After over a year enjoying our home, we were longing to get away. So, we packed up the car for a 5 day journey to the small town along the Mississippi river known as Natchez. The town sitting on a bluff above the Mississippi was founded in 1716 and might be the oldest town on the river. This town and its surrounding area contain the greatest concentration of antebellum homes in the American South, including some of the most opulent and extravagant. Looking at these Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate mansions, their beauty seemed inseparable from the horrors of the ways these homes were built. The soaring white columns, the manacles, the dingy apartment buildings at the Forks of the Road, the tendrils of Spanish moss hanging from the gnarled old trees, the humid fragrant air itself: everything seemed charged with the lingering presence of slavery, in a way that I’d never experienced anywhere else.
Forks Of The Road
You might just miss this historical site as known as The Forks of the Road Slave Market site, which was one of the largest slave market in the United States. Today, visitors will find information panels discussing the slave trade in Natchez and around the South, as well as slave chains laid in concrete.
The Natchez Pilgrimage Tours
It was Richard Grant’s book titled: The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi that first grabbed my attention to learn more about Natchez and visit this small town that once contained the largest concentration of millions in the United States. You can still see the wealth as one explores the town. The best times to consider a trip here is during the Spring or Fall Pilgrimage as many of the homes open for group tours. Learn more about Natchez Pilgrimage by going to Natchez Pilgrimage Tours We visited during this Spring’s month long Pilgrimage.
Monmouth Inn and Restaurant was rather disappointing in its grandeur in the inside. This mansion dating back to 1818 with its own restaurant known as Restaurant 1818 is still worth a visit. The restaurant is well worth adding to your list of must eats while in Natchez. The reason for the not so grand inside is that they use the first floor as space for the restaurant. Otherwise, do consider this mansion on your list to visit while in Natchez.
The next of a home is the Greek Revival style known today as the Stanton Hall (originally named Belfast) dating back to 1857. It occupies an entire city block, which is a Greek Revival home dating from 1857. This home is owned by the Pilgrimage Garden Club in Natchez. More on these garden clubs later…
Stanton is full of amazing antiques and stunning architectural features from the antebellum period. When you first get a glimpse of Stanton Hall, it will boggle your mind to know that builder, Frederick Stanton, paid $83,000 to build this opulent home. Stanton was an Irish immigrant and he’d originally named the house Belfast. Stanton was a wealthy planter and cotton merchant
Choctaw Hall (circa 1836) truly deserves more than just a mention. You must visit David and Lee’s home, which is decorated throughout with period pieces, art, and a touch of excellence that makes a tour of this home something to remember. We stay in its bed & breakfast, which is located on the ground floor. David and Lee offer a 4 pet-friendly rooms that are comfortable, clean, and quiet. You will have the opportunity to socialize in the common living room area.
We truly our stay in this B & B that combined history, comfort, and a wonderful host. Dave has wealth of information about the history of his home offering tours and chats about it and the local area. We highly recommend a stay here and planned a return sometime in 2021.
The Garden Clubs of Natchez
There are two garden clubs, the Natchez Garden Club and the Pilgrimage Garden Club, which do not actually do any gardening. Founded back in 1933, each of these garden clubs originally had gardening with preservation in mind and both continue preservation duties today minus the gardening. Both garden clubs have grown to be two of the most popular Natchez social clubs. Several of the homes we explored are owned and managed by these clubs
More to come about Natchez in future posts….enjoy exploring
Thank you for visiting…