Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last antebellum plantation in Arkansas

I had to get my dictionary out to look up the definition of antebellum :  “. . .relating to the period before the Civil War.” DSCN1854

On our list of must-see things to do in the Lake Village, Arkansas area was Lakeport Plantation built in 1859 by slaves and the only remaining Arkansas plantation on the Mississippi River. It was gifted to Arkansas State University who is restoring it as a museum dedicated to interpreting the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi Delta.  Very impressive to me is the effort being taken to authentically reproduce and restore this lovely house to its former grace and beauty.

Side view of the home. Kitchen and commissary are in the attached rear section.


I don’t know if its that nowadays we see so many “McMansions” but it doesn’t seem as large as I would expect a plantation home to be. 

The family’s day-to-day life was mainly lived on the second floor which has a large “dressing” room, three bedrooms, a nursery, a common space where the family gathered.

The first floor was designed for and reserved for entertaining visitors. It has a large impressive entry hall, a music room, dining room, two parlors (north and south), a drawing room and ladies sitting room.

I love the very tall entry door with its etched glass side panels.


Why are the shutters on the left closed?  It is the exterior wall of the master bedroom where the huge poster bed sits and  Mrs. Johnson did not want a window behind her bed.  But, of course, the symmetrical design of the house would be ruined if there were no window!  Thus, a false window!


I took this photo through the window after the tour.  All of the fireplace mantles are made of wood which was faux painted to look like marble or stone.  I was puzzled by how shallow they are.  Our tour guide explained that they wanted the warmth of the fire to reach out into the room.  It also occurred to me that this is Southern Arkansas, they didn’t need much heating!


Probably my favorite feature of this house.  The tall walk-through windows permit walking out on the verandahs; they also increase air circulation.  These are in the alcove in the music room but are a prominent feature throughout the home.

As I walked through I imagined myself strolling through the house  wearing a huge hoop skirt and large picture hat.  Nice dream uh!


Can you see the beautiful intricate design of this bell?  It was donated to Lakeport Plantation by the owners of Luna Plantation which not longer exists.


A child’s crypt in the small cemetery. Note the cotton fields in the background.DSCN1869

I had to add this wood replica of Lakeport Plantation to the collection I display at Christmas.  My other’s are Shelia’s Collectible’s  and this is made by  "The Cat’s Meow” but is still compatible with my collection. DSCN1899

My Shelia’s Collectibles collection.  Lakeport Plantation will be up there this Christmas.


This has absolutely nothing to do with the plantation but isn’t it a cute name for a catfish house?  Gary says that the catfish was good too!  (He has been eating catfish everywhere!  Jim Alexander’s is still his favorite.)  In addition to  traditional burgers, fried chicken etc. the menu also includes hush puppies, catfish bread, frog legs and nanna pudding.  Southern cuisine is SO good!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Top Whitetail Deer Hunter contest?!

This motorhome was in Pecan Grove RV Park a few days ago. A Whitetail deer hunting contest!?!?!  I checked American Whitetail Authority on the internet and learned that, rather than killing deer, competitors have a camera on their scope which takes a photograph when they shoot a blank and hit their mark.

The motorhome (and accompanying SUV which I didn’t photograph) is very eye-catching and distinctive in appearance but there is little else of interest here!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Johnny Rivers-45 years later…

This week we are “living” at Pecan Grove RV Park in Lake Village in southeast Arkansas. 
We drove across the Mississippi River on this distinctive beautiful bridge.   Apparently it has  recently opened since everywhere we go we hear people talking about whether or not they’ve been across yet.  DSCN1818
Johnny Rivers was in concert at Harlow’s Casino in Greenville, Mississippi.
We were on our way to buy tickets for the show when a lady stopped us and asked if we were going to see Johnny Rivers.  When we said yes, she said “Ya’ll, don’t buy tickets, I have two extras!”  We’re from California and thought “ya, what’s the catch, what’s is she up to?”  Well, she came back and gave us two tickets---that was it…no scam, no nothing!


Then, we get in line to have dinner here at Harlow’s  and a lady (with her two elderly aunts) says to me “I have an extra dinner ticket, I’ll use it for you but he will have to pay for his own.”  And she did!  Gary walks up to the Cashier and hands her his American Express card, she shakes her head no.  He tries cash, she again shakes her head no and then indicates that the man in front of us had a free dinner ticket and she’ll credit the unused dinner to Gary.  We both have free dinner!

SO, the concert was free and our dinner was free!  What a deal.  They must give out a LOT of comps in that casino in order for that many folks to be giving some away!

Yes, he can still sing and plays the guitar even better than in 1965 when Linda, Clif, Gary & I saw him at the Whiskey a GoGo in Hollywood, California.  He asked if we remembered the red guitar he played In his “Whiskey” days and then said “no, this isn’t it.”


In a dimly lit theater my Nikon P100 takes pretty good photos!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Carnegie Library AND Morgan Freeman…all in one day!


We diverted a bit off track to find the Carnegie Library in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  Once in Clarksdale We had a hard time getting to it when we encountered an underpass which didn’t have enough clearance for the 5th wheel (sure glad we noticed that before attempting that route!) but we meandered around Clarksdale, eventually made our way across the railroad tracks and reached what we thought was our main destination for the day.    DSCN1805

This 1914 Carnegie Library has been extensively remodeled and, other than the  interesting signs over two doorways, about all of the original interior remaining is the tall windows and dark beams upstairs in what is now the children’s room. 


