Tallahatchee Flats

This post on Greenwood, Mississippi, contains Trip Advisor affiliate links. If you click on the links, we may earn a fee. There is no cost to you. I received complimentary lodging and activity passes in Greenwood, Mississippi, in exchange for my fair and honest review; all opinions are my own.

Recently, Sean, Jackson, Lucy, and I visited one of the most unique regions of the United States, the Mississippi Delta. I have been enamored with the area for quite a while, and this experience opened up even more curiosities and fascination. We stayed in Greenwood, Mississippi. After visiting Greenwood and the surrounding towns, I can honestly say that I wish every American could visit this region of America.

Downtown Greenwood, Mississippi

The Delta

A lot of people confuse the Mississippi Delta as being where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The delta is actually located in Northwest Mississippi, and the area has one of the most unique and complex histories of the United States.

Geographically, the delta is the land spanning from Memphis, Tennessee, 200 miles south to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and 87 miles across the state. The region qualifies as a delta because it is the alluvial plain that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. Before levees were established, the delta plain would frequently flood, creating some of the most fertile soil on earth.

In studying history, I believe that the true story of our nation has been shaped and formed by those who believed and fought for a chance to be free and earn an honest wage… for those who wouldn’t give up, and for those who still won’t. The Mississippi Delta tells the story of those people.

The region is complex, and I can’t say that I have processed it all. I can say that I have a better understanding of our country for visiting. I want to share why I wish every American could visit Greenwood, Mississippi.

Why Visit Greenwood, Mississippi?

Greenwood and the surrounding region has so much history and culture. It is a place that I recommend families visit to gain a better understanding of American history, and in particular, life in the south.

While in Greenwood, I learned an excellent lesson on the power of the local visitor’s center. I had never utilized a visitor’s center much before this trip. They had so many resources that helped us create a more meaningful trip than we could have by planning ourselves. I would encourage everyone contemplating a trip to contact the local visitor’s center of the area you are visiting so that you too can learn what the town has to offer.

There are very few towns that can represent the American story as well as Greenwood. The history of Greenwood, Mississippi, and the delta have forever shaped the fabric of America.

Visit Greenwood for a Lesson in History and Culture

The town was founded by Greenwood Leflore, a Chocktaw Chief. In the 1890s, a gentleman named Captain Gwin and his wife purchased the land between the Yazoo and Tallahatchie Rivers with the vision of an oak-lined street adorned with beautiful houses. To make the dream come true, Gwin’s wife had 300 oak trees transplanted along the main road, Grand Boulevard, from the riverbanks.

Grand Boulevard Greenwood, Mississippi

The trees have been well cared for throughout the years, and if one dies, another is planted in its place. Today, Grand Boulevard is one of the most majestic streets I have seen in my travels throughout the country.

Greenwood, Mississippi

If you continue along Grand Boulevard and cross the Tallahatchie River, the land opens up into the most beautiful ocean of crops. The Mississippi Delta is famous for its precision agriculture. I would have never thought of so much technology being integrated into farming, but I have also never seen rows of crops so straight.

Money Road, Greenwood, Mississippi

In a land where cotton is still king, precision agriculture has advanced since the days of sharecropping. However, with the rise in technology, the manpower of farming is not necessary anymore. What used to take dozens of workers in the field walking from can to can’t or from dawn to dusk, now is handled by 1-2 farmers and robotics. In addition to cotton, soybeans, and corn are also primary crops in the region.

The integration of precision agriculture is a history lesson unto itself. Agriculture has advanced, but many of the people have stayed, creating communities where the unemployment rate is rather high. We have found no better place in the United States for Jackson and Lucy to learn about agricultural advancement and its effects.

Tallahatchie Flats

While in Greenwood, Mississippi, we had the privilege of staying in what I would call one of the most unique and historical places to lodge in the world, Tallahatchie Flats. Tallahatchie Flats is a collection of authentic tenant houses brought in from local plantations throughout the delta.

Tallahatchie Flats, Greenwood, Mississippi

You will hear repetitively in our blogging that Sean and I believe that the best education any person can receive is through exposure. What better way to educate all of us than by lodging in an authentic farm/sharecropping house. Directly connected to the revolution in agriculture, we had the opportunity to stay in a piece of history.

