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Tour Guide Notes

OVERVIEW

A city rich with history, Natchez is the oldest continuous settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley and one of the oldest cities in America. In 2016, Natchez celebrated its Tricentennial with a full year of special events, each of which highlighted a different aspect of the city’s three-century evolution. Natchez is located high on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, and is home to just over 15,000 residents and more than 1,000 antebellum structures. Numerous art galleries, museums, shops, restaurants and bars line the streets of the city’s picturesque and pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

LODGING

Known as the bed and breakfast capital of the South, Natchez has more than 40 authentic antebellum homes and Victorian buildings where visitors can stay. Plenty of hotels are conveniently located throughout the city, from perched high on the Bluff overlooking the Mississippi River to the heart of downtown. Many of the old homes date back to the 1800s and feature a charming blend of historic elegance and contemporary conveniences. The southern hospitality is alive and well at the historic inns – almost all of which serve a full Southern breakfast to start the day off right.

DINING & DRINKING

As a river community where cultures have always intermingled, Natchez restaurants offer one of the most diverse dining landscapes in the South. Local specialties include crispy fried chicken, breaded fried catfish, cornbread hushpuppies and pulled pork barbeque. Natchez is also known as the “Biscuit Capital of the World” and hosts an annual festival downtown that celebrates the buttery staples.

Carriage House – Located on the grounds of Stanton Hall, this elegant dining establishment specializes in southern food, and is prepared with care by the hands and staff of Chef Bingo Starr of New Orleans. Chef Starr has taken great care to preserve the long standing favorite dishes of local patrons and brought a few new succulent entrees with his signature style to the menu like fried soft-shell crab. The Carriage House is owned and operated by Pilgrimage Garden Club.

The Castle Restaurant & Pub – Constructed in the 1790s, The Castle Restaurant & Pub is located in Dunleith’s original carriage house and stable. The 18th -century brick structure was home to fine carriages and thoroughbreds and was built to resemble a castle – a true architectural gem that provides an incredible dining experience. The Castle serves a range of delectable southern cuisine prepared by acclaimed Chef Rose Jones and her talented staff.

Charboneau Rum – The first legally distilled rum produced in Mississippi. This family owned and operated micro-distillery is open for tours and is nestled next to King's Tavern Restaurant where guests can enjoy wood fired flatbreads and craft cocktails. Upstairs, the tavern also houses a craft liquor store where visitors can purchase Charboneau Rum and other local and craft wares.
King’s Tavern – Dating back to 1769, the building in which King’s Tavern resides is the oldest in Natchez, and it became a restaurant in the 1950s. King’s Tavern, one of the oldest standing buildings in the Natchez territory, serves hand-crafted, wood-fired flatbreads, small batch liquors and unique cocktails.

Mammy’s Cupboard – An iconic Natchez lunch establishment in a building built in the shape of a mammy archetype, Mammy’s Cupboard has been a staple of the city since its opening in 1940. The restaurant serves lunch and fresh desserts baked daily.
Natchez Brewing Company – Originally from England, Lisa Miller is the owner and founder of Natchez Brewing Company. The recipes brewed here are created by husband and Natchez-native Patrick Miller. In 2017, Natchez Brewing moved into a brand new facility, and offers tours several days a week.

Old South Winery – With over 50 years of experience, the Old South Winery specializes in “everything Muscadine.” The winery offers 9 Muscadine wines in red, white, and rosé in varying sweetness levels, from dry to lightly sweetened, in addition to one blueberry wine. Free tours and tastings are offered Monday – Friday.

CULTURE

Visitors can be transported back in time through the cultural institutions that represent the city’s rich and blended history.

Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins – An 1800-acre working cotton plantation, Frogmore has 18 restored antebellum structures that date from the early 1800s. The plantation offers multiple tours, including the popular “Cotton, Then & Now” which compares and contrasts a working cotton plantation from 1790 through today. From July – April, guests are able to pick cotton.

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians – The 128-acre Grand Village of the Natchez Indians site features a museum, a reconstructed Natchez Indian House, and three ceremonial mounds that guests can explore. Visitors can tour the museum, walk on the nature trails, bird watch, geocache or bring a picnic to enjoy the scenery.

Tour Historic Homes – The city is home to 1,000 plus structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 13 of which are designated as National Historic Landmarks. Over 15 homes are open year-round, with many others open for special tours or events.

Magnolia Bluffs Casino – Open 24/7, Magnolia Bluffs Casino offers slots, video poker machines and 10 gaming tables, along with dining options overlooking the Mississippi River.

