By this time in a normal year, we would have taken several trips to faraway places, but this year we have savored staying put, and getting to know areas closer to home with day trips throughout our state of Mississippi.
Recently we loaded up the dogs and headed north to just below the Tennessee line to DeSoto County, right before you get into Memphis. The county is home to Hernando, Olive Branch, and Southaven primarily, but reaches all the way to the Mississippi River in Walls. We hadn’t really spent much time in the area, so Sean, Tom, and I were so excited to find some new places to eat and enjoy some quiet places to be outside and social distance at the same time.
Scroll below to see where the adventure took us and certainly make a trip to DeSoto County too if you are looking for a new, fun place to explore. – Erin
We headed straight for lunch as soon as we got there. Good thing too, because we were starving. We started off our trip at Side Street Burgers. They have a great set up… you just call in your order or you can scan the menu then you get there and they text you when your order is ready and you just go to the outside counter to pick it up. I’m sure they would bring it to your car as well if you asked. We didn’t have to wait long at all.
When we are visiting a restaurant for the first time, Sean and I like to order a few things to split so that we get a chance to try a few things on the menu. This was no different. We sat on the back patio that overlooks the Mississippi Ale House. We had the place to ourselves, but I imagine that in normal times and/or on warmer days, it’s packed at lunch. The dogs were welcome as well, to sit back there with us. They waited patiently for us to drop some of our food, which never happened. Sorry, Olive and Abe. Sean and I ordered the burger and the firecracker po-boy to share. We were too hungry and it was too good to snap a picture before it was gone. Tom wanted the sliders and the garlic potatoes. I did manage to grab a picture of that before he ate everything too.
We loaded the dogs back into the car and went to the nearby park to let them run around after being in the car for a little over an hour. The three of us found a dog park there as well called Olive Bark (I love a good play on words), in the Olive Branch City Park. Our older dog, Olive wasn’t feeling too social, so we just walked the path before heading to Walls to see the river.
Hernando DeSoto River Park might have been my favorite part of the trip. In fifteen minutes we went from the city hustle and bustle to farmland and the flat landscape of the Delta. There were only a couple other people there and it was so easy to keep a distance. We walked right down to the river.
It was the closest that I’ve ever been to the water of the Mississippi River. I’ve lived around it for so many years, but I’ve never been right at the edge of the water. It was neat, to say the least. Tom likes any nature walk that we take and water is involved. Throw in giant barges passing by and he was showing his true eight-year-old boy colors. It would be a nice place to enjoy the sunset or have a picnic.
We still had so much to see, so we got back into the car and made our way to the gravesite and historical marker of Memphis Minnie, which was nearby. We decided to visit as many markers as we could squeeze in, and then we played the music for those that we found on Spotify in-between visits to the next ones. You can find all the different markers in DeSoto County here.
A few that we visited are pictured above. If you don’t know who Memphis Minnie is, I highly suggest checking her out. I grew up listening to her music and she’s always been one of my favorites.
We rounded out the trip with a mid-day dessert stop to City Hall Cheesecake in a new development called Silo Square. It was a cute little, Main Street like collection of shops. Tom is actually not a fan of cheesecake, but they had other things besides just cheesecake if you are in the same boat. He got a delicious hot chocolate. Next, we wandered through the Tanger Outlet, to do a little Christmas shopping. Every store was taking all the precautions to make sure everyone was very safe and careful. They had a Krispy Kreme, which we didn’t know there was one in MS, so we got some donuts to bring home.
We looked for a few more markers and got dinner to go from Memphis Barbeque. Um, how have I never eaten here before? It was amazing. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone good. We shared the sample plate with ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, plus two sides and cornbread. The greens were wonderful!! We had leftovers the next day and I added the rib meat to a potato hash that I made up, which was delicious. I added the leftover cornbread to the hash as well.
So, one of the places that my son was most excited about was Brussel’s Bonsai. It’s the largest bonsai nursery in the country. For Christmas alone, they sell over 25,000 trees, and on Mother’s Day they sell over 40,000! We really hoped to fit it in on the Saturday that we took our trip, but it turns out they are closed on weekends. Tom’s school has a half-day every Wednesday, so as soon as I picked him up, we headed north to Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery. It was a great mid-week field trip! Tom and I were both so fascinated by all the trees. We even saw one worth over $16,000. Who knew?
If you are part of a homeschooling pod, it would make a great field trip. You can schedule a guided tour and they will even show you how to care for bonsai trees. We wandered just about every row while we were there, looking at all the cute little trees. Tom couldn’t stop talking about it! He still hasn’t. He picked up all the brochures they had, has been great about watering the mini palm tree that he picked out, and already wants to go back.
All in all, we had a great time in DeSoto County and will stop thinking of it as the place with the closest Target, although it also is still the place with the closest Target to us. Travel safe, but get out and #VisitMSResponsibly!!
**While this post was sponsored by the DeSoto County Tourism, all the opinions are my own. Thank you for your support and understanding of sponsored posts.