Last weekend, we went to Montgomery, but part of the trip took us through Wetumpka, which is pretty well known for its impact crater.
The “impact structure” – or astrobleme – or crater (I don’t know which is most correct) in Wetumpka was formed when a iron asteroid or meteorite hit 80-83 million years ago back when that part of Alabama was under water. I’ve read that the asteroid was something like the size of Jordan-Hare stadium, hitting the earth at a speed of 10-20 miles/second, and that the displacement could have been shot all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. I couldn’t really find a great picture to take of the crater, but below are some of the other pics we shot in Wetumpka:
Bank Clock in downtown
Theater, built in the 1930’s
Elmore County courthouse
The eight columns are made from Missouri marble.
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (moved here from Rodney, Mississippi)
This organ is so pretty in person
Grand Gulf Military Park (Grand Gulf, MS) is **amazingly** beautiful. Grand Gulf was a town on the Mississippi River that used to be pretty large, but now there isn’t much (save the park) since the river changed its course and engulfed the town. The picture above is one of the first buildings you reach in the park – it’s the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church which moved here from Rodney (Rodney also used to be a LOT bigger before the river’s course moved *away* from it). A lot of people call Rodney a ghost town, but people live there still and there are several hunting clubs around; in fact when we drove there a couple of years ago, we must have seen over a dozen deer along the roadside. I’ll blog more about Rodney later.
Grand Gulf Cemetery
The cemetery pictured above is sooooo pretty. There are also trees here that drop huge (some of them had to be close to a foot long) purple seed pods. I brought a couple home to figure out what they were, but I don’t have an answer yet.
Looking downward at our Volvo from the 75-foot observation tower
Av climbed the 75-foot observation tower where you can see the Mississippi River. The river is about a half mile from this spot.
Our room at the Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino, Tunica
Room: The room itself here (furnishings-wise) is sub-Hampton, but okay. Although Av and I have been to Tunica several times — not for the casinos really, but for when we are working in the Delta — I really recommend the rooms at Harrah’s. We for some reason got a mailer from Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino offering $29 rooms for a week in December when we were going to need to be in that part of the Delta anyway for business. Since we only needed to stay one night in that particular area, we decided we would go just to see what that particular hotel and casino were like. The hotel has more than one floor, but several of the rooms (including ours) was on the first floor.
Important: if you’re wondering why anyone would stay in a $29/night room, well, agreed. Until you realize that on the weekends these rooms go for hundreds, and during the week when the crowd has subsided, the casino is just happy to have warm bodies. Yes, on Monday it’s a $29 room but on Friday this same room is $200+
Service: The front desk was nice. We self-parked because it was snowy/icy and I didn’t want to give my Volvo to a valet, but the self-parking lot is super-close to the door anyway.
Food: We didn’t eat here at all – we arrived well after suppertime and left before we were in the mood for breakfast.
Our experience is this: For $29 would I do it again? …..mmmm….maybe. Certainly not for more than that, which is a silly thing to say, but true. The casino wasn’t very nice (and we’re not gamblers). For a casino experience, there are much better choices (again, Harrah’s) in Tunica/Robinsonville.
Room: The Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, MS is one of my favorite hotels. First of all, the hotel is just beautiful. The rooms include fresh flowers, coffee-table books about the area, a super-comfortable bed, chaise lounge (ah….), two additional club chairs, and more! The Alluvian is actually here because of the Viking Range Corporation. The gentleman who owns Viking, Fred Carl, decided to keep and grow his company here in Greenwood, and the hotel was built to serve the business people who need a nicer hotel to stay in when coming to this part of the Delta.
Food: The hotel serves a breakfast on the fourth floor, and you can dine either inside or out on the balcony. It is really good, and the fireplace in the dining area is tiled in these great (must be Ann Sacks) green glossy rectangular tiles. Giardina’s is right next door to the hotel (you can see more about Giardina’s to the right under “Favorite Restaurants” on the right-hand side of this page). Make a reservation there before or right when you get to the hotel, and be sure to tell them you want a table in the curtained section.
Spa: The spa is supposed to open in early 2005. Yay!!
Extra: Right across the street is Dancing Rabbit bookstore (update: now closed) and at the end of the block is one of my favorite shops, the Mississippi Gift Company.
Our experience is this: If there is anyway, anyhow you can stay at the Alluvian, do it. Greenwood is a *great* town. Have lunch at the Crystal Grill and don’t forget pie. Have supper at either Giardina’s or Lusco’s. Go shopping downtown. Love Greenwood!
Our Room at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS
Room: This is our room at the Beau Rivage Hotel (and casino) in Biloxi, Mississippi. Some people *really* like this hotel – we’ve stayed here four or five times.
Lobby: The lobby here IS something to see; there is a mosaic in the floor of the lobby that is amazing, and the magnolias that exist inside the hotel were bought from local landowners. This is an odd thing to say, but the public bathrooms there are much nicer (with really pretty sinks) than other casinos on the strip.
Service: All of our experiences with the staff at the BR have been nice.
Food: Not really buffet people, but it’s just what one does here for whatever reason. It was fine.
Spa: Neither of us have tried the spa there. Yet.
Extra: Nice shops.
Our experience is this: if we don’t mind driving an extra 30 miles or so, we will stay at the Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, which is almost always much less expensive *and* nicer (plus a few times they have upgraded us to a suite).
A Few Words About Local Area Restaurants: We’ve been to Jazzeppi’s (228.374.9660) in the past – it’s an Italian restaurant that’s pretty good. Some people swear by Mary Mahoney’s Old French House Restaurant (228.374.0163) but we haven’t been there yet – it is supposed to be among the nicest restaurants along the coast.