SHOPPING

Shopping has a long history in Natchez, dating back to when it stood at the crossroads of American trade. Here, goods from all over the country passed through the city as they moved through the nation’s first interstate highway known as “The Natchez Trace.”
Crafted Gallery – Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, Crafted Gallery features pottery, jewelry, paintings, hand dyed fabric and yarn, mobiles and more one of a kind, hand crafted items perfect for gifts and for the home. Come see what Crafted Gallery has to offer for your unique needs.

Franklin Street Antique Mall – A large store located in the heart of downtown Natchez featuring over 50 booths of antique furniture, rugs, collectables, glassware, estate jewelry, coins, silver, china, crystal and so much more.

H. Hal Garners – One of Natchez’s more upscale shopping experiences, Hal Garners is composed of three historic buildings showcasing antiques, estate jewelry, china, crystal, fine gifts and fabrics for draperies and upholstery.

Nest – Located in historic downtown, this locals’ favorite offers seasonal blooming flowers, unique gifts, home decor, and a variety of event planning services. The shop is open Wednesday-Saturday and always by appointment.
Silver Street Gallery & Gifts – Located at Natchez Under-the-Hill, Silver Street Gallery & Gifts offers unique gifts, home decor, and a variety of Mississippi-made items including jewelry, edible treats and beautiful art from southern artists.

OUTDOORS

From birding at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge to kayaking the Mississippi River, there are activities for travelers of all ages to enjoy the pristine nature. The location on the river makes the area a prime location for hunting, fishing and birding.

Duncan Park – Located in the heart of Natchez, Duncan Park offers bike and running trails along with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and several baseball fields.
Great Adventures in the Miss-Lou Tours – This local adventure company provides high-quality diverse, fun, and challenging experiences and offers a fabulous menu of tours with “Redneck Adventures” host Jim Bob Allgood. Adventures can be customized to meet the needs of the guest.

Natchez Trace Parkway – The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, MS and extends through parts of Alabama and Tennessee. The route is lined with historical lookouts and trails, great for biking and hiking.

Quapaw Canoe Company – To spend a day on the water, Quapaw Canoe Company offers day trips to visitors interested canoeing or kayaking. Along the way guests can swim, picnic and look for wildlife.

KEY EVENTS

Major annual events celebrate the city’s food, culture and arts scenes.

Spring (March -April) & Fall (September-October) Pilgrimage – In a tradition dating back to 1932, Natchez welcomes “pilgrims” into its historic homes for tours by costumed hosts in 19th-century character. The celebrations include theater performances, special presentations and live music, all focused around the city’s stunning antebellum homes. The spring event takes place in March and April, with the fall event in September and October.

Natchez Powwow (March) – Traditional Native American dancing, singing, and fun comes to the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians every year for this annual event. Thousands of people attend the event to celebrate the rich Native American heritage of the Natchez area.

Natchez Festival of Music (May) – A collection of the country’s most prominent entertainers celebrate the arts in Natchez throughout May each year, and take part in a series of live performances that together encompass the Natchez Festival of Music. Throughout the month, visitors and locals are exposed to special performances from musicians spanning genres including blues, rock and roll, theater and much more.
Natchez Food & Wine Festival (July) –Every year, this festival brings together some of the South’s finest chefs, best breweries and most respected wineries.

Natchez Biscuit Festival (September) - Located downtown in ‘Biscuit Alley’ every September, this annual event features demonstrations, cook offs, and the ceremonial crowning of the Natchez Biscuit Queen - a bucket list item for all biscuit enthusiasts.

Great Mississippi River Balloon Race (October) – Starting with “Balloon Glow” Friday night, and continuing through Sunday afternoon, the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race is the most colorful annual event in Natchez, with gorgeous hot air balloons filling the skies over the Mississippi River as local and national talent fill the air with live music at Rosalie Bicentennial Gardens.

Music at the Mounds (October) – Music at the Mounds is a two-day music festival taking place at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. The festival features folk, bluegrass, Americana and blues music, in addition to great food and arts and crafts vendors.

Jeweled Christmas (December - January) – Located at the beautiful Towers Mansion, Jeweled Christmas provides a floor-to-ceiling spectacular event thanks to a jaw-dropping display of vintage costume jewelry numbering in the thousands. The Towers, which was originally constructed in the late 1700s, operates as a B&B throughout the year, but each holiday season incorporates a dazzling display of diamonds and hosts this incredible event. The display is entirely indoors and is one of the most unusual seasonal tours the South has to offer.

WEATHER

Natchez has a gentle subtropical climate – mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine. Average temperatures range from:
Spring: High 70s, low 50s
Summer: High 90s, low 70s
Fall: High 70s, low 50s
Winter: High 50s, low 40s
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