CURIOUS DORA: The Borscht Belt – A History of the Jewish Vacationland

CURIOUS DORA: The Borscht Belt – A History of the Jewish Vacationland

Photo: Concord Hotel, Kiamesha Lake, New York – Wikipedia

The Borscht Belt: A History of the Jewish Vacationland

What Is the Borscht Belt?

Granit Hotel Country Club Kerhonkson New York Wikipedia

The Borscht Belt was a region in the Catskill Mountains where many Jewish immigrants settled and started businesses due to its religious tolerance and lack of anti-Semitism. The Catskill hotels served as a place for people to go on their vacations during the summertime and would often serve food that was like what they had at home: such as bagels, pickles, lox, matzo ball soup, blintzes etc.

(Photo: Granit Hotel & Country Club, Kerhonkson, NY-Wikipedia)

The Borscht Belt became very popular in the late 1920s with resorts such as Grossinger’s attracting celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx.* The Borscht Belt was eventually abandoned after many Jews moved away from cities looking for new opportunities.

While it is commonly thought that there are no longer any hotels left in the Catskill Mountain region, there are ruins of one resort still standing: Grossinger’s Resort Hotel, which opened on July 4th, 1925 and closed down on November 30th, 2010 after being sold to new owners.

History of The Borscht Belt

The Borscht Belt began in the late 1800s and peaked in popularity during the 1920s. In recent years, many hotel owners have had to close their doors due to competition from new hotels and new technology. The disappearance of the Borscht Belt can be attributed to a variety of different factors: changing tastes, competition from eCommerce companies like Amazon, improved travel options such as Uber/Lyft/Rideshares, etc.

The Borscht Belt was primarily a place for Jews from Eastern Europe, who came to be entertained and find their own type of leisure there. Tourists came to the Borscht Belt for work, as well as entertainment and leisure.

Grossingers ping pong Liberty New York Wikipedia

The Borscht Belt was a rural area in the United States, which became popular among Jewish farmers and their socialist communities. The “back-to-the-earth communes” as well as political discussions and readings were common activities at some Borscht Belt settlements.

The popularity of the Borscht Belt declined through the 1980s and 1990s, but has seen a resurgence in recent years.

(Photo: Grossinger’s Ping Pong, Liberty, New York – Wikipedia)

The Borscht Belt in Popular Culture

Jews were initially denied access to many resorts due to anti-Semitism before farmers started offering their places as Jewish boarding houses and hotels serving kosher food. The Workmen’s Circle and unions opened resorts in the Catskills to provide respite for workers who were excluded from other areas due to anti-Semitism. The Borscht Belt became a destination of choice by the 1950s thanks to increased economic growth during and after World War II. The development of the entertainment industry allowed for an increase in revenue, allowing it to grow even further throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

While not everyone remembers the specifics of what happened in the Catskills during the height of its popularity, many people know it was once a hugely popular resort area for Jewish people thanks in part to comedians like Jerry Seinfeld who have made references to it over the years. On an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and George try to come up with a list of new jokes for their stand-up act. One of the jokes they develop is about how there are no more Jewish resorts because “the Borscht Belt dried up.”

The Borscht Belt in Comedy

Nevele lobby Ellenville New York Wikipedia

The humor of the region is known for being rapid-fire and self-deprecating. Typical themes include bad luck and puns. Physical ailments relating to bowels and cramping are also common topics of jokes. The Catskills became a mecca for Jewish comedians and resorts, who found humor in their own culture and lifestyle.

(Photo: Nevele Lobby, Ellenville, New York-Wikipedia)

One of the most famous comedians from the Borscht Belt is Rodney Dangerfield. He got his start at resorts in upstate New York and eventually became one of America’s most beloved comics. His signature line “I don’t get no respect” is still quoted today. His book “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs” pays tribute to this era of comedy.

Why Did the Borscht Belt Decline?

The area’s popularity began to decline in the 1950s due to a decrease in rail service, an increase in air travel, the rise of new leisure destinations and the increasing affordability of hotels. Additionally, anti-Semitism decreased after World War II, so Jews could go to different places for vacationing purposes. Today, many of these resorts have been abandoned and are now home to ghosts and various other paranormal activities.

* Notable Performers (From Wikipedia)

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The Chitlin Circuit-Where the Magic of the Blues and Rock in Roll Was Born

The Chitlin Circuit-Where the Magic of the Blues and Rock in Roll Was Born

The Chitlin Circuit was a series of venues located mostly in the American Deep South where African American people would traditionally gather. These performance spaces were often the only opportunity for black musicians to play their music in front of a live audience. The Chitlin Circuit gave birth to blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and it helped to break down racial barriers in America.

The Chitlin Circuit – Where the Magic of the Blues and Rock in Roll Was Born

What Was the Chitlin Circuit?

Photo by Afrykan CC

What Was the Chitlin Circuit?

The Chitlin Circuit was an important part of African American history. This nickname for a series of small venues where black performers would play, gave many artists the opportunity to hone their skills and make a name for themselves. These clubs were often the only places that African American performers could work, since they were excluded from mainstream venues such as white clubs and theaters. This meant that they had to create an alternative option, and they did so with world-class entertainment.

