Staying for a second day? We’ll fill it with more unforgettable food, a star-studded tour of North Greenwood and some quick road trips along the Delta’s back roads.
Museum of the Mississippi Delta
1608 Highway 82 West • 662-453-0925 • www.museumofthemississippidelta.com Weekdays 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. • Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. • Closed on major holidays Founded in the 1970s as Cottonlandia, this outstanding regional museum will take you time traveling through centuries of Delta history and culture. From prehistoric fossils, Native American artifacts and Civil War history, to the rescued remnants of Malmaison, Chief Greenwood Leflore’s lost mansion, the Museum of the Mississippi Delta offers an eclectic and fascinating overview of this most unusual corner of America. A short drive west of the museum will lead you to Fort Pemberton, site of one of the Civil War’s more eccentric skirmishes. The fabled steamship Star of the West, the first vessel to draw fire from Fort Sumter in 1861, lies buried in the mud of the Tallahatchie River just north of the fort. There are several other ships that were also scuttled after the Mississippi River was taken by Union troops.
Grand Boulevard Architecture
In the first years of the 20th century, Sally Humphreys Gwin convinced her husband and his business partners to plat a “Grand Boulevard” through their proposed North Greenwood subdivision. “Miss Sally” oversaw the transplantation of hundreds of young pin oaks from along the Delta’s riverbanks to the new street, and over the next century those tiny trees would soar into a graceful mile-long tunnel between the Yazoo and the Tallahatchie. Today, you can drive or walk along the sidewalks of Grand Boulevard, where the Gwin home still stands at the corner of Grand and Park. Estate-scale houses and yards have been lovingly preserved and restored all along this famous street, which features an astonishing variety of architectural styles.
At the north end of Grand Boulevard is the Tallahatchie Bridge, made famous when Greenwood’s own Bobbie Gentry captured the mystery in her 1967 song, “Ode to Billy Joe.” Across the bridge is County Road 518, a road seared into the nation’s consciousness as Money Road. This two-lane stretch of asphalt carries you to Little Zion Baptist Church, the gravesite of bluesman Robert Johnson, a cryptic character infused with talent so deep that many credited it to a deal with Satan himself. Five miles or so further up Money Road, the crumbling walls of Bryant’s Grocery are all that remain to mark one of the darkest chapters in American history. When Emmett Till stepped across the threshold of that store on an August afternoon, he set in motion an explosion of terror and retribution that would rock the nation. The Civil Rights movement, a landmark 20th century social upheaval, traces its birth to that sagging store. Perhaps it was the rich history and intrigue of Money Road that led director Tate Taylor to utilize the Whittington House, near the Tallahatchie’s north bank, as Skeeter’s home in the 2010 movie “The Help.” What better location than the south end of Money Road to immortalize this story of racial division and the power of forgiveness?
Civil Rights Self-Guided Driving Tour
(brochure with map available)
During the 1960s, Greenwood was a hotbed of civil rights activity, including visits by Dr. Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael, who first used the slogan “black power” at a speech on Broad Street, a site now marked on Mississippi’s Freedom Trail. Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger also made appearances here to rally support for African American voter registration.
“The Help” Self-Guided Driving Tour
(brochure with map available) https://visitgreenwood.com/experience
Hollywood descended on Greenwood during the spring and summer of 2010, bringing Dreamworks Studio stars into local homes and businesses. “The Help” garnered several Academy Award nominations and was a box-of office smash. Walking the streets of downtown Greenwood during that hot summer of filming, it was not at all unusual to run into Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain or Viola Davis. Cicely Tyson and Sissy Spacek shopped in local stores and Allison Janney and Bryce Dallas Howard might be found sharing lattes at Turnrow Books during breaks in the filming. The locations of critical scenes are scattered throughout Greenwood and are best enjoyed on a leisurely drive around downtown and into North Greenwood’s tree-lined neighborhoods.
Downtown Greenwood Walking Tour (brochure with map available)
If you haven’t had a chance to soak in the beauty and ambiance of downtown Greenwood, take an easy stroll around the blocks between the river and Rail Spike Park. Walking tour brochures, breaking the walks into three manageable tours, are available from Main Street Greenwood or your hotel.
If you leave Greenwood hungry, you have only yourself to blame. Fan and Johnny’s chef is a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef South, and the Ballas family has been rolling comfort food and world-famous pies out of the Crystal Grill’s kitchen for three-quarters of a century. Giardina’s and Lusco’s feature upscale evening dining choices that range from pompano to porterhouse and Jeem’s Diner boasts the best burger in the Delta and homemade biscuits for breakfast. Station 222 is a fresh take on classic American food. Turnrow Book Co’s upstairs cafe is the place to go for lunchtime soups, salads and sandwiches, and Webster’s is a cozy neighborhood spot just across the Keesler Bridge in North Greenwood. Other culinary temptations range from Serio’s open-face meatball sandwich to Veronica’s intricate cakes and treats to Steven’s barbecue brisket and famous chocolate cake. If your tastes run to local wines, check out The Winery at Williams Landing, located in Greenwood’s restored Fire Station #1 at the south end of Howard Street. Besides the expected muscadine, they also feature interesting fig (Delta Dew) and blueberry (Delta Blue) wines. Available by appointment only for groups of four or more.