I just spent three days on a perfect deep south road trip soaking up the things that inspire me most. It was a whirlwind tour filled with music and literature and history and a heavy dose of natural beauty. And good food, too.
My perfect road trip centered around the Alabama Book Festival and while selling books and connecting with others authors and soaking up words was my primary goal, my two other must-see stops were Elvis’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi and the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.
Judge me if you must.
About Elvis. I’ll pause right here and announce that Elvis’s Birthplace deserves (and shall get) its own separate blog post. I had a near religious experience, but you’ll have to wait to hear about it. Tupelo itself was charming and yet another place I’ve added to my ever growing list of “ohhhh, I could live here” places. Blues history practically oozes from the cracks in the sidewalks.
Elvis is taller than I realized…
About Old Alabama Town. The Alabama Book Festival was fun-filled and busy. Old Alabama Town (much like Old City Park / Heritage Village for you Dallas readers) was one of those authentic, step back in time villages I find fascinating. The whole experience added to my perfect deep south road trip—a sunshiny day, historic buildings shaded by heavy trees, yards and yards of books, and the whole idyllic place filled with READERS. Mercy.
About the Fitzgeralds. I doubled down on literature and history by visiting the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery. Five bright stars from me, for sure! This home is the place the Fitzgeralds lived together as a married couple the longest (which was less than a year). They lived a lavish lifestyle, moving from hotel to hotel and traveling internationally, while somehow F. S. managed to write one of the greatest literary works and Zelda helped usher in the Jazz Age.
More to come on the passionate Fitzgeralds.
About Hank. I refused to leave town without a visit to the Hank Williams Museum which was a tricky thing because of my schedule and the museum’s hours. But I did it. It’s a small place chockfull of memorabilia and the largest collection of Hank’s personal artifacts including his gorgeous 1952 baby blue Cadillac. Pictures aren’t allowed inside (boo!) so you’ll have to take my word for it.
About Rosa Parks.
Simply standing on the spot where Rosa Parks was arrested made the hair on the back of my neck tingle. This lady, who refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, spurred on a city-wide boycott and launched nationwide efforts to end segregation. Although she’d worked a long day in a Montgomery department store as a seamstress, she refused to give up her seat not because she was physically tired, but because she was tired of giving in. I felt completely overwhelmed by the weight and importance of her story which I suspect always hangs in the Montgomery air. I wondered if that unassuming street corner has an energy field around it or an aura above it because I felt it.
As a people, we owe so so so much to Rosa Parks.
My deep south road trip included lots of natural beauty with roadsides covered with wildflowers and lush Alabama and Mississippi landscapes. I ate my share of delicious food, too, including Alabama sausage in Montgomery and catfish in Wetumpka. I still have much more on my list for next time including Monroeville, the Eudora Welty House, Oxford, and the Natchez Trace to name a few. I also have more to say about this whole weekend, but right now I’m trying to wrap my thoughts around it all. And I need more coffee.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Hank Williams, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry