An August 2000 trip
to Vicksburg by Linda Kaye
Quote: Whether you’re a weary traveler or searching for an exciting vacation, a nature lover, or simply a history buff you will be happily surprised to learn that the state of Mississippi, as we have discovered, has a vast array of opportunities for you to enjoy
We were on a long, lazy road trip with two weeks to meander through Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee before returning home to Texas. Leaving Memphis after visiting Graceland, we drove the beautiful National Parkway known as the Natchez Trace, making our way toward Vicksburg. When we arrived, there were two things we knew for sure: (1) Vicksburg is rich in history and (2) there are several casinos in the area.
Vicksburg was founded in 1811 and has always been known for its commerce, agriculture and river traffic. However, with the growing popularity of gambling casinos, tourism is quickly becoming a vital element in Vicksburg’s growth. It is a typical Southern city; driving through the older neighborhoods with its 19th century homes and gardens was breathtaking.
We found accommodations at an antebellum mansion, Cedar Grove, and we learned first hand about the Civil War. From the rooftop terrace, we could see the Mississippi River, a lifeline of trade and transportation.
And yes, we indulged in games of chance, visiting several casinos and as a friend often says, “made several deposits”.
Visit the Vicksburg National Military Park, including the National Cemetery. The focus is on one of the most decisive battle of the American Civil War. The Battle of Vicksburg lasted from March 29 to July 4, 1863.
There are many Riverboats along the Mississippi River offering gambling. It is not Las Vegas, but it is great fun.
If you are there during the warm season, find a beautiful spot on an outdoor terrace just before sundown and have a mint julep while you melt into the evening.
Vicksburg is located 44 miles from Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, 365 miles from Dallas/Ft Worth and only a four-hour drive to the Gulf of Mexico and its beautiful beaches.
A car is almost a must to get around in Vicksburg.
Hotel | "Oak Grove Mansion"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 24, 2000
Cedar Grove Mansion Inn & Restaurant
2200 OAK STREET
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180
Being a teenager in the late 1950’s, my dream was to see Elvis Presley, The King. The one time he came to my hometown, tickets sold out fast. It was like winning a prize if you were lucky enough to get a ticket to his show; I was not among the fortunate ones. Since then I always wanted to visit Graceland, probably just to say I had been there. I finally got my chance.
We planned a two-week road trip to the Deep South and Graceland became apart of the schedule. Yes, I still wanted to see Elvis even after more than 40 years. Leaving Texas, we first went to New Orleans and then headed for Memphis, Tennessee.
It wasn’t hard to find Graceland and the Elvis Museums surrounding it. After all, how can you miss a huge jet aircraft in the middle of a neighborhood? The area was just as I had expected-extremely commercialized. As we entered the large parking lot, we wondered if Graceland might be closed, as there were so few cars parked. I breathed a sign of relief when I discovered that the Museums were just opening. We entered Graceland Plaza, the Visitor’s Center, walked up to the counter and purchased our tickets for the tour without any waiting.
From the Visitors Center, we were taken for a short ride by bus. Arriving at Graceland, we were asked to wait until another small group had entered the house. Then it was our turn to experience this little gem of history. By today’s standards, Graceland was rather small and had a very homey feeling. It could have been the home of any of us. As we walked through each room, listening on our headsets to details and stories of Elvis, it was a spine-chilling experience to be in the home of the King of Rock & Roll. Everything we saw was authentic and just as it was at the time of Elvis’s death. Viewing the different costumes worn by Elvis was one of my favorite sections.
We toured the grounds and surrounding buildings, including Elvis’s studio. Everywhere we looked in the Meditation Gardens were memorials to Elvis. Fresh flowers, some in the shape of guitars, stuffed animals, and hand written notes were left as personal tributes to one of the most famous entertainers in history. As we left Graceland and returned to the main complex, I knew I had accomplished one more item from my "Life List".
In addition to Graceland, there are several other museums to enjoy, including a tour of the Lisa Marie, Elvis’s personal jet, the Hound Dog II, a smaller Lockheed Jetstar and an auto museum with 22 of Elvis’s cars, including his famous 1955 pink Cadillac.
Be sure to have lunch at either the Rockabillies Café or the Chrome Grill. If you need accommodations, try the Heartbreak Hotel; it’s easy to find – it’s right at the end of Lonely Street.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 22, 2002
3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, Tennessee 38116
San Antonio, Texas