Natchez Trace Parkway
Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
241Trip End Mar 15, 2007
When I went through the house a huge thunderstorm was going on outside and it was a bit of a refuge from the storm. The docent and her husband were just waiting for a larger tour group to come along; however, she willingly and lovingly showed me round the home (living room, dining room, kitchen, hall, stairs counterbalanced on a circular centre post, upstairs in a bedroom and the gentleman's smoking room. The house was truly amazing. I believe everything was original and in superb order. All the dishes, clothes, furniture, carpets, pictures, utensils. Some things I had never seen before. And the items were all (I believe) "touchable" rather than being behind glass or bars. The house was right beside the railway and was badly hit during the siege. There was cannon damage both inside the house and outside. In fact, the docent showed me a place In the front hallway where a shell had lodged for about 70 years under the stairs before being discovered and eventually disarmed by the local fire department. One of the small marvels is that with a large family of children living there all that time, that all the running up and down the stairs did not cause the shell to detonate.
At the time I as there, there were people working in the house
I found the historical presentations, my tours of the city, the homes, National Military Park (6 miles of roadway), battlefield sites and cemetery, to be a very moving event. It has coloured my experience in and memory of this part of the country.
By this time the rain had stopped and I headed out on my way down towards Natchez again along highway 61. As I drove further south, the trees and grasses became, if it is possible, even broader and greener with all kinds and manner of vines and undergrowth making the sides of the roads so thick you could not see through them.
As I moved further south, I passed through some lovely old Victorian towns. Just south of Port Gibson I turned off highway 61 and onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. The map of Mississippi points out that "The Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs 444 miles from Natchez to Nashville, is more than 8,000 years old
Nonetheless, by the late 1930's the modern Natchez Trace Parkway parallels the old trace
Shortly after I turned off, the rain started to absolutely pour down. While it was a truly lovely drive it was also a very wet one with rain bouncing up off the pavement and the hood of my car. It was not a drive conducive to getting out a lot to take pictures although I did take some. The green-ness of the trees, grass and bushes in the rain was almost painful it was so beautiful. Photos I took included those of Mount Locust stand, one of the earliest and most well-known inns on the trace and of an area called "Loess Bluff which shows where deposits of topsoil (loess) were blown here during the Ice Age. A lot of the area in this part of the state shoes loess deposits and in the place where the trace goes over top of this deposit, the trace may be sunken 20 feet deep.
After I left this lovely "road less taken" I came into Natchez. As I had not yet had lunch, I located a very nice little coffee shop (The Natchez Coffee Co) and had a cheese and tomato Panini. Much to my surprise and enjoyment, this establishment was also wireless so I couldn't up on my email a bit as well
In my short time in Natchez I learned that "following acquisition of the Natchez District in 1779, the Spanish founded the City of Natchez ca. 1790 to serve as the capital. Under Governor Manuel Gayoso, the city was planned and surveyed by John Girault in a typical Spanish grid plan around a central plaza and church with a common, on the bluff of the Mississippi river.". I did a bit of a drive around the town from Natchex Under the Hill up Silver Street, viewed the river (wetly) from the bluff. At the south end is a lovely home (Rosalie - named after a fort built at that site by the French in about 1716) built in the 1820s.
Following this I headed off for McComb Mississipi, which was where I was going to stay for the night.