As the bell chimes a 7th time in the distance, I am awakened into a realm almost 150 years prior to my birth. Pre-civil war southern antebellum times. I slowly rose and stretched as the bright southern sun pierced through the window. I made a cup of coffee in my eclectic little Air BNB studio and began a weekend that I would never forget in Natchez, Mississippi.
While this is a sponsored post, all reviews are my own honest opinions.
WHERE TO STAY IN NATCHEZ, MS
There are several very unique and historical places to stay in this quaint southern town but I found comfort in an amazing Air BNB off Main Street.
The Guesthouse at Locust Alley is one of two occupant rooms in this beautiful, eclectic establishment. The room was decorated with unique british musician and art memorabilia. I enjoyed my morning coffee in the cozy living room while thumbing through the books and magazines left on the coffee table. The bathroom was the perfect size for a gal who likes to take her time and the bed had me sleeping on a cloud. I loved that the room was stocked with kitchen cooking utensils and a washer and dryer for long term stay. There were several local pamphlets on the antique alter for planning day trips and a majestic set of wooden doors in the living room that led to an art studio and antique shop.
There was a quaint little private porch that overlooked a courtyard used for events. The owners of the building are working to renovate the back of the courtyard for even more party space. I imagine that this venue and guesthouse would be perfect for a couple getting married!
The room is located off of the Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries studio which is perfect if you happen to be staying on the fourth Friday of the month as they host a swanky art and music event where you can enjoy the local sounds and creations of Natchez.
THINGS TO DO
Historical Home Tours
Natchez was saved from fire and looting by the union army during the Civil war because whoever won the territory was sure to be rewarded with its wealth and beauty. You can experience this beauty through the historical home tours throughout the town. While there are well over 10 historical homes, I had the pleasure of visiting 4 of the grandest. Want to learn more about my home tour experience? Natchez Historical Home Tours
Natchez Museum of African American History
Natchez isn’t all beautiful antebellum homes and southern charm, it’s rich in African American history as well . The contributions given , sacrifices made ,and hardships endured by the African Americans slaves of the area were the foundation for economy and trade in this beautiful town. At the Natchez Museum of African American History, you will learn of heroic stories, such as the story of an enslaved African prince, the fight for freedom during the civil war period, and also tales of local heroes in the modern day. I fell in love with some of the art inspired by the southern African culture, notably the photo below in the trio, located on the far left.
Forks in the Road Slave Market Site
After touring the museum, I visited a site that to many just looks like a patch of grass surrounded by two small roads, but upon further inspection, you will find that some of the town’s saddest moments took place right here. Families were split, sold to the rich caucasian families to work, many until the end of their days. Natchez was Mississippi’s most active slave trading city with the Forks in the Road slave market being in operation as early as 1808. Today, you can still feel the overwhelming sense of sadness when visiting. There is a small yet monumental dedication for those who were victims of the trade. Over the years, there have been several shackles found in the ground at this spot and they have been cemented into a monument so this heinous business and those who endured will never be forgotten.
William Johnson House
This was the former home of a freed slave known as “the barber of Natchez” in which he taught free african american males the trade. He kept a dairy around the time that he purchased the barber shop in which he chronicled the town’s local happenings and gossip that would be discussed while getting a leisurely cut. He also spoke of his time hunting and fishing with friends, as well as his times visiting the horse races. In 1851, Johnson was murdered by his neighbor over a boundary dispute in one of the regions most notable cases of it’s time. I really enjoyed learning about the history of this amazing man, his accomplishments were truly inspiring.
Local Art Happenings
Natchez has a rich local art scene. They are currently working on establishing an art district in the downtown area which happens to be one street over from the Guest House in Locust Alley. I toured many galleries with the Crafted Gallery owner Sarah Freeman, and fell in love this an artist that I MUST collect from in the future, Caroline Youngblood. I found her pieces at Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries. There were so many amazing pieces within the galleries in Natchez.
WHERE TO EAT
I have so many restaurant recommendations that we would fill the entire post with food and fun. Instead, I have written a separate recommendation post, 7 Best Restaurants in Natchez. No lie, every single place that I ate at in Natchez was absolutely delicious! I’m not sure I have ever been on a trip where I would rate all food 100%. If you are a foodie, you will definitely enjoy the eats in this old southern town.
SHOPPING IN NATCHEZ
Silver Street Gifts
Silver Street is located in the former Natchez Under the Hill. Natchez Under the Hill made up the original town of Natchez during the Revolutionary War and later became the darker side of the city in the Civil War era with prostitution and gambling being the areas main trade. Now you can participate in the area’s more legal trade, SHOPPING!
Silver Street Gifts is located right in the heart of Silver Street. The owner, Gail, fills her shop with local art, clothing, gifts, bath and body products, jewelry, and MORE! I found the perfect fall dress and a very unique scarf with a map of Paris printed on it. I fell in love with the home decor and kitchen accessories.
Like almost all of the business owners I met in Natchez, Gail lives right above her shop. I find this fascinating since living above your shop was customary to the 1800’s time period. I love that Natchez’s retail entrepreneurs embrace the lifestyle of their predecessors centuries ago!
I would be willing to bet that the owner of Darby’s clothing store, Darby, is one of the town’s most successful entrepreneurs. She owns one clothing and gift boutique, 3 furniture stores, and a rug shop. Darby has been running her business for 36 years and like many of the other entrepreneurs that I met, she too lives above her shop.
Darby’s clothing and gift boutique is 4 stories and filled with everything you need to satisfy home and fashion. Her design eye is immaculate. I walked through her shop taking note of her merchandised displays for home decor ideas. Her clothing selection is very stylish with a mix of classic feels. I found the cutest fall skirt and sweater combo that I wore on my tour of Longwood the following day! After looking at fashion and gifts, Darby took me through her furniture galleries. I can totally see why people travel distances to shop her showrooms. She has every variation of decor represented.
Darby has fabulous employees but her fuzziest staff member takes the stage. Darby’s pup has her own social media feature and is a hit with the customers. The very well mannered pup accompanied us on the tour, the best representation of woman’s best friend!
My visit to Natchez was so relaxing and super educational. I love learning the history when visiting a place and without a doubt, there is enough history for more than a handful of trips. Looking for a little antebellum southern experience? Experience Natchez, Mississippi!
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