It’s the birthplace of the blues; the heart of the South; and chockful of more catfish, music, and charm than you could shake a sweet teaspoon at. A long weekend in the Mississippi Delta will remedy broken hearts, muddy waters, and tangles with hound dogs of all sorts.
Make home base in Greenwood, Mississippi — it’s Mayberry with panache. Fly into Memphis in the morning and rent a car for the painless and pretty two-hour drive (you’re burning rubber at 70 mph most of the way). A quick stop at Graceland is in order, but the tourist/shag-rug factor should limit it to an hour. Grab a bite at Rendezvous (52 South Second Street; 901-523-2746), a back-alley cellar that’s been serving finger-licking ribs since 1948.
The real-deal option is Tallahatchie Flats (58458 County Road 518; 662-453-1854), a cluster of authentic sharecropper cabins that have been lovingly preserved, rocking chairs on front porches and all. They’ve added air-conditioning and TV but kept the kitchens, bottle tree, and ghosts. If you’re feeling less historic, book The Alluvian (318 Howard Street; 662-453-2114) on Greenwood’s too adorable main street. The elegant central courtyard is perfect for a glass of wine, a book, and pretending to work.
Breakfastness is next to godliness on the upstairs back porch at TurnRow Book Company (304 Howard Street; 662-453-5995). Grab a homemade raspberry loaf, a cup of coffee, and a soft chair. You’ll be lulled by the whir of the ceiling fans — and amazed by how quickly time flies. Come suppertime, book a curtained-off table at Alluvian’s Giardina’s (662-455-4227) and feel like you’re a power broker in a Grisham novel. The onion rings, ricotta spinach, and baked oysters are essential eating.
Howard Street is lined with shops so cute, it’ll be like spending money’s your job. Russell’s Antiques & Fine Jewelry (313 Howard Street; 662-453-4017) has a mesmerizing selection of period and estate jewelry, furniture, and tableware. At The Mississippi Gift Company (300 Howard Street; 662-455-6961), the shelves are lined with artisanal foods and local crafts.
The Alluvian Spa (325d Howard Street; 662-451-6700) is across from the hotel. Book a deep-tissue massage with Moya and you’ll float out afterward.
Fancy Viking stoves are manufactured right in Greenwood, and they teach you to use ’em at the cooking school (325c Howard Street; 662-451-6750). When darkness falls, make haste to an American treasure, Po’ Monkey’s (check map; no real address), one of the last authentic juke joints. It’s a crumbling shack on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. Po’ Monkey himself lives there, and you don’t know the blues ’til you’ve heard them here.