Greenville, Mississippi. As deep in the South as I've even been, unless you count Florida or Mardi Gras. I spent last weekend there, visiting my sister Cait who relocated about nine months ago.
Our hotel was right near the Mississippi River and around the corner from a part of downtown that looked like everyone had up and vanished in about 1960. None of the windows were broken or boarded up. There was no grafitti. Signs were still hung and the buildings were in good shape. There were just no people or merchandise or cars. Spooky.
There was a lot more happening on Highway 82, but we skipped the fast food and big box stores (except for a grocery run to Wal-Mart...I didn't even know they had groceries) and stopped by Cait's work...
We walked by the river, past casinos and an old riverboat (eerily abandoned like downtown). We spent a few hours in the Cypress preserve, throwing sticks in the water, rope climbing and exploring the bamboo forest. And a lot more hours playing games and hanging out at Cait's place.
We had pulled pork, of course, but the culinary highlight of the trip was Doe's Eat Place. Not real fancy (check out the knife holding the door closed), but the best steak I've had, maybe ever.
I've traveled some in Europe, but have been to less than half of the US and never lived outside the northeast. I'm not sure I'd ever have gotten to Mississippi if my sister hadn't moved there. It was fun, mostly because we got to see her, but also because it's always cool to be somewhere different. Plus, I was reading The Help (believe the hype), so I was in a Mississippi frame of mind going down there, though it was not at all the Mississippi I saw, thankfully.
Cait's lived a bunch of places and Greenville won't be the last. It'll be interesting to see where we'll visit next, though I'm hoping for somewhere with an airport. Connecting flights and a two-and-a-half hour drive with three little kids? Brutal.