Along the blues highway you will find a town that lies at the crossroads of slavery, steeped in the history of cotton plantations, and multiple migrations. It is the birthplace of the all American music expression called “the blues”. While you are there, however, you will experience real soul.
There are multiple ways to get to Clarksdale, Mississippi, purists might say you must travel U.S. highway 61 either by car or by motorcycle in order to really get the feel of the place. For myself, I love trains, and chose to take the Amtrak “New Orleans” line southbound from Chicago to a small station in Greenwood, Mississippi. From there, we rented a car in town and made the one hour drive north to the little town of Clarksdale.
Being my first time to the south, I was taken in by the farms and the landscape, so much space. The place where we lodged was called “The Shack Up Inn” and made all the difference in the world. It is truly a must for anyone who enjoys the quirky and original, even if some describe it as kitschy. The purpose of the trip was for a wedding, and it truly was an amazing setting for such an event.
After reeling from such a powerfully moving experience, and after most of the other visitors had left, the owners invited us to hang around the shacks that day, so we did. We had some Pabst blue ribbon, played with one of the resident cats, and blew some sweet chords on the ol’ harmonica.
It was finally time to leave, so we reluctantly piled in the car, and head back to Greenwood. Along the way, we had to document the barrenness of the prison, the beauty of those trees in the water, and had to touch the cotton remnants left behind. So much soul.