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Explore the Natchez Trace from Tennessee to Mississippi

By Anne Florence Brown
updated September 29, 2021
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©Jeff Fladen/500px
If you ever find yourself in need of a day of meandering adventure or aching to take the long, scenic route, be sure to stop at these amazing sites.

Back in the 1800’s the way to travel across the southeast was to walk or ride your horse on this “trace”. Back then, if you were headed anywhere along the path between Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN, you used a worn down trail for your long days of travel. Two hundred years later, the Natchez Trace has preserved its history.

Loveless Cafe

Loveless Cafe was started in 1951 by Lon and Anne Loveless. They bought an old fashioned Tea Room as their home and converted the outdoor space to a restaurant, seating patrons at picnic tables. With their soon booming business, they renovated the rooms in their home, giving the restaurant a bigger menu and more accommodations. Now, you can eat fried chicken and any other sorts of southern cuisine safely at outdoor tables with masks (Due to COVID-19). Go back in time and start your day trip off with this old-fashioned nostalgic stop. With any luck, there will be live music too!

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Photo by: Anne Florence Brown



The Natchez Trace Parkway Double Arched Bridge, mile-marker 430

This stop has the best view found on the trace. I highly recommend that if you are leaving from Nashville, pass this stop early in the day and hit it on the way back to town for a perfectly timed sunset picture. You won’t be sorry.


The Gordon House, mile-marker 407

One of the best parts about the Natchez Trace Parkway is the historical aspects. Every few miles there are original historical sites that have been preserved from the 1800s. The Gordon House is one of these. Stop to read about the history behind it and then walk the secluded ten-minute nature walk to the Duck Riverside, where ferries used to make their journey through the south. Pro-tip: bring bug spray for this walk, the overgrown grass makes for an enchanted feel, but affluence of bugs!


Baker Bluff Overlook, mile-marker 406

Take a mini-hike through fairy tale trees, babbling brooks, and log bridges to an overlook with a view of the valley from the old days. This hike is perfect for a timely little adventure. With the shade, any time of day is perfect for this hike through the forest.


Jackson Falls, mile-marker 405

Jackson Falls is a picturesque waterfall on the trace. Walk a .75 mile trail down to the waterfall. Stop for a picnic in the water, or bring bathing suits to adventure through the Duck River. This stop is especially good for kids.

GettyRF_880499778.jpg?mtime=20200820144306#asset:108911©Ed Gifford/Getty Images

Tobacco Farm, mile-marker 401

Take a stroll through time and trees to see farms from the 1800s that are still standing. Marked with signs that tell stories from times of old, this excursion is perfect for those who wondered what life was like back in history.


Fall Hollow Falls, mile-marker 392

Walk Another short .3 miles to an overlook and then a downhill trek to the base of a beautiful waterfall. This place is perfect for pictures and sightseeing, but be careful. It’s not uncommon for hikers to fall down the steep trail. The safest option for children is to stop at the overlook or to keep them close to you on the trek down.


Meriwether Lewis's Grave, mile-marker 378

This is the best historical stop on the trace. Take a historical nature walk through the 1800s, see the grave marker for Meriwether Lewis, who explored the American West with his partner William Clark, and even walk on the original trace that people walked hundreds of years ago. It even holds Meriwether Lewis's original home, where he died in the mid-1800s.


Jacks Branch picnic spot, mile-marker 378

This spot is small but perfect for picnics. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and eat some lunch at the picnic tables among the trees and next to a creek at Jacks Branch.


Laurel Hills Lake, mile-marker 373

Interested in a fishing excursion? Or a canoe trip? Laurel Hills Lake is a few miles off the trace but worth the trip. Perfect for the adventure goers and meanderers, the lake is an off the beaten path kind of spot.


Anne Florence Brown is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at the University of Mississippi.

