Driving through the Mississippi Delta? Whether you’re heading up to Memphis, over to Birmingham, or bound for the Gulf Coast, it might be time for a break. The little city of Greenwood is worth a historical detour.
Greenwood hasn’t always been on the right side of history. The area was home to grand plantations run on slave labor and protests during the Civil Rights Movement. At least one good thing emerged from the cotton farms, though. Blues music. Spirituals and work chants evolved into fiery, soulful music. And so today, Greenwood is located along both the Civil Rights Trail and the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Begin your day in Greenwood with a tour of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta, which provides a history of both the area and cotton production. Tour the markers along the Mississippi Blues Trail: Baptist Town, Elks Lodge, Furry Lewis, and WGRM. See which locations in town were used in the filming of The Help. And eat hot tamales and fried chicken with sweet tea for lunch at the Crystal Grill.
After lunch, the afternoon heat quickly slows you down. Forgo strenuous activities and browse the shops downtown instead. Look for that missing piece of furniture for your living room renovation at John-Richard or the perfect piece of art at the Turnrow Gallery. Find a comfortable seat at the Turnrow Book Company in which to relax while you whittle down your take-home pile. Stock up on cheese straws, muscadine jelly, and Bainbridge pickles at the Mississippi Gift Company. Or take a cooking class–if you really want to know how all those deliciously unhealthy Southern dishes are made–at the Viking Cooking School.
All this food has made you thirsty–for something stronger than a sweet tea, though. You’re off to find a bourbon cocktail and some of that blues music. Your little detour just became a destination.