For this visit, we shared the tenant home of someone who lived on the Ashwood Plantation. For a glimpse in time, we were able to share the rooms that this person called home. Our house was named after the plantation owner’s wife, Ms. Aubrey. Ms. Aubrey’s house has no frills or luxuries. The house is an authentic example of a good person earning an honest wage in an era of tenant farming in the Mississippi Delta. I feel that Jackson and Lucy received an experience of a lifetime.

To learn more about Tallahatchie Flats, click HERE.

The Help Tour

Little did we know before visiting Greenwood, Mississippi, that the majority of the movie, The Help, was filmed in town. After visiting, it became clear why this location was chosen. From the beautiful homes along Grand Boulevard to the farmland of the alluvial plain, Greenwood had the ability to represent the deep south of 1960s America. A few of our favorite Help movie locations include:

Skeeter’s House
The Help Movie Tour, Greenwood, Mississippi Skeeter
Constantine’s House
The Help Movie Tour, Greenwood, Mississippi Constantine
Hilly’s House
The Help Movie Tour, Greenwood, Mississippi Hilly
Elizabeth Leefolt’s House
The Help Movie Tour, Greenwood, Mississippi Elizabeth Leefolt

If you have never seen the movie, you are missing out.  Watch the trailer below!

The movie, The Help, is accurately filmed in Greenwood because of the Civil Rights activity of the 1960s that occurred within the region.

Baptist Town

Baptist Town is a historic African American community that developed as a safe haven for African-American musicians throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many famous musicians lived in Baptist Town as well as actor, Morgan Freeman.

Museum of the Mississippi Delta

The Museum of the Mississippi Delta gives a fantastic representation of the delta throughout the years. From Native American artifacts to artistry depicting slavery and sharecropping, the museum has preserved the true, raw, history of the delta.

While visiting, be sure to view the works of local artists who have painted and sculpted their interpretations of the people and land of the delta.

Museum of the Mississippi Delta Greenwood

Tribute is paid to local soldiers who served in our country’s wars throughout the years, both for those who came home and those who were not as fortunate.

Learn about the 1863 Battle of Fort Pemberton that occurred in Greenwood, Mississippi, during the Civil War. An ocean-going merchant ship, the Star of the West, was confiscated by Confederates. They tried unsuccessfully to sail it down the Tallahatchie River. The vessel still lies beneath the Tallahatchie current to this day. Interestingly, the Star of the West was also the first ship fired upon during the Civil War at Fort Sumter.

Museum of the Mississippi Delta Greenwood

Visit a collection of ancient Native American beads and pottery dating back to the years 1200-1540 from delta native, L.B. Jones.

View the magnificent and touching depictions of life on the plantation during the years of slavery and sharecropping.

Check out the artifacts from the personal family collection of the town’s founder, Chief Greenwood LeFlore.

Museum of the Mississippi Delta Greenwood

Children enjoy dedicated rooms for touch and discovery. A new Children’s Discovery Room for those ages 2-5 will open in August 2019. Children six and over enjoy discovering and learning in the Furs and Feathers Room. Representations of swampland are present to show children what the delta once looked like before the swamps were drained for farming.

Money, Mississippi

Although I taught about Money, Mississippi to high schoolers for many years, nothing can compare to visiting. Money is the town in which 14-year-old Emmett Till, a child, was abducted and killed. Many historians consider Till’s death as the spark that lit the Civil Right’s Movement.

During the summer of 1955, Till traveled from Chicago to visit family in Money. He was shopping at Bryant’s Grocery, and the owner’s wife, Carolyn Bryant, alleged that Till was flirting with her.

Emmett Till Money Mississippi

Carolyn’s husband (owner of the store) and his brother kidnapped, tortured, and murdered Till. His body was found days later in the Tallahatchie River.

Emmett Till Money Mississippi

Four months after Till’s death, Rosa Parks was asked to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, so that a white man could take her seat.

