We’ve met with The Big Muddy, Mississippi River, many times during our road trips around the continental U.S. This is a magnificent river running through ten states, all the way from Lake Itasca MN to the Gulf of Mexico, the total length of Mississippi is 2, 552 miles.
Many areas and cities with a river running through have a special character partly because of the river, where ever you are. The river has been and is still today, an important feature in trade and offers endless possibilities for leisure & fun for those who enjoy nature.
Mississippi’s name comes from Native American languages, for example the Ojibwe name meaning The Great River is Misi-ziibi. The width of the river ranges from 20 feet to 4 miles and the water can be anywhere from 3 feet to 200 feet deep. Here is a collection of some of our moments by the Mississippi River.
We had met one of the world’s longest rivers many, many times in different parts of the U.S. As we planned out trip to Minnesota we realized the source of the river is there, at the Itasca State Park, 1,450 feet (450 m) above the sea level. It is easy to visit the headwaters of the Mississippi River at the north end of the lake, this one of the most visited sites of the Itasca State Park and has good facilities. Get your feet wet by wading cross the river in the shallow waters or use the bridge provided. The origin site of the Mississippi River is marked by a monument.
Minneapolis is very much defined by the Mississippi River. We visited the popular, beautiful Minnehaha Regional Park that has it’s own little falls, picnic areas, trails, areas to fish and sunbathe. The sculpture of Hiawatha & Minnehaha by the Norwegian Jacob Fjelde is an attraction not to miss.
As we visited St. Louis the river was flooding. Streets by the river were all under water, a riverside casino closed due to high water, huge tree logs and branches kept running through the city with an unbelievable force. Not to mention all the stuff that was not visible.
This city, founded in 1764, was named after the French king Louis IX. We enjoyed the past and the present, the history is more and more being brought visible for the visitors. The most famous landmark must be the Gateway Arch, the tallest arch and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere.
The tram lifts you 630 feet up to the top of the arch, the views are unbeatable. If you are afraid of heights or tight spaces, this may not be your piece of cake, but for the rest of us: we’ve never experienced anything quite alike. Seeing the city and beyond, witnessing Mississippi flooding from above. That was truly unforgettable.
The Gateway Arch facilities share amazing things of the past of the area and the importance of the Mississippi River.
For us the designer of the Arch made of 43,000 tons of concrete and steel meant more than for most of the visitors: Eero Saarinen is the Finnish-American architect that has designed many quite awesome pieces.
In July 2018 the Gateway Arch Facility will open a new museum featuring six themed exhibit areas celebrating America’s pioneering spirit.
Mississippi has given this city part of it’s unique pulse. This river has been an important part of the economy, but also given inspiration to a number of artist through the centuries. You can have authentic riverboat cruises that give a comprehensive narrative of past and present of the life by the Mississippi River. Beale Street Landing project features park spaces, a restaurant and a floating riverboat dock.
Memphis is said to be the Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock’n Roll. Spend fun filled nights on Beale Street bar hopping and enjoying live music – not many cities are like this. You can’t forget learning more about Elvis, go visit Graceland. Do that early in the morning and you can actually feel the King’s presence at his home and the studio. If you want to visit Sun Records, there are free shuttles from Graceland and from Rock’n’Soul Museum of Beal Street.
From 450 Mulberry Street, at the Lorraine Motel, you’ll discover the National Civil Rights Museum that not only Martin Luther King Jr., but the whole civil right s movement’s history and present are displayed and explained. Finally: The Daily March of the Ducks is something unique to witness at the Peabody Memphis Hotel – there are actual, live ducks that arrive the lobby twice every day.
Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
Baton Rouge may not be a familiar city name for many, but it is the state capital of Louisiana. We spent a couple of nights gaming here, at the riverboat casinos. Our best memory of the city: a dish we ate two nights in a row. A fresh trout, brown rice, sweet corn, fresh lemon slices and Béarnaise sauce. However, the best experience we link to this particular city is Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, about 30 Miles outside the city.
Here you can experience the life of a wealthy plantation owner, a sugar baron in the 1800s. The tour is excellent, you’ll see such things as a vampire slaying kit that the superstitious Americans would carry along during their European travels. Well, who knows what happened those days.
The gardens are dreamy, like from a movie. Not a surprise this plantation has been a popular filming site for movies and tv-series alike. Mississippi moist air surrounds you everywhere, you can actually see the Mighty Mississippi from the balconies.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Mouth of the river, our dear NOLA. This fantastic city has got into our blood stream for good. The city has been the hub for traders, hustlers, pirates, criminals, artists and endless number of unique characters. Before the European invaders the swamp has been land of the Native Americans.
These days the city, at the Mississippi delta, sings the songs of the past aligned with the present. The combo keeps the city alive, kicking and inviting. Some want to dive into the blues and jazz, some love the history, some go with the ghosts and some come purely for the food. Or the Mississippi, not a bad reason to visit New Orleans at all.