Belmont, Fulton, Peppertown, Mooreville May 25, 2010

Okay, maybe we didn't give the city of Belmont a fair shake on our last visit. And, I was really thinking that we needed to revisit T & M wholesalers just for a quick outing, so... I convinced Susan that a very mini trip was necessary. Besides, the greenery along the Natchez Trace is more lush and beautiful than I have ever seen-- it almost reaches out and grabs you as you pass by (and, I'm not talking about the kudzu, although I've never seen it healthier). We are so lucky to have this National Park in our area!

Oh, Belmont, poor Belmont...we tried...we really did. Remember the Belmont Hotel that we wrote about earlier? It is an old hotel (not many of these are still standing) built in the downtown area of Belmont. Well, we drove by the old Belmont Hotel and found it still for sale but, this time, it appears that the hotel is deserted. Guess the Pop Tart breakfast didn't go over too well with the clientele. It is a shame that someone can't make a go of a bed and breakfast in this downtown area.

T & M Tool Mart is located just south of Belmont on 25. It was as well-stocked as before, but, the rows and rows of Chinese-made catalog materials didn't get our attention or mean as much to us on this trip. (In fact, the Chinese-made stuff that we see in our travel reminds me of two very hurtful things: #1 Mississippi has lost jobs and #2 China now has more millionaires than ever.) We did see some of the cutest Ole Miss serving plates and tailgating supplies on row 1, but by row 8 the scenery had changed to tools....not really exciting to us. On one end of the building, right behind a row of all types of ribbon was a room filled with paper supplies. After handling and opening hundreds of journals, diaries and photo albums, we made our selections -- we even had to go get a shopping basket when four hands would no longer hold our finds -- checked out, and headed for the Sparks Restaurant for their blue plate special lunch.

The lunch at Sparks was as homemade and as tasty as their breakfast. For $8, you get a selection of meat and two vegetables, cornbread or rolls and a dessert. All home made. All seasoned and cooked like your grandmother did. The locals seem to like the fare, too.

Next stop -- Fulton.

In my lifetime, the two lane Highway 78 trip from Tupelo through many small communities to Fulton has changed to a four lane interstate jaunt through rolling hills and pastures. Exactly what tourists and travelers want -- beautiful scenery and fast speed limits. In my mind (and certainly those passing through) the city of Fulton seems to have disappeared. Not true...not true...so not true.

While the downtown area of Fulton seems cleaner than when I last saw it, that's not what sticks in my mind about the area. Itawamba Community College looks better than I've ever seen it. It is clean, polished and so welcoming -- I can completely understand why enrollment is up. The Tenn-Tom Waterway -- a system that was completed over 25 years ago to allow more navigable waterways in mid-America -- has brought more fishing, boating and water sports to the area. The city of Fulton is completing a beautiful 3-mile lighted walkway along the waterway from the bridge to the near-by Jamie Whitten Campground and boat ramp. The walkway is scheduled to be completed before the end of summer 2010 and includes a footbridge (picture shows the footbridge) that spans Cummings Creek and will keep walkers (and bicyclers) away from the traffic.

On the road again, we decided to find Peppertown. Didn't. It was there somewhere, I suppose, but...the only thing that we saw that was memorable was a single-wide manufactured home. I can honestly say that there wasn't even one trash can anywhere inside that trailer. Not one. None. Peppertown used to be the last community before the two lane bridge across the Tombigbee River (before all of the dredging and widening turned it into the Tenn-Tom Waterway).

How about Dorsey? Well, we stumbled (figuratively speaking) into a HUGE manufacturing plant down a road that warned "No Outlet". The Toyota Boshoku America building is waiting for the economic rebound and for the opening of the mega plant outside of Tupelo. We waved at the security cameras and left.

Mooreville? WOW. Along the current Highway 178 (Old Highway 78) going toward Tupelo is the city of Mooreville. We didn't go through any "downtown" area, but, the surrounding area purports some beautiful homes and gardens. Very surprising. I've got to go back and look around more when I have time.

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