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Itinerary - Deep South USA Road Trip

A (close to) three week to the Big Easy – Deep South USA.  What could be more fun?

We will walk along the sweeping bends of the Mississippi River, visit the bayous of Louisiana and get familiar with the great cities of Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans.  

Along the way, you can tap your toes some of the very best music.  It is all here in the birthplace of soul, jazz, blues, country and rock and roll.  You can listen in your car and through your earphones, of course, but the great thing about visiting the Deep South USA is that you can hear it played live too – as it was meant to be heard – and enjoy listening in the company of others who enjoy it as much as you do.

The food scene is interesting here too.  Explore Cajun food – full of heart and soul – and forget about the calorie counting just for a little while.

The rich history of this troubled area adds immensely to the pleasure of the trip.

It may not be a trip at the top of everyone’s wish list, but I would definitely add this to your bucket list if you haven’t explored this exciting part of the world yet.

Deep South USA New Orleans Jazz Festival
Charles Vergos Rendezvous Bar Memphis ribs
Deep South USA Itinerary

Best time to visit the Deep South USA

We visited in early April and enjoyed fine weather most of the time.  The hot and sticky Summer is best avoided – it comes with the risk of mosquitos too.  There are lots of music festivals that take place throughout the year, so it is worth finding out when these are happening and timing your visit either to coincide with them or avoid them, depending on your preference. If you visit the big cities at festival time, be sure to book your accommodation – and restaurants – well ahead to avoid disappointment. 

Top Ten "Must-Dos" for a road trip to Deep South USA Road Trip

  1. Sip a cocktail at the famous revolving Carousel Bar, Monteleone New Orleans
  2. Cook up delicious cajun food at the New Orleans School of Cooking
  3. Visit an Antebellum Home
  4. Learn all about the American Civil War Memorial
  5. Pay your respects to Elvis – visit Graceland
  6. Tour Memphis in a classic 50s car
  7. Watch the march of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel, Memphis
  8. Listen to jazz as it used to be at Preservation Hall, New Orleans
  9. Sing your heart out at the Grand ‘Ole Opry
  10. Listen to the carillon bells chime in Nashville

Where I Stayed

Anchuca Historic Mansion and Inn Vicksburg Bedroom
Anchuca Historic Mansion and Inn Vicksburg - The prettiest bed I have ever slept in!
Hotel Monteleone New Orleans
The Hotel Monteleone - an oasis of calm in buzzing New Orleans
The Hermitage Hotel Nashville
The Hermitage Hotel Nashville - Perfect!
Nottoway Plantation
Nottoway Plantation

Best Hotel Award

The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville was the easy winner of the best hotel award for this trip.  This is a fantastic hotel.  If I could sum it up in one word, it would be “PERFECT.”  If I get the chance to add a few more words, I would pick: elegant, efficient and peaceful.  It is the oldest hotel in Nashville and the first million $ hotel to be built here.  “Meet me at the Hermitage” is what the locals say – you can certainly see why!

"Meet me at the Hermitage"
"Meet me at the Hermitage" - Yes please!

My Reading List for a trip to the Deep South USA

If you want to read, you best to it before your road trip to the Deep South because you won’t have much time to read while you are there – there is just so much to do!  The books I enjoyed on this trip were:

Deep South – Paul Theroux

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Deep South USA - Movies to watch before you go

Green Book – such a great film.  It. conveys perfectly the difficult history of the Deep South in a very human (true) story.

Selma

My Packing List

  • A clutch of dollar bills (the Americans love to tip!)
  • Long sleeved, mosquito proof shirts.
  • Iphone and earphones – you want to be listening to all your favourite music as you drive along.  Pick out your favourite playlists for each genre before you go, because you won’t have time to do it when you are there!

I came back with more than I took:

Nashville is a GREAT place to shop for real American cowboy boots – and I could not resist.  Leave plenty of room in your case so you don’t have to cram them in as I did!. 

Cowgirl Boots

Foodie Firsts

Search for “Foodie Firsts” to discover more about the Deep South USA’s Foodie scene.

  • Fried Green Tomatoes with Crawfish Cream Sauce
  • Local Catfish – served deep fried with purple hole peas (like black beans) and turnip greens (turnips served with the greens chopped up with them – not thrown away as we would usually do)
  • Juke Joint Tamales – Like a minced beef cannelloni
  • Gator Tator chips – finger licking’ good!
  • Bananas Foster – Bananas flambéed in rum and brown sugar, served with ice cream.  This was one of the dishes we made at the New Orleans School of Cooking – a highly recommended experience.  
  • Barbecued Ribs- American style
  • Ooey Gooey

Deep South USA - The Cocktail Trail

One of the most memorable things about this trip was the huge variety of cocktails available to sample – you really do need to make this part of your trip, so I hope you aren’t tee total or you will really be missing out.  Read the Deep South USA Cocktail Trail – to sell all the must try cocktails and their recipes.  Or read it on Trip Adviser, so you can see the map and tie them off as you go!

Charles Vergos Rendezvous Bar Memphis ribs
but great ribs inside - with BBQ sauce. Finger licking' good!
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crayfish (Crawfish cream sauce)
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crayfish (Crawfish cream sauce)
Deep South The French 75 - Arnaud's - New Orleans
The French 75 - Arnaud's - New Orleans

Useful Websites

More to follow – website under reconstruction!

Learning the Lingo

GBD – Golden Brown and Delicious
RTG – Ready to Go

Fascinating Facts

If you are into your facts and figures, search for “Fascinating Facts” to learn more about the Deep South USA.

  1. What’s the difference between Creole and Cajun cooking?  Very little really – Cajun is just the country version of Creole – a bit less refined, but all the same principles.

 

Tips for Future Travellers

  1. Plan your trip to Memphis really well in advance.  There is a lot to do here and booking in advance will help you cram it all in and avoid disappointment.  This post has all the details: Plan your trip to Memphis  
  2. More to follow – website under reconstruction!

Read my full trip to the Deep South USA: