through the windows showed a very elegantly decorated interior.
Downtown Belmont is only a block or two – a tiny town, but pretty. Once we got over our disappointment about the hotel being closed, we moved on to our second (and really, only) choice for breakfast: Sparks’ Restaurant. We knew it would be good when we saw that it was where the town’s old men gather every morning to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and exaggerate past accomplishments. Marian and I each had a scrambled egg and bacon biscuit and a bowl of grits – all homemade, all delicious, all served by women who called us “Hon.” Bliss.

From Belmont we headed to Golden and ended up at TMI, a warehouse full of "items" made in China. But there are two small rooms full of really cool paper products where we spent a good half hour ooohing and aaahing over diaries and stationary. 

Next stop was Woodall Mountain – the highest point in Mississippi. We like visiting the highest points in various states. They’re all different, but Woodall has to be one of the very few that is in a neighborhood, or rather, that has had a neighborhood grow up around it. Usually a state’s highest point is in a national park, or at least a state park. But here, you drive out in the country and turn right by somebody’s house in a subdivision and head uphill. 

The brochure put out by the Tishomingo county Visitor’s Bureau refers to it as a “scenic gravel road,” but I believe all of us who were raised in Mississippi have a good idea how that translates in real life. The “mountain” is forested, and as you drive downhill and see the treed hillside dropping away, you do get some sense of being on a mountain. Driving uphill, your ears pop, but that’s about it. 

This was my third trip to Woodall, and Marian’s second. This was due to the fact that we couldn’t seem to get there before the sun set, no matter how hard we tried. Poor planning, we suppose, but we were determined to see it. It turns out that the darkness had been a blessing, and that the top of Woodall Mountain is best seen in total darkness. 

To say that it is “not scenic” borders on shameless praise coming from women who have no real interest in propane tanks, cinderblock storage buildings, or radio towers. That’s what greets visitors at the top of Woodall Mountain. Well, that, a sprinkling of litter, and a small cement table with benches (one’s broken). There’s a bronze marker too, telling you that it’s the highest point in Mississippi at 806’; but Marian’s GPS said 819’ and we're going with the satellite. 

Bear in mind that the lovely marker pictured here is the most beautiful thing on Woodall’s summit! There is one place that offers a narrow vista of the surrounding area; elsewhere, you’re just looking at trees with ugly propane tanks and buildings in front of them.

For history buffs, Woodall is known (although we don’t know by whom) as America’s bloodiest high point. That's because of the Battle of Iuka in 1862. That’s an honor no other state will try to snatch from Mississippi’s grasp!
After Woodall, we went to Iuka, a town I had never even thought about visiting. Interestingly enough, there once was a person named Iuka, a Chickasaw Indian chief. 

What a lovely little town! It’s a genteel Southern town with beautiful old houses and a nice little downtown. There’s also a park – Mineral Springs Park – that is very old and very charming. Iuka’s spring water won the 1902 World’s Fair prize for best mineral water, by the way. 

The park has, among many other offerings, a dogtrot log cabin that dates to 1879, and a covered bridge! The covered bridge is so small, pretty, and well-kept that we were afraid to drive through it – we thought it might be there just for show – but we decided to go for it and our reward was getting to see the beautiful old homes on the other side of the creek.

There are many unique things about Iuka, but one that I thought was especially interesting was that there’s a beautifully maintained old apartment building downtown (brick, two or three stories, circa 1930 maybe?). Think about it. Small Southern towns aren’t known for having desirable old downtown apartment buildings. If it was in most any city, it would be a much sought-after place to live, and we hope it is in Iuka. 

Downtown Iuka also has a real keeper of a church, the Church of our Savior. Pictured here, it’s an “1873 board and batten Carpenter Gothic Episcopal Church” according to the brochure, and it was purchased and restored by local citizens in 1985. God bless them for doing it; it’s a really charming and picturesque place that can be rented for weddings. 

Iuka is the only place we have ever visited that has a museum devoted to aprons. Yes, just aprons. A disturbingly large proportion of those aprons depict Aunt Jemima or one of her relations. We can’t believe people ever did that! There are also aprons depicting various states – souvenirs of 1950's travel – as well as new aprons and beautifully well-preserved handmade antique aprons. The lady who owns the store (there are aprons and knick-knacks for sale, so it’s a store/museum) is very nice, and it turns out that she hadn’t intended to open an apron museum at all. She had planned to open an antique book store. I had a bit of trouble following her story from books to aprons, but somehow it happened and now she has a store that’s almost totally devoted to aprons.
Downtown Iuka has been/is being gentrified/spruced up, and  they’re doing a fine job of it. We went to one of their restaurants; it was full of interesting old photos, antique clothing and other historical-type decorations, but we were  more interested in the other people in the restaurant. It was a very “citified” crowd: men in business suits and women in stylish attire. It’s funny how towns are like that, how one town can be so different from the towns around it. At any rate, our impression of Iuka was that it was sophisticated and upscale – a really nice place to visit.

From Iuka, we zipped up to Corinth. We were working against the clock there, as we were determined to try the famous Corinth slugburger and we had to get there before the store closed at 3 or 4:00. We wanted to do it right, so we went to the home of the slugburger, Borroum’s Drug Store. What a delightfully charming place Borroum’s is. The building was built in 1873, and it exudes character. The drugstore was founded in 1865 by Dr. Borroum, a Confederate surgeon, and it’s still family run. In fact, there are several large family portraits hanging in the drugstore, and one of them is Dr. Borroum. The drugstore also has a real old-fashioned soda fountain that serves vanilla phosphates, no less. 

The unappealing name slugburger comes from its original price, which was a nickel, AKA, a slug. The burger (and I’m using the word very loosely here), was a product of the depression, a way to stretch meat by adding fillers. Sadly, this is a textbook case of over-achievement. A standard slugburger which, by the way, is dropped into a vat of hot grease and deep-fried, comes with mustard, pickle and onions to disguise the taste. Marian liked hers, but I am getting a little queasy just writing about slugburgers. It sat in my stomach like a brick. As it turns out, the people behind the counter admitted that they “replace” slugburgers with real burgers if asked. That’s very telling and I wish I had listened. 

After the slugburgers, we went for tamales. No, we weren’t hungry; Marian was full and I was nauseous, but Corinth is famous for its tamales too and we didn’t want to miss anything. Again, we searched for the original – Dilworth’s Drive Through – and I have to say, they were delicious. Neither of us could finish even one of the tiny tamales, but they were really good and I’m glad we tried them. As for the rest of Corinth, there is so much to see around there that we will make it a trip in itself. We were just trying their local foods this trip.

From Corinth we headed to Blue Mountain to spend the night. I had an aunt who went to Blue Mountain College, and both Marian and I had grandmothers who went there, so we have heard about the place all our lives. Weeks earlier, we had gotten in touch with BMC’s director of Alumni Affairs and booked a room in Stewart Hall. It seems that the college rents out rooms for alums or “friends” of the college; a double with bathroom goes for $25. No kidding. Anyway, we got to Blue Mountain about dusk, checked in, and got a wonderful night's sleep - with the window open to let the quiet in!