Monday, May 26, 2014

Natchez weekend

We spent the weekend discovering Natchez and the Natchez Trace. Natchez Trace is a trail of 444miles (about 720km) from Natchez to Nashville and is thought to be in existence around 10,000 years. It bisected the traditional homelands of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. Later on, maybe a century or two ago, traders floated their goods on wooden palettes down the Mississippi to Natchez and even as far as New Orleans, before returning home, walking the trail, instead of struggling against the currents of the river. They would have sold their wooden boats as lumber, and maybe had a horse or two to help them on their way. Because of this traffic, stands or inns sprang up along the way to provide food and basic lodging for the travellers. We visited one of these inns, Mount Locust Inn and Plantation. This is the description from the National Parks website:
'Mount Locust is one of the oldest structures still standing in an area known for historic homes. John Blommart began what would become Mount Locust by 1780, but his stay was short. After leading a failed rebellion against the Spanish, he was jailed, forfeiting his fortune and Mount Locust. Blommart’s former business associate, William Ferguson, and his wife Paulina purchased Mount Locust in 1784 and operated the farm until William’s death in 1801. A short time later Paulina married James Chamberlain, an overseer at Mount Locust, and they continued to build the growing farm. Mount Locust was home to five generations of Chamberlains, with the last leaving in 1944. The National Park Service began restoration in 1954, returning the historic home to its 1820 appearance.'
You can read more by clicking the link below.
We also walked along several parts of the Trace, including the Sunken Trail, where centuries of use has created a dip in the landscape where thousands of feet have worn away the land.
We stayed at The Briars,which was very quaint, but also a little run down. Were we too early in the season? I don't know. But the staff were so kind and attentive that we had a great stay and enjoyed walking in the garden and up to their spectacular view out across the Mississippi. We had a couple of delicious dinners in town the first at Magnolia Grill on Silver St. and then a rather 'posh' dinner at the Castle Restaurant, which was in a castle folly in the grounds of Dunleith Plantation.

NPS Natchez Trace, Natchez to Jackson
Mount Locust Inn
The Briars
Magnolia Grill
The Castle Restaurant

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