There is mile after mile of quiet scenery rarely interrupted by signs of civilization. Many small pull offs offer tidbits of information on the history of the Trace.
For those who enjoy hiking, there are stops to walk the trace and see some ruins. Some, like the Steele's Iron Works are very close to the road, just an easy stroll away. It seems that some of these are also used by the locals as a great place to have some summer fun.
Other stops simply offer a view of the surrounding country side.
Heading south you will see signs for French Camp Town. This town is not on the parkway list of stops and we nearly went by it. It was started in the early 1800's along the Trace as a trading post and inn. It became an education center for troubled boys and later added girls to the program. Today it still operates a school and has a historic district and small museum outlining its history. The town occupies about one square mile and currently has a population of less than 400. It is certainly worth a short visit.
The last large exhibit on the Trace is Mount Locust. This exhibit, which has one of the oldest structures in the area, dating to the late 1700's is filled with the history of the Natchez Trace. Here you can learn the importance of the Trace to the "Kaintucks" who transported their goods south on the Mississippi to Natchez and New Orleans. When all the products were sold, they sold the lumber from their barges for use in buildings and walked the Trace all the way home. A one days walk from Natchez lead them to Mount Locust. This traffic caused the owners of Mount Locust to create an inn to provide a resting place for the travelers. Five generations of the Chamberlain family lived on Mount Locust, with the last leaving in 1944.
I should mention that there are three campgrounds along the parkway run by the NPS. They are all free and do not take reservations. We did drive through the one closest to Nashville. It was nearly empty and we could have easily camped here, but we wanted to move along. I will say that it was rustic and might be a little tight for larger motorhomes, with lots of tress and curvy roads. I would definitely recommend arriving before dark.
In addition to the traveling the parkway, there are numerous towns just off the parkway. We did visit a few of these and it is worth stopping to enjoy a bit of small town America.
I will have one more post on an excursion off the parkway that we really enjoyed and well worth the diversion.