On Halloween weekend I joined my sister, Kim, and two friends for a girls’ trip to Tishomingo State Park. I met Kim in Tupelo and we drove about 40 miles up the scenic Natchez Trace to the park, recounting our hectic last few weeks and reinforcing our plan to make this a ‘pajamas only’ weekend. The plan called for simple comfort food, a little wine, lots of laughing and maybe a card game or two.
With the sun going down, the evening was clear, quiet and very cold as we wound our way through the park, our headlights frequently spotlighting huge outcroppings of Tishomingo stone (Hartselle sandstone). The cabin was made of stone, and looked charming nestled in its spot in the woods. Our friends, Patti and Mary Jane, had arrived earlier and laid in supplies, so we soon had a fire blazing in the fireplace.
The cabin was basically one large room with two sturdy looking wooden beds in opposite corners, a fireplace on one long wall, a small kitchen opening onto one end and a bathroom on the other. A large screened porch could be accessed from the kitchen or from a door in the main room of the cabin. The porch was furnished with a picnic table and benches, a few outdoor chairs and a big swing hung from the rafters.
After a dinner of warm and comforting chili, we sat at the table next to the fireplace, talking and occasionally paying attention to our card game until about two in the morning, with occasional blanket-wrapped trips to the screened porch, where smokers could indulge their habit. When we finally piled into those big wooden beds, they proved to be very snug and comfortable. We’d burned all our wood, but the central heat kept the room cozy all night.
After breakfast, Kim and I volunteered to bend our ‘pajamas only’ rule long enough to dress for a drive into town for salt and pepper and more wood. (Typically, the park can provide wood to guests, but their wood splitter was broken.) We overbought in the wood department, much to the delight of several locals watching up pile it into Kim’s Mini Cooper. But we “got ‘er done.”
Since we were dressed and out of the cabin anyway, Kim and I toured a little of the park, including the Swinging Bridge over Bear Creek, the lodge building and several other CCC-built buildings. Patty and Mary Jane, themselves sisters, opted for a more ambitious morning of trying out one of the many hiking trails in the 1500 acre park. They took in some wonderful scenery that can’t be seen from the road. The site of this historic park is known to have been occupied since 7000 BC, and even a quick tour of its grounds makes it clear why it was attractive to potential inhabitants that long ago.
After having yummy homemade vegetable soup and cornbread for dinner, we spent the evening playing cards, drinking wine, keeping the fire going, making blanket-wrapped forays to the porch and generally enjoying ourselves. We roasted marshmallows in the fireplace and consumed ‘smores until we wanted no more. Patti made occasional calls to civilization to check on the football scores, because cell service was random and radio reception even worse.
Sunday morning, we slept late, breakfasted, straightened up the kitchen a little, and easily made the 11AM checkout time.
Our cabin sleeps four and rents for $80 per night, including kitchen set up, towels and bed linens. There was a microwave and coffee pot provided. We spent a good deal of money on wood because of buying in town, but having the roaring fire all weekend was worth it to us. (By the way, the fireplace was so well built that there was no smoke smell in the cabin.) There was a grill and a fire ring right outside the porch. I suggest you bring your own bath towels, though, because those provided were small and scratchy.
Many activities are available in the park, including swimming pool, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, float trips and disc golf. There are 13 miles of nature trails in a beautiful setting, and the park offers primitive and RV camping in addition to cabins. Contact the MS Wildlife & Fisheries Department at www.mdwfp.com for more information and reservations.