Who Were Some of The Most Famous Musicians to Come out Of the Chitlin Circuit? *

Some of the most famous musicians to come out of the Chitlin Circuit include Little Richard and James Brown. These two musicians are considered to be some of the pioneers of soul and funk music, respectively.

Other notable musicians who got their start on the Chitlin Circuit include Ray Charles, Ike Turner, B.B. King, and Etta James. All of these artists achieved widespread success both during and after their time performing in small clubs and venues throughout the American South.

What Were the Conditions Like on The Chitlin Circuit?

The Chitlin Circuit was a network of “small, very tight, very crowded and very loud” venues where African American performers could play. The pay was low, and the conditions were tough. Performers often had to work for free just to get their name out there. Lou Rawls recalls the conditions to which he would play as part of the Chitlin Circuit:

“It was small, dingy places—you couldn’t see well because of the smoke… And it was always hot… We played on straw boards that would give when you stepped on them.”

Despite the difficult conditions, many performers got their start on the Chitlin Circuit. It allowed them to hone their skills and develop their style in front of live audiences.

How Did the Chitlin Circuit Help to Shape the Music?

Photo by Jane Hamons CC

The Chitlin Circuit is a term that was given to traveling show business venues that would often have chitterlings on the menu. The name may also have been a play on the Borscht Belt, which is where many Jewish performers and families vacationed during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60’s when they honed their acts in upstate New York.

While there are some instances in which the phrase made its way into mainstream culture (Lou Rawls and Ben Zimmer), it typically had a negative connotation associated with it as being second-class citizens. However, this wasn’t always the case-there is pride in having gone through the circuit. The Chitlin Circuit was an important part of the blues and rock music industry, and it helped to shape the music as we know it today.

What Was the Role of The Chitlin Circuit in The Civil Rights Movement?

The Chitlin Circuit was a group of performance venues that were safe and acceptable for African American entertainers during Jim Crow. These clubs played an important role in the civil rights movement by allowing black performers to earn money. The circuit was the place where Lou Rawls got his start as a performer, with help from older musicians who would teach him new songs and how to play different instruments. Night clubs were small, very tight, and extremely noisy. People communicated by telling stories that would lead to songs to draw in attention.

What Impact Did the Chitlin Circuit Have on American Culture?

Depositphotos Chitlin Circuit 750

The Chitlin Circuit was a system of clubs in which black musicians played for white audiences during the era of segregation. The term “chitlin circuit” came from the slang word for intestine, which explains why it is now considered derogatory by some. Lou Rawls no longer had to work on the chitlin circuit after achieving success because he graduated out of it.

The Chitlin Circuit was a group of African American entertainers that helped create something beautiful from something ugly. They persevered in the face of racism and adversity and managed to make a name for themselves. Their story is one of resilience and determination. The impact they had on American culture cannot be overstated.

What Was the Decline of The Chitlin Circuit?

The Chitlin Circuit was a collection of venues that hosted live concerts. The decline of the Chitlin Circuit coincided with the rise of record sales and bigger venues for live music performances.

What Legacy Does the Chitlin Circuit Have Today?

The Chitlin Circuit was a nickname given to the tour circuit for African American musicians, dancers and artists. The name may have been derived from the Borscht Belt, which was popular in upstate New York during the 1940s-1960s. Frederick Douglass Opie says, “the entertainers called it the Chitlin Circuit because club owners sold chitlins and other soul food dishes out of their kitchens.” As a colloquial name, the Chitlin Circuit is informal.

Rawls describes the scene of performing on the circuit in 1967 as “like being back there.” The Chitlin Circuit was a place where African Americans could find work as performers and musicians, but it was also known for unsanitary conditions and poor pay. There is a Lou Rawls Live! album that includes monologues from these clubs that he was playing on the circuit.

The Chitlin Circuit was a way for African Americans to find opportunities, even when those opportunities were limited.

* Notable Performers (From Wikipedia)

Count Basie
Peg Leg Bates
Tiny Bradshaw
James Brown & The Famous Flames
Cab Calloway
Ray Charles
Louis Jordan
Lucky Millinder
Dorothy Dandridge
Sammy Davis
Jr.Fats Domino
Duke Ellington
Ella Fitzgerald
Redd Foxx
Aretha Franklin
Billie Holiday
John Lee HookerRoy Hamilton
Lena Horne
Sam Cooke
Jackie Wilson
Teddy Wilson
Etta James
Albert King
B.B. King
Freddy King
Muddy Waters
Howlin Wolf
Bobby “Blue” Bland
Tyrone Davis
Willie Hightower
Joe Tex
Moms Mabley
Jay McShann
Roosevelt Sykes
The Dramatics
Soul Children
Wilson Pickett
Richard Pryor
Otis Redding
Little Richard
Ike & Tina Turner
The Miracles
The Jackson 5
Gladys Knight & the Pips
The Four Tops
The Temptations
The Isley Brothers
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Johnnie Taylor
Bobby Rush
Flip Wilson

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Blues In Clarksdale MS: Are You a Blues Fan? Clarksdale, MS Should Be at The Top of Your Blues Bucket List

Blues In Clarksdale MS: Are You a Blues Fan? Clarksdale, MS Should Be at The Top of Your Blues Bucket List

Feature Photo: D. Saparow

Clarksdale, Mississippi is known as the birthplace of the blues. Clarksdale has a rich history and culture that is evident in its music, art, and the town’s ambience.

