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Natchez, Mississippi PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

Longwood Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USANatchez, Mississippi is a city where visitors can experience the magic of antebellum homes and discover the warmth of southern charm and hospitality.

 

 


When Edward F. Nesta and I were planning a trip to New Orleans in July 2007 we discovered that Natchez, Mississippi is located only 172 miles from New Orleans and decided to drive from New Orleans to Natchez to combine a trip to include both of these irresistible cities.

Founded in 1716 and located along the Mississippi river, Natchez has a population of 20,000, is the oldest city in Mississippi, has a rich history and is graced with stately antebellum homes.

Natchez Visitor CenterTo learn a little about the history of Natchez, we visited the Natchez Visitor Center, which without a doubt is the largest visitor center that we have ever visited. The visitor center's courteous and professional staff helped to provide us with valuable information, maps, brochures, magazines, and they even sell tickets to events and tours of the antebellum homes.

The Natchez Visitor Center is open Monday - Saturday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, and on Sunday from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. The center is handicap accessible.

Natchez Visitor Center
640 South Canal Street
P.O. Box 347
Natchez, MS 39121-0347
Telephone:      +1-601-446-6345
Toll Free:        +1-800-647-6724
Email:            
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Website:          www.VisitNatchez.com   

With our Walking Tour map from the Natchez Visitor Center in hand, we loved strolling through downtown Natchez, and admiring the attractive architecture, as horse drawn carriages passed us adding to the overall charm and ambience. We love antiques, history, and architecture, and Natchez is a wonderful city filled with all three. Since the Civil War did not reach Natchez, the spectacular antebellum homes remain in pristine condition. Twice per year the city hosts Spring and Fall Pilgrimages to visit the homes and have a glimpse into the past. In addition to the homes that are open throughout the year, there are several private homes that are also open during the pilgrimage.

Period ClothesImagine touring a home where a hostess welcomes you wearing period clothing to tell you about the history of the home, attending pageants, and in the evening there is special entertainment. If you have always wondered what the inside of these homes would look like, indulge in a luxury experience and take a tour. Organized by the Garden Clubs, the tours originally only included tours of the gardens of the homes. With increased interest from visitors who wanted to visit the inside of these spectacular homes, the Garden Club held their first Spring Pilgrimage in 1932. The tours were such a success that a Fall Pilgrimage was added. Today, the Spring Pilgrimage takes place from March - April, and the Fall Pilgrimage takes place from September to October.

Although we were not in Natchez during the Spring or Fall Pilgrimage, we did manage to visit several of the homes. I have noted the opening and closing times so plan your time accordingly so you do not miss out on visiting any of these homes.

Rosalie Antebellum Home, Natchez, Mississippi, USAOur first stop was to Rosalie, a stately Federal-style red brick mansion trimmed with black shutters with soaring white Doric columns built in 1820, with expansive four-acre gardens overlooking the Mississippi river. Unfortunately, we arrived at Rosalie at 9:30 am and tours begin on the hour, with the first tour beginning at 9:00 am. Since we had an appointment at 11:00 am in another part of the city, we were not able to wait for the next tour of the inside of the home. Lesson learned; we made sure that we verified the tour times before visiting the other homes. We did take a brief tour of the garden though, and had our first real glimpse at the mighty Mississippi river, which was most impressive.

Rosalie is open every day. Tours begin at 9:00 am and the last tour of the day is at 4:00 pm. Admission is charged, with a reduced price for visiting multiple homes.

Rosalie
South Broadway at Canal Street
Telephone:      +1-601-445-4555
Email:             
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it    
Website:         
www.Rosalie.net  

I first saw Henry C. Norman's work in the Quitman Study at Monmouth Plantation, and was enchanted with his black and white photographs from the 1880s. His camera not only captured the moment, he immortalized the period with his engaging photographs. We visited the Stratton Chapel Gallery located at the First Presbyterian Church to see the exhibit of Natchez in Historic Photographs.

Natchez captured in Photography Natchez captured in Photography

More than 500 photographs by Henry D. Gurney, Henry C. Norman, and his son, Earl Norman were on display depicting the period from the 1850s until 1951. The photographs tell the story of Natchez through the people who lived there. A few of my favorite photographs were the fashion photographs that not only offered a glimpse of history, but also captured the essence of the subjects.

Stratton Chapel Gallery is open from Monday - Saturday, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Suggested donation is $5.00 per person.

Stratton Chapel Gallery
First Presbyterian Church
405 State Street
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
Telephone:      +1-601-442-2581

Stanton Hall Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USAOur next visit was to the palatial white Greek Revival home Stanton Hall, built in 1857 as a 14,000 square foot dream house for Frederick Stanton, a wealthy cotton broker who immigrated from Ireland and became one of the richest men in Adams County. Unfortunately, Frederick Stanton died 9 months after moving into Stanton Hall, although his family remained in the house for the next 34 years. Stanton Hall later became a boarding college for young women, and was purchased by the Pilgrimage Garden Club in 1938.

