Interested in learning more about the history and heritage of the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area, or in getting additional ideas for places to visit while you're in the region? Explore our heritage area further through these enticing travelogues:

Explore by Interest, with our African American, Architecture, Arts and Civil War narratives. 

Explore by Community -- Columbus, Corinth, Grenada, Hernando & Southaven, Holly Springs, Oxford, Starkville and Tupelo. And there's more...

More Great TraveloguesElvis, Interstate 55, Natchez Trace, Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, Tri Lakes and William Faulkner.

High Notes: Hernando, Olive Branch, Southaven, Walls, Horn Lake

Hernando DeSoto People from all over the nation came to be pronounced man and wife here. Before he was a millionaire and Civil War legend, Coroner Nathan Bedford Forrest pronounced people dead here. Here, John Grisham wrote his first best-selling prose and at the turn of the century, a thriving community of musical talents arose; artists who migrated to Memphis when they weren't playing minstrel or medicine shows.


King and Country: Okolona, Pontotoc, Tupelo, Baldwyn, Booneville

Elvis Presley BirthplaceConquistadors came but couldn't conquer, and a paradise not taken at gunpoint was snatched finally with the stroke of a pen… A cavalry leader won his reputation in a pair of bloody and dramatic battles that left more than 1,000 dead, their bodies at rest in the nation's "Little Arlington."  Yet that leader's victories could do nothing to change the course of a losing cause…

And then, at last, in the midst of a crushing Depression, on a January morning in a tiny shotgun house, history was not merely made but changed forever in the birth of two babies:  one stillborn and the other destined to live on and on in the radical changes he brought to the culture.  On that cold morning the mother, Gladys, couldn't know this.  She was shaken; the rest of the world will never be the same.

Trail Blazers: Kosciusko, French Camp, Starkville, West Point

Louis LefleurOne makes best-sellers, one creates best sellers. One defied the bigotry and violent hatred of a region to pave the way for education and opportunity for all. Others hacked a trail through the woods, founded a school for women, then created not just a chance to learn but a life's path for at-risk children. Some are saving the world's oceans, others are creating new worlds of artificial intelligence. And one transformed the bitter fruit of an impossibly sad and lonely childhood into an intoxicating brand of blues.

These trail blazers saw a path where others saw only impenetrable wilderness and insurmountable odds. They embraced the challenge of opening the road, accepted the cost, overcame the hardships.  And at the end of it, when others might have stopped, rested and said, "I have arrived," these pioneers simply "lit out" in new directions, their energy undiminished.


Lion's Den: Water Valley, Taylor, Oxford, Sardis Lake, New Albany, Ripley

University of Mississippi at OxfordA literary lion, winner of the Nobel… A notorious big game hunter and photographer, who filmed the very first motion pictures of African wildlife… A courageous scholar and leader who stepped into a maelstrom and faced down a violent mob to claim equal rights for all. A legendary politician shot to death by his own business partner in the middle of town; another who gave a passionate and eloquent eulogy for a former enemy to lay to rest a generation of hatred and bitterness.

That's how people are here in Faulkner Country: bigger, braver, striding across the pages of fiction or straight into the annals of history, like Casey Jones barreling his train through here on his way to immortality. 

Sanctuary: Holly Springs, Michigan City

Walter PlaceFor some it was a haven, for others a beautifully civilized hell… A glittering pawn shuttled between Civil War powers… A bewitching collaborator that held hardened soldiers spellbound… A cavalier host whose act of chivalry in the midst of combat would become an ironic prelude to Total War. Here is where a fleeing Confederate could hide his whole body inside a massive Corinthian column of his mansion… Where for decades a brilliant painter could hide her spectacular body of artistic work, burying her extraordinary talent beneath her position as a pillar of Southern rectitude.

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