Blues In Clarksdale MS: A Blues Concert 365 Days a Year

Clarksdale is the birthplace of the blues where live music can be enjoyed most every day. The blues calendar includes everything from small bars to large festivals. It’s no wonder that the birthplace of the blues should have such an active calendar of live music. This Mississippi town offers something for everyone and is worth a visit whether you’re a fan of the blues or not.

Clarksdale, MS is the home of many blues greats that left a lasting impact on American music. Beginning with Son House in the 1930’s, Clarksdale has been a fertile ground for blues musicians. Many other blues greats featured are John Lee Hooker, Junior Parker, Ike Turner, Eddie Boyd and Sam Cook.

Blues Festivals

Clarksdale has a number of annual festivals and it is home to some of the best blues festivals in the nation. The Sunflower River and Blues and Gospel Festival is one notable festival, while Juke Joint Festival focuses on live music from local musicians. The Juke Joint Festival typically occurs in April while the Sunflower River and Blues and Gospel Festival is always in August and the Deep Blues Fest is in October.

For more information on the festivals…

Explore Music Venues

WROX radio station

Clarksdale, MS is well known for its bar and nightclub scene. In fact, some have ranked it among America’s best 100 bars and nightclubs. If nightlife is what you’re after, you won’t be disappointed in Clarksdale.

Blues events on Tuesdays are at Bluesberry Cafe and Hambone Gallery. Wednesdays include a Sean “Bad” Apple show, plus Anthony “Big A” Sherrod and friends at the Hambone Gallery. The public is encouraged to come out for the shows in Clarksdale, as it’s a great time to get acquainted with local artists and musicians.

NOTE: Schedule times and band changes frequently happen-please check with the venues listed for the latest information on upcoming shows before going to the establishment.

Ground Zero Blues Club

Ground Zero

Ground Zero Blues Club is a music venue located in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The club is owned by Morgan Freeman and Bill Luckett, who are both natives of the area. The club was founded in 2001 with the goal of preserving blues music and promoting it to a new generation of fans. The night time is the right time for Mississippi Delta music at Ground Zero, and Clarksdale, MS should be at the top of your blues bucket list.

Wednesday nights host music at 8pm, Thursday-Saturday attract live music from 9pm-2am on Fridays and Saturdays. The kitchen will serve lunch Tues-Sat and dinner Wed-Sat in the evenings.

Website | Facebook | 387 Delta Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614 | (662) 621-9009

Bluesberry Cafe

The Bluesberry Cafe is one of the top music venues in the area and has been hosting live music for decades. The venue started in 1978 and has continued to grow ever since. The venue is small and intimate which can be an issue when they host bands that have a large fan base, but it also makes for an intimate experience for the blues fans. The Bluesberry Cafe is located in Clarksdale, MS which is about an hour and a half drive from Memphis, TN. This makes it a great weekend trip for music lovers who want to hear some great music.

| Facebook |

The New Roxy

The New Roxy is an open-air music venue in Clarksdale, MS. It hosts events primarily during festival times in April, August, and October. (The New Roxy has a roof, but the main audience area is open air). The New Roxy hosts events primarily during festival times in April, August, and October. Find out about upcoming events on their Facebook page.

Website | 363 Issaquena Avenue, Clarksdale MS 38614 |

Red’s Lounge Blues Joint

Red’s Lounge is a blues joint in Clarksdale, MS. The venue is an old juke house that has been around since the 1970s. It opens on Wednesdays and live music begins at 8pm. On Friday and Saturday, the music starts at 9pm, and on Sunday it begins at 7pm. As with most blues joints, you can expect to pay a cover charge when you enter the establishment. (And it is a cash-only establishment). If you’re looking for some good ole’ blues in an authentic juke joint, Red’s is the place for you!

Website | 398 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614 | (662) 627-3166

Stan Street’s Hambone Art Gallery

Stan Street’s Hambone Art Gallery is a unique and welcoming space for artists, musicians, and storytellers. It is open daily from 11am until 5pm, with special evening events happening occasionally. The Hambone has been an important part of the Clarksdale community for many years and is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Stan Street’s Hambone Art Gallery is a must-see for blues fans visiting Clarksdale, MS. The gallery is open weekly, seven days a week and features the work of local artist Stan Street. Street is a self-taught painter who was heavily influenced by the blues music he grew up listening to in Florida. His portraits of Muddy Waters, Elmore James, and Robert Johnson are stunning and showcase his talent for capturing movement and color.

| Facebook | 111 E 2nd St, Clarksdale, MS 38614 | (662) 253-5586

Shack Up Inn

The Shack Up Inn is a short term rental for travelers. It offers guests the opportunity to stay with the property for an overnight or longer to conduct historical business in the Delta region. The Shack also offers live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm during dinner time. The Shack Up Inn also has live music during festivals. Note that they have a “No Children policy.” For more information, see their website.

| Website | 001 Commissary Circle, Clarksdale, MS 38614 | (662) 624-8329 |

Things to Do in Clarksdale

But there’s more to this town than just great nightlife options. There are also plenty of things to do during the day. Check out The Delta Blues Museum, where you can learn about the history of the blues and the artists who made it famous. Or visit the Delta Blues Alley Cat Cafe, which is dedicated to promoting and preserving blues music. And if you’re looking for a little bit of everything, head over to The Crossroads, where you can find shopping, dining, and entertainment all in one place.

