Natchez is either the start or the end of the “Natchez Trace Parkway” depending on if you start or end there. Several years ago we drove the “Trace” and ended our drive at Natchez. Ever since that time we have wanted to ride the “Trace” and spend time in Natchez exploring a town rich in history.
Unfortunately we aren’t riding the “Trace” this trip. Janet and I met Larry and Jo in Natchez. We couldn’t ride the bikes for a number of reasons so we spent four days relaxing and exploring a small part of the history here.
Our accommodations were Oak Hill Inn, a bed and breakfast housed in a historic home built in 1835. The owners Doug and Don restored the home after purchasing the home in 2004. They did an excellent restoration job and received the 2005 Restoration Award from the Natchez Historic Foundation for their restoration work. Oak Hill is a great accommodation with a superb breakfast. If you eat all the breakfast you may want to skip lunch. Doug is a great host with a wealth of knowledge about Oak Hill, all the antebellum homes, history and restaurants of Natchez. For more information, please check out their website.
The week we were there was during Natchez’s “Spring Pilgrimage” of antebellum homes. Twenty nine mansions open their doors to visitors during the pilgrimage. We always enjoy exploring old historic homes. We love the history, architecture, stories of how they came to be and the families who have lived in them. Many of the homes in Natchez have been passed down through the generations and some of those families still live in them. We toured the following three homes.
The Burn 1832 The Burn, a Greek Revival home built circa 1834 by John P. Walworth, is an elegant three-story mansion set on two landscaped acres covered with Camellias. The name “Burn” is Scottish (I believe) and means brook. The Burn’s interesting history was told during a tour of the home. Like many of the antebellum homes on the tour, “The Burn” is a bed and breakfast. The 5 Bed and Breakfast rooms are named after the Walworth children.
The Elms 1804 The Elms is a beautiful home built circa 1804. It has been in the same family for more than 130 years. Esther Carpenter, the present owner, is the fifth generation to live and own The Elms. She returned to Natchez in July 2006 to renovate and restore The Elms to its place in Natchez history.
Hope Farm 1775-1789 Home of the Spanish Governor, Hope Farm was built in the 1770’s. Hope Farm was also the home of Mrs. Katherine Grafton Miller, who was the founder of the famed Natchez Pilgrimage. There are four guest bedrooms and is one of the many bed and breakfasts in Natchez. As an overnight guest at Hope Farm, you will be treated to a private tour of the home and its unforgettable treasures.
Longwood is not part of the “Spring Pilgrimage” home tour but is available for tours. Tickets may be purchased on site. It was my favorite of the homes we toured. Because of the Civil War only the basement was finished. The exterior was mostly finished but the upper floors have remained unfinished and left mostly in the same state they were in when the war broke out. We can imagine what a splendid home it would have been if it had been finished. It is a shame it was never finished. If finished it would have been a beautiful and unique octagonal structure with an onion dome.
Emerald Mound is the second largest prehistoric ceremonial mound in the United States. It is located just off the famed Natchez Trace Parkway just north of Natchez.
The mound covers nearly eight acres. Prehistoric native Americans who were the ancestors of Natchez Indians used the mound for roughly 350 years.
It is an impressive site and is hard to imagine it being built with the many loads of soil that had to be transported by the Native Americans. I guess it was the public works project of their day… 😉 For more information click the link above.
Natchez City Cemetery is located at 1 Cemetery Road. The cemetery was established in 1822 and covers approximately 100 acres of land. The cemetery is on high ground overlooking the Mississippi River. Once you learn the history of some of the characters of Natchez you will want to visit their final resting place. We did a self-guided tour following a brochure and map. To take it all in you should spend at least 3 hours there. You may be interested in hiring a guide so you’ll get all the details of the deceased. Either way it is worth the time walking the grounds.
There are also many good restaurants in Natchez. These are the ones we enjoyed while there.
The Magnolia Grill is located on Silver Street in Historic Natchez Under-the-Hill. The Under-the-Hill district was home to the roughest groups of folks… gamblers, prostitutes, drunkards and all types of criminals. Under-the-Hill now just Silver Street is home to the Magnolia Grill, the Under-the-Hill Saloon, and the city’s only riverboat casino, as well as a few other historic buildings.
Dinning at the Magnolia Grill allows you to enjoy your meal while watching the mighty Mississippi River roll by. The Magnolia specializes in regional cuisine with offerings such as fresh, Mississippi farm raised catfish, fresh gulf seafood, steaks, burgers and sandwiches.
Fat Mama’s Tamales serve up the best hot tamales, chili, Knock You Naked Margaritas and other tasty items.
Mammy’s Cupboard a unique structure built in 1939 is located at 555 U.S. Highway 61 South. Mammy’s serves daily lunch specials, sandwiches and famous deserts. Dinning in this unique structure is worth the trip and the food is really good.
Breaud’s Seafood and Steak is located in the middle of downtown Natchez, Mississippi, in the old Brown Barnett Dixons building at 511 Main Street. Breaud’s proudly serve New Orleans-style poboys and muffalettas, fresh salads and soups, seafood gumbo and shrimp and crawfish corn chowder, whole or half rack of baby back ribs, covered in home-made honey Jack Daniels, BBQ sauce and a huge burger called the “Breaud Burger”.
Pig Out Inn BBQ where “IT’S SWINE DINING AT IT’S FINEST”! It’s just one block from the mighty Mississippi river at 116 S. Canal Street. The owners learned the barbeque trade in the Dallas, Texas area. As a Texan I can say it is up to Texas barbeque standards.
We stayed just four days in Natchez. You really need more time to take everything in. If you like southern towns you will enjoy Natchez. There are too many things to list and I could never do them justice, so check Natchez’s website. If you are ridding the “Trace” or in the area you need to stop by and spend some time here.