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The world’s last Blockbuster is available to rent on Airbnb

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Inspiration

Celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage with these monuments

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Kentucky The SEEK Museum in Russellville has put on display a life-size bronze statue of civil rights pioneer Alice Allison Dunnigan – the first female African American admitted to the White House, Congressional and Supreme Court press corps – at a park adjacent to its Payne-Dunnigan house on East 6th Street. In Lexington, at Ashland, the estate of Henry Clay, a marker honors Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Clay’s great-granddaughter, social reformer and suffragist. Maryland Along the Harriet Tubman Byway, the Bucktown Village Store in Cambridge is where a young Tubman would defy an overseer’s order and was impacted by a resulting head injury. At Historic St. Mary’s City in Southern Maryland, learn about Margaret Brent, an 17th century woman asking the colony’s leaders for voting rights. In Baltimore, the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum was home to this predominant Civil Rights leader and president of the city’s NAACP branch. Massachusetts The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail encompass various neighborhoods and the women who lived in or are connected to them; their Women’s Suffrage Trail goes by stops such as the Boston Women’s Memorial. In Adams, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum highlights what would influence this suffragist’s early life. Michigan In Battle Creek, where she lived out her final years, the Sojourner Truth Monument in Monument Park honors this abolitionist, suffragist and orator. Minnesota The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden at the Capitol Mall in St. Paul has a 94-foot steel trellis with the names of 25 key Minnesota suffragists. A series of steel tablets shares the story of the fight for women’s suffrage in this state. New Jersey The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail includes sites such as the Paulsdale, the childhood home of suffragette Alice Stokes Paul that’s now part of the Alice Paul Institute. 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Knoxville’s Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial depicts suffragists Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville, Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville, and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis. Texas In downtown Dallas, Fair Park has a women’s history lesson where the 1893 State Fair featured a woman’s congress of over 300 women. During its 1913-1917 years, the fair’s Suffrage Day had local suffragists coming to promote women’s voting rights. Houston’s Barbara Jordan Park is named for this Civil Rights activist who was both the first African elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Christia Adair Park features a mural depicting Adair’s devotion to gaining equal rights for blacks and women. Virginia In downtown Richmond, at Broad and Adams streets, a statue of Maggie L. Walker honors this civil rights activist and entrepreneur. Nearby, Maggie L. 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Explore the Great Outdoors of the Pikes Peak Region

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Take the family on a Jeep tour – Buckle up and get a taste of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region in the open air. Adventures Out West will take you on a tour through well-known landmarks like Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Canyon and Manitou Springs while you learn about Colorado history. Colorado Jeep Tours in Cañon City offers interpretive tours of the Royal Gorge, Red Canyon and historic mining district of Cripple Creek and Victor. Get your zen on with paddle yoga – Sign up for a paddleboard yoga class. Dragonfly Paddle Yoga offers dynamic, flowing yoga sequences on Monument Lake, Quail Lake and Prospect Lake while following safety precautions and social distancing. Ride the rapids or relax while rafting – Experience a one-of-a-kind rafting adventure with Echo Canyon River Expeditions. With safety guidelines in place, you can enjoy an adventure ranging from extreme white water rafting to calm family floats. Challenge yourself on a rock-climbing adventure – Sign up for a guided climb with Front Range Climbing Company at Garden of the Gods Park, Red Rock Canyon Open Space or North Cheyenne Cañon. Learn basic rock-climbing skills or tackle a more expert route. Hike to your heart’s desire – There is no shortage of hiking in the region. Check out the Trails and Open Space Coalition for recommendations of less-crowded trails. From beginner trails to trails that take you all the way up Pikes Peak, there are plenty of options for all explorers. Find additional hiking trails here. LODGING Colorado Springs offers a variety of lodging options from luxury hotels to camping, glamping, cabins and more. Luxury hotel stays Cheyenne Mountain, A Dolce Resort – Experience a luxury, lakeside stay with mountain views, fine dining and spa services. Garden of the Gods Resort and Club – Relax and focus on your wellness at a world-class resort with views overlooking Garden of the Gods Park. Glen Eyrie Castle – Stay the night in a castle situated in the rolling foothills. It’s rich, spiritual history and modern comfort will provide you with a safe haven during your stay. Alternative stays Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort – If you’re planning a trip full of biking and activity, the Bicycle Resort is your base camp for adventure. Located on a designated bike route connecting Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, it’s in close proximity to countless miles of biking trails at the base of Pikes Peak and less than a mile from Garden of the Gods Park. SCP Hotel – Known for its holistic hospitality, SCP stands for “Soul, Community, Planet.” Its hand-crafted venues feature reclaimed wood, living green walls, exposed brick and hand-painted murals, which unite earth-friendly and socially responsible practices. It’s the perfect place to stay for those who value personal wellness, social good and the environment. Timber Lodge Cabins – If you’re looking for a truly Colorado environment, the Timber Lodge is a great option. The charming A-frame cabins are located on the far west side of Colorado Springs, on the border of historic Manitou Springs and only a mile from Old Colorado City. It’s walking distance from the hiking trails of Garden of the Gods Park and Red Rock Open Space. FOOD & DRINK The Pikes Peak region is known for its vast array of food and drink options. Dive into Instagrammable plates and local brews. Bars/breweries The Bench – Enjoy burgers, brews and sports at this charming downtown sports bar. Colorado Mountain Brewery – From starters like fried pickles and brewery pretzels to burgers, pizzas and wraps, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Wash it down with one of the brewery’s flagship beers. Phantom Canyon Brewery – Named after the majestic Phantom Canyon, the brewery offers flagship beers and guest beers along with a full dining menu. 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Cultural cuisine Edelweiss – This authentic German restaurant serves up everything from weinerschnitzels and jagerschnitzels to bratwurst, strudels and sauerbraten. La Casa Fiesta – This family-owned Mexican restaurant is a Monument staple. Enjoy traditional Mexican food with a New Mexican flare. Whether you’re from Colorado or traveling from afar, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is an area ripe for exploration. With so many options for exploring outdoors, it’s the perfect trip to start planning now. Get “Colo-Ready” and pack your bags! Budget Travel is working with tourism boards around the USA to highlight destinations that are ready for tourists and can provide safe, socially distant activity.