Experience the Crossroads

Crossroads Highway Sign

The Crossroads is referred to as a place where Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil. Robert Johnson was not a skilled guitarist before he met a strange man who played his guitar better than anyone else. After meeting the man, Johnson developed skills with both his guitar playing and harmonica playing. He wrote the song “Me and the Devil Blues” about his time at The Crossroads. There’s no evidence of Johnson ever actually visiting The Crossroads, but rumors persist he did.

Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art

Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art (D. Saparow)

Roger Stolle, the proprietor of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, came to Clarksdale in 2002. The shop organizes and promotes blues music by hosting live performances and live recordings from local artists.

Richard Stolle has been living in Clarksdale for several years now and enjoys it immensely. Clarksdale was chosen as a location to “circle the wagons” in regards to Delta blues, with a goal of helping it survive and thrive into the future.

| Website | Facebook | 252 Delta Avenue, Clarksdale, MS 38614 | 662-624-5992 

Museums & Galleries in Clarksdale

The Delta Blues Museum

The Delta Blues Museum is the state’s oldest music museum, and it’s chock-full of fascinating artifacts, like old costumes and instruments. Situated in the historic freight depot, the Delta Blues Museum was established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and has been appointed a Mississippi Landmark Property since 1996. Visitors will find many captivating exhibits here, like the History of the Blues Gallery and BB King’s Lucille guitar. You can also explore interactive displays that allow you to “play” different instruments or watch short films about blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

| Website | Facebook | 1 Blues Alley, PO Box 459, Clarksdale, MS 38614 | 662-627-6820

The Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum

The Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum is a historic site that houses four of the bedrooms that were once his home. Tennessee Williams lived with his grandparents in Clarksdale before he became famous. The museum exhibits a significant piece of history, being where Tom “Tennessee” Williams lived as a child after his grandparents moved there from Memphis.

| Website | 106 Sharkey Avenue | Clarksdale, MS | 38614 | Text: 646-465-1578 | OPEN BY APPOINTMENT

The Carnegie Public Library Archeology Collection

The Carnegie Public Library Archeology Collection is a collection of pottery shards, tools and other artifacts from Mississippian mound sites excavated by Clarence Bloomfield Moore between 1900-1902. The library’s purpose is to provide opportunities for information and education. The Clarksdale Library provides a range of services and materials to the people in their community, as well as the region.

| Website | Facebook | 114 Delta Avenue Clarksdale, MS 38614 | 662-624-4461

Places to Eat in Clarksdale

Go to Tripadvisor page for details.

Places to Stay in Clarksdale

Go to Tripadvisor page for details.

RV Parks

RV Parks in Clarksdale, Mississippi

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Beale Street Blues: A Guide to Memphis’ Legendary Beale Street

Beale Street Blues: A Guide to Memphis’ Legendary Beale Street

Beale Street is known as the birthplace of blues music and the home of the Memphis blues scene. It’s also famous for its restaurants and nightlife, particularly its jam sessions that can last well into the night.

Historic Beale Street in Memphis, TN.

Beale Street in Memphis is known as the music capital of the world. Blues and R&B emerged on Beale Street and the scene is still going strong today. These late night sessions have become an institution, with people coming from all across the globe to experience the magic of a live performance. With their vast array of genres and performers, these jam sessions are an eclectic mix of musical talent.

Beale Street is home to the most famous blues clubs in the world, such as B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill, Silky O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, Hard Rock Cafe, B.B. King’s Blues Club, and the Rum Boogie Cafe’s Blues Hall among others.

It is home to many bars, restaurants, and music venues that are popular among locals and tourists alike. Beale Street has a rich history and is a must-see for anyone visiting Memphis.

Eef and the Blues Express at Alfreds on Beal Street
Eef and the Blues Express at Alfreds on Beal Street

International Blues Competition

Every year, Memphis hosts the International Blues Competition. This event is a week-long celebration of blues music that features competitions among blues musicians from all over the world, as well as a variety of other activities to entertain attendees. The competition is judged by a panel of experts in the blues music industry, and the winner is awarded a cash prize and other accolades.

The IBC was founded in 1984 by the Memphis Chapter of the Blues Foundation and was originally called the Blues Amateur Talent Contest. The first Blues Amateur Talent Contest was held at the New Daisy Theater. This was created by Blues Foundation founder Joe Savarin. It attracted about sixty contestants, and was won by a band called “Reliance,” from Memphis. The following year, the competition moved to a larger venue on Beale Street at the Orpheum Theatre. The winner is determined by a panel of celebrity judges drawn from the ranks of blues performers and fans. The competition has resulted in the discovery of several new blues artists, including Susan Tedeschi, Albert Cummings, Tommy Castro, and Jason Ricci.

NOTE: Normally the International Blues Competition is in January. However, due Covid concerns, the event was canceled and rescheduled starting May 6, 2022. (See below for details.)

IBC Important Dates for 2022

 Friday, May 6: Quarterfinals Night 1 

Saturday, May 7: Quarterfinals Night 2 

Sunday, May 8: KBA Ceremony, Youth Showcases, & Semifinals 

Monday, May 9: IBC Finals at The Orpheum

All previously purchased passes will be honored for the new dates, without any action on your part. Passes will now be mailed out in mid-April. 

The Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater is one of the most popular attractions on Beale Street and has a list of shows that are open to everyone. It is home to many events such as plays, musicals, concerts and much more.

The Orpheum Theatre opened on October 10th, 1887. The Orpheum Theatre is a famous and prestigious theater in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the home of Broadway shows, ballet performances, international jazz artists and more. The theater is rich with history and beautiful architecture that will leave you feeling like you’re in one of the classics. The Orpheum Theatre bills itself as “the oldest continuously operating theater in the United States.”

And in the interest of full disclosure, the theater has been said to be haunted by a little girl called Betty, who has been watching over the artists and patrons since 1920.

Beale Street Music Festival

The first weekend in May, the Beale Street Music Festival brings major headliners to Tom Lee Park, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The festival features performances by artists from a variety of genres, including blues, rock, country, and soul.

NOTE: Due to construction at Tom Lee Park, the 2022 Beale Street Music Festival will be located at The Fairgrounds in Liberty Park in Midtown.

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is an interactive museum that tells the story of music in Memphis. The museum features photos, memorabilia, and artifacts from the music scene in Memphis, spanning from the 1950s to the present day.

National Civil Rights Museum—Lorraine Motel

The National Civil Rights Museum is a must see for anyone who visits Memphis. It tells the story of the struggle for civil rights and is located in the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is one of great significance. He was a man who fought for justice and human rights, and his work has had a lasting impact on the world. Dr. King’s decisions, actions, and speeches were all important in the advancement of civil rights in America. He was an effective leader and preached nonviolence as the most effective way to bring about change. Don’t rush your visit–-take time to explore all four floors of this incredible museum.

Sun Studio

Sun Studio is a recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee that was opened in 1950. The studio was originally called Memphis Recording Service, and it was located on Union Avenue. The studio is most famous for being the birthplace of rock’n’roll music. Some of the most famous musicians to record at Sun Studio include Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison. The studio has been restored and now contains priceless memorabilia from these legendary musicians. Visitors can also hear voices of some of the musicians who recorded at Sun Studio as they listen to outtakes from recording sessions. The studio offers tours for visitors who want to learn more about the history of the studio and the music that was created there.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a museum in Memphis, Tennessee that celebrates the history of soul music. The museum features exhibits on some of the greatest soul artists, including Isaac Hayes, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding. One of the most popular exhibits is Isaac Hayes’s 1972 Cadillac.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a museum dedicated to the history and preservation of soul music. It contains over 2,000 artifacts and interactive exhibits, including a recording studio, concert stage, and retail shop.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is the place to go if you want to learn about the history of Memphis music. It is a museum that celebrates the achievements of many different Memphis-born or Memphis-living musicians. It offers photos and interviews, video performances and interactive exhibits where one can really sink their teeth into the musical heritage. Some of the famous Memphis musicians include Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Justin Timberlake. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts 2,000+ artists from all over the world each year, but Memphis has a rich musical history that is worth celebrating in its own right.

Blues Hall of Fame

The Blues Hall of Fame was started in 1980 as a way to recognize performers and individuals whose lifetime of work has had a major impact upon the blues genre. The Blues Foundation inducts new members into the hall of fame every year. It has inducted over 400 members into five key categories: Performer, Individual, Album, Single, and Literature. The Blues Hall of Fame is an important program that helps to fulfill the mission of The Blues Foundation, which is to preserve blues music and its history.

B.B. King’s Blues Club

B.B. King’s Blues Club is one of the most popular clubs on Beale Street in Memphis. It has been voted the best blues club in Memphis numerous times and has some of the best live music around. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the food is some of the best BBQ you’ll find anywhere. The vibe is electric and it’s a great place to see some of the best blues bands around.

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis is located on legendary Beale Street in the heart of our nation’s music capital. This iconic restaurant pays homage to the city’s musical roots with memorabilia from some of the biggest names in blues and rock ‘n’ roll. From its location to its menu, Hard Rock Cafe Memphis is a must-visit for any music lover visiting Memphis.

Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe & Honky Tonk

Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe & Honky Tonk is a legendary spot on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. It’s famous for its live music and friendly atmosphere. It’s been a favorite of Memphis locals and visitors for years and is the perfect place to spend an evening. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, and the music is top-notch.

A. Schwab

A. Schwab is a Beale Street-based store that has been running for over 100 years. The store has always been dedicated to preserving the rich history of Beale Street and providing glimpses into its past for customers. It is a cornucopia of items, from music memorabilia to clothing to general oddities. Their nostalgic soda fountain will take you back in time with its classic decor and menu items. Share a homemade soda or creamy milkshake with a friend and enjoy the atmosphere of this Memphis institution. They are dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the store and telling the story through historic artifacts and relevant merchandise.

Gus’s Fried Chicken

When we’re in Memphis we always go to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. This restaurant in Memphis is a popular fried chicken restaurant chain that was founded in the tiny town of Mason, Tennessee. Gus’s Fried Chicken is a Memphis staple. However, the recipe remains a mystery to many. Unfortunately, you will not be able to get your hands on that recipe as the family has kept it tightly under wraps.

