Greenwood is the primary city on the eastern side of the Mississippi Delta Region.
The four-lane US Highway 82 runs through the middle of the state of Mississippi. When traveling west, the first major town to reach is Greenwood. This bustling city marks the beginning of the Delta and is where it receives its definition.
In order to have a proper appreciation for the history of Greenwood, Mississippi, one must first have some familiarity with the region surrounding the Mississippi River Delta. A road trip through the Mississippi Delta is distinguished by the fact that the roads in the delta have very few curves in them. Because there are no hills in the area, it is not necessary to take any detours to avoid them. There are delta regions along the banks of other rivers, but the Mississippi River has shaped a delta that is as singular as the river itself… Mighty Mississippi River = Mighty Mississippi Delta.
When you leave Winona, Mississippi and head west on US Highway 82, you will pass through the most arid red clay hills you can possibly imagine, which are covered in kudzu. You will arrive at what is known as Valley Hill in Mississippi just after passing through Carrolton. The topography shifts so drastically as you make your way down this hill that spans three miles that you almost get the impression that you have entered some kind of time warp zone. The stunning red clay hills fade away, and all that is left in front of you is a level, seemingly endless stretch of farmland that is unparalleled in any other part of the world. You have just made your way into the Mississippi Delta Region, having previously traveled through the Mississippi Hill Country.
Friendly In-State Prejudice Exists Between Hill folks and Delta folks
People who make their homes in the hills are under the impression that God also calls those mountains home and has no permanent abode in the delta. A cute little girl whose family was relocating to the delta is the protagonist of an entertaining tale. She dashed to the back porch of her hill-country home, where she yelled to the area that was located up the hill and into the trees, all the while holding her hand-made rag doll tightly beneath her arm. “Farewell, God; we’re moving to the delta,” they said.
The residents of the delta-like to poke fun at the hillbillies who live in the surrounding area. They look down their noses at the thin layer of topsoil that the people who live on the red clay hills try to grow a crop in. Someone who was born and raised in the delta boasted to me that “anything will grow in the delta.” He told me, “If you take a few rocks and throw them out into the field, in a couple of weeks you will find a pile of boulders.” Even though on other fronts he seems to be a man of integrity, I’m not sure I can put my faith in what he says.
Things do grow in the Mississippi Delta, but not in the same proportion that they grow in other parts of the state or anywhere else in the world. Greenwood, Mississippi is a good example of a town that, had it been situated in any other location, never would have reached the size or prominence it has today. A diverse group of exceptionally skilled farmers settled in the cotton-growing region because of its abundant resources. These early white settlers built plantations and amassed wealth, establishing what amounted to small kingdoms in their new lands. They established communities that were capable of supporting themselves, complete with grocery stores, homes, churches, and in some cases even schools. People who lived in cities ran things like governments, banks, clothing and hardware stores, and other public service establishments.
The Viking Range Corporation Is Transforming the Downtown Area
A trip to Greenwood can easily be accomplished by us in a single day. Only 70 miles separate you from your house. If you are going a further distance, you might want to consider staying the night.
Viking Cooking School Classroom Greenwood, MS overnight. The Alluvian Hotel, located in the heart of Greenwood’s downtown, is the hotel that comes highly recommended. The illustrious Viking Range Corporation, which is also responsible for running the Viking Cooking School, acquired the Alluvian Hotel and incorporated it into its business. In addition to a world-class Spa, Giardina’s Restaurant and a world-class Cooking School are all located within the complex. People travel from all over the world to take classes at the Viking Cooking School. While they are in town, most guests choose to stay at the Alluvian Hotel and Spa, a posh boutique hotel with fifty guest rooms. The guests have access to the spa and the fitness center. On the fourth floor, you can start your day off right with a delicious gourmet breakfast. You have the option of dining inside, or on nice days, you can choose to eat on an outdoor patio that looks out over the city. There is a very beautiful courtyard with a fountain and trees located just off the lobby on the first floor of the building. This hotel is absolutely stunning.
Greenwood has emerged as a legitimate destination for foodies thanks to the presence of attractions such as the Viking Range Corporation and the Viking Cooking School. As a result, local chefs who are also business owners have made the most of this opportunity. In the hotel complex, there is a restaurant called Giardina’s, which has a setting that is quite unique and interesting. Each table is located in its own separate room. During your meal of exquisite Italian cuisine, the only person you will interact with who is not a member of the restaurant staff is your server.
