Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Pilgrimage to Natchez

Last Friday was a glorious Spring day and my husband had a business meeting in Natchez, so I tagged along for the ride.

The Natchez Spring Pilgrimage is in full swing (March 12th — April 16th), and I was hoping to take my own "pilgrimage tour" while my husband was in his meeting.

He gave me the keys to his GMC Sierra Denali truck (that's pure love, folks!) ... and away I went, happily, albeit nervously, maneuvering that big black truck through the narrow streets of Natchez. And I even managed to take some pictures along the way!

I think Natchez has more one-way streets than any town I've ever visited, and I'm proud to say that I went the wrong way on only one of them, and, thankfully, didn't meet any traffic, so it wasn't too embarrassing.

When most people think about a pilgrimage celebration, visions of magnificent antebellum mansions and gardens probably come to mind. Granted, I did capture a few of them in all their glory ... like Rosalie, ca 1823

And The Burn, ca 1834 ...

If you are a regular visitor to Southern Lagniappe, you know that I love to uncover history and stories about the places I write about, and I was curious about why this lovely house is called "The Burn." I made a phone call to The Burn, which is a bed and breakfast inn, and spoke to a very gracious lady who told me that "The Burn" has been the historic home of the John Walworth family for more than 100 years. The Walworths are of Scottish descent, and they named their home "The Burn," because a creek used to run behind the house, and the Scottish word for creek is burn. Isn't that interesting!

Myrtle Terrace, ca 1844 ...

And the magnificent Stanton Hall, ca 1858 ...

But, mostly, the pilgrimage I wanted to take led me off the beaten path — and into some of Natchez's prettiest, quaint neighborhoods. That's where you find the best lagniappe!

And speaking of lagniappe, I did a double take when I saw this rather immodest lady in a lovely little garden. She was all decked out in her favorite hat (and little else), in honor of the Pilgrimage, I assume.

And where else, but off the beaten path, could you see a little peeping Tom (or Tomasina?), shyly peeping out at you from the safety of a porch? Can you see that sweet little face above the plant on the step? You can click on the picture to enlarge it, if you'd like.

I wished for my zoom lens, but it was in the truck which was parked halfway down the block, and I figured if I went and got it, the cat would be gone by the time I got back, so I settled for this shot.

The cottage garden and pretty little blue house are what caught my attention to begin with, though.

And it even had a bottle tree!

This unusual carriage house is located behind Myrtle Terrace, but I don't know if it belongs to the house.

I just thought it was interesting, and I love the gate and cupola with the weather vane on top.

This is "Dr. Dubs Town House" (ca 1852-1854), and the beautiful courtyard garden in its sideyard.

Here's another pretty little garden ...

I couldn't help but stop in front of this old house.

I would love to know its history, and how and why it has fallen into such a sad state of disrepair and neglect. The expression, "gone with the wind" comes to mind, and I'm sure it would take a small fortune to restore it to its former glory. Perhaps, therein lies the tale of its demise.

On a happier, more colorful note, Natchez is at its most beautiful now, with Azaleas, Dogwoods, and all kinds of flowers blooming. This "Snowball tree" was on a busy street corner, but I managed to get a picture. I wanted to get close-ups, but couldn't stop because of the traffic.

Everywhere you look in Natchez, you see picket fences ... and I don't think there's anything any prettier than roses cascading over a picket fence.

Unless it's a Wisteria arbor growing over a sidewalk ...

Not only were the flowers colorful, but there were some very colorful houses, too.

Here are a few more houses that caught my eye ...

I love the contrast of this pretty "spring green" sunflower against the stained wood door.

Rip-Rap, ca 1835-1850 ...

Myrtle Bank, ca 1835 ...

This house is called Ravennaside, ca early 1900s, and I captured its frozen fountain during a trip to Natchez in January 2010.

Natchez has hundreds of old Crape Myrtle trees, and this one caught my attention, not only because of the pretty picket fence and house behind it, but because of its roots.

They look like they melted into a puddle at the base of the tree.

I hope you enjoyed taking my "off the beaten path pilgrimage" to Natchez with me. But if you ever have a chance to visit Natchez, especially during their Pilgrimages (there's one in the Fall, too) ... be sure and tour some of the beautiful antebellum mansions, and experience southern hospitality at its finest by staying at one of the lovely bed and breakfast inns. And one of the best ways to tour "off the beaten path" is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride ... and then you won't have to worry about going the "wrong way" down a one-way street.

For more information about Natchez, click on the link to visit their Convention and Visitors Bureau website.


Anonymous said...

Simply fabulous Janie!

Marlene said...

Another beautiful day with you, Janie! I think that area must be "Heaven on Earth." The big gracious homes are wonderful, but I tend to appreciate the smaller cottages, particularly when they come "equipped" with Tom/Tomasinas. Thank you again for a most enjoyable tour.

racheld said...

I feel as if I've strolled the streets with all those lovely views. My always-love of Scotland gave me an immediate "creek" thought from the Burn name, and who wouldn't want to take refuge behind that great wall of vines on the carriage house?

I most love the little blue with the pastel-palette garden, and of course, the crape myrtle.

Loui♥ said...

thanks for the stoll and company!
your tours are such fun..
especially those we take off the beaten path!!
loved all the eye candy!
warmest sandy hugs..

southerninspiration said...

Oh, Janie, your photos make me so homesick!!! What gorgeous photos you do anyway but since Natchez was home to me, I want to go back in the spring. There are some giant snowball trees around; they and azaleas just shout SPRING!! I don't know if you've ever photographed the Briars up on the bluff? We spent the night in it once and it was, as a child, such a creepy place. I felt like the paintings' eyes were following me!!! Ha.
I will have to go back one spring as a tourist....thanks for the memories!!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

She's still the belle of the river, Janie. I think Natchez is one of the prettiest places on earth. Loved your pictures. Thank you for sharing.


Sheila :-)

Richard Cottrell said...

I just love Natchez, I am so jealous I could not go and I am glad at the same time that you got to go.Thanks for sharing. I bet it was beautiful. Stop by sometime soon. Richard at My Old Historic House

Jenni said...

Oh my goodness! What an absolutely FABULOUS tour you've taken us on today.....

Girl, I will be visiting this particular post many times, I can already tell. There is so much to see! And it is especially wonderful to me, because I have always longed to go on the Natchez Trace tour, ever since I taught at that college in Jackson, but have never been able to do so....

But today, I finally got to, thanks to you and your awesome lens...
A heartfelt thank you!

Luke said...

I'm from Natchez, and the abandoned dilapidated house you photographed is named Melmont. Construction began in 1850 and was completed in 1854, it's Greek revival with italinate influence. It was built by Henry Basil Shaw (I think he was a doctor, but I'm not sure). His wifes name was Mary Elizabeth maiden name Latimore. She named the home Melmont, Mel coming from her maiden initials, and Mont French for being mounted in the center of it's average. Their descendants lived there until 1912 when it was sold to the Henderson family (they had lived at Magnolia Hall) and they remodeled the interior to colonial revival. The home was then sold again in 1957 to the Oberlin family, their three children still have possession of the home, and live out of town. Hopefully it will be restored one day!

PS. I know this is really random, but I was looking for pictures of Natchez on google, and found this post. I figured I'd tell you what I know about the house.