Sunday, April 10, 2011

On the Road: Spring Visit to Historic Natchez, Mississippi

Monmouth Plantation, 1818, has been beautifully restored and designated a National Historic Landmark. Besides 30 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, the 26-acre property offers guests lush gardens, ponds and walking trails. The wisteria was glorious during our stay and visit in Natchez.

Peter and Cecile - residents of London, Ontario who also spend the winter on the Alabama Gulf Coast - visited Natchez with us. Before dinner at the 1818 Restaurant at Monmouth Plantation, we enjoyed cocktails on the patio.

Lucy Ann, our tour guide while in Natchez, explained that construction on the "Oriental Villa" called Longwood was begun in 1860; however, it was halted by the Civil War because most of the Yankee craftsmen laid down their tools and left. Only one floor of the octagonal house was finished; descendants of Dr. Haller Nutt and his wife Julia lived there until the late 1960s. The National Historic Landmark property is now owned and maintained by the Pilgrimage Garden Club.

Stanton Hall, built in 1857 and currently owned by the Pilgrimage Garden Club, is regarded as one of the most palatial residents of antebellum America. The Greek Revival-style house is surrounded by huge live oak trees and remarkable for having many original pieces from the Stanton family. It was built by Frederick Stanton, one of three brothers who came to America from Belfast, Ireland.

In addition to touring antebellum homes and gardens during the annual 5-week Spring Pilgrimage, several evening events are also available; we attended the Historic Natchez Tableaux. The blend of tableaux, song and dance has been presented since 1932 in the City Auditorium and features Natchez residents in period costumes.

Rosalie, built between 1820 and 1823, was the third National Historic Landmark home we toured while in Natchez. It was located on the river bluff near the site of Natchez Indians' massacre of the French at Ft. Rosalie and was the home of the Union Army in Nathez during the Civil War. In 1938 it was purchased by the Mississippi DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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