Ever considered the connection between barbecue and bluegrass? Or Peabody ducks and cotton dynasties? Enter the Cotton Junction Trail, your interactive roadmap and "soundtrack," if you will, for all things West Tennessee.
A route connected by nostalgic and new-age discoveries, the Cotton Junction Trail, as part of Tennessee's 16 Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, teaches Memphis' renowned history through the perspectives of cultural institutions and uncovered treasures in music, art, food, and nature coupled with rural destinations saturated in music legends, beautiful scenery and history.
From 1700s early pioneers to the reign of "King Cotton" and modern-day Civil Rights Movement, the Cotton Junction Trail's 98 stops couples the region's legacy with entertainment avenues and destinations.
West Tennessee has widely contributed to a global music heritage—a pioneer of soul, blues, gospel, rock'n'roll, rock-a-billy, and country music, the region bred a galaxy of stars, including Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. And with a music heritage as rich as this trail's Delta soil, the Cotton Junction route relives music's biggest moments through the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum, Sun Studio and the The Southern Legends of Music Museum at the Carnegie in Jackson among others.
Complement the tunes with a barbecue pit stop and Gus's fried chicken snack. The trail features more than a dozen dining options, distinct in flavor and unique in style.
Take the Tina Turner Highway to the Brownsville/Jackson area for Helen's Bar-B-Q and to peruse the schoolhouse of "Queen of Rock n' Roll" Tina Turner (Nutbush, Tennessee native) at the Tina Turner Museum on the property of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Sip a glass of wine at Century Farm Winery. The Cypress Grove Natural Park's observation tower oversees the town's antique store, cultural history museum, Bemis Mill Village Museum, and even the N.C. and St. Louis Depot & Railroad Museum.
Of course, the region played a crucial role in our nation's history, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Era; and its proximity to the Mississippi River greatly contributed to the nation's economic welfare and growth. The Cotton Junction Trail highlights such struggles and accomplishments with iconic roadside views and in-depth museum offerings, including the National Civil Rights Museum.
Take a ride on the Cotton Junction Trail and exit with a wealth of cultural appreciation and Memphis-centric motivation.