Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Escapes #10 - Natchez Trace Parkway

From its starting point at Natchez, Mississippi, to its ending point near Nashville, Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a winding drive through the history and natural wonders of the South.

A modern national park area, the drive roughly follows the route of the original Natchez Trace, an important frontier trail used by "Kaintuck" boatmen as they made their way back home after floating their crops, furs or other items down the Ohio and Mississippi River on flatboats and keelboats. The path originated in the years before the American Revolution and all but vanished with the arrival of paddlewheel steamboats on the Mississippi River during the early 1800s. Despite its brief existence as a major "highway" of its time, the Natchez Trace played a critical role in American history.

Today, the paved parkway provides a beautiful winding drive through three states and commemorates the original roadway. Stops along the way allow visitors to explore old plantations, battlefields, Indian mounds, natural wonders, cemeteries, ghost towns and more. The road is beautiful during the summer, when the vegetation is at its greenest.

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