Jathan and Heather Discover The History And Romance Of Natchez, Mississippi [VIDEO]
May 17, 2013 3 Comments
We finally made it to the historic town of Natchez, Mississippi, a town we’ve wanted to visit for years. Greg Iles, one of our favorite writers and author of books like The Quiet Game and Blood Memory, lives here and during this trip many of the places he has written about came to vivid life.
This sleepy town was once one of the South’s wealthiest cities, full of industry and commerce, bustling with activity. Now, the industry is gone, but the history remains and the town has found an alternative source of income.
Tourism attracts visitors here year round. Last night we checked into the beautiful Natchez Grand Hotel, situated right beside the mighty Mississippi River. The rooms are well appointed, and the staff couldn’t be any friendlier.
After check in, the lady at the front desk recommended we dine at Biscuits and Blues, a locally owned establishment which opened here 13 years ago and has been featured in Southern Living Magazine and in Iles’ books. The food was out of this world. We’ve never had better ribs anywhere and the crawfish and mushroom beignets were to die for. But watch the video below for more about that. Needless to say, you’re going to want to take a trip down South and indulge in the wonders of Natchez.
Other restaurants you’ll want to visit are the Magnolia Grill which sits right on the Mississippi River in the part of town called ‘Under The Hill.’ They serve amazing grilled chicken, huge salads and delicious sweet potato fries. Then there’s the Pig Out Inn which makes amazing barbecue brisket and pulled pork sandwiches. They also have terrific sides including our favorite, the black bean and corn salad. Yum!
Aside from food, there’s also a ton of other things to do in Natchez. You’ll want to make the Natchez Visitor Center your first stop. There you can tour the museum and find out about the famous writers who have lived and worked there, watch a movie about the history of the town and buy tour tickets. We highly recommend the Southern Carriage Tour where you climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage and an experienced guide points out the most historic homes and structures in town, sharing stories and insider knowledge about the community and its residents.
There is also a plethora of vintage homes to see and some of them are even open to the public for tours. If you only have the chance to visit one of those homes, however, we recommend that you visit the amazing Longwood plantation home. With its amazing architecture and tragic history, the guided tour brings the Civil War era to life as you learn the history of the Nutt family who built it. This is truly a gem that has been lovingly maintained and is even on the Smithsonian Institute’s list of 100 sites to see in America.
The entire city is like one giant garden, and the people who live there truly define the term ‘Southern hospitality.’ And perhaps, if you’re as lucky as we were, you’ll run into professional storyteller Joan McLemore. Even at 87, she’s a force to be reckoned with, full of wit and tons of historical knowledge about her beloved town. She regaled us with tales, most true (with perhaps a few embellishments) and all entertaining. She told us about one young girl that visited Natchez who commented on how clean all the Spanish moss is that clings to the boughs of area trees. “That’s because our mommas take it down and wash it,” Joan told her. Even recalling the incident, a mischievous glimmer danced in Joan’s eyes. I could easily see myself being just like her when I’m that age.
Romance. History. Tragedy. Triumph. It all happened in Natchez, and you can recapture some of it if you visit this gorgeous Southern town on the banks of the Mississippi. Even if you only have a short amount of time to visit Natchez, it is well worth the journey.