My parents came down for a visit this past weekend!  It was so fun to have them and “the poochie-poo” here to show them around our new town.

my parents' doggie, izzy

The visit was perfect timing: M’ssippi is a few weeks into spring, and the spring home tours are getting underway!

Saturday we drove the Natchez Trace, a 440-mile road that starts in Nashville, Tennessee, and ends in Natchez, Mississippi.  It was formerly a Native American path between the Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers, but is now a scenic route leading to some of the most beautiful antebellum homes in the South!

About halfway down the Trace from Vicksburg in Lorman, M’ssippi, is Old Country Store, visited by Alton Brown (of Food Network fame) on his Feasting on Asphalt tour back in 2007.

old country store in lorman, MS

love the front porch and faded painting on the storefront

Alton Brown claims it’s “the best fried chicken he’s ever had”.  I have to second that!!!  It was fan-freaking-tastic.  YUM.  Thank goodness it was an all-you-can-eat buffet, because we ate all we could!

i think i may have inhaled a few pieces of fried chicken

Mr. Davis, the owner of Old Country Store, came out of the kitchen periodically yelling, “Freeeesh chicken!  Freeeeeesh chicken!  Come get your fresh fried chicken!”  Then he told the story of how he bought the store, how his “mama was the Cornbread Cookin’ Queen” and he “became the Fried Chicken King”.  Then he broke out into an autobiographical song about his mama and his chicken and got a rousing round of applause!  (here’s a link to a YouTube video I found of him singing – skip to 1:15) It was awesome – we LOVED that we made this stop!

Our bellies full, we were off to Natchez!

love the leaded upper windows

Natchez is one of the US’s oldest cities, settled by the French back in 1716.

cute little porch

It’s right on the bluffs of the Mississippi River and was an important – and very rich – river city leading up to the Civil War.

beautiful B&B - especially loved the garden

The city was populated by rich planters who built beautiful town homes, many of which still exist today: spared by an almost immediate surrender to the North during the Civil War.

cute little cottage kind of like ours

The Union used many homes in Natchez as offices, so much of the integrity of these antebellum homes was spared.

love the bright white

Unlike many Southern cities, Natchez was able to almost immediately spring back to economic prosperity due to its location on the Mississippi River.

a little victorian up on a hill

Once steamboats fell out of prominence as a primary form of goods transportation, and the railroad grew, Natchez’s economy declined.

stunning victorian - check out those turrets!

Like many towns with a long history and inventory of old homes, Natchez now relies on tourism to power the economy.

another beautiful victorian

Enough of the boring history stuff.  🙂

my new house inspiration for the exterior!

Every spring and fall, Natchez holds its Natchez Pilgrimage Tour, where 20+ antebellum mansions are opened to the public for a 5-week period (before it gets blazing hot)!  Each home has tour guides on-site to tell the story of the home, its role before and during the Civil War, and its restoration.  All of the female tour guides wear hooped skirts – so cute!

We visited 3 homes: Richmond, The Burn House, and Rosalie.  We didn’t get pics of the interiors of the first two since they are private residences, but did get some good exterior pics:

RICHMOND

the front, a greek revival addition added in the early 1820s

the former front, now the middle and back, originally built in the late 1700s

really neat idea to add plantings to a front stair

pretty iron railing and love those to-the-floor windows!

THE BURN HOUSE

This private residence was immaculately restored on an amazing, camellia-filled piece of property.  Just beautiful!  They said it was the first home in Natchez of the Greek Revival style.

stunning home with an enormous live oak!

the rear of the home, showing its extensive gardens

camellia trees EVERYWHERE - dozens of varieties

beautiful copper lanterns hung on all the porches - i want!

english garden in one of the courtyards

ROSALIE

This is one of the more impressive mansions in Natchez, now owned and operated by the Daughters of the Revolution.  It contains one of the most complete and best preserved sets of Belter rosewood furniture in the US.

the rear exterior of rosalie

front parlor - showing off many of the belter pieces

the back parlor - even more of the belter furniture! my interior design prof would die to see that carpet!

one of the upstairs bedrooms

view of the Mississippi River from the backyard

Hungry after all that touring, we ate along the river at a cute place called the Magnolia Inn, where it had this view of the river:

sun setting on the river

And then the last seconds of sun before we drove the Trace home:

the mighty mississippi

If you ever get the chance to visit Natchez, I highly recommend it!  It’s a feast for your eyes and full of good ol’ Southern hospitality.

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