Located on Arkansas’s eastern border along the Mississippi River, the Great River Road National Scenic Byway is a wonderful way to tour the Delta.
The Great River Road (GRR) is actually a misnomer because it’s not a single highway, but a series of state and US highways that follow the meanderings of the river and connect cities and small towns.
From Blytheville to Shives, the GRR is full of interesting places to explore, relating both to river history, great food and, of course, the blues.
The GRR rolls through farmland and to connect with the river is difficult, especially for road bikes. Numerous bridges span the mighty waterway.
Historically, blues joints were spread up and down the Mississippi. In the ’30s through the ’50s, West Memphis’ 8th Street was often referred to as Beale Street West.
Blues legend BB King was playing at a juke joint in Twist, Arkansas, when it caught fire. Two men fighting over a woman knocked over the stove and started the blaze. King rushed back in to save his guitar. The men were fighting over a woman named... “Lucille.”
Helena-West Helena is home to the King Biscuit Blues Festival and KFFA, the influential radio station that still broadcasts the blues program “King Biscuit Time.” It’s also the site of a treasured motorcycle rally in Arkansas - the Wild Hog Motorcycle Rally and Music Fest, held every April.
History takes a turn on AR 1 at Rohwer, the site of the Rohwer Relocation Center National Historic Landmark
, one of two WWII-era internment camps built to house Japanese-Americans in Arkansas. The other is located in Jerome, approximately 30 miles to the southwest.
Located in Lake Village, Lakeport Plantation is the last remaining antebellum plantation home on the Mississippi River in Arkansas that hasn’t been extensively altered. It now serves as a museum focusing on the people and the culture of the Delta.