2014 Field Trips

We have several great trips lined up. Please remember that Memphis will be very hot, muggy and buggy at this time of year. Please dress accordingly and bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. Most trips involve some walking, so please make sure to have proper footwear. Click on the field trip title to sign up for that trip.



William Faulkner’s Oxford, MS  CANCELED

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Guide: Jack Mayfield

Description: Drive from Memphis to Oxford, MS. We’ll start the tour off with a visit to Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home. The Nobel Prize winning author made his home in Oxford and found inspiration in people and places of Oxford and Lafayette County which he fictionalized in his Jefferson and Yoknpatawpha County. After the museum, we’ll take a driving tour of Oxford and Ole Miss with local historian and docent, Jack Mayfield. We’ll give everyone free time on Oxford’s historic town square for lunch where you can choose from down home cooking to upscale cuisine and browse through independent bookstores and modern boutiques.

Cost: $60 (This field trip cost does not include lunch

Canoe Chickasaw Bluffs into Memphis

Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Guide: Quapaw Canoe Company

Description: Canoe 18 miles from Shelby Forest to Memphis. Experience fabulous views of the Chickasaw Bluffs along the Western edge of the state of Tennessee and adjacent bottomland hardwood forests, including the bluffs at Fort Pillow (1st Chickasaw Bluff), Richardson’s Landing (2nd Chickasaw Bluff), Meeman-Shelby State Forest (3rd Chickasaw Bluff) and finally the sweeping view of the Memphis skyline, including the Memphis Bridge and the Pyramid, and downtown Memphis (which straddles the 4th Chickasaw Bluff). The vista from the river is unparalleled! You’ve never seen downtown Memphis if you haven’t viewed it from the river!

Cost: $145 (This field trip includes all gear and lunch)

The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Heritage of the Mississippi Delta - SOLD OUT

Time: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Guide: Staff from the Delta Center for Culture and Learning 

Description: Departing Memphis at 8 AM, you will travel down the Blues Highway, US 61, through what historian James Cobb called “The Most Southern Place on Earth,” the Mississippi Delta. Your bus will carry you to Cleveland, Mississippi, home to the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University. After a classroom orientation to the Delta’s rich cultural heritage, the bus will carry you past the former Chinese Baptist Church and Chinese School to Dockery Farms, “birthplace” of the Blues. The next stop will be the “true” crossroads, one that Robert Johnson certainly knew about, for a discussion of his legendary deal with the devil, followed by a stop in Ruleville at the memorial garden in memory of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, the great Civil Rights activist. Lunch will be at The Senator’s Place, owned by Mississippi State Senator Willie Simmons, serving “Delicious food for the soul.” After lunch you will tour Mound Bayou, a town founded by former slaves specifically for black people, once the seat of black culture and leadership. The tour will end with a visit to world famous Po’ Monkey’s Lounge (pictured), one of the very last authentic rural juke joints still operating, followed by a return to the Delta center for a brief look at the “Cast of Blues,” a collection of life-masks taken from the faces of living Bluesmen and women by artist Sharon McConnell. You will return to Memphis by about 6 PM.

Cost: $95 (Ticket includes lunch at The Senator’s Place)



The Crossroads of the Confederacy – The Battles of Corinth and Shiloh

Time: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Guides: Ranger Ashley Berry – NPS Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center and Ms. Jill Cox – Mistress of Hancock Hall, former mayor of LaGrange, TN

Description: The full-day field trip includes a morning visit to the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center for an overview of connections between the Battles of Corinth and Shiloh with a discussion of the earthworks and visit to Battery F. The group will then travel to lunch at the historic Hagy’s Catfish Hotel. After lunch, participants will travel to Shiloh National Military Park for a ranger-led tour. On the return to Memphis, the group will roughly follow the same route as the Union forces as they moved from Shiloh toward Vicksburg (via Memphis) including a stop in the community of LaGrange, TN, for an afternoon break at Hancock Hall.

