Natchez Trace, Day 3: Tupelo to JacksonAlthough Tupelo offers numerous attractions, especially for fans of Elvis, we have visited the city several times before. The only site left on our Tupelo agenda was the Tupelo National Battlefield. Having visited other sprawling Civil War sites such as Vicksburg and Gettysburg, we were expecting a bit more than we found in Tupelo.
|Tupelo National Battlefield Park (almost the entire extent of it)|
|Thick summer growth shades the Natchez Trace from the 90° heat|
|Area of tornado damage|
|Log cabin at entrance to French Camp|
Near MM 160, we exited the Trace briefly to pick up some lunch at the town of Kosciusko (pop. 7,402). Named for a Polish general who offered military assistance to the United States in the Revolutionary War, the town is most famous as the hometown of Oprah Winfrey. A couple of miles outside of town we found a rusted sign indicating that we were on Oprah Winfrey Road.
|Pretty shabby for one of America's wealthiest self-made women|
About 20 miles north of Jackson, at MM 122, an abandoned river channel has formed a swamp that is home to bald cypresses and tupelo trees. An elevated boardwalk cuts across the swamp, leading to a trail that circumnavigates this isolated wetland full of unseen living wonders.
Beginning about MM 120, the parkway skirts the western side of the Ross Barnett Reservoir on the Pearl River for about eight miles. By this time, hardwood trees along the parkway had given way to a dominant pine forest. The reservoir is a very popular recreational spot for locals, especially on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon. In a protected cove, small gatherings of boats were anchored in close proximity so their owners could socialize.
|Ross Barnett Reservoir|
The beautifully restored old capitol (1839), reincarnated as a state history museum, had closed just before our arrival. Likewise, the imposing Mississippi War Memorial next door had been locked up for the day, but we were able to admire the Art Deco finery on its exterior.
|Mississippi War Memorial|
|Mississippi Governor's Mansion|
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|Oprah's family erected this sign at her childhood church.|
|Jackson City Hall|
|War Memorial detail|
|Old Capitol Museum|
|Old Capitol Museum|