The Natchez Trace's 444 miles of stunning scenic beauty begins in Tupelo. An eclectic local art and theater scene, fantastic golf, historical landmarks from both the Civil War and the civil rights movement, and a revolutionary whole animal food concept all started here, too. So did Elvis, for that matter.
Not bad Tupelo. Not bad at all.
The Natchez Trace Headquarters and Visitors Center may be located in Tupelo – but this ancient pathway will take you through three states and as many centuries surrounded by eye-watering beauty the whole way. The Natchez Trace Parkway follows the old trace worn by Native Americans, and later settlers, to open up the “old Southwest.” With 65 miles of foot trails, bridal paths, fishing and endless biking, Natchez Trace is one of the most popular National Parks in the country.
Back in town, there is an award-winning art and theater scene. The Lyric Theatre is the home to the Tupelo Community Theatre, located on Broadway Street. The TCT also has a popular 80-seat cabaret venue, appropriately named Off-Broadway.
The Gum Tree Museum of Art exhibits an impressive revolving roster of regional artists, year-round events, as well as the annual Gum Tree Arts Festival. Among other places, local artists can also be found at the little bohemian lunch and coffee shop, Café 212.
By now you’ve likely worked up an appetite – which is a problem Tupelo can most certainly fix. At Forklift, Chef David Leathers takes a modern polish to the rustic farm to table concept with sleek design and a view of the curing room from which Forklift’s charcuterie comes.
Yet such is the creative space that is Tupelo, that Chef Mitch McCamey has taken a “rough around the edges” approach to the same farm to table concept with his Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen featuring wood-grilled and slow fire dishes in a 140-year-old space located in downtown Tupelo. McCamey is also the force, and butcher, behind the butcher shop and cafe, The Neon Pig, where he breaks down the whole animal (on site, but out of sight). And what can we say? The Neon Pig is where good burgers go when they die.
And then there is the matter of Tupelo’s favorite son – Elvis Presley. A Museum and Visitor’s Center was built around the tidy, two room house where he came into the world, but Tupelo itself is a veritable driving tour of the defining moments in early life of a boy before he became the King of Rock n’ Roll.
Because we’ve all got to start somewhere, it might as well be Tupelo.
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