Walt's Look Around: Explore MS for Summer 'staycations' - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Explore MS for Summer 'staycations'

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

This story's prompted by an email I got the other day from someone explaining that the price of gasoline has gotten so high that they want to explore closer to home during their free time this summer.

Well, I answered their email with some quick recommendations. But got to thinking that if we really wanted to explore the state this summer, what kinds of places DO we have to choose from? And I thought I'd do a quick overview with an idea that over the next few weeks we'll revisit this "Explore Mississippi" theme in more detail with stories about specific places.

But as to the variety of destinations we have here, well, as far as topography, start with the Delta. Agriculture is the chief product of the Delta. Lots of corn nowadays. But more importantly is the culture that grew up fostered by the plantations of the 19th century and the share-cropping of the first half of the 20th century and the mechanization of the second half of the 20th century. Blues music is the most famous by-product of that environment. You'll find blues museums all up and down highway 61 in the western Delta in general. And Clarksdale in particular. But the Delta has birthed lots of creativity other than the blues. Enough literary figures to fill libraries and New York stages and Hollywood movies, to Jim Henson, who's first encounters with frogs came on the banks of Deer Creek in Leland.

Probably the other most notable landscape in Mississippi is the Coast. Where the land and water meets has grown its own unique villages and lifestyles and personalities. President Jefferson Davis' last home, Beauvoir has been completely restored back to the way it looked in the late 1800s when Davis lived here. The lighthouse in Biloxi that was here in Davis' time, and has survived over 20 hurricanes including Camille and Katrina is open for tours now. And there are museums for the coast's two eccentric potters and artists, George Ohr and Walter Anderson. And the seafood you eat for dinner tonight slept in the gulf waters last night.

And we didn't even have time to say anything about the northeast hills and their connection to Appalachia and the music that came from the hills, like Elvis Presley. Or the southwest bluffs and how old life is there. And the piney woods that connects all the rest of it together with its hidden places and hidden secrets.

So if we carry this series on for a few weeks, we'll have plenty of places to visit. And most of them you can get to and back home on a tank of gas. So stay tuned.

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