A visit to Bluff Park in Natchez demonstrates why the town attracted the French in the 18th century and why it then became the capital of the Mississippi Territory: the riverside cliffs offer a clear strategic military advantage. Today, the high vantage point above the Mississippi River is cherished for its stunning, panoramic beauty rather than its defensive position. Nearby, horse-drawn carriages set off from Canal and Washington and go clip-clopping down the streets.Throughout town, beneath boughs of oak trees dripping with spanish moss, dozens of antebellum mansions show off their Greek Revivalist columns and wide-brimmed straw hats affixed to chimneys to combat the southern sun. Several restored mansions open their doors year-round for tours, but many remain private residences to this day. Near the river, the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture illustrates the history of slavery in the region through historical artifacts and turn-of-the-century portraiture.
Perched on the banks of the Mississippi River in southern Mississippi, Vicksburg is a little city with outsize historical significance. In the summer if 1863, Union troops bombarded the fortressed Confederate city in what became known as the Siege of Vicksburg. After six weeks of relentless shelling, Vicksburg fell to the Union Army, which gained total control of the Mississippi River in a major turning point of the Civil War. Not surprisingly, Vicksburg is home to many historic military sites, such as the Vicksburg National Military Park, where rebuilt trenches and forts tell the story of the siege. Vicksburg's historical downtown waterfront is worth the 3-mile trip from the hotel. Large murals painted by local artists stretch the length of the riverfront and depict the city's past. The quaint, red-brick buildings of Vicksburg's downtown house upscale restaurant, antique stores, and museums dedicated to the old riverboat days and the Civil War. Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
With 45 locations, the aromas of hot soup and freshly baked bread greet customers across the nation as they approach Souper Salad's overflowing display of crisp salad greens and freshly prepared hot selections. Menus for the buffet change daily, but can include albóndigas soup, Tuna Skroodle pasta salad, A-MAIZE-ing cornbread, and other dishes. Dine-in guests are free to fill their bowls with their favorite soups and chilis, build their own salads from a plethora of crispy greens and tangy dressings, and see how much soft-serve ice cream they can pile atop a single cone. Patrons can also make a visit to the taco bar or flatbread pizza zone, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available.
Chefs Aaron and Felicia Kent at Kent's Cajun Kitchen cater parties and get-togethers with trays of piquant Cajun fare. Cajun barbecue or hot wings emerge from a small tray or a personal dressing room to perform daring nosedives into included blue-cheese or ranch dressing. Friends and family fill unoccupied stomach space with a selection of cool, creamy chicken-salad sandwiches. Sides of chips quell cravings for a savory crunch, and pickles are ideal for spiking during a touchdown celebration if the buffet table runs out of footballs. Although not included in today's Groupon, Kent's Cajun Kitchen also offers catering and family meal deals.
At Gattitown, a vast buffet quells the hungers caused by romping through up to 10,000 square feet of violence-free arcade games, bumper cars, and mini bowling. Before meals, kids scurry between more than 150 exciting games, including virtual-reality racing and tax-filing simulations. In the bumper-car arena, wee ones determine driving dominance by crashing and cruising around a spacious floor. Players then hone their underhand tosses with mini bowling and skee-ball, shooting for tickets to spend on doodads, gadgets, and teddy-bear ransoms inside the Gatti goods store.
What sets the Hungry Howie’s menu apart from other pizza parlors is the eight flavored-crust options that inject life into the formerly discarded pizza part. If you’re allergic to life, inject butter, onion, butter cheese, ranch, Cajun spices, garlic herb, or sesame instead. Keep thinking outside the pizza box by loading your flavorful crust with specialty pizza innards, such as the Philly cheese and steak ($8.99-$18.99), and the Howie Maui (ham, smoked bacon, and pineapple, $8.99 - $18.99). DIY diners, on the other hand, can opt for a build-your-own pizza ($3.99-$12.99). Howie's also serves up tasty wings ($6.99-$19.99), salads (try a small Greek starting at $3.99), calzone-style subs ($2.99 -$6.99), and Howie bread which comes in buttered garlic ($3.49), three cheese ($4.99), Cajun ($3.49), and sticky-sweet cinnamon ($3.49). Because Hungry Howie’s pizza tastes just as good backward as it does forward, share a slice and enjoy a Lady and the Tramp moment with your favorite bus driver.