Multiple Regions- Blues & Barbeque
A delicious jam session of blues, barbeque, and Arkansas Delta heritage loosely following the Great River Road, best enjoyed in Fall and Spring. This tour can be planned around blues and barbeque festivals, is modifiable for summer and winter, and we will also be delighted to work with our neighbors to include stops in other states, from St. Louis, Missouri down through Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.
An Old South atmosphere embraces the two small communities of Scott and Keo just southeast of Little Rock. Fields of cotton, soybeans and rice come right up to the edges of the towns. Scott has one of the state's legendary restaurants, Cotham's, which is an attraction unto itself with its old general store setting. It’s more famous for its “Hubcap Burger” than barbeque, but we think it fits into this tour just fine. The Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park continues the Southern feeling. Back to Little Rock to check into your hotel. Overnight Little Rock.
We’ll hit the museum dedicated to a rather famous Arkansan fond of blues and barbeque: President Bill Clinton. Tour the Clinton Presidential Center, check out the gift shop, then it’s on to Pine Bluff for a picnic lunch under the pavilion at the brand new lakeside Saracen Landing and a tour of the downtown murals and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. Next we take a short break at St. Charles, located on the White River. Discover theWhite River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest hardwood bottom land forests in the country. Watch out for the occasional black bear to be spotted along the river! On to Arkansas’s home of the Blues, Helena-West Helena . We’ll welcome you to Helena-West Helena with a private reception at The Delta Cultural Center in downtown Helena-West Helena, right on the banks of the Mississippi River. Sultry green Helena-West Helena, right on the banks of Old Man River, has long been considered the cultural seat of the Delta, and the Delta Cultural Center located right downtown on Cherry Street tells the stories of the region through interpretive panels, photographs, and artifacts, and an exciting multi-media, searchable, computerized “scrapbook” of Delta memories. There is a heavy emphasis on the priceless blues music of the area. The newest addition to the Center is the “Delta Sounds” room, where the stories of legendary musicians with roots in the Arkansas Delta are told. Overnight Helena-West Helena.
After a delicious hearty breakfast, you can sit in on the nation’s longest running blues radio program, “King Biscuit Time,” as it is still broadcast live each weekday at the noon hour. Each October, the free-admission Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, long called the King Biscuit Blues Festival, draws thousands to the banks of the Mississippi River in Helena-West Helena to hear live music, eat delicious Southern food, and celebrate the tradition of Delta blues. Back on Cherry Street, in the middle of the festivities on the river, is The Blues Corner, an extensive collection of records, CDs, tapes, books, and memorabilia. Also in Helena-West Helena is the grand Centennial Baptist Church which is the only known Arkansas example of a black church designed by a black architect. Drive and lunch in Memphis, TN. Beale Street blues, Memphis style barbeque in Memphis, overnight West Memphis, Arkansas.
We depart West Memphis this morning and head north on The Great River Road into Osceola, once home to Blues legend, Albert King. Albert King was a master of the single-string attack and was intrigued by Blues performers that he heard while growing up outside of Memphis. In turn, he influenced a new generation of guitar players that would include the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. One of 13 children, King grew up learning the life of picking cotton on the plantations near Osceola, Arkansas, where the family moved to in 1931. His first introduction to music would be singing in church and listening to his father, Will Nelson, play guitar. Upon arrival, drop by the Mississippi County Historical Center, take in some of the sights and sounds that make Osceola a unique experience. Lunch in Osceola. Continuing up The Great River Road, we stop in lovely Blytheville. Visit the downtown area and That Bookstore in Blytheville. Let’s get fired up for Music on Main Street! Music on Main is a musical event occurring several times during the year. Starting at 7:30 p.m. on a select Friday, Main Street Blytheville, in conjunction with the Mississippi County Delta Blues Society, host different bands and styles of music. The evenings are free to the public on Blytheville’s unique, historic Main Street. Blues, Bluegrass, Rock & Roll and all other types of music can be heard echoing off the historic buildings downtown. This event brings people young and old alike to enjoy a taste of our hometown tunes and some accompanying ‘cue – always best outdoors, they will be music to your ears and tastebuds!
1 Capitol Mall, 4A-900 - Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | 1-800-872-1259 or (501) 682-7777 (V/TT)