Blues City Cafe

The Blues City Cafe is a Memphis institution. Though many things have changed on Memphis’ Beale Street, one thing that has remained consistent is the Blues City Cafe. Opened in the early 1990s, the restaurant has been a staple of the street and features many of the same faces today.The cafe is famous for its ribs, steaks, catfish, tamales and mouth watering desserts. But it’s the music that keeps people coming back. You can always find some of the best blues musicians playing here.

Rum Boogie Cafe

Rum Boogie is a world-renowned blues club that was established in Memphis, Tennessee in 1985. It quickly became a cornerstone of the city’s entertainment district and has been drawing crowds ever since with its down-home Delta cuisine and live blues seven nights a week. Some of the biggest names in music have played at Rum Boogie, including Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Joe Walsh, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Joel, and Rufus Thomas. If you’re looking for some authentic Southern BBQ ribs or pork shoulder, this is the place to go.

Cotton Exchange Building

The Cotton Exchange Building was one of the most iconic buildings in Memphis and helped put the city on the map. The building was used for cotton trading and is now open to the public so they can learn about this once highly valuable commodity. Stepping back in time, visitors can see what life was like in Memphis during its heyday.

The Cotton Exchange Building was constructed in 1891 as the headquarters for the Memphis Cotton Exchange. The cotton merchants needed a trade organization to regulate cotton marketing and once established, the cotton exchange produced rules, regulations, and standards for trading and pricing cotton in Memphis and the mid-South region. This allowed Memphis to become the largest cotton market in the world. In 1984, the building was renovated into The Cotton Museum, which now educates the public about cotton and its importance in Memphis.


Elvis Presley purchased Graceland in 1957 when he was just 22 years old. The sumptuous property welcomed friends and family members over 20 years of Elvis’s life. Many people visit from all over the world to pay homage to ‘The King’. Graceland is a National Historic Landmark.

The original owner named the property after his daughter, Grace, who inherited the land in 1894. The mansion got its name from her and was later sold to Elvis Presley in 1957. Graceland has 23 total rooms, many of which have their own unique themes, such as the Jungle Room and the TV room. If you want to see Elvis’ personal planes and vast collection of memorabilia, go across the street to the two museums.

The Meditation Garden is a place where Elvis, Gladys, Vernon, and Minnie Mae Presley are buried.

NOTE: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Graceland, which is about 10 miles from Beale Street. You can catch a tour bus at Sun Records to Graceland, or you can drive yourself.

Final Thoughts

Memphis is known for its music, and that reputation is well-deserved. The city has a rich history of legendary live music, thanks to its many nightclubs and restaurants. From blues to jazz to rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis has it all. If you’re looking for a good time and some great music, Beale Street is the place to be.

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
What to Do in New Orleans for One Day: A Complete Guide to The Big Easy

What to Do in New Orleans for One Day: A Complete Guide to The Big Easy

There is no shortage of things to do in New Orleans. Whether you want to explore the history and culture of the city or just enjoy a good time, there’s something for everyone. You can wander through the French Quarter and take in the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street, or head over to Frenchman Street and listen to some live blues or jazz music. You can take a riverboat cruise or visit the Audubon Zoo. The options are endless!

New Orleans is a city that has many different facets. It’s an exciting, vibrant place you can spend your entire day in without running out of things to do or places to visit. There’s no shortage of exciting activities for every member of the family either. The Big Easy offers something for everyone—indulge in the eclectic cuisine, experience the history and culture, shop, explore nature, enjoy a festival or a live concert.

So, what should you do in New Orleans for just one day? Here are my recommendations:

new orleans scaled
New Orleans (Photo by D. Saparow)

The Vieux Carré (aka the French Quarter)

If you’re looking for things to do in New Orleans, the French Quarter should be at the top of your list. New Orleans is a city where the best way to explore is by walking. You’ll explore the vibrant French Quarter, admire its characteristic architecture, and wander through cafés and boutiques. It is also home to some of the city’s most famous attractions, such as Jackson Square, Pat O’Brien’s Bar, St. Louis Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis King of France, Bourbon Street, Café du Monde and Preservation Hall.

You’ll also taste some of the city’s unique Creole and Cajun cuisine, and sip cocktails on Bourbon Street or listen to blues or jazz bands on Frenchmen Street. You can then head down Royal Street to the French Market, where you can find local farmers selling their fresh produce and handmade goods. Walk around the Garden District and see beautiful houses as well as antique shops.

For those who are interested in the history of New Orleans, there is no shortage of attractions to visit. The French Quarter is a great place to learn about the city’s past. The Cabildo is a museum that gives visitors an in-depth look at the history of New Orleans, from its founding to modern times. Another great place to learn about the city’s past is the Old Ursuline Convent, which was once a school for young women. The convent now houses a small museum that gives visitors an idea of what life must have been like in New Orleans in the 18th century.

There are so many sights in New Orleans to cover, but for a good overview we recommend touring the old French Quarter.

Start your day at the Café Du Monde

Cafe du Monde 1
Café du Monde

When Mike and I visit New Orleans, we start our day at the Café du Monde. The Cafe is a popular coffee shop for its unique atmosphere and delicious beignets. I’m not sure exactly how they make these little taste sensations, but they are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. I’ve seen them referred to as doughnuts, dough puffs, or Beignets. Whatever you call them, get some of these when you get your morning coffee—they are worth it!

