52 week's of Marie's Life

52 weeks captured through photos


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45. Statue (Week 36)

“I never felt poor. There were always shoes to wear and food to eat — yet I knew there were things my parents did without just to make sure I was clothed and fed. “ ~ Elvis Presley ~

At milepost 260.0, we exited the Natchez Trace Parkway to go to Tupelo, Mississippi.  We rode through town in search of the birthplace of Elvis.  Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935, in this modest two-room house built by his father Vernon.

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Also on the site is a life-size statue of Elvis at age 13.

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Many travelers make a pilgrimage to Tupelo to visit the birthplace of “The King of Rock and Roll”, and this complex has evolved to include the ’39 Plymouth the family  drove when they  moved to Memphis, a chapel, an outhouse, and a museum.  I wish I could’ve taken  more time in Tupelo.  I hear there is a larger-than-life size statue in the center of town which depicts a popular photo of Elvis.  One hand holds a microphone and the other hand is reaching out to fans.  If there is a next time, perhaps I’ll visit the hardware where Elvis bought his first guitar and Johnny’s Drive In to see the booth where Elvis liked to sit and all of the memorabilia on the walls.  But this trip, we had miles to cover and people to meet!

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8. Differences (Week 35)

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” ~Henry Miller ~

As we were pulled off in a rest area on the Natchez Trace Parkway, we watched as a group of vintage cars pulled in.  I was struck by the differences of their mode of recreational travel and ours.

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16. Group Portrait (Week 34)

“Take any road you please…it curves always, which is a continual promise, whereas straight roads reveal everything at a glance and kill interest.”   “Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion”  ~ Mark Twain ~

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When traveling the Natchez Trace Parkway, it is helpful to follow the Milepost Gazetteer on the Natchez Trace Parkway National Park Service map.  I know, that’s a mouthful!  This guide helps you to know where you are on the 444-mile stretch of road.  As many settlers and farmers in the 1700s looked to the rivers to get their goods to market, it was easiest to get back up the river by an overland route.  This is why the mileposts are now numbered from the south and run north.  The markers are simple yellow posts with an engraved number.  The Trace travels through three states:  Mississippi (milepost 1-310), Alabama (milepost 310-344), and Tennessee (Milepost 344-444).  The idea of the Trace is to slowdown and enjoy the scenery;  speed limits do not exceed 50 mph.  As we rode our motorcycles, we would encounter an occasional bicyclist along the route.  There are no restaurants or gas stations on the Trace.  You would have to familiarize yourself with the mileposts to know where to exit.

One of the detours off of the parkway takes you to the Windsor Ruins (milepost 30.0).  All that remains of the Windsor Plantation are twenty-nine 45-foot eerie stately columns.  This Mississippi icon was the destination for our group photograph for all those who were involved in the “Motormaids on the Trace” ride.

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The antebellum mansion was built by Smith Coffee Daniell, a wealthy planter, beginning in 1859 and finished in 1861 just before the Civil War began.  Unfortunately, at age 34, Mr. Daniell died a few weeks after its completion.  Before our trip, I purchased “Guide to the Natchez Trace Parkway” and I read:  “The four-story house had 25 rooms with 25 fireplaces, and attic tanks supplied water to the interior baths.  The basement floor had a school room, dairy, and supply rooms.  The roof observatory was used to signal confederate troops about Union advances.  Twenty-nine 45-foot-tall columns were joined across the front with an ornamental iron balustrade.  Windsor was used as a Union hospital during the Civil War and survived intact.”  Further research on the web shows that this plantation has many stories to tell in legends and history.  Mark Twain would visit the mansion in his riverboat piloting days and he wrote of its elegance in his book, “Life on the Mississippi.”

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So many mansions were destroyed during the Civil War, but this one, on 2,600 acres, had survived.  Ironically, In February 1890, a party guest accidentally dropped left a cigar on the third floor balcony, causing the Windsor to burn to the ground.  There are no known photographs of the home and historians have had to rely on blueprints to imagine what the mansion would have looked like.

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Actually this site, though eerie, was quite tranquil.  Many of us took photographs and then were called in for a group photo.  IMG_5982

We then “saddled up” and found our way back to the Trace.

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10. Family Table (Week 33)

~  With people you have known for years,

or with brand new friends,

 the fondest memories are made gathered around the table.  ~

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Our second night in Natchez, Mississippi, Greg & I, the couple we traveled with, and a couple we hadn’t met yet moved to Bisland House.  Schelley, the coordinator of our “Maids on the Trace” event had arranged for all of the Motormaids and their traveling companions to soak in the historic atmosphere of Natchez by staying at one of the many houses and cottages in walking distance from downtown and not far from the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

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The Bisland House on Commerce Street, was 3 blocks from downtown and 3 blocks from the bluff.  The Evergreen Cottage was located on Cemetery Road on the bluff.  The remaining accommodations were on Pearl Street, around the corner from us – Clarimount House, Savannah House, Emsley House, Marcia’s Cottage, and Evergreen Cottage.

After we all met for dinner at Roux 61,  we were to meet back on Pearl Street to pick up the commemorative red shirts and patches that we had ordered. IMG_5827

It was fun to look into the other houses.  The Savannah House was not new, but much of the building materials were from old Natchez structures and in 2009 won the Historic Natchez Award for New Construction in a Historic District.  The 1852 Planter’s Cottage known as the Elmsley House won the 2008 Historic Natchez Foundation Award for Restoration as the result of a 2007 renovation.

Our bed & breakfast, the Bisland House, was a Circa 1904 Colonial Revival Historic Home, listed on the National Register of Historic Homes.  We learned from our conversations with the current innkeepers, Byron & Christine Tims, that they bought the house after losing everything in a hurricane that swept through New Orleans, Louisiana.  Since their purchase, they’ve been renovating in stages and have filled the home with antiques and period pieces.

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After a restful night, we looked forward to breakfast – this was a B&B, afterall!  When we sat down at the dining table, we felt like we were all at a family table as we all ate together and shared stories. Our innkeepers did not join us at the table, but they propped nearby as they served us and joined in our conversation.

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With breakfast over, it was time to thank our innkeepers and start our journey up the Natchez Trace Parkway, but first they requested a picture of us all in front of Bisland House.

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(L to R: Roy, Connie, Greg, Orlin, Me, Clara)

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