I thought about Emmett Till and I could not go back. My legs and feet were not hurting, that is a stereotype. I paid the same fare as others, and I felt violated. I was not going back. -Rosa Parks

Driving down the wide-open Money Road, I could feel the darkness of Emmett’s murder. There is a vast difference in teaching history and feeling it, and our visit to Money, Mississippi, gave us an opportunity that we will never forget.

Tallahatchie River Greenwood, Mississippi

History is not made to be covered, but rather to be understood. This was an experience that we wanted Jackson and Lucy to understand through exposure because no book can teach as well as seeing, touching, and doing.

Driving down flat roads of the delta, through the corn and soybean fields, it’s hard not to think about the history that occurred in these fields that changed the fabric of America forever.

Visit Greenwood, Mississippi, for an Appreciation of Music

As we rode down those crop filled roads of the Mississippi Delta, we listened to the sounds of the delta sung by blues artists such as Robert Johnson and BB King.

As BB King belted Precious Lord through our automobile speakers, the words resonated with us in understanding the plight of the sharecroppers and tenant farmers…

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
When my way grows drear, precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

The blues, founded in the Mississippi Delta, was born as a music of survival. Eric Clapton is quoted saying that the blues is the music of hope.

Mississippi Blues Trail

If you love the blues or would like to authentically learn about its origins, there is no place better than the Mississippi Blues Trail. Follow the 200+ stops throughout the state to understand the complex music that was a beacon to so many in the darkness of night.

Dockery, Mississippi

On the road to Cleveland sits the Dockery Cotton Gin, where the blues was born. We had the opportunity to stand on the hallowed ground of the birthplace of the music that saved lives and gave people a reason to keep living under great oppression.

Gravesite of Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is the legendary singer who allegedly sold his soul to the devil in order to play the blues. Johnson, from Greenwood, Mississippi, was a plantation worker. He was told to visit the crossroads near Hwys 49 and 61 at midnight, and there he reportedly sold his soul for the gift of playing the blues. Johnson died at 27 years of age, having recorded only 29 songs. Though the details of his death are not clear, it is believed that his alcohol was poisoned one night because Johnson was flirting with another man’s wife.

Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe

Bobby Gentry, who was raised in Greenwood, often wrote and sang about her childhood in the Mississippi Delta. Her 1967 tune, Old to Billy Joe, describes a fictitious suicide on the Tallahatchie Bridge. The song won four grammies and was later made into a movie. It is often listed as one of the greatest country songs of all time.

BB King Museum

Located a short drive away in Indianola, the BB King Museum is one of the best museums we have visited in terms of representing a person’s life. Learn about BB’s upbringing in the delta, how BB and Lucille got their names, and his contribution to society and music throughout the years. This museum is a must-see on your visit through the delta!

Visit Greenwood for Family Fun

Greenwood, Mississippi, has a variety of family activities. Some of the activities include:

Farmer’s Market

If you are out and about in Greenwood on Saturdays, you can visit the vibrant farmer’s market, open from 8:00 am-12:00 pm.

Viking Cooking School

I love cooking classes. Greenwood is home to Viking Appliances. Viking holds cooking classes, and I will definitely attend one the next time I am in town. A class favorite is learning to make recipes such as Minnie’s pie from the movie, The Help.

Old Mountain Outdoor Adventures

A true treasure located 30 minutes east of Greenwood, Mississippi, is Old Mountain Outdoor Adventures. In our time at Old Mountain, we realized that this is a family-centered business ran by good people. While working in the healthcare industry for almost two decades, the owner, Russell, realized that there is a need for healthy family outdoor activities. Russell and his wife opened Old Mountain Outdoor Adventures in July 2017.

The business includes activities for all ages. Specific areas of the mountain complex are dedicated to children, such as the Kiddies Quest for ages 2-3 and Kids Quest for ages 4-6. While there, also check out the 9,000 square foot net Spider Quest. Of course, more advanced zip lining courses are available as well.

Outdoor Adventures facilitates activities for individuals, families, corporations, church groups, school systems, and more.

For more information on visiting Old Mountain Outdoor Adventures, click HERE to view our article!