Inspiration

Distancing with the stars: how to see the stars from home

In the age of social distancing, we are no strangers to the feeling of isolation. For many, working from home and avoiding social activities that give a sense of purpose and excitement to daily life can feel draining. There is nothing that quite puts the world and the struggles we are all facing into perspective like the night sky. Standing underneath a sea of bright stars can feel captivating, humbling and even intimidating. It is also an activity that lends itself easily to social distancing, which is why stargazing may be exactly what we need right now. In our modern world, it is oftentimes difficult to see the stars due to light pollution from cities. However, there are still ways to view the night sky even from the city or just outside of it. Photo by Andy Pearce If you live in an urban area, follow these five tips for stargazing close to home: 1. Avoid a full moon While looking at the moon is captivating, a full moon can make it difficult to see the stars. In places with heavy light pollution in particular, the added light from the moon can make stargazing trickier. Wait until the moon is smaller or not visible at all to stargaze from the city. 2. Look at the weather Before heading out to look at the night sky, make sure cloud cover and moisture in the air are minimal. A clear sky will make the stars that much more spectacular! 3. Figure out what you’re looking for Knowing which constellations and planets will be in the sky and getting an idea for what they look like before leaving home will make them easier to pick out when you get outside. Save a constellation map to your phone or even download an app that helps you navigate the night sky! 4. Find the right location Blocking the lights of the city will help your night vision as you view the stars. If you can get to a place, like a local park or the hills just beyond the city, that naturally blocks the light, do it! If not, try to find a place where things like your house with the lights off and a shed in your backyard can block the neighborhood lights. 5. Bring some equipment! Most people don’t have a telescope at their immediate disposal. However, if you have a pair of binoculars or even a small telescope, you’ll have an even better view of the night sky. Most lower-end DSLR cameras can take beautiful photos of the night sky with a longer shutter speed, high ISO and open aperture. Comet NEOWISE and a fire burning near Grand Canyon National Park, shot on Canon t6i by Andy Pearce Upcoming meteor showers that you could plan viewing for are: Delta Aquarids (July 30-31) Perseids (August 11-13) Draconid (Oct 9)Orionid (Oct 21-22) Taurid (Nov 9)Leonid (Nov 17-18) Andromedid (Nov 25-27)Geminid (Dec 13-14) Ursid (Dec 22) Different constellations are visible during different times of year. In the northern hemisphere summertime, you’ll see constellations like Cygnus, which resembles a swan and lies on the plane of the Milky Way, and Scorpius, which symbolizes a scorpion. Winter will bring constellations that include Orion, named after a hunter from Greek mythology, and Taurus, one of the oldest constellations in the sky. If you’re feeling the need to escape reality right now, head outdoors this evening and look up. What better way to social distance than to head outside at night and find a quiet, dark place to be alone with the universe? Kyla Pearce is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at Arizona State University.