Sunrise on the Tallahatchie Flats houses Greenwood MS (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Sunrise on the Tallahatchie Flats houses in Greenwood Mississippi (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The first thing I noticed after walking in the front door was a smell.

It wasn’t unpleasant, it was….the smell of old. Of history. A little musty. Reminded me of opening one of my Mom’s childhood Nancy Drew mysteries published in the 1930′s. It was a house where every crack was stuffed with the whiff of memories, wishes and dreams of hardworking people through years of trying to make a hardscrabble living.

I nodded my head respectfully especially for Miss Nellie, because I was staying in her house at Tallahatchie Flats just outside of Greenwood in central Mississippi. Here’s the story of Miss Nellie’s house from the Flats website:

“This 3-room house was donated to Three Forks by Mrs. Emily Donnell from her family place, Lakeview Plantation, at Swiftown. For many years, it was the home of her family’s cook, whose name was Nellie.  Mrs. Donnell had fond memories of  spending many happy days in her youth, playing on the porch of Nellie’s house. She took great interest in preserving the house,  and made a special effort to have her nurse drive her out to view it in its new location shortly before she died.”

A short drive away in town, I could have stayed at the swank Alluvian Hotel, lolled about in their spa (maybe had a Sweet Tea pedicure or Delta Sunrise facial) and checked out the Viking Cooking School nearby.

Viking, as in the Viking Ranges, some of the most expensive and elaborate high-end stoves and ovens on the market. Fred Carl, Jr. is the company founder, Chairman, President and CEO; he is a Greenwood native and by golly, that is where he wanted to build his company and that is where it will stay. This partially explains why (some of) Greenwood has money, and why other people with money come all the way to this small town to ogle cooking expensive equipment and soak in therapeutic baths with names like “Muddy Waters.”

But no, I can do “swank” anywhere. Other than the Shack-Up Inn further north in Clarksdale, Mississippi (where I’ve also stayed – their tagline is “The Ritz We Ain’t”) I can’t find this sort of lodging anywhere else. There’s no doubt where you are when you stay there – the deep Deep South.

Instead of the Alluvian, there I was soaking up Miss Nellie’s vibe, and was quite happy to have the chance to do so.

Miss Nellie's house Tallahatchie Flats Greenwood MS (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Miss Nellie’s house at Tallahatchie Flats in Greenwood MS (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Front porch, ready for hanging out. Tin roof = perfect for hearing the rain fall.

Kitchen at Miss Nellie's Tallahatchie Flats (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Morning in the kitchen at Miss Nellie’s Tallahatchie Flats (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The kitchen had everything you might need; it was basic but clean. Nice view out of the back window. The bed in the other room was comfortable, too.

Rustic bathroom sink Tallahatchie Flats Miss Nellie's (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Rustic bathroom sink Tallahatchie Flats Miss Nellie’s – hot and cold running indoor water is more than many folks have (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The opposite of fancy but OK by me – hot water was hot and cold was cold. Shower was good. I kept thinking of how many in Miss Nellie’s era did not have indoor plumbing, and I used the toilet gratefully.

Cotton boll at Tallahatchie Flats in Mississippi (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Cotton boll at Tallahatchie Flats in Mississippi (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The Flats are right by the Tallahatchie River, and they’ve planted a few small rows of cotton near the houses, mostly for atmosphere. I thought they looked pretty and white at sunrise.

Some nights there is live music at a small building on the property called the Tavern, but I was content to enjoy the thundering silence of a dark Mississippi night.

Tallahatchie Flats sign at entrance in Greenwood MS (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Tallahatchie Flats sign at the entrance in Greenwood MS (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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