Tag Archives: Shack Up Inn

Two kinds of dives in Mississippi

bugs_couch
If Napa has its grapes and upscale establishments, the Mississippi Delta has cotton (although giving way to beans and sorghum) and its dives. There are really two kinds of dives – and the DGs have managed to sample both. Ground Zero (where the female DG is hanging out on the porch before DG’s lunch inside) may look like a dive from the outside and pretend to be a dive inside, but it’s really a restaurant and blues bar owned, in part, by actor Morgan Freeman. Ditto the Shack Up Inn – the owners have gone to great expense to make it look ratty (as the male DG describes in a post today). Most of the authentic juke joints (if any really still exist, at least along the Hwy 61 corridor, given the blues tourist trade, which is about the only thing propping up the really awful local economy – made worse by all the recent rains that have hurt the farmers) are open only on the weekend so they’ll miss that. Tonight they’re headed to Freeman and partners upscale restaurant in town, Madidi, where they’ll hear some music before sauntering back to Ground Zero to sample what’s going on there.

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From Graceland to a slave shack

chris at graceland

shack innThe female DG remained a bit ambiguous about visiting Graceland ever since the Dual Gs arrival in Memphis. She’s not a huge Elvis fan and the whole pilgrimage thing was a bit too much. But as it was almost on their way to the Mississippi Delta,  it became “why not?” The verdict: it’s a true slice of American kitsch and while way over-produced, the people watching is amazing. The house itself is far from a mansion (by today’s standards) and the time-stamped early 7os decor is awful beyond words – there’s even shag carpet on one ceiling. The male DG spotted our South Pasadena refrigerator in the kitchen (barely visible in the left hand corner) where it seemed fitting to photograph “the chef.”  All that aside, the “Trophy Room” that spotlights Elvis’s recording and movie career was yet another walk through a lifetime.

A  day’s journey that began at a mansion ended when they checked into the Shack Up Inn (where there’s a lot of old stuff strewn about for authenticity, as the photo shows), which resides in the former slave quarters of the Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale. It’s another kind of kitsch overlaid with some good old fashioned entrepreneurship on the part of owners Bill and Guy. The other guests are two couples from Belgium. Only in America.

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