We were weeks into our cross-country road trip when we arrived in Clarksdale, Mississippi, home of the Blues. It was there that Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in return for his musical abilities. My boyfriend, an avid Blues fan, had read about The Shack Up Inn on the internet, and, on a whim, we decided to stay a night. What makes this place special is that for a reasonable price, you can stay in an authentic share-cropper’s shack that had been converted to accommodate travelers and Blues fans alike.
We plugged the address into our GPS machine so we wouldn’t get lost (fat chance), but failed to see our destination as we drove back and forth, past rotting barns and eroding jalopies, failing to realize that The Hopson Plantation was in fact our destination. Finally we found the unmarked inn, and after questioning some people in front of one of the shacks, learned where the lobby was. A car that looked like it was out of the Blues Brothers movie stood in front of a barn (later we would learn it was in fact the car from the movie), and not far from it sat a defunct 60’s VW van painted in magical colors with words like Peace and Love. The “lobby” was an incredibly cluttered room, full of Shack Up Inn memorabilia, and Blues related paraphernalia. Bill, one of the owners, told us that the place was “a product of Budweiser”, and the result of one fateful night of drunken talking.
We were given a couple choices of shacks to choose from, and after taking peeks in them, settled on Pinetop Perkin’s, a gray shotgun shack named after the musician who played in Muddy Waters’ band. Through the first door was one bedroom, beyond that lay a cluttered kitchen, and through that door was the second bedroom. The accommodations vary from $55-$75 a night, depending on the shack. Though the shacks are filled with junk ranging from empty beer bottles lining the shelves in the kitchen to general clutter that resembles the inside of a thrift shop from share-cropper days, all of the modern day amenities are there. Air conditioning, indoor plumbing, electricity, and wireless internet all help make guests more comfortable while allowing them be transported to another life in another time. Sitting on our back porch, we could hear someone picking a guitar in the distance, along with the sound of our hands slapping at mosquitoes on our skin.
Wandering around the plantation is an activity in itself. A cavernous music barn contains church pews for seats, and has everything from a giant bug on a pole to a mounted deer head hanging beneath a disco ball. It is the owners’ affinity for junk that gives this “inn” an unpredictable and playful edge, while remaining historic and meaningful. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we stayed another night.
Shack Up Inn -Cotton Gin Inn
001 Commissary Circle
Clarksdale, MS 38614