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 northern Mississippi. Here’s the story of Miss Nellie’s house from the Flats website:
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 south 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.
Front porch, ready for hanging out. Tin roof = perfect for hearing the rain fall.
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.
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.
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.
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