Café du Monde is a really welcoming experience. The brass band on the street, the striped awning, the old-time feel of this place drenched in culture & history – it’s all about Old New Orleans. They’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week and only close their doors on Christmas day.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Parkway Bakery and Tavern Shrimp Po boy
Parkway Bakery and Tavern Shrimp Po Boy (D. Saparow)

For lunch we head to the Parkway Bakery which is a historic bakery in New Orleans that has been around since 1911. The bakery is most famous for its poor boy sandwiches, (also known as Po’ Boy,) which are split and filled with cold cuts, cheese, vegetables, and dressing. Some of the popular poor boy variations on the menu include roast beef, shrimp, oyster, catfish, and, for something different, smoked alligator sausage.

The Parkway Bakery is a couple of miles from the French Quarter but the Po’ Boys are worth the drive.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square 1
Jackson Square

Jackson Square is a historical attraction in the heart of New Orleans. The square is surrounded by beautiful, historic buildings and landmarks, including the St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo. Jackson Square takes its name from General Andrew Jackson, who fought in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

The heart of New Orleans beats at this square, which is home to some of the city’s most famous attractions. It also has amazing artists that can create a beautiful souvenir for you, and street performers that will entertain you.

St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most notable landmarks in New Orleans. It’s located in Jackson Square, which is instantly recognizable by the towering spires of the Cathedral. The cathedral was named after King Louis IX of France and is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States.

The square pre-dates the St. Louis Cathedral, which is located on its eastern side and is listed as the oldest cathedral in North America. The cathedral contains magnificent religious artwork, gilded altar and stained glass windows.

The Cabildo

The Cabildo is a historic building located in Jackson Square in New Orleans. It was originally built as the seat of Spanish colonial government in 1799 and served as the location where the Louisiana Purchase was transferred from France to the United States in 1803. The Cabildo has been used for a variety of purposes over the years, including as a courthouse, prison, and museum. Today, it is home to three floors of exhibitions that cover Louisiana’s history.

Bourbon Street

What is the most popular street in New Orleans? Bourbon Street is one of the most famous streets in the United States, located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It is known for its nightlife, which includes street parties as well as partying in the many bars on the street.

Click here to see what’s happening on Bourbon Street right now!

EarthCam New Orleans Cam
EarthCam-Bourbon St.

Frenchmen Street

If you want a more authentic New Orleans experience, get away from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter and head to Frenchmen Street- it’s lively without being too touristy. A popular, locals-friendly spot for culture, Frenchmen Street is a four-block stretch of live music, bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Here you’ll find fewer crowds and cheaper eats & drinks. You’ll also get to encounter local talent and meet the friendly residents – it’s kind of like Bourbon Street’s hipper, trendier cousin.

Canal St & Royal St

Consider spending some time on Canal and Royal Street. Canal and Royal streets in New Orleans are two of the most popular streets for tourists. They are home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions. While it can be tempting to try to do everything on these streets, it’s often more enjoyable (and manageable) to simply wander around and take in the sights and sounds without an agenda. Who knows what you might find?

Samatha Fish
Samantha Fish (D. Saparow)

Live Music

There are many venues for live music in New Orleans. From small, intimate clubs to large concert halls, there is something for everyone. The live music scene in New Orleans is better than ever and there are plenty of opportunities to see your favorite performers.

WWOZ provides information on where to find live performances in New Orleans so be sure to check their website before you visit.

The bars and clubs in the French Quarter can get pretty crowded, so it’s best to go early if you want to get a good seat. If you’re looking for some live jazz music then head over to Preservation Hall, which offers great food and drink deals!

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is a music venue in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was founded in the early 1950s by Allan Jaffe as an art gallery and soon began hosting live jazz performances. The hall was almost destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but reopened later that year. Today, Preservation Hall is known for its traditional New Orleans jazz performances. Thanks to the efforts of aficionados such as William “Bill” Russell, much of this music has been documented and preserved.

Jazz Museum

The New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates jazz in the city that made it famous. Through dynamic interactive exhibits, multigenerational educational programming, research facilities and engaging musical performances, the music New Orleans made famous is explored in all its forms. The museum is located at the intersection of the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street – two of the most iconic areas of the city. The music scene in this area is legendary, so if you’re a fan of jazz (or just want to experience some live music), this is definitely the place to be.

Steamboat Natchez Mississippi Cruise

The Steamboat Natchez is a great way to experience the Mississippi River. It’s the only steamboat left in town and offers a trip down the river with music. Optionally, food, and drinks are available. The music is excellent, with live bands on board playing genres from all over the world.

Magazine Street

Magazine Street is a 6-mile long avenue between Canal Street and Audubon Park in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Magazine Street got its name from a warehouse that Spanish Governor Miro built to house Kentucky tobacco and other exports. The street has clusters of shops interspersed with charming homes, and a mix of renovated warehouses and shops selling housewares, pottery, period furniture, clothing, books, glass, toys, china, soaps and jewelry. It’s the ideal spot for a leisurely walk-about – with plenty of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants to provide refreshment to the tired shopper.