This is a home where opulence abounds with original furniture, silver-plated door hinges and doorknobs, and to give you an idea of the size of the home, the entry hallway ceiling is just shy of 17 feet, is 72 feet wide and has 1,100 square feet of living space. The Library features a 7-feet by 14-feet French gilt mirror, exquisite and unique Carrera marble mantles throughout the first floor of the house, and black marble mantles upstairs. Stanton Hall Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USA - ParlorThe ladies and gentlemen's parlors feature hand-carved cypress moldings above the doors and interesting Gasoliers from Philadelphia. Of particular interest is the Gasolier adorned with symbolism: cherubs for love, flowers for friendship, and fruit for hospitality, and the very unusual 1830 double music stand in the ladies parlor. The dining room is an impressive 35 feet in length and features an excellent collection of English Sheffield silver.

Tours are every day on the half hour beginning at 9:00 am, with the last tour of the day at 4:30 pm. They are closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are special times during the Spring and Fall Pilgrimages. Admission is charged, with a reduced price for visiting multiple homes.

Stanton Hall
401 High Street
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
Telephone:      +1-601-442-6282  
Website:        
www.NatchezMansions.com  
Website:  
       www.StantonHall.com  

Longwood  Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USAAlthough the Civil War did not reach Natchez, its devastating legacy is most pronounced at the antebellum home Longwood built from 1860-1861, the largest and most elaborate octagonal house in America and is crowned with a 24-foot finial atop a Byzantine-Moorish dome. Designed by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan for Haller Nutt who purchased the 42,000-acre property in 1858 for his wife, Julia, this was to be an elaborate town home, and construction of the house began in 1860 and ended abruptly in April 1861 when the start of the Civil War forced the workmen to return to Philadelphia. By 1864, at the age of 48, Haller Nutt had lost his fortune, had lost his cotton plantation across the river, and had died of complications from pneumonia, stress and heartbreak. With the loss of Haller Nutt's fortune, the family did not have the money necessary to complete the construction of the house, although this did not stop Julia Nutt and their eight children from living in the basement of the house, which was the only level finished, until Julia's death in 1897. The Nutt family owned the property until 1968, and then sold the property to the Adams family, who later donated this spectacular property to the Pilgrimage Garden Club.

Longwood Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USA - Dining Room Touring the house is a bit unsettling seeing what might have been yet it is also an uplifting experience, when you realize the fortitude and perseverance of the family. The house is made of 750,000 bricks that were made on the property. Of particular interest are the 5-sided bricks to economize on the number of bricks used and to not have to cut them. When completed the brick façade would have been covered with stucco and scored to resemble stone, and the home would have been 30,000 square feet, with 32 rooms, a solarium on the fifth floor, and an observatory on the sixth floor. The home features cypress wood floors, antiques and rosewood furniture from Julia's family, and the rare opportunity to take a look at the "bones" of this impressive structure.

Open every day, tours are on the half hour beginning at 9:00 am, with the last tour of the day at 4:30 pm. They are closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are special times during the Spring and Fall Pilgrimages. Admission is charged, with a reduced price for visiting multiple homes.

Longwood
140 Lower Woodville Road
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
Telephone:      +1-601-442-5193
Email:            
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   
Website:   
     www.NatchezMansions.com  

Magnolia Hall Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USA Magnolia Hall is a Greek Revival mansion built in 1858 in downtown Natchez just prior to the Civil War (also known as the War between the States). Although the home is very attractive, what I especially loved about visiting Magnolia Hall is the costume museum located on the second floor. I could easily imagine the men, women and children who had once worn the costumes, and I must admit that I would not have minded wearing one myself, on perhaps a not too hot and humid day. Magnolia Hall Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USA - Costume MuseumMagnolia Hall is owned and being restored by the Natchez Garden Club.

Magnolia Hall is open Monday - Saturday from 9:30 am - 3:30 pm. Tours begin at 9:30 am and are conducted every 30 minutes. Admission is charged, with a reduced price for visiting multiple homes.

Magnolia Hall
215 South Pearl Street at Washington Street
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
Telephone:      +1-601-442-6672
Email:            
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   
Website:        
www.NatchezPilgrimage.com  

Melrose Antebellum Home - Natchez, Mississippi, USAMelrose, built for John T. McMurran and his family between 1841-1845, is a spectacular brick mansion with stately white columns, and is majestically set on 80 immaculate acres maintained by the National Park Service. Although we just missed the visiting hours for Melrose, we did admire this opulent mansion from the outside.

Open every day from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Tours take place on the hour and last 45 minutes. Admission is charged, with a reduced price for visiting multiple homes. The first level of the home is wheelchair accessible.

Melrose
1 Melrose Avenue-Montebello Parkway
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
Telephone:      +1-601-446-5790 
Website:  
       www.NPS.gov  

Old South Winery, Natchez, Mississippi, USAAlways looking for something different, we made a surprise discovery when we learned that there is a winery in Mississippi. We visited Old South Winery, which has been making wine since 1979. Founded by Dr. Scott O. Galbreath, Jr. DVM, the winery whose motto is "The Best in Everything Muscadine" features a wide selection of wines made from the muscadine grape.

Old South Winery, Natchez, Mississippi, USA - Scott O. Galbreath III and son Scott IVWe met with second generation, Master Vintner, Scott O. Galbreath III who explained that until 1978 it was illegal to make wine in Mississippi. The winery, which is the only winery in Mississippi, opened in 1979 making muscadine wine, as muscadine grapes grow where other grapes will not. Muscadine grapes played a key role in the United States when other grape varieties experienced devastation by phylloxera. Muscadine vines were used to graft onto other grape varieties to protect them against this disease. Scott said, "There is love in every bottle. I want every single bottle to be the very best."

Muscadine grapes are American wild thick-skinned grapes native to the southeastern part of the United States. Disease and pest resistant, the grapes like a hot and humid climate making them perfectly suited to the Natchez climate.

Old South Winery, Natchez, Mississippi, USA - Muscadine GrapesWe took a tour of the winery with Scott and learned that in order to make muscadine wine, the grapes are harvested in late August until September, crushed, and are then left to rest for 3 days because of their thick skins. After resting, the grapes are pressed, and the juice is separated from the skins and seeds. The juice is put into stainless steel tanks in a refrigerated room kept at 55° F. Commercial yeast and sugar are added to the juice where it remains for the next 5-6 months before being bottled which takes place in February or March. The wine is filtered before bottling with an end result of wine with 12% alcohol.

Of particular interest are the healthful aspects of muscadine grapes and wine. Muscadine white and red wine has 5 times more reservatrol than other red wines, and muscadine grape seeds are 40 times higher in reservatrol and ellagic acid than other grapes. Offering high levels of antioxidants, Dr. Scott O. Galbreath, Jr. DVM developed and patented New-U capsules 10 years ago, which are made from muscadine seeds and skins, and to think that this most important by-product had been discarded in the past.

Old South Winery, Natchez, Mississippi, USAOld South Winery produces 12 wines ranging from dry white to sweet white, and dusty-dry red to sweet red. With names like Southern Belle (a semi-sweet white), Blue Bayou (sweet white), Sweet Magnolia (their sweetest white), Miss Scarlett (sweet rosé), Natchez Rouge (semi-dry red), Bayou Blush (semi-dry blush), and Blueberry Thrill (semi-sweet blueberry) made from Robert Eye blueberries grown in the deep south, the wines are not only healthy and tasty, but with their hand-sketched labels are also great as conversation pieces.

I especially enjoyed Blueberry Thrill, rich with blueberry flavor that reminded me of blueberry pie in a glass, and would make a delicious reduction sauce for duck or game. I also enjoyed Southern Belle, which had an earthy nose, slate and limestone on the palate, and an earthy finish that would pair well with cheeses. Although Scott told me that Miss Scarlett, their most popular wine, is perfectly paired with pecan pie, this is something that I definitely look forward to experiencing for myself.

Old South Winery
65 South Concord Avenue
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
Telephone:      +1-601-445-9924
Fax:                 +1-601-442-1215
Email:             
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   
Website:        
www.OldSouthWinery.com  

Natchez offers visitors a wide range of outdoor activities including boat cruises and kayaking along the Mississippi River, fishing for catfish, golfing, and taking a drive along the scenic and historic 444 mile Natchez Trace that runs from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez. There are festivals throughout the year, a few of which include the Spring Pilgrimage in March - April, the Natchez Festival of Music in May, the Food & Wine Festival in August, the Fall Pilgrimage in September - October, the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in October, the Civil War Reenactment in November, and the Madrigal Dinner in December.

If you love antiques, history, architecture, are a Civil War buff, enjoy outdoor sports, or just appreciate finding wonderful new places to discover, Natchez should definitely be on your list of "must-visit" places.

Located 90 miles from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 115 miles from Jackson, Mississippi, and 172 miles from New Orleans, Natchez is waiting for you to come and discover its charm.

Natchez, Mississippi, USAFor information on Natchez and upcoming events, please visit the websites: www.VisitNatchez.org and www.NatchezMS.com. For information on visiting the antebellum homes during the Spring or Fall Pilgrimages, please visit the website: www.NatchezPilgrimage.com. When in Natchez, be sure to visit the Natchez Visitor Center.

Natchez Visitor Center
640 South Canal Street
P.O. Box 347
Natchez, MS 39121-0347
Telephone:      +1-601-446-6345
Toll Free:        +1-800-647-6724
Email:            
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Website:       
ww.VisitNatchez.org  

© August 2007. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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