Editor’s Note: Looking for a weekend getaway that won’t cost a fortune with the high price of gasoline? This series, Tank of Gas Getaway, offers up travel locations that Jackson metro area residents can make on a tank of gas.
Indianola is a gem in the Mississippi Delta, perfect for anyone looking to get away for the day. Only 95 miles up US 49 in Sunflower County, Indianola checks all the boxes for shopping, dining, entertainment, live music and sightseeing.
Every trip to Indianola should begin by visiting the BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.
King is generally recognized as the most famous Blues musician from Mississippi. The museum tells the story of his modest upbringing to become the face of a music movement that led to him being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The museum sits in the middle of Indianola.
A new exhibit at the museum, which first opened in 2008, showcases the final years of King’s life.
“Indianola has so much rich history. You can’t really say that you know about the Blues until you have visited Indianola and the BB King Museum,” said Shelia Waldrup, executive director of the Sunflower County Economic Development District.
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As for Club Ebony, there is good news and bad news. It was once one of the South’s most important African American nightclubs. It was built just after the end of World War II by Indianola entrepreneur Johnny Jones. Under Jones and successive owners, the club showcased Ray Charles, Count Basie, BB King, Bobby Bland, Little Milton, Albert King, Willie Clayton, Tina Turner, Howlin ‘Wolf and many other legendary acts.
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While it was forced to close earlier this year, the BB King Museum is in the process of remodeling and opening it after getting a grant from the State of Mississippi. Officials hope the landmark is back up and running for a soft opening by late July or early August with a grand opening the first week of June in 2023.
Across the street from the BB King Museum is The Blue Biscuit for a great down-home lunch or dinner. Hang around for live music on the weekends.
It is known for its fried green tomatoes and its pulled pork.
If a more upscale dining option is wanted, head downtown to NOLA. It is an authentic Southern restaurant that uses fresh ingredients and serves some of the best dishes anywhere in Mississippi.
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While there, try the Iron Skillet Flounder or the Trout Meuniere. They are local favorites.
The restaurant, which has become a staple in many Mississippi communities, got its start on Highway 82 in Indianola.
With an eclectic feel throughout and fantastic pizza, Lost Pizza first opened its doors in 2007. Since then, the founders have opened locations in 23 cities across five states.
From a food standpoint, it is hard to miss in Indianola.
Peasoups, next door to Lost Pizza, has fantastic hamburgers, sandwiches, po’boys, dinners and seafood platters. It also has a milkshake as good as anywhere on the planet.
The Crown downtown opened in 1976 and features its world-famous catfish pate. It is filled with art from local artists, unique gift items, classic toys and books, and spectacular food.
Mrs. Betty’s Place on Main Street is a must-visit for the BBQ rib lovers. There are plenty of ribs, catfish, homemade potato salad and coleslaw. For dessert, Mrs. Betty is famous for her coconut cake.
There are options for shoppers, including Abraham’s, a men’s and women’s boutique founded in 1953. Young Ideas, a children’s clothing store, has been a destination for Delta shoppers for more than 50 years.
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Goldberg’s supplies classic footwear for the area and has something for everyone in the family.
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Lastly, it would be a big loss to go to Indianola without shopping at the Indianola Pecan House. The original location offers gourmet foods and gifts. It now has several locations throughout the state, but the original still has the best feel and service. It is welcoming to all visitors from anywhere in the world.