Memphis to New Orleans, March 13-23, 2023

featuring sites of Ed Bearss' Mississippi



This spring, we will be traveling from Memphis, Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana. We will drive portions of the historic Natchez Trace, a thoroughfare used for thousands of years; we will tour the U.S. Grant Presidential Library and Museum, graceful plantation homes, and the French Quarter of New Orleans. A highlight of our tour will be a 3-day stay in Jackson-Brandon-Vicksburg Mississippi where Ginny Bearss will show us places and sites significant to the Ed and Margie Bearss' family.  Ed's daughter Ginny will serve refreshments at her home and show us family photos and mementos. Historian Terry Winschel will give us a private tour of Vicksburg Military Park featuring the USS Cairo, Champion Hill Battlefield, and Grand Gulf Military Park.  We hope you can join us this spring on this exciting new tour.


March 13, Monday

Individual arrivals in Memphis. Check into our hotel.


Join staff and fellow participants at tonight’s welcome dinner.          

Overnight at the Memphis Hilton Garden Inn



The main program of the tour begins the evening of March 13 and does not include a tour of Memphis. For those who would like to arrive early, we will organize an optional bus excursion for March 13 (9 am -4:30 pm) with a local guide who will show us landmarks of the city of Memphis including Beale Street, Cotton Row, St. Jude Hospital; Schwab, the family-owned general store & soda fountain that has been opened since 1876; and the Peabody Hotel’s famous duck parade. We will also include a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum located at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.


March 14, Tuesday                   Tupelo   -   The Natchez Trace

Today we depart Memphis for Mississippi. In the town of Tupelo, we will visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley and the site of a once thriving Chickasaw village. Although their villages occupied an area of less than 20 square miles, the Chickasaw hunting territory encompassed a vast region in northern Mississippi and Alabama and western Tennessee and Kentucky.


At the National Park’s Natchez Trace Visitor Center a film and exhibits tell the 10,000-yr-old history of the Natchez Trace that runs 444 miles from Natchez MS to Nashville TN.  Meriwether Lewis (who died on the Trace in 1809), Jefferson Davis, James Audubon, Ulysses S. Grant, and Gen. Andrew Jackson are some of the famous Americans to have traveled the Natchez Trace.  We will continue to Starkville, MS for the night.

Overnight at the Hilton Garden Inn, Starkville, MS 


March 15, Wednesday            Cypress Swamp  -  Museum of Mississippi History

We will have a guided tour of the US Grant Presidential Library and Museum in Starkville. Next we will follow portions of the Natchez Trace to the Cypress Swamp at milepost 122. We will walk an easy .4-mile nature trail over a bridge and along a boardwalk through the swamp. At milepost 107.9 we will see a boundary marker that designated the northern boundary for the British Colony of West Florida that was established after the French and Indian War treaty in 1763 and lasted until the Spanish seized the land in 1781.


Upon arrival in Jackson, MS, we will stop for a specially arranged private tour of the Medgar Evers home.  Proceed to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Civil Rights Museum for a guided tour.


We will continue to Flowood, MS to check into our hotel for two nights.

Overnight in Flowood, MS


March 16, Thursday                             Jackson  -  Brandon  -  Bearss family gravesite

This morning we will tour landmarks in the city of Jackson including the Governor’s Mansion, the Old Capitol Building where the ordinance of secession was passed in 1861; and we will see Mississippi's "Merci Train," one of 49 gift-laden boxcars given to the US by France in 1949 as a thank-you for American aid during WWII.


This afternoon, our hostess Ginny Bearss, will escort us to sites significant to her family. Ginny, daughter of Ed and Margie Bearss, will show us where her parents were married. We will see where Margie grew up and pay our respects at the family gravesite.  Ginny will host us at her home in Brandon, MS where she will share family photos and stories over refreshments. Overnight in Flowood, MS


March 17, Friday                      Jackson - Champion Hill

Terry Winschel, historian and dear friend of the Bearss family, will get us access to see a portion of the Mississippi River Basin Model in Clinton, MS. Located in the Buddy Butts Park near Clinton, Mississippi, it was built as a large-scale hydraulic model of the entire Mississippi River basin and it covers an area of 200 acres. It took from 1943 to 1966 to build it and the experiment station was in operation from 1949 until 1973.


