Civil War buffs flock to Vicksburg to visit the National Military Park. A winding road takes visitors past regimental monuments and thousands upon thousands of headstones, many of them without names. The monuments spill out of the park into the city proper; a somber reminder of the tragic battle that happened here.

Plenty of splendid early southern manor homes remain -- Duff Green with its lacy wrought iron balconies, Anchuca's grand columns -- and many are B&Bs now, so you can stay in style. Curious about the paranormal? Several of Vicksburg's historic homes are thought to have ghosts; a tour of the McRaven House will introduce you to the past (and present?) residents of Mississippi's most haunted house.

A handful of markers pay homage to the great names from the southern end of the America's Blues Highway 61 -- Willie Dixon and The Red Tops -- and the places they made history, Marcus Bottom, the African American neighborhood, and the legendary Blue Room.

But Vicksburg isn't mired in the past. It's lively and hip, there are cool little cafes, galleries, and restaurants lining Washington Street -- try 10 South where there's fresh southern cooking served on the rooftop. Paddlewheel cruises stop in Vicksburg to see the town and there's casino gambling on the banks of the Mississippi.