Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Clarksdale, Mississippi: Shack Up Inn
Nominated By: Dave Hoekstra from the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, USA, September '11
Price Range: US$65-$275 (moon pie, Delta donuts, coffee included) # of Rooms: 25 Kid-Friendly: yes
What makes the Shack Up Inn so Darn Good? You can find Mississippi's heart at the Shack Up Inn. I've slept in hotel lobbies in Havana, pontoons on the Mississippi River and a bordello in the Dominican Republic, but I've never stayed at a place as cool as the Shack Up Inn.
Vibe: Grab a cold one from the lobby bar, sit back on your porch, and take in the Mississippi air.
Location: About an hour south of Memphis, and home to the Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale is a good place to begin a slow drive along Highway 61, the legendary "Blues Highway". The Inn is surrounded by Mississippi bean fields, yet just a couple of miles from the center of town.
Rooms: While each of the Shack Up Inn's thirteen sharecropper shacks appears to have been restored just to its bare necessities, the owners (aka "shackmeisters") have clearly paid attention to every detail such as the rusty, brown refrigerator that looks like it was last used by Howlin' Wolf and the moon pie waiting for me on my pillow. With a Washburn piano from the 1800s, an antique Victrola, and a CD player-radio complete with CDs from regional artists like Son House, the Crossroads stays true to the area's musical roots. In addition to the shacks, the property includes the Cotton Gin Inn, a renovated barn with ten slightly more "plush" rooms, and Bill's House, a three bedroom converted tractor shed.
Food: Wake up to Delta donuts and coffee compliments of the Inn, or scramble up your own breakfast in your shack's kitchenette. When you don't feel like cooking, bring back some BBQ from town, or sit down to a meal at Madidi, co-owned by local Morgan Freeman. Afterwards, head over to Ground Zero or the Inn's own Juke Joint Chapel for some live blues.
Keep in Mind: During Clarksdale's three major Blues Festivals, the Shack Up Inn is nearly impossible to book so call way ahead to get the low-down.