You shouldn’t overlook the stores that are located in the downtown area. As you walk down the street and look into stores, you are going to be pleasantly surprised. Right in this area, you’ll find some of the most charming antique shops the state has to offer. Cindy Tyler owns and operates what I consider to be one of the most original gift shops I’ve ever seen. Only genuine items made in Mississippi can be found on the shelves of the Mississippi Gift Company. You are in for a treat when you get to experience the work that talented artisans from this kind of state have created.
Bring Your Appetite with you
Greenwood is home to a plethora of excellent dining establishments. The Crystal Grill is my all-time favorite restaurant. Since 1960, when I was a young, single preacher boy living in the nearby town of Winona, Mississippi, I have been coming here to eat. In order to bowl at Leflore Lanes, a group of guys would frequently travel to Greenwood. Bowling works up a hearty appetite, so after we were done, we would head downtown to the Crystal Grill, which at the time was an all-night diner with a counter near the steel grill cooktop. There, we would eat pie and drink coffee while we bowled. The diner-grill has been transformed into a high-end restaurant that now serves both lunch and a variety of courses suitable for fine dining in the evening. The Crystal has transformed into a legitimate destination eating spot, and it has done so by gobbling up the vacant shops that used to surround it. Freshness-wise and flavor-wise, this seafood can hold its own against that which can be found in coastal cities. The cup of coffee tastes exactly the same as it did fifty years ago, and the homemade pies are out-of-this-world good. A longtime downtown institution known as Lusco’s is a favorite of many tourists (about 2 blocks from the Crystal Grill). Steaks, seafood, and daily specials are what you can expect to find on the menu at Lusco’s. There are a number of other excellent dining establishments, but the ones listed here are among the most venerable and have been around the longest. Although I have never dined there, Lusco’s is said to be excellent by those who have patronized the establishment.
Hollywood Noticed the Scenic Beauty of Greenwood, MS
Filming for the box office smash hit “The Help,” which was inspired by a best-selling novel of the same name and was shot in Greenwood, took place in that city. It was in this location that the stunning homes and streets, as well as the cotton fields and scenery, were all filmed. The city of Jackson was only used for shooting a small portion of the movie overall.
Leflore County Courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi served as the location for the events that took place in the novel. In the film, characters are seen entering the Robert E. Lee Hotel in Jackson, but in reality, they are going into the Leflore County courthouse, which is located in Greenwood. The homes that are shown in the movie “The Help” are based on real-life residences that can be found in a neighborhood in Greenwood known as Baptist Town. A portion of the profits from the film is being contributed to the effort to revitalize this economically disadvantaged but historically significant section of the city.
Greenwood Is Not a One-Trick-Pony
Cottonlandia Museum, now known as the Museum of the Mississippi Delta, is one of our favorite places to visit. It is situated on the west side of Greenwood, on the north side of the Highway 82 bypass. This is a fantastic and expertly run museum that tells the tales of blues musicians, cotton plantations, farm implements, and Greenwood Leflore, the Indian Chief whose first name was taken by the city of Greenwood and whose last name was taken as the name for Leflore County. The museum is located in Greenwood.
At 222 Howard Street in the heart of downtown Greenwood is where you’ll find the Greenwood Blues Heritage Museum and Gallery. The street known as Main Street in Greenwood is actually Howard Street.
The museum is devoted to the memory of Robert Johnson, a world-renowned blues musician, and it houses the most comprehensive collection of Robert Johnson memorabilia that has ever been gathered. There is some information about Robert Johnson in the post that I made on Cottonladia.
The Yazoo River can be found winding its way through the heart of Greenwood.
The downtown district of Howard Street, as well as Park Avenue, is home to a wide array of retail establishments and architecturally stunning, oftentimes historic, buildings. Antiques and authentic mementos made in Mississippi can be found at a number of excellent stores along Howard Street. You will also have a good time browsing the cooking store that is located right next door to the Alluvian Hotel. The store is a part of the Cooking School and is adjacent to it.
I really hope that I have provided you with sufficient information to pique your interest. In any case, I have no doubt that a visit to Greenwood, Mississippi will be enjoyable for you. In the event that the historic district of the city does not pique your interest, the bypass will lead you to the picturesque countryside that is replete with numerous chain hotels and restaurants.