TUPELO -- The flower-sprigged and forested Natchez Trace Parkway, a
popular motorcoach route that runs 445 miles from Nashville, Tenn.,
to Natchez, Miss., is one of the top five scenic drives in the
South, according to readers of Southern Living magazine.
The Mississippi segment (313 miles long) begins as you enter the
state's northeast corner, between Iuka and Belmont. Markers are
posted along the way to help drivers navigate. The speed limit is
What began 8,000 years ago as an Indian footpath connecting
tribes in the Natchez area with others near Nashville has become a
favorite among motorcoach passengers and tourists employing private
conveyances, including bicycles.
Although most of the bed-and-breakfasts in the historic towns
along the way are too small to accommodate groups, buses are
welcome at the many motels in adjacent towns.
At one time this was a wagon road, but the old Trace is now a
modern parkway, open year-round for motorists, hikers and
It is operated by the National Park Service and is headquartered
in Tupelo, which also happens to be the birthplace of Elvis
After a stop at the visitors' center and an overnight in
downtown Tupelo, travelers can go to the Mockingbird Inn, located
across the street from the school Presley attended.
The Mockingbird Inn is rated among the top 10 bed-and-breakfasts
in Mississippi and has queen-sized beds in its seven guest
Room rates range from $65 to $95 per night for two people,
Sundays through Thursdays, and $75 to $125 per night on Fridays and
Saturdays. The Mockingbird pays a 10% commission to travel
Proprietor Sandy Gilmer was a travel agent in Chicago for five
years before moving south.
She and her husband, Jim, both world travelers, decorated each
room in the style of a different region of the globe.
Venice, Mackinac Island, Paris, Athens, Africa, Sanibel Island
and Bavaria are reflected in the decor and furnishings.
Call (601) 841-0286 or send e-mail to [email protected]
.com for more information.
For motorcoach travelers, Tupelo has numerous motels, and they
are listed by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800)
At the Natchez Trace's northern end, outside of Nashville,
travelers will find historic towns, antebellum homes and Civil War
The Trace cuts across the northwest corner of Alabama on its
route to Mississippi.
Here the terrain flattens out and the trees and shrubs take on a
more Southern flavor.
In Mississippi, the Trace passes French Camp and Kosciusko,
towns that began and grew up alongside the road.
The route continues past Jackson into the Deep South.
A detour will take visitors into Vicksburg, which has a Civil
War battlefield and four casino hotels.
Back on the road, between Port Gibson and Natchez, travelers
will find numerous antebellum homes.
One of the oldest in Natchez is the Gov. Holmes House, built in
1794 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was the home of the last governor of the Mississippi
Territory and the first governor of the state of Mississippi.
It is now a bed-and-breakfast and features period furnishings,
porcelain, paintings and Oriental carpets.
Its current owner, Robert Pully, worked at New York City's
Algonquin Hotel for 32 years (from 1953 to 1986), starting as a
desk clerk and working his way up to manager before retiring.
This bed-and-breakfast does not welcome small children.
The room rate is $110 per night and includes breakfast for two,
a tour of the city and tax. The agent's commission is 10%.
The Gov. Holmes House can be reached at (601) 442-2366.
For a list of motels in Natchez that accommodate buses, contact
the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 647-6724.
Natchez is also home to the Lady Luck Casino Hotel and the
Twice a year -- in the spring and fall -- Natchez Pilgrimages
offers a tour of more than 30 antebellum homes and Victorian
The annual Christmas Pilgrimage has been discontinued.
The tours feature hostesses in period costumes and include live
Tours of historic homes and other attractions are available
Natchez Pilgrimages can be reached at (800) 647-6742.
The visitors' center in Tupelo advises those planning to travel
the Trace, especially cyclists, to plan in advance because the
National Park Service does not permit signs advertising food and
lodging along the parkway.
Maps can be picked up at the visitors' center.
Brochures with a limited list of accommodations and eateries
also are available there.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Address: 2680 Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, Miss. 38801
Phone: (800) 305-7417