Driving South from Vicksberg to Natchez we veered off Route 61 and took the Natchez Trace Parkway instead, taking you through 100s of miles of gorgeous National Park land. It was a lovely, lovely drive.
Once we arrived in Natchez, we once again caught sight of the Mississippi.
The day we arrived in Natchez was September 11th, and the neighbouring town of Vidalia (just across the bridge into Georgia) was hiolding a free open air “Patriotism Concert”. Now if someone said “Patriotism Concert” to you in the UK, you would be expecting this to be an event hosted by the BNP or EDL. This was different – local politicians and tv/music celebriities from the area got together to hold an open air brass band concert in remembrance of those who lost their lives on Sep 11, complete with a rider galloping around, flag in hand. A very touching moment was when the brass bland played a medly of regimental pieces and everytime the music moved to a different tune, members in the audience whose regiments were represented stood up – retired and active personnel – you could really sense the pride they felt at hearing “their” tune. Various local celebs took to the stage to entertain us with songs and other musical performances, and it was a lovely evening.
Of course, as expected, there were flags galore, and the sky cooked up a stunning sunset.
The next day we had a drive around Natchez, but we kind of felt that we pretty much had the measure of “Historic Houses” of the region now. Natchez has quite a few more historic houses than Vicksberg, and in much better repair, partly because where Vicksberg stood up for itself in the Civil War and put up a good fight, Natchez really took more of an “Italian” approach and said “sure, occupy our town, just don’t break anything”.
So we spent a little time driving around Vicksberg and seeing the outside of vast, stunning properties, which you could pay to tour inside if you wished (we didn’t) but there was ONE place that definitely warrented a special trip: Longwood.
Longwood is a phenomenal property set in the most stunning grounds. Samuel Sloan, a Philadelphia architect, designed the home in 1859 for a local cotton planter, Dr Haller Nutt. Work was halted in 1861 at the start of the Civil War. Dr. Nutt died of pneumonia in 1864, leaving the work incomplete. The house is also known as Nutt’s Folly! Of the thirty-two rooms planned for the house, only nine rooms on the basement floor were completed and Nutt’s wife continued to live in those basement rooms until she died. Longwood, was the last burst of southern opulence before war brought the cotton barons’ dominance to an end. Longwood survived decades of neglect and near-abandonment until it was purchased by a local businessman and made available to the public for viewing, under the condition that it would stay exactly at it was, never to be completed, as a historical artifact. The completed building would have covered 30,000 square feet! That’s some house!
Touring the house is fascinating in terms of the design of an octagonal home, the attention to detail and the thought process that went into the place.
You can still see unpacked crates, boxes and barrells with supplies for the home.
If you are looking for the start of the journey and the introduction, it begins HERE.
If you would like to see the full gallery of all the images I took (way more than on the blog), without the commentary, please click HERE.