SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

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It is one of my favorite southern riding destinations. It is also a place where many a great motorcycle journey has begun. Perched on a high bluff on the Mississippi River, Natchez is one of those stately Mississippi cities that defines just what “southern hospitality” is all about.

When I started riding motorcycles again more than a decade ago, it was one of my first road trip destinations and I have gone back again and again since then, so many times that I cannot count them, yet I just can’t seem to get enough of this southern jewel on the Mississippi river.
In addition, many a great motorcycle journey has begun for me in Natchez since it is where one of my favorite roads begins – the Natchez Trace Parkway.
There are lots of great motorcycle destinations throughout the south, but Natchez, Mississippi is one of those rare places that seems to be perfectly suited for rides and riders.

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First let’s talk about the roads and highways. US Highways 61 and 84 intersect at Natchez. Both are incredibly well maintained and marked. They provide beautiful vistas for riding into and out of Natchez. They feature great attractions and sites to visit along the way and in most areas are four lane divided highways.
They are the kind of roads that invite you to put your feet up on the highway pegs and cruise along enjoying the scenery.

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The secondary state highways and county roads surrounding Natchez are also well maintained and marked and of course there is no better motorcycle road than the Natchez Trace Parkway, which travels 440 miles from Natchez to Nashville.

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The Trace is not just a great ride; it has hundreds of historic sites along the way. Just outside Natchez is one of the most unusual of them all – Emerald Mound. Located just north of Natchez at mile post 10.3 Emerald Mound is one of the largest ceremonial mounds created by Native Americans. Constructed by ancestors of the Natchez Indians in the early 13th century the mound is 770 feet long, 435 feet wide and 35 feet high. At the west end there is a 30 foot secondary mound which was once topped by a ceremonial structure.

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After a long day’s ride there is no better place to hang out than under the hill. Natchez Under the Hill, is just what the name implies. It features a number of saloons, restaurants and even a couple of residential properties located under the bluff on which the city sits. It is very popular with bikers and is a great place to meet fellow riders, have a good meal and a drink and watch the sun set across the mighty Mississippi. Oh and if you like a little game of chance, the Isle of Capri Casino is permanently docked right here.

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Speaking of food – uh I was speaking of food, wasn’t I? Well you know how much I like to sample local cuisine and Natchez has some of the best southern dining anywhere. Plus it also has great road food. There are dozens of great restaurants to choose from. A couple of favorites are the Magnolia Grill which is located under the hill just up from the Casino and Fat Mama’s on Canal Street on top of the bluff. Fat Mamas makes some pretty incredible tamales and their “Knock you Naked” Margaritas are world famous – at least in my world they are.
Hey, don’t worry; you won’t lose your clothes drinking them, unless you really want to.

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If you want to truly experience the history and culture of Natchez you will want to visit some of the beautiful old homes and plantations in the area. Many of them are open for tours and some feature bed and breakfast options so you can live a little bit of the “southern life” while in Natchez.

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You won’t want to leave Natchez before spending some time downtown. There are dozens of great shops and boutiques to poke around in, a number of superb restaurants and coffee shops to hang out in and if you like antiquing this is the place to do it.
But perhaps the best things you will find in Natchez are wonderful people. You may arrive in town as a stranger, but you will leave as an old friend. We just spent a long weekend in Natchez filming a segment for America on 2 Wheels. Once again I left with new friends. That is the great thing about this little city on the Mississippi. After a short visit, you will almost feel like you live there.
Come to Natchez. Ride some great roads, enjoy good food and drink and make some new friends. Come see what southern hospitality is all about.
By the way, if you are a Harley rider, you may want to come to the Mississippi State HOG rally in Natchez this September. HOG rallies are always a lot of fun, but when they are held in Natchez, they just seem to be more fun.

See you on the road.

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Tee

~ by larider on August 2, 2014.

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