Collecting National Parks - Natchez Trace Parkway Day Five

Missed the first installment of this series?

Collecting National Parks: Natchez Trace Parkway Day 1

Collecting National Parks: Natchez Trace Parkway Day 2

Collecting National Parks: Natchez Trace Parkway Day 3

Collecting National Parks: Natchez Trace Parkway Day 4

The kids were so sad to say goodbye to Tishomingo State Park. They loved the campsite with it's great view of the lake and close proximity to the bathhouse. We had a lot planned for the day, though, so we set out!

Destination: Meriwether Lewis Site (mi 385)
Planned stops: Cave Spring, Ivy Green, Glenrock Branch
Soundtrack: Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (audiobook)

Cave Spring (mi 309)

The awesome thing about the Natchez Trace Parkway is that there are literally dozens of quick pull-offs (all notated on the map and by road very clear road signage) that allow you to explore old Indian mounds, or abandoned mines or camps or camps or nature paths...or caves! It wasn't safe to go into these caves, but that didn't stop the boys from lighting up their small kerosene lantern and poking their heads in as deep as they could stretch,

Ivy Green (Helen Keller's Birthplace)

Helen Keller's childhood home is in Tuscumbia, Alabama - another attraction a little jaunt off of the Trace, but since we were so close, we couldn't turn it down.

The house is so much smaller than we expected it would be. Not the sprawling mansion I expected. A docent gave us a tour and pointed out so many interesting things ("This is the china that the Keller family used...the ones that Helen didn't manage to break, anyway."), then we explored the grounds outside, including the cottage where Helen and Annie secluded themselves (it's just outside of the right hand side of the picture - just a few paces from the house!), and, of course, the pump. I've always loved the story of Helen Keller. I've read her autobiography and watched both versions of The Miracle Worker multiple times and the play was one of the first times I was ever exposed to live theater. It was so moving to be in the space where a teacher literally reached into a little girls' silent world and brought her into the light. The boys each bought a braille card from the gift shop and spent the rest of the day in the car trying to learn the letters with their eyes squeezed closed.

Glenrock Branch (mi 364)

This wasn't a planned stop initially, but the baby was getting antsy so we pulled off and found this refreshing creek, stripped shoes and socks off and went wading. Just perfect!

We arrived at Meriwether Lewis site (free, no shower) and picked a great site. Since it was our last night on the trail, we lit a huge bonfire and sang songs and told stories and recounted our highlights. It was probably the most memorable night.

Next up is Day Six of our Natchez Trace Parkway adventure! Did you ever chance a vacation at a spot you weren't exactly sure you'd like? How did it turn out? Sharing is caring! Leave a comment and tell me about it. :)

#camping #campingwithkids #familyvacation #historytravel #nationalparks #natcheztrace #travel #tishomingo #ivygreen #helenkeller #cavesprings #tuscumbia #glenrockbranch

Check out some of my other travel posts:

Minimalist Packing for Camping with Kids

Collecting National Parks: Natchez, Mississippi

Our Quest to Collect National Parks


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