We will proceed to Champion Hill where Terry will give us a tour and we will see the bronze plaque of Ed Bearss that was dedicated on the battlefield in May 2019 and the memorial stone dedicated in honor of  Margie Bearss.


We will continue to Vicksburg, MS where we will stop at what was the Bearss family home for over 10 years. Ginny Bearss will share stories and photos of the family's time in Vicksburg. We will check into our hotel for two nights. Overnight at the Vicksburg Marriott Courtyard


March 18, Saturday

We will spend a full day in Vicksburg in the company of Ginny Bearss and Terry Winschel who will share their recollections of Ed and Margie Bearss. This will not be our traditional battlefield tour. Instead, we will spend the day touring the sites where Ed Bearss spent 11 years as park and then regional historian; where Ed met his wife, Margie; and were they started their young family.  A highlight of the day, will be a visit to the USS Cairo and its museum. Terry will lead us on a short walking tour of the town of Vicksburg to point out Anchuca, the home of Joseph Davis (Jefferson Davis' brother); Duff Green Mansion, that was a hospital during the battle of Vicksburg; and Christ Church, the cornerstone of which was dedicated by the then Bishop Leonidas Polk. Overnight at the Vicksburg Marriott Courtyard


March 19, Sunday

This morning we will make our way from Vicksburg to Natchez. We will stop at Grand Gulf Military Park that was established in 1962.  Both Ed and Margie Bearss assisted in establishing the museum.  Several of the museum’s dioramas were created by Margie Bearss and a diorama of Ed Bearss’ wounding at Suicide Creek in the Pacific in WWII is also on display.


We will stop at the romantic Windsor Ruins featuring 23 standing Corinthian columns. Windsor was the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion ever built in the state of Mississippi.  At mile marker 41.5 on Natchez Trace, we will stop to see a deeply eroded or “sunken” section of the Natchez Trace.  We will tour Mount Locust at mile post 15.5.   Constructed circa 1780, this inn, where travelers on the Natchez Trace could rest for the night, is one of the oldest structures in Mississippi. Mount Locust is the only surviving inn of the more than 50 that existed during the heyday of the Natchez Trace.


Our last stop of the day will be at the Emerald Mound, one of the largest mounds in North America. Built and used during the Mississippian period between 1250 and 1600 A.D., it was a ceremonial center for the local population, who were ancestors of the Natchez Indians.


Check into our hotel in Natchez for two nights. Overnight in Natchez


March 20,  Monday

Today we will take a guided tour of this quintessential southern town. We will visit the Historic Longwood Plantation, the largest octagonal house in the U.S. Construction began in 1860, but was interrupted by the onset of war. A National Historic Landmark, the still-unfinished mansion is an enduring symbol of the impact of the Civil War.   We will also tour Stanton Hall. Built in the 1850s, it is one of the most opulent antebellum mansions to survive in the southeastern United States. Overnight in Natchez


March 21, Tuesday

This morning we will tour the Oak Alley Plantation home on the banks of the Mississippi River which is named for it's magnificent, canopied path nearly 800 feet long created by a double row of huge southern live oak trees. In the afternoon, we will visit the Laura Plantation home where we will learn about the Creole culture that flourished in Louisiana before the territory was sold to the United States in 1803. We will continue to New Orleans where we will check into our hotel located in the French Quarter just 2 blocks from Jackson Square. Overnight at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans


March 22, Wednesday

A local guide will lead us on a tour of the French Quarter, the Garden District, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, one of the city’s historic cemeteries, and neighborhoods that recovered from Hurricane Katrina.

Overnight at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans


March 23, Thursday

Individual departures


* Services of a Tour Manager

* Services of Historian Terry Winschel for 2.5 days (March 17-19)
* 10 nights hotel accommodations
* Transportation on a full-sized coach
* All admissions and excursions; private guided tours where possible
* Two wine/beer receptions; daily breakfasts; x lunches; x dinners
* All taxes, baggage handling and gratuities; pre-trip notes, reading list and map book

Double Occupancy: $3850 per person

Single Occupancy:  $4595

(NOTE: All costs are based on a minimum of 15 participants.)