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Natchez~ Saturday & Sunday

So if you don't know, here is a little history...  Natchez, Mississippi, sits right on the Mississippi River.  Natchez is one of the the oldest settlements in the lower Mississippi River Valley, and at one time was the capital of the territory and then the state.  It became a very important port for southern planters who would ship their crops down to New Orleans.  These planters were very rich and built wonderful mansions in or near town.  These weren't necessarily plantations, but were estates instead.  Many of these homes are still standing in Natchez.  They have a Natchez Pilgrimage every spring and fall, during which time there are dozens of homes open to the public for touring.  During the other times of year (like now), there are still several to see...

We got to Natchez near dinner time on Saturday.  We checked into our hotel and went for some food at The Pig Out Inn...


On Saturday night, we drove around town and found our way around a bit.  On Sunday morning, we started our day out at the Visitor's Center.  There we saw a short movie and learned about the history of Natchez, and bought several of our tickets for the home tours.  Then we headed to Stanton  Hall for brunch in their Carriage House restaurant.

After brunch we toured Stanton Hall (sadly, they wouldn't allow photographs inside)...
Stanton Hall was built in 1857 for a cotton magnate named Frederick Stanton.



One thing we discovered at the Visitor's Center is that some of the homes are only available for tours Thursday through Saturday, others only at 10 a.m., etc. and some by appointment, but only if you had a group of 4 or more, so we had to get a plan together to figure out what was going to be open while we were there and when we had to be certain places. 

After doing the planning, we went out to Melrose for a 2:00 tour... 


Melrose is owned by the National Park Service.  Let me just take a minute for this PSA:  I cannot say enough about the National Park Service.  On last year's trip to Arizona, I visited several places owned and operated by the NPS, and now this year I hit up a couple of places as well.  They generally do a wonderful job preserving our history and a great job in presenting it.  Barney, our tour guide at Melrose, was no exception.  He was awesome!  Luckily, there were only 4 of us on this tour, so we were able to get tons of information.  Barney even learned our names, well except for mine.  He just called me "Dimples".  Get ready for picture overload, because the park service allows as many photos inside as you could want! 

Melrose was built in 1845.  One thing that was so extraordinary about Melrose was that everything in the house was original to the house.  Not a replica.  Not period pieces.  Original! 

The dining room...

The display of the 1200 piece Old Paris Porcelain collection  (which by the way, I'm now obsessed with Old Paris Porcelain!).



The ladies parlor...

All the people who lived in these grand homes were pretty well off, but this family was particularly rich.  So downstairs they didn't have carpet or wood floors, they had oil cloth floors which were very expensive and rare.  You can see some of the original oil cloth floor in this photo...

Almost all of the homes had a french mural wallpaper in the entry halls.  The name of the company that produced these was Zuber.  I'm also now obsessed with Zuber wallpaper!
The back of the house was undergoing renovation.  Barney said it started as a paint job and now, $1.5 million in, this is where they were at!

This detached building was originally the kitchen (downstairs) and the house slaves lived upstairs.  Just across the lawn, there was an identical building that housed the dairy room and the laundry.  These buildings were called a dependency, because the estate was dependent upon it and the people who lived here...

Of course I love moss covered trees...

The trees in Mississippi all seemed to be covered in what appears to be a fern as well...

How could I not show you the vibrant blue hydrangea...

Then we toured Rosalie. 

Rosalie is right in town.  They also didn't allow photos inside, but when we went out on the upstairs balcony, you could see what a great view these folks had of the river...

After our tours, we tried out the Mexican restaurant that was always bustling.  We tried a margarita, chips, hot sauce and queso.  It was at this point, that we realized poor folks in Mississippi don't have a clue about what constitutes good Mexican food and drink!

We then walked around and admired some of the other homes around town...

We loved the scroll detail on this house!
Down by the river...
That riverboat is now a casino.  We didn't go to the casino though.

Stay tuned for Day 2 of Natchez...

Comments

Shantybellum said…
Enjoyed your blog post about Natchez. I have some shots of the inside of Stanton Hall that were taken for the Antiques Forum that is hosted in Natchez every year. You can share them with your readers at:

http://shantybellum.blogspot.com/2011/04/stanton-hall.html

Also, the fern you mentioned that grows on the limbs of the live oak trees is called resurrection fern. During dry periods, it turns brown and curls up, appearing to be dead. After a rain, it resurrects and opens up, green and healthy again.

http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/4h/Resurrection_fern/resufern.htm

Also, LOVE the design of your blog. I can't figure out how to be nearly so creative with my own. Great job.
Mom said…
Love all the old homes.
Oh my goodness! Pig Out Inn used to be one of our favorites! I had no idea they had one in Natchez. We used to eat there all the time in Jackson, but I think it's closed now.

We were in Mississippi the same weekend as you! I saw your pics of crossing the river into Vicksburg on Twitter right after we had crossed it ourselves. Crazy!

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