Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Natchez Trace Parkway - Beautiful Drive through the Romantic Old South

Continuing our St. Valentine's Day look at some of the South's most romantic places, a drive down the Natchez Trace is an unforgettable experience.

The parkway shadows the route of the original Natchez Trace, a road deeply embedded in the romance of the Old South. It was blazed during the 1700s by "Kaintuck" boatmen making their way back home to the Cumberland and Ohio River Valleys from trips down the Mississippi River to New Orleans on flatboats. This was during the days before paddlewheel steamboats made their way up and down the great river.

Today's highway is a limited access national park that stretches from Natchez in Mississippi up to the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. As it winds its way through beautiful scenery in Mississippi, Alabama and tennessee, the Trace takes visitors past historic plantations, Indian mounds, the ruins of a school where John James Audubon once taught, battlefields, sites associated with the Trail of Tears, waterfalls, lakes, natural points of interest and much more. Visitors can even visit the grave of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame and the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

There are numerous hotels, bed and breakfast inns, campsites and other accommodations in the towns and parks along the parkway, which can be accessed at points all along its route. The National Park Service operates visitor centers and contact stations at multiple points on the parkway and rangers and staff are always available to answer questions.

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