Saturday, November 9, 2013

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Old Court House Museum
Hi all, Dianne here.  Vicksburg, Mississippi was originally supposed to be just an overnight for us on our way to Texas.  When hooking up the car at our last stop, Roger saw that the rear driver's car tire was completely flat.  He filled it with air, and it held, so we limped along south, stopping to check the tire and add air as needed to compensate for the slow leak that had developed.  For that reason, we decided to spend an extra night in Vicksburg to have time to get it fixed.  That also gave us time to check out Vicksburg, which we had always heard about but never visited.

Our stop at Vicksburg is at the Ameristar Casino RV Park, conveniently located near I-20.  It is just down the street from the Ameristar Casino, and has free shuttle service.  Neither Roger nor I are tempted by gambling, so we have not checked out any of the local casinos, but for around $23 a night it can't be beat.  (We would have paid more for 50 amp electric, but with the cool weather, we knew we wouldn't need our air conditioners).  

We didn't gamble or visit the Vicksburg National Military Park.  What we DID do was drive downtown to check out old town Vicksburg.  It reminded us a little bit of  Natchez -- built high on a bluff overlooking the river.  

Our first stop was the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum.
One of many exhibits, which were arranged chronologically
It is housed in a restored 1890 building where Coca-Cola was first bottled anywhere in the world in 1894.   We paid our $3.50 per person admission to the clerk at the soda fountain and enjoyed the exhibits:
Vintage Coke Bottles

Old Marble Soda Fountain
We lingered afterward long enough to enjoy Coke ice cream floats -- mine with vanilla and Roger's with chocolate -- made with local Mississippi Luvel dipped ice cream.

From there, we walked down the hill to the Catfish Row Children's Art Park,

And beyond that to view the Vicksburg Riverfront mural display on the flood wall down by the river.

We've seen our share of murals as we've traveled the U.S., but we both remarked that these were the best we've seen so far -- really special.  They were actually the highlight of our day in Vicksburg.  There are 32 life-like murals painted by artist Robert Dafford depicting periods of history in Vicksburg, lighted at night, and each with a descriptive plaque giving a bit of history to go along with the artwork.  Really very well done.  Here is a sampling of some of the more interesting (to us):

I took the following photo just to remind myself of the mural topic, but it describes it better than I could, so I'll just include it:

Scene depicts downtown Vicksburg "back in the day"

Did you know that ferries were once used to transport trains???  I was astonished to look at and read this one:

We had heard of the Sultana before, but did not realize its tragic history:

All I can add to that is wow, tragedy caused by greed, pure and simple.

We walked past the Depot Museum...

...then up the hill back to the main part of town...

No trip to the deep south would be complete without viewing some antebellum homes, so that's what we did next... 

Most of these mansions are now bed and breakfasts.  To learn more about them, click on the link under each photo.

Our Coke floats had worn off by this time, so we drove south on Highway 61 to The Tomato Place (click on link for Trip Advisor review).  It's a funky, eclectic little place featuring fresh-baked breads, smoothies, and flavorful tomatoes -- an anomaly in this day and age.

One of their signature sandwiches was a BLT -- my favorite -- so that's what I had, on fresh-baked whole-wheat bread.  I could even taste the tomato!  
 Roger ordered the BLT po-boy, also on a fresh-baked roll.  

We left with some coffee beans, homemade jam, and a container of frozen prepared red beans to enjoy some evening.  Oh, and a loaf of fresh-baked whole wheat bread.  

What a fun, quirky lunch stop!

We enjoyed our day in Vicksburg and decided to spend one more night before crossing northern Louisiana into Texas.  Roger spoke with his brother on the phone, who used to travel to Vicksburg on business.  He told us we must have catfish before we leave, so another meal out was planned.

The next day, we pretty much just hung out in the motor home.  (Roger watched football and I did some  After looking into the local dining options, Roger found the place for catfish in Vicksburg was Rowdy's Family Restaurant.   We were not disappointed...
Thin-fried catfish, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, cornbread and hush puppies.  I had never had southern black-eyed peas before, or turnip greens, so I figured this was the place to do it.  Yum!   
I'm such a good boy!

The pet picture of the day is a somewhat grainy shot taken through the car windshield and the motor home windshield as we arrived home from our catfish dinner.  We never know which of our pals will be watching and waiting for us -- this time it was Bandido.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Nice tour! We found the military park the best feature of the town.

Emily said...

Hi Roger and Dianne, Thanks for your encouragement to my blog via Rick's facebook page. I keep up with, and really enjoy your blog as we are both listed on the wonderful Two Greyhound Town blog site. I posted a different kind of story today, in honor of Veterans Day. If you think it worthy, I hope you'll share it. And if you ever want to add me to your blog list, I'd appreciate the added circulation. Safe travels to RGV--and keep the great pics and stories coming!