Cost: $65 (Ticket includes lunch at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel)

Physical Geography and Watershed Management in North Mississippi  CANCELED

Time: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Guide: David Rutherford, University of Mississippi

Description: We will drive from Memphis to the headwaters of the Coldwater River at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. We will follow the Coldwater River west through the loess underlain Bluff Hills to Arkabutla Dam and Lake near the low escarpment that lies on the boundary of the Bluff Hills and the flat lowland area of the Mississippi Delta. We will work with maps and visualizations of this escarpment that extends north to south from Memphis to Vicksburg, and then will explore a short section of the escarpment south of Arkubutla Dam. We will study the Arkutbla Dam as an example of the numerous dams along the other rivers that flow from the east, off the Bluff Hills and onto the Delta, discussing watershed management approaches. The final leg will be on the Mississippi Delta studying the Northern Backswamps and Northern Pleistocene Valley Trains ecoregions.

Costs: $60 (Ticket includes a boxed lunch)

The Other Side of the River: Delta Culture, Rich Agriculture, Civil War Battles, and Unique Geology in Arkansas

Time: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Guide: Jeff Allender, University of Central Arkansas

Description: Helena, the highest point on the Mississippi between St. Louis and Baton Rouge, was the “cash cow” for Arkansas for over a century. Our first stop is Fort Curtis, a reconstructed Union River Fort in Helena where a re-enactor in costume will explain the importance of its role in the Mississippi Campaign during the Civil War. Next is the Confederate Cemetery and Union Battery B, the only battery to be overrun by the Confederacy during the battle. We then tour the Delta Cultural Center with excellent displays on the Delta, slavery and agriculture in the region and the importance of the Battle of Helena during the Civil War. We will also view the production of King Biscuit Time, since 1941 the longest running blues radio show in the US. Our traditional Southern lunch will be at the Pillow Thompson House, an excellent example of 1800s Queen Ann Architecture with tour to follow. Then we drive north along the western side of the Mississippi, stopping to see the unique loess geology of Crowley’s Ridge and the rice, cotton and soybean farms of the rich Delta region. Last is a long boardwalk into a beautiful headwater swamp where the Louisiana Purchase Historical Monument shows the starting point for the Township & Range system that covers much of the US today.

Cost: $55 (Ticket includes lunch at Pillow Thompson House)

Note: This excursion will include walking in the sun, heat and insects of the Delta; please be prepared and dress accordingly. Call Jeff at 501-450-5636 if you have any questions or concerns.


New South Food Tour - CANCELED

Time: 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Guides: Paul and Angela Knipple, co-authors of The World in a Skillet

Description: Come meet the first generation immigrants influencing the evolution of southern foodways while maintaining the ethnic traditions. We’ll sample traditional southern tamales, Asian cuisine, Mexico city-style street food, Middle Eastern kabobs, and authentic Cuban cuisine, among others.

Cost: $35 (Food samples not included)


Memphis Economic Geography: Transportation and Logistics Hub Past and Present

Time: 12:00 – 4:30 PM
Guide: David Rutherford, University of Mississippi

Description: Study the unsurpassed combination of transportation modalities that currently converge in Memphis and that evolved from the city’s important role in previous transportation regimes. From river traffic in the early-19th century to railroads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to truck and air transportation in contemporary times, Memphis has maintained and integrated all these modalities in a strategic geographic location that makes it the logistics hub of America. You will visit the International Port of Memphis, Memphis Airport, FedEx facilities, Intermodal Facility, and various distribution warehouses and trucking centers.

Cost: $55 (Ticket includes boxed lunch)

Gentrification and the South Main District

Time: 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Guide: Kevin Romig, Northwest Missouri State University

Description: From the Peabody Hotel, we will walk a block to take the Trolley Line south to the South Main neighborhood.   This historically lower-income district has recently experienced investment through gentrification.  On our tour, we will tour two important anchors in this neighborhood.  First, we will stop for a brief snack at the Arcade Restaurant, one of Elvis Presley’s favorite diners.  Next, we will walk two blocks north to the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Finally, we will have some time to shop and mingle at some of the funky urban boutiques and bistros that are catering to the neighborhood’s new urban residents. 

Cost: $25 (This field trip cost does not include lunch)

 Angels on the Backroads- A virtual journey along Highway 61

Time: 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Join Eddie and Frank Thomas as they take you on a musical and visual journey along Highway 61 from Memphis to New Orleans. Hear the blues and jazz classics that were created along this route and experience the visual landscape on a large screen. Q&A session to follow the performance. 

Cost: Free (Courtesy of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance)