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Travelogues

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.



A delightful dive into the Tri Lakes

Sardis Lake at daybreakA white-tailed doe, still and beautiful, gazes through the dappled trees. A fox disappears into his den.  A bald eagle soars overhead, eyeing the bass and crappie below, slender elusive shadows darting beneath the water's brilliant blue sheen. A serene paradise — hard to believe it owes its existence to a raging beast.

Sardis. Enid. Grenada. For millions of visitors every year, those three names are near magical passwords, evoking blue skies and blue waters, thriving wildlife and natural serenity…worlds where even the oldest are young once again, filled with childlike wonder and alive to all the beauty, excitement and delight that nature offers. Perhaps more to the point, for the millions who have visited the Tri Lakes, those three names — Sardis, Enid and Grenada — equal three important letters:  F…U…N.

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African-American Heritage

"Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."   --Matthew 18:20

In the beginning their voices were largely silenced, their laments smuggled across the fields in hollers and chants, or rising skyward in spirituals and "corn ditties" sung in makeshift churches where clouds formed the ceilings and piles of brush made do in place of walls. Their blood and their toil were clearly evident, however, in the lush fields of cotton, the palatial homes and the lavish plantation social system that set the stage for what others knew as the "chivalrous South."

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Architecture

Southern Architecture“All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.”    —William Faulkner

They came. They saw. They conquered. And then they built. The designs were many: Greek Revival, Italianate, Neoclassical, Federal, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Victorian, Empire, Prairie, Carpenter Gothic. The materials were equally diverse: Italian marble, slave-made brick, native stone, imported mahogany, homegrown clapboard. And the results? You can see those for yourself in cities and historic neighborhoods and even in the verdant countryside across the Mississippi Hills.

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Arts

"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." — Tennessee Williams

the ArtsMaybe it is simply a miracle. Maybe it is a kind of artistic astronomy — how talents, like comets, streak across the scene to disappear into history, or more often, become supernovas of such power and brilliance they illuminate the cosmos for us all.

Can there ever be a logical explanation for this star-studded region? Can it ever be explained how one small corner of one small state has somehow produced a veritable Who's Who of creative arts? Icons whose influence not only continues to resonate the world over, but who, in many cases, changed the world as we know it: William Faulkner, Elvis Presley, Tennessee Williams, Howlin' Wolf, Tammy Wynette, John Grisham and Oprah Winfrey, and that's just to name the most well known.

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Civil War

"it takes an awful lot of character to quit anything when you're losing."
-from Absalom, Absalom, by William Faulkner

The Battle of Corinth

As General U.S. Grant gazed down the rolling landscape of the Mississippi Hills, he saw two things:  a slight obstacle and a large prize.  The prize was Corinth, the Crossroads of the Confederacy where the longest rail lines in the nation converged and crossed.  The obstacle was the few hundred miles of hill country that Grant's armies would have to conquer to take Grenada, where Pemberton's fortifications guarded the grandest prize of all-Vicksburg, the Gibraltar of the South.  To Grant, the goal seemed simple enough.  First, take Corinth, then in a two-pronged advance, lead his army down the Mississippi Central Rail line toward Grenada while Sherman took his forces down the Mississippi River toward Vicksburg. Grant could foresee Vicksburg taken with hardly a shot.

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Disappearing Acts: Corinth, Jacinto, Iuka, Tishomingo County

Corinth Civil War Interpretive CenterAt the largest siege in the western hemisphere, right under the noses of a superior force, an entire army vanishes into thin air…Later, two armies clash, yet the sound of their gunfire is lost mysteriously, spirited away by magical wind…Nearby, a thriving town disappears, leaving behind an architectural jewel that will preside with grace and elegance over a picturesque ghost town…Further east, the gentle hills of Mississippi melt away suddenly, replaced by jutting rock cliffs and ledges and overhangs as high as 60 feet, where a simple and pleasurable canoe trip becomes an adventure in natural beauty and drama…where long lost Indian tribes once came to quarry stone to create tools, and today's outdoor lovers come to discover the recreation capital of the mid-south.

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Going with the flow on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway

The amazing fact of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is that while nobody sees the same thing, everybody sees something great when they look at this 234-mile water route linking the Tennessee River in southern Tennessee with the Tombigbee River in central Alabama.

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Gossip Columns: Macon, Columbus, Aberdeen, Amory.

Tennessee Williams Birthplace and Welcome CenterMaggie the Cat, Amanda Wingfield, Blanche DuBois and her sister Stella-electrifying women characters whose words and personas will resonate forever in American theatre.  The playwright who created these female icons knew something about remarkable women, having grown up in a place where the nation's first state-supported university for women was established and where a group of dedicated ladies paid their respects to the departed with such grace and dignity their ritual became a national holiday.

The truth is, around here you won't find many tin roofs where a real cat can land, although there are plenty of roofs that Southern belles like Maggie or Amanda could have called home.  Mansards, A-lines, slates and shakes sitting atop well-turned columns and pediments, welcoming porticoes and charming front porches.  These are the elements of style in the Black Prairie region that once hosted the capital of Confederate Mississippi and that today boasts not only rich history of all kinds, including African American, but also the sort of come-hither beauty that keeps visitors talking long after they've gone. 
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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.

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History Channels: Grenada, Grenada Lake

Grenada EarthworksA wartime city digs in with key fortifications, then finds itself forced to push deeper for the will to withstand an even greater scourge… A righteous community digs in to demand equality and decency, but faced with violent reprisal must reach down deep for the courage to overcome… A general, faced with a shaming loss, must bore down on an enemy to carve out a place in history… An army, confronted by a rampaging river, dredges up a beautiful solution.

Valor? Perseverance? This place has them down cold-as cold as the waters of the lake that bears its name, drawing sportsmen and recreation lovers from all over the country. History, architectural beauty and plenty of outdoor fun, all here for you. So go ahead. Dig in.

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