Exploring the Deep South
Whilst the Deep South may not be known for its landscapes, this most rhythmic part of the United States is world renowned for its wealth of music, literature and history. Pauline recently visited the Deep South and gives a taste here of what there is to see and do.
Starting in Nashville, Tennessee, the true home of country, blues and soul Pauline visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. Really a living museum this vibrant centre honours classic and current artists and exhibits everything from Hank Williams’s Martin guitar to instruments of Carrie Underwood and a showcase of today’s top performers.
Whilst in Nashville, she suggests taking a tour of Studio B, where the walls have witnessed the recording of many incredible artists and is still in use today. Grand Ole Opry is the place to catch a country concert!
Pauline really liked the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. It is brilliantly located, right in the heart of the music area of Nashville and just a stone’s throw from music venues and sightseeing. Contemporary in style, she describes the Vanderbilt as soulful and lively. There’s a spa too and a complimentary car and driver to take you anywhere within a 3 mile radius of the hotel. In contrast, we all like the Thomson Nashville, located in the up and coming Gulch area of the city. Contemporary and boutique (by American standards!) the Thomson Nashville enjoys views across the city from the vibrant rooftop bar and an excellent restaurant serving southern style seafood cuisine.
The next stop on the journey was Memphis, home of the King himself; Elvis Presley. His mansion, Graceland, is a highlight for any fan wanting to immerse themselves into the world of the man that changed the face of rock and roll music. Visit the Rock’n’soul museum in downtown Memphis then stroll down Beale Street soaking up the live music from every building – you’ll also find the original BB King’s Blues Club on Beale Street where you can soak up some of the best blues music around. Pauline found Memphis soulful and vibrant and loved the constant soundtrack to her visit.
Any visit to Memphis will also be deeply historic as well as emotive and uplifting in equal measure. Pauline explored the National Civil Rights Museum and found it quite moving. The museum is a complex of buildings including the Lorraine Motel where, on the balcony outside room number 306 on 4th April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Sit behind Rosa Parks and listen to an account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and learn about slavery through to the movement in the present day.
If you haven’t learnt enough about the Civil Rights Movement you can always visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum once you get to Jackson, Mississippi.
At the mouth of the Mississippi, further south in Louisiana, lies New Orleans and her jazz roots. New Orleans was the last stop of the journey through this part of the Deep South. On the way Pauline enjoyed catching sight of the beautiful plantation properties in the picturesque town of Nanchez.
A melting pot of French, Creole, Caribbean and American cultures, New Orleans will offer the warmest Southern hospitality and the attractions of the city have not changed: ride a rattling streetcar or a paddle steamer, tap your feet in a jazz bar or feast on gumbo in one of the many restaurants on Bourbon Street. One of our favourite hotels in New Orleans is the Eliza Jane. Pauline says “Once a working print factory, the Eliza Jane combines the soul and spirit of New Orleans with contemporary elegance. The hotel is ideally located just 2 and a half blocks from the French Quarter, close enough to the river and Jackson Square but far enough to provide an escape from the hustle and bustle.”
Once finishing your tour you can always look to extend your journey onto Texas or Florida.
Summing up the destination, she describes it as ideal for anyone with a passion for music, for fans of music legends such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton and those following the next generation of country singers. Channel your inner Carrie Underwood or Kacey Musgraves and delve into the rhythmic, foot tapping sounds of one of the most historic regions of North America – you can even record your own CD! Learn about some of the most important events in American history and come away loving the destination – you may find yourselves returning time after time. For more in depth discovery of the area, we can of course arrange a guide for you.
If you would like to find out more do pop into the office or give Pauline a ring on 0208 879 7171.