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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thursday: Jackson to Natchez, Mississippi

We had some miles to cover this day, so we set out on the freeway south out of Jackson to Hazlehurst, then west on a state highway through pine and hardwood forests, bound for Natchez, back on the Mississippi. 

We joined up with the old Natchez Trace, a wilderness road used by Indians long ago, and in our more recent history by traders, soldiers, slaves, and Kaintucks. Kaintucks were riverboat men who built barges to float goods down river to New Orleans, then sold the barges for lumber and walked the trace back home to repeat the process. 

We stopped at Mount Locust, an old inn along the Natchez Trace. 




Resting in the family cemetery here is Granny Polly, who outlasted several husbands and kept the family business alive.
Can you see those Kaintucks coming down the trail?

On our wish list when planning this trip was to get to visit antebellum plantations. Natchez is the place to do that. 

Melrose is a National Historic Site, but it was originally a "town house" for a wealthy lawyer-landowner-business man.  His working farms were farther out of the city, and each had a grand house. 

By the time we were through with two days of plantation visits, we had seen many magnificent live oak trees, but they never ceased to amaze me. 
Beautiful iron work graced the back portico.

Also amazing were the huge grandiflora magnolia trees.  This one was over 50 feet high.
We toured the inside of this grand house and were allowed to take photos.  Many of the furnishing are original, or of the period.


Before we pursued more grand houses, we searched out the previous residents of the area, at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.


Yes, they were mound builders too. 
And then, armed with a list of antebellum houses and my iPhone with Google Maps, we drove hither and yon around the city of Natchez, searching out plantations. 

Linden
Monmouth
Auburn
Stanton Hall originally occupied an entire city block.  As another "town home", it was not a working farm.  In fact all of these were second homes for these wealthy folks. 

We toured the inside of Stanton Hall, which is owned and operated by the Natchez Garden Club, but no photos were allowed. 



Natchez is on a bluff above the river.  

Our hotel, and the end of the road for Thursday, was over by that bridge.
After checking in and resting up, we crossed that bridge into Louisiana for a seafood dinner.  We started with fried green tomatoes with a crawfish sauce.  I followed that with Creole shrimp over penne pasta.  Yum. Tom had a seafood gratin. 
It was getting dark when we crossed back into Mississippi.
As darkness fell we went for a walk around our hotel, watching the fireflies in the kudzu and enjoying the night sky:  Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon.


13 comments:

  1. Thankyou for this post Linda, I have never been to the USA but hopefully will get there one day. I love to learn all about the history & your post was very informative & interesting!

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  2. Stanton Hall reminds me of Tara in Gone With the Wind. You are having such an amazing trip. What incredible plantations! They certainly lived in style.

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  3. what a wonderful trip! and thank you for all of the great photos.

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  4. those plantations remind me of Gone with the Wind---fascinating.

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  5. How I wish I had one of those magnificent mansions.
    Lovely trip so far.

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  6. Wonderful pictures, Linda. I LOVE those big old oak trees especially :-)

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  7. Those Live Oaks are spectacular! Too bad some places don't allow photos...that would encourage others to visit:)

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  8. Beautiful country, indeed!

    Due to blog trolls, I had to move locations. I'm now tucked away at: https://mysunnynook.wordpress.com/

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  9. What an a amazing trip, with so much history.

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  10. These homes were the palaces of America. This would be and interesting tour to take. It's good that somebody keeps these places in good condition as the tell the history of the area. You had lots of history in today's post.

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  11. Very nice. And you look great, by the way!

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  12. Very interesting! I love old houses and have always wanted to see the south and antebellum plantations. Thanks to your post, I feel like I've been there!

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  13. You had a grand tour on this day. My husband just read "Natchez Burning." He really enjoyed the book. Have you read it? He was quite interested in your photos of the area.

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