Our journey down to Clarksdale via Highway 61 was largely uneventful and we made straight for the first of our 2 stopovers here – the Riverside hotel. We wanted stay here since this is where many a legendary musician such as Muddy Waters stayed when in town. Unfortunately when we came a knocking the place was closed up. With no answer from the owner we started to get the blues so we headed over to Ground Zero Blues Club for some food while we planned our next move.
This club is co-owned by Morgan Freeman and has bucket loads of character. Every patron has scrawled their two pennies worth all over every flat surface right up to the ceiling. They served a good selection of local brews and the food tasted great too. Wanting to expand upon our first tamale experience we tried GZ’s fried version which we much preferred and they were perfectly complemented by a comeback style dipping sauce.
In need of a plan B we drove out to the Shack Up Inn where we were due to stay next and fortunately for us our room was also free 1 night early. Relieved, we settled into our little shack for the next 3 nights. That’s right, a shack! This is no ordinary hotel, bed and breakfast or hostel. It’s a wonderful collection of cotton picker’s shacks, grain bins and barns converted into guest houses, each with their own charm. Being there made us feel like we were right on the set of a walking dead episode! Fortunately there were fewer zombies.
The Inn is located next to a cotton plantation, here the first mechanised cotton picking machine would be invented putting 60 people put of work. Yay progress! They still have that machine in amongst the junk and rusty farm vehicles dotted around the grounds. In front of most of the shacks are bottle trees to keep the “haints” (ghosts) away. It’s so easy to chill out here and makes for the perfect place to escape the world – there’s not even any TV to watch; instead blues is piped into our shack via our single channel telly 24/7 if we want it. Bliss.
We had the oldest shack which had been moved from a couple of miles down the road. Inside our shack there’s lots of Americana and messages all over the walls from previous travellers. The place is rustic to say the least with pliers replacing the rather more conventional tap heads. Nevertheless, we have hot water, air con, wifi and a comfy bed – what more could you ask for?
We wanted nothing more than to kick back on the porch with a few cold beers and soak up the sun while we could. The only time we would need to leave would be to eat. Clarksdale has a few nice restaurants, all serving barbecue of course! Amy managed to find a salad bar somehow so that stopped us feeling so guilty!
Clarksdale is the home of the blues, as some of you may know, it was here at the crossroads between highways 61 and 49 where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil so that he might play good music. To pay our respects we visited a blues bar owned by a fella named Red. It was like entering someone’s living room (someone who likes to hand you a cover charge to come in!) and its purpose was simple – play the blues and serve beer! We had a blast in here dancing with locals and tourists alike while one fella slept on a bar stool the entire night.