Visit Greenwood, Mississippi, for Good Food

I love learning about food and culture. I was taught in Greenwood about the cultural foods of the region, and one of the most famous is hot tamales. Not to be confused with Latin American tamales, hot tamales are made with seasoned meat in a cornmeal shell. Hot tamales are wrapped in parchment paper rather than corn husks or banana leaves. They are cooked in a tomato-based sauce and the ones we experienced in Greenwood will knock your socks off!

Fan and Johnny’s

Danielle Morgan, Executive Director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, suggested many great restaurants for us while we were in town. One of our favorites was Fan and Johnny’s.

Fan and Johnny's Greenwood, Mississippi

Located in the Cotton Row District, and more specifically in an old cotton grading building, Fan and Johnny’s is a town favorite.  

Fan and Johnny's Greenwood, Mississippi

If you visit, look at the skylight. The building was initially used to grade cotton, and the grading determined the price that the cotton would sell. All cotton had to be graded under northward facing skylights for grading consistency.

Along with learning some fantastic history, Fan and Johnny’s serves the most delicious entres, including hot tamales, pimento cheese dip, Nashville hot chicken, fried alligator with a comeback sauce, and an assortment of Po-Boys and wraps.

Chef Taylor creates amazing recipes and she grows her own herbs on the sides of her restaurant.  

Mississippi Mo Joe Coffee Company

After a wonderful tour of Greenwood, we stopped in at the Mississippi Mo Jo Coffee Company. The owner and assistant were so accommodating to us. We enjoyed delicious iced coffees and frappes. While visiting, I picked up some delicious local honey and blueberry coffee!

Honest Abe’s Donuts

One morning on our trip, we stopped in at Honest Abe’s Donuts. The donut selection was vast, and the size of the donuts were large. We loved the chocolate frosted, chocolate coconut, and glazed.

Drake’s BBQ

During lunch one afternoon, we stopped in at Drake’s BBQ. Drake’s had an amazing macaroni and cheese! The meat is smoked in front of the restaurant, and there is a good possibility that there will be a line out the door waiting for BBQ goodness. Servings were ample, and Jackson, my picky eater, cleaned his plate well.

Dining establishments that we are interested in visitong next time we are in Greenwood include the Crystal Grill, Lusco’s (allegedly a Morgan Freeman favorite), Webster’s, and Steven’s BBQ.

Greenwood, Mississippi

The Mississippi Delta has so many facets. Our trip to Greenwood was truly amazing. I would urge all people to visit Greenwood and the surrounding towns to understand the history in which our country was shaped.

In visiting the delta, make sure to see it, breathe it, feel it, understand it, and appreciate it.

Greenwood truly is America’s town.

Visiting Greenwood? Check out Trip Advisor for fantastic lodging deals in the area. If you are interested in staying at Tallahatchie Flats, please click HERE.

Have you ever visited the Mississippi Delta? What was your most memorable part? We would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line in the comment section below.

  1. What an interesting trip you had! I love history, and it sounds like Greenwood has some great lessons to teach. I can’t believe you can stay in a tenant home! What an experience. I love what you said about teaching your kids through experiences- I wholeheartedly agree.

    1. It was the perfect opportunity to learn through immersion! I am so thankful for the experience 😃

  2. I lived in Greenwood from 1951 to 1962 and graduated from High School there. My memory is only of a segregated town with a railroad track literally dividing the town along race lines. I am glad to hear it is showing signs of a rebirth, but I hear complaints from friends who still live there about its decline. There have been many movies filmed there: The Reivers, Home from the Hill, and Mississippi Masala. Lusco’s is a can’t miss restaurant.

    1. Thank you for writing. During our visit, it was good to see Greenwood as a city that is evolving from its past. I cannot wait to try Luscos next time I am in town!

  3. I was born and raised in Greenwood. I go back to visit several times each year. I love hearing others have good experiences there. I have so many memories of that place. Next time you’re there, you have to eat at The Crystal Grille. Also, side note, my father helped build Tallahatchie Flats.

    1. It was fantastic! We definitely want to visit The Crystal Grille on our next visit. I bet it was such an awesome experience for your dad to restore the flats!!!

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