Sunday, March 16, 2014

Natchez Trace Parkway- Part Two

The second day of our journey back to Mississippi was primarily on the parkway.  John  had seen some of the northern sections of it, as you may know from reading this blog, and he wanted for me to also have the experience of riding on it.  Our first stop was at a Chickasaw village site.  Here there are markers noting where the tribe had its' summer and winter houses, as well as a fort.
Not much there now except daffodils, which we continued to see all day along the parkway.  Interpretive signs at this site provided interesting information about the Chickasaws.  Followers of DeSoto first saw them in 1541 when they had a bloody battle with them.  Two hundred years later the tribe became allies with the British, and were used by them to oppose French expansion. They remained a thorn in the side with the latter until France in 1763 gave up all its North American possessions.  Along the parkway are also sites of ancient burial mounds.  We saw the Bynum Mounds which were built between 2,050 and 1,800 years ago.

I am not sure why we turned off the parkway into French Village, but it turned out to be a good move.  We had not had lunch and thought that there were no restaurants along the Natchez Trace.  However, there is a cafe at French Village, the only eating establishment on the parkway.  French Camp was founded circa 1810 by a Frenchman who opened a stand, or tavern and inn here.  The village has log cabins, an antebellum home and other structures dating back as early as the 1820s.  We had a wonderful lunch in the cafe of sandwiches made by the bakery on the grounds of the village, and homemade soup.
At Cole Creek and Cypress Swamp we were able to take short trails through bald-cypress/tupelo swamps.  In the above picture notice the cypress knees which support the trees.  The tupelo has a swollen base which anchors the tree.  We looked hard for a sighting of alligators, but no luck on that.  Only wildlife which we saw on the parkway was one coyote and many deer.  At the French Academy Village we did see an abundance of  bluebirds.  Our journey along the parkway also took us near the Pearl River, so named because a French explorer found pearls in its' waters.  The river has served as a boundary between Mississippi and Louisiana since 1812.  That was pretty much our day on only a small portion of the parkway, certainly had we not traveled on it we would have had arrived home much sooner!   But then we would not have had such a fun and interesting day!

1 comment:

  1. This is too funny--I'm sure my husband and I probably passed you on the Trace! We started in Natchez yesterday morning, spent the night in Tupelo and finished the Trace this afternoon in Nashville. We've driven it so often in every season --and never stopped at French Camp! We take off for 6-8 weeks each year from Vt and drive all around the country in our car, staying at motels. I, too, have blogged each year about the places we've seen and people we've met. We are headed home now, having set out on Feb 1 and went as far as Barstow, Ca this year. Will read your blog when I get back to get me through the remaining winter drearies.