St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Maple Syruping Time?

   Margo and I are spending the week in Natchez, Mississippi, an old graceful (and decaying) town on the Mississippi.  The town is beautiful with azaleas of all colors blooming abundantly, daffodils, tulip trees and other spring trees.  
   The weather is mild (70s) with overnights in the 50s.  We expected to stay until about the beginning of March, but with Scott telling us the warm weather has already hit NW Wisconsin, we now think we may head back next Monday. 
   Most years, maple syruping season is mid-March to late April, but over my lifetime, we have seen a swing towards earlier and earlier seasons.  Rather than getting most of the sap in April, we now see much in March, and in 2012, probably it ran in February. 
   Natches has much to look at; many beautiful old mansions, the riverfront, gambling, and the river itself.  The river, often coming out of its banks to crush development nearby, is mostly clean and calm along the banks.  Behind the levees in LA and up the hill in MS is where the development continues. 
   As in most of the towns and cities we have visited in the south (and probably true in the north too), the old down town with its historic brick buildings is emptying to the golden arches, dollar stores and gas station development along the edges.  Sad to see empty shells.  This is not really tourist season here, so it may get better other times of the year. 
  One barge being pushed up river, but otherwise almost no traffic along this stretch.
   Across the river from Natches is Vidalia, Louisiana.  It is a smaller town, mostly the urban sprawl around the edges of a bigger city, but a few nice buildings including the library where we are using free wi-fi today.  The Natchez state park has no wi-fi, and weak cell signals.  
  We drove 30 miles along the Natchez Trace, something you should look up on wikipedia to read about.  Natchez Trace  A 444 mile National Park that follows a very old road from Natchez to Nashville TN.  Think of the Scenic St Croix River corridor national state park but with a road rather than a river.  Quiet, lovely, peaceful, and wandering though the wooded countryside with historic information along the way.  
  Photos from this area