Sunday, July 14, 2013

Shacking up in Mississippi

             There are plenty of hotels throughout America that offer luxury and intensely comfortable linens. 
Shack Up Inn
             In Mississippi, you can stay at a sharecropper’s shack.
            Just outside of Clarksdale is the Shack Up Inn with its several “shacks” moved to the property from neighboring plantations. “The ritz we ain’t” they proclaim on their web site — and that sums it up well. There’s the Electric Blue shack with two separate bedrooms and a shared kitchenette and private bath to the small eco-friendly “Tinth” shack that sleeps two. Most have porches with old couches and chairs — not to mention old relics and found architectural pieces — conducive to sitting and jamming or enjoying good company. 
Shack Up Inn
             The Cotton Gin on the property operates more like a hotel with large beds, bath, microwave, small fridge, TV and coffeemaker. There’s a massive lobby at one end, perfect for live performances, and a converted silo at the other, now used as a staircase.
            Prices range from $65-$100 in most cases with the most expensive night’s stay being the old farm tractor shed now converted into a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house with a full kitchen ($250) and the “Sky Shack” above the lobby that features a front porch with rockers overlooking the lobby stage.
Tallahatchie Flats
             Outside of Greenwood, Mississippi, is the Tallahatchie Flats, a collection of equally authentic sharecropper shacks located on the river where Billie Jo McAllister threw something overboard — was it a baby, did anyone ever find out for sure? These old-time tenant houses offer wonderful décor, from the license plate covering the hole in the floor to the old record player sporting 45s.
Tallahatchie Flats
            Nighttime is quiet out here in the country, with nothing by cotton fields for company, and a good rainstorm on the tin roof offers loads of ambience. The night we stayed here hunting season was in full swing and we came home from a dinner in Greenwood to lots of dead ducks lying on the porches. 
             If you’re going to travel the Blues Highway through the Delta of Mississippi, might as well as do it right and experience why people got the blues to begin with. Although we doubt the original tenants had maid service, little shampoos and fresh linens.
     Tallahatchie Flats is located less than a mile down the road from Robert Johnson's grave. Or one of his graves. Why does the bluesman who supposedly sold his sold to the devil at the Crossroads have three graves? Read next week's blog.


  1. Chere, You must be having a great time traveling and discovering these unique places in the South. I grew up in Jackson. Didn't know about these shacks. May be worth the extra drive to check it out.
    I think Billie Joe McAllister jumped off (literally throwing himself over) the Tallahatchie bridge.

  2. When I was in high school we used to sit around and discuss that song at length. Both of these places are awesome. When I travel with other journalists they always talk about their worldly travels and I stick to the South. I think there's so much to see right here, might take my whole life and not scratch the surface. Next week I'll talk about Robert Johnson. His grave(s) is a fascinating thing.