U.S. Highway 61–or the “Blues Highway”–has miles and miles of history. In fact, the highway, which is a part of the Mississippi Blues Trail, is dotted with many historical markers of the people and places that defined the sound of the blues. But the highway isn’t just about the past because, as you’ll find in Tunica, the blues is alive and well, and it flourishes more than ever. Whether you’re a music lover, a history buff, or are just looking for a new experience with an extra dose of Southern culture, you’re invited to pack your bags, fill up your tanks, and take the road trip of a lifetime to experience Tunica and the Delta blues.
Before hitting the road, you can find out how to navigate the Blues Highway, and the Mississippi Blues Trail, at the Gateway to the Blues Museum and Visitor Center. This historic spot isn’t just a place to get information, however; it is also home to the Highway 61 marker that represents the beginning of the trail, earning Tunica the honor of serving as the true Gateway to the Blues. The museum is the perfect place to begin as you embark on your journey, as the interactive experience embodies the soul of the Delta and showcases the rich history of the music genre that developed from it. With exhibits like “What Is Blues?” and “Why The Mississippi Delta?” visitors will get a deeper look into the genre and its beginnings as a means of expression for those working in the fields of the Delta. You’ll also get to know some of the faces behind the music, like Robert Johnson and Son House, through artifacts and paintings in “Mississippi Bluesman,” and learn about the evolution of the style and form of the genre. With over 20 guitars that belonged to legendary musicians and the chance to record your very own song that you can take with you (how’s that for a souvenir?), the museum offers ample opportunities for visitors to get involved and experience firsthand the glory and grit of the blues.
After a visit to the museum, you might think you’ve seen it all. But you’re just getting started–because now it’s time to make your way down the highway. You’ll be amazed at how much history lives along these roads; you can find the Mississippi Blues Trail markers for the Abbay and Leatherman Plantation, the Eddie James “Son” House, Harold “Hardface” Clanton, James Cotton, and Hollywood Café–and that’s just in Tunica!
Before you head out to see the rest of the historic spots throughout our state, you’ll definitely want to check out what else is happening around town. You can hit the casino, spend a relaxing day at one of the many spas, play a round of golf or a tennis match, indulge in delicious food, and enjoy live music and entertainment. In Tunica, there’s something for everyone. While we can’t promise that you’ll leave town a big winner or a bona fide blues star, we can guarantee that as you cruise down the road to your next stop, you might begin to hear and see things a little differently. After all, the blues might be a part of history, but as we share it and experience it for ourselves, it lives on.
For more information, please visit tunicatravel.com.
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