Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 15 - More Meandering - LA to Toronto

April 2015 - Nacogdoches TX

Always a bonus staying at a Hampton as you get a free breakfast, the downside is they never have a restaurant for dinner.

We went into town to look around at Texas' oldest town.

Nacogdoches and Natchitoches both received their names from Caddo place names. In Caddo language "Na" simply means "place of." Nacogdoches is thought to mean "the place of places." Two myths exist about how the cities got their names. Both versions of the myth agree that an Indian chief with two sons sent one east and the other west, and they traveled the same distance and established villages. As for the folklore in question:

One version, as reported by historian Samuel Stewart Mims in "Rios Sabinas", credits the chief of an Adae Indian village on the Sabine River. The village was overpopulated and the chief ordered his two grown sons to report to him precisely at sunrise. He told one son to walk east and the other to walk west until the very moment of sunset. The sons were to establish a village at the place they reached. The son who went west wound up in a grove of persimmon trees, and named his village Nacogdoches, meaning persimmon. The eastbound son reached a grove of papaw trees and named his village Natchitoches, meaning papaw.

Another version says that the chief had twin sons, Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, and could not decide who would lead the tribe following his death. The chief split the tribe between them and sent each in different directions. They traveled for three days, one eastbound and one westbound, and wound up where the cities are located today.

The entire downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Next stop Jackson MS. It is a long long drive across the state of Louisiana. We gas up and John buys two York peppermints and that ends up being lunch as we don't feel like wasting time pulling off.

Our hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn on West Capital.

The original hotel on the site was known as the Confederate House, built by "Major" R.O. Edwards in 1861. After being destroyed by Gen. Sherman's forces in Civil War in 1863, the 3-story hotel was rebuilt and reopened in 1867 as the Edwards House, the prominent center of Jackson society and politics for over 40 years. The hotel was replaced in 1923 by the present 12-story beige brick structure, designed in the Beaux-Arts architecture style by New Orleans architect William Nolan. This grand new hotel opened as the Edwards Hotel. The architect employed neo-classical revival style with the front fa├žade featuring a limestone portico of coupled Corinthian columns supporting a full entablature and balustrade which sheltered the Capitol Street entrance. The hotel featured 300 rooms with all of the modern amenities of the time. The magnificent lobby was distinguished by six large columns set along the perimeter of an oval light well, lit by skylights above the second floor. On the second level, accessed by Tennessee golden vein marble staircase with an intricate bronze balustrade, was the convention hall with an arched and lighted coffered ceiling.

In 1954 the hotel was purchased, renovated and expanded by Milner Enterprises. Many of the original architectural elements were obscured during the renovations of the hotel; the lobby was "modernized" and the rotunda opening was floored for space on the second floor. The hotel rooms were refurbished and a convention hall complex with a multilevel parking garage was constructed as well as a patio and swimming pool on the roof. With its name changed to the King Edward Hotel, the hotel hosted the most prominent political events, social receptions, balls, dinners, and meetings in Jackson. Sadly, in 1967 the hotel closed, ending its colorful tradition of Southern hospitality in Jackson. In 1976 the hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The King Edward Hotel sat vacant in Jackson downtown for over 40 years, despite attempts to revitalize this cherished landmark. In December 2006, Watkins Partners, former New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister and Historic Restoration Inc. of New Orleans formed a partnership to restore the King Edward. In 2007 the rehabilitation of the hotel began, and was completed in 2009 at a cost of $90 million. In December 2009, the newly restored King Edward opened its doors to Jackson as the Hilton Garden Inn Jackson Downtown. Former Mayor of Jackson, Harvey Johnson Jr., called the hotel's renovation the "linchpin" in the revitalization Jackson downtown!

We walked to the iron Horse Grill for dinner. We had nachos and salsa to start which we haven't had since back in the States and these were really good. Our serve was Tanya was quite good and she knew how to open and serve a bottle of wine, which was proved a challenge to our previous servers. 

The meal came with a salad and I asked for Italian dressing to which she replied they had their own balsamic raspberry. It was awful, it was like they took a jar of raspberry jam and put it on the salad. 
But I don't think it would have mattered as John didn't eat his salad either because the leaves were so limp.
We both opted for the seven ounce fillet served with a fully loaded potato. The fillets were cooked perfectly.

John took these pictures of our hotel on the way back.

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