Vaunita Martin Mug

Vaunita Martin

From the time I was a small child, smells have been synonymous with memories.

Most of the time, these memories are pleasant. I remember the smell of the ground being tilled up for the 3-acre “garden” my Grandfather planted. The fruits of those labors became worth it after harvesting peas, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, and those prickly little things called okra. Oh, how they made me itch to death!

Then, the cooking and canning would begin. Some of my best memories include the smell of that prickly okra frying in the pan with peas boiling on the stove, fresh cut tomatoes on a plate, creamed corn accompanied by a big pan of cornbread. Whew, eating that meal would make your eyes roll back in your head and cause you to sigh after those last few bites. Because you didn’t dare leave anything on your plate, now did you?

So how did we work off all that food? If we had the energy, we’d cut the grass, wet a line, ride a bike, or take a swim. For most folks, they simply took a nap.

You can relive your childhood memories with your children and grandchildren, and you can do it without leaving the county! Experience the good old days by visiting the Fulton and Mantachie farmers markets for locally grown produce. Or pack up the bikes and ride the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. The route includes Itawamba County, and Fulton serves as the end of the first leg of the route, which begins in Mobile, Alabama. You can pack a lunch and enjoy the brand new pavilion at the Underground Railroad marker, located at the end of the Tenn-Tom walking track.

And while you’re in the area, travel on by the Whitten Center and take a walk on the pier that extends well out into the water with breathtaking views. You can keep on traveling north to Midway Marina. Debuting a new swimming area and fishing dock, the marina includes many activities including kayak and boat rentals, cabins to stay in, and a restaurant. Don’t forget about Playgarden Park and local shops and eateries, too!

If you’re out Tremont’s way, you can “Stand By Your Man” while visiting the Tammy Wynette Center, and then swing by Oakland Normal Institute to show the kiddos what schoolhouses once looked like. Fill up some jugs with fresh spring water at Molly Harman Springs, then check out Vernon Presley’s historical marker and explore the same land he, his grandfather, and Elvis Presley himself walked, on Barnes Road!

Across the river and through the woods, you can travel to the Iron Wood Bluff Bridge to see wildlife and beautiful bottom land. Oh, and you can also teach the kids what pickin’ and grinnin’ means at the Monday Night Jam at the Carolina Schoolhouse. Got a history buff in the making? Itawamba Historical Society has a museum and resources about the families of Itawamba County, then take a leisurely stroll down the hill for a visit to Mantachie Park.

Childhood memories don’t have to be things of the past. Relive the good old days this summer in Itawamba County. And make some new memories while you’re at it. Discover more at www.itawambams.com.

Vaunita Martin is the executive director of the Itawamba County Development Council. She can be contacted at vmartin@itawambams.com

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