The main attraction of Magazine Street is the Garden District, which is located next to Vieux Carré. There are lots of shops and restaurants on Magazine Street, as well as coffee and cocktail bars. The Magazine Street Shopping District is a popular tourist destination in the Garden District.

The Garden District
The Garden District (D.Saparow)

The Garden District

The Garden District is historically one of the city’s most elite neighborhoods. It was famously home to families such as the Dumas, Destrehan, and Schirott. Today, this district continues to be a hotspot for many visitors who want to experience New Orleans’ rich history firsthand. The Garden District Tour showcases some of the city’s most illustrious homes which are perched atop lush landscaping-you’ll be sure to feel like you’ve been transported back in time! As you walk through this historic neighborhood, you’ll experience an authentic New Orleans atmosphere.

Audubon Park

The Audubon Park is a beautiful place to hang out in New Orleans. The park consists of two large lakes, the Mississippi River and over 300 acres of forest. Visitors can enjoy many different recreational activities such as picnicking, fishing, hiking and bicycling.

The paved trail that winds through the park is a great place to take a stroll. The trail is flat, level, and perfect for walkers of all ages. There are benches along the way for sitting. There are also signs posted on the side of the path to keep track of how far you have gone or how far you have yet to walk.

Audubon Zoo or Ride the Audubon Nature Boat

The Audubon Zoo is a great place to take the whole family. There are a variety of animals to see, as well as a creepy-crawly snack bar-bug appétit. if you’re looking for something more adventurous, consider taking the Audubon nature boat tour.

New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park is a huge park located in the heart of New Orleans. It offers a variety of activities and attractions, including an art museum, sculpture garden, botanical garden, golf course, mini-golf course, dog park, and more. The park is bigger than Central Park in New York and is definitely worth exploring if you have a day in New Orleans.

Plantations and Cemeteries

Some of the most popular things to do in New Orleans are visiting the cemeteries and plantations. There is a lot to learn and see on these tours. Places like Oak Alley Plantation and St. Louis Cemetery No.1 which provides a glimpse into the past and what life was like for those that lived long ago.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation is a popular tourist destination for those who want to learn more about plantation life in the United States. The tours are educational and cover different aspects of plantation life, including the history of New Orleans and Louisiana before the Civil War. There are full-day and half-day tours available, and pick-up points are available in the French Quarter.

St. Louis Cemetery No.1
St. Louis Cemetery No.1 (D. Saparow)

St. Louis Cemetery No.1

New Orleans is a city that has always been in love with the dead. The cemeteries of New Orleans are among the most beautiful and well-kept in the world. Saint Louis Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in New Orleans, where visitors can come to see firsthand the above ground vaults that provide a distinctive feature on these grounds.

The oldest cemetery in the city is St. Louis Cemetery #1. It has been around since 1789, replacing St. Peter Cemetery as the main burial ground after a devastating fire in 1788 and redesigning the layout of the city with it.

Tulane University

Tulane University is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street. It is located in uptown New Orleans and is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. You can walk around the campus and admire the architecture and history of this great university.

The Palace Market

The Palace Market is a hidden gem in the Flatiron District. As the day winds down, locals come to buy and sell everything from jewelry to paintings to rare records to handmade furniture. The market is open every day except Sunday.

The Palace Market showcases the work of local, independent artists. These artists create pieces that are uniquely representative of the city and its many diverse lives. The market offers a variety of items and ideas that cannot be found anywhere else.

The Rum House

The Rum House is a Magazine Street restaurant that has Caribbean influenced menu items and Mardi Gras celebrations. The Rum House is also known for its incredible popularity, with travelers visiting it at every opportunity they have. If you’re looking for a great meal and an even better atmosphere, this is the place to go. The Rum House has delicious Caribbean influenced menu items that are sure to satisfy your appetite.

New Orleans School of Burlesque

The NOLA Project and the New Orleans School of Burlesque are located on Frenchmen Street. If you’re a fan of burlesque, you’ll love the New Orleans School of Burlesque. This is one of the oldest burlesque schools in America, and it’s a great way to spend an evening.

The National WW II Museum
The National WW II Museum (D. Saparow)

National World War II Museum

For those who want to learn more about the World War II era, a visit to the National World War II Museum is an absolute must. The museum gives visitors an in-depth look at the war that was fought between 1939 and 1945. It also tells visitors about the contributions that New Orleans made to America’s victory over Germany and Japan during World War II. It contains more than two million artifacts and photographs from the war, and it is open every day except Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration in New Orleans. It usually lasts around two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The most elaborate parades take place in the last five days of the Mardi Gras season.

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras (D. Saparow)

Mardi Gras World

While in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, be sure to check out the incredible floats and artistry that goes into making them. At Mardi Gras World, you can explore the workshops and see how these floats are put together – it’s an amazing process.

Mardi Gras is a celebration of costumes, parades and King Cake. The festival is celebrated in many cities around the world, but perhaps the most famous celebration takes place in New Orleans. At Mardi Gras World, you can learn more about the history and origins of Mardi Gras as well as see some of the giant floats that will be featured in this year’s parades.

Final Thoughts

New Orleans is a city filled with exciting things to do. Whether you’re coming for Mardi Gras, a Saints game, or just want an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New Orleans has something for everyone. From festivals to restaurants to museums, there’s no shortage of fun activities in this Southern city.

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1