Imagine how smoky that room must have gotten!


The “pictures” between the windows are letters of the alphabet crafted in various mediums.  The same talented artist also made these stained glass panels.  Oh, to be blessed with that kind of talent!





Dark stained beams and columns remain in the upstairs Children’s room.


I talked to the very friendly Children’s Librarian for a long time, all the time hoping that Gary had found a place to park the rig and wasn’t circling the block as has happened in the past! 

As I was leaving the Librarian asked if I had had lunch and said I should try Morgan Freeman's place Ground Zero “just down Delta Street on the right.”  She said the exterior doesn’t look very welcoming  since it was designed to look like an old shack. 

Outside I was relieved to see that Gary had indeed found a parking place and we set off down the street to see this place.


AND THEN IT GOT EVEN MORE INTERESTING! Old sofas, marred windows, junk on the porch, peeling paint, the old cotton warehouse looks like an abandoned building!  Oh my, I would have never chosen this place but it came with a LIBRARIAN’S recommendation so in we went! 


We Walked in the door and there he was. . . Morgan Freeman sitting at a table with a glass of tea! Cool!  He give us a friendly nod when we walked by his table and then again later when he walked by—on the way to the men’s room. (Is this T.M.I.?)

Enough about the movie star and on to the food.  Gary ordered the Catfish plate special—catfish, butterbeans, corn and corn muffin.  Why is he ignoring his food?  He is smiling at Morgan Freeman.


Something new for this Yankee:  a fried green tomato sandwich, and yes, it was good!  Of course, there was bacon on it, EVERYTHING is good with bacon isn’t it?  Also, “git-back” sauce which our waitress Betty said was just a few things they put together in the kitchen.  (A secret sauce!)

DSCN1814.JPG rev

Ground Zero is a Blues Club and Betty told us that Clint Eastwood comes in often when he is in town.

Writing and signs on every inch!  We signed our tablecloth.


The stage.DSCN1810

Even if this hadn’t been Morgan Freeman’s place we would have considered it a real find in our quest for the next great “back-door” type eatery.

P.S. Don & Lee, you would have loved it!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oct 18-Our home on the Mississippi River

Lots of barges on the river this morning. Even after two weeks we still stop what we’re doing to watch and count the number of container barges the tugboat (I’ve also seen them called towboats) is pushing.  Gary is big into counting and says he has seen 49, seven wide and seven long!



Travels 20103

Of course we still find time to find those good restaurants!  Today it was Central B-B-Q.  Great ribs for Gary and a pulled pork and slaw sandwich for me.  I really don’t care for slaw that much but is it ever good on a pork sandwich! The baked beans were delicious.



A beautiful sunset on the way home that night but I just couldn’t get a good picture! Here’s one of the bad pictures for you taken on the bridge going from Memphis back to W. Memphis.



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oct 14-Michael Bolton Concert in Tunica Mississippi

Can you see him? I know, I know but you get the idea don’t you?  Had to take these with my IPhone-wish I had my camera but didn't think it would be allowed.  Michael Bolton--great concert at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, MS. We had the WORST seats but after our usher moved us we had the best view. Sax player Michael Lington was also awesome.




The little southern town of Tunica was one of the poorest until the Mississippi River casinos were built.  Now it appears to be thriving.

This soldiers memorial is in Rivergate Park which is in the former railway right-of-way down the middle of the main street of Tunica.


Autumn decorations in Rivergate Park. (That’s me.)



Oct. 13-Jim Neely's Interstate B-B-Q

Had lunch at Jim Neely's Interstate B-B-Q in Memphis (you may have have heard about it on the Food Channel etc) BEST BBQ so far! Yes, even better than Smalley's (Salinas), Rudy's (Amarillo) or Brothers (Heber Springs) and they were ALL really really good!



Oct 13- National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee

We toured the National Civil Rights Museum, located in the Lorraine Motel where Dr MLK, Jr was killed in Memphis. Quite impressive.


Room 306 on the second floor window was Dr. King’s room. It is restored to how it looked on that April day in 1968. Wreath is placed on the balcony where he was shot.


Automobiles like these were parked here.


Museum includes the boarding house where James Earl Ray shot from a bathroom window.


We lived through quite a decade of the 60's didn't we?

October 12-Two days of sunrise on the Mississippi River

There are few RV parks we enjoy as much as Tom Sawyer's RV Park in W. Memphis, Arkansas.

Several years ago while we were Workampers at what is probably our favorite place, Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground (see Don, Lee, Gary, grandson Jorden and I in the photo under the “Employment” tab) a visitor recommended Tom Sawyer’s to Lee.  This was during the years when Don & Lee full-time traveled with us.  At that time the route to get to the park was through a not very nice section of W. Memphis.  “Lee, what are you getting us into?” I radioed on my walkie talkie.  Finally, through the bad neighborhood, we next drove up over the levee and down a long narrow gravel drive (it has since been paved :-)  Where or where are we going?  The movie “Deliverance” came to mind.  Then. . .an opening in the trees and there was the Mississippi River!  WOW.  WOW. WOW.  We loved it and have been back several times.

So Gary & I are back!  Check out the sunrise on two mornings.  Don’t expect to see many more sunrise photos…you may be aware that I am not a sunrise person, sunsets come at a much more reasonable time of the day.DSCN1635

One of the smaller barges on the river.