The Natchez Indians once populated the area that was to become Natchez. The French, British, and the Spanish also once occupied the area. Natchez was the first capital of the Mississippi Territory, and thanks to cotton, the city exploded. Today, Natchez is proud to be recognized as the oldest civilized settlement on the Mississippi River.
Natchez's boasts a multitude of antebellum homes that just wait to be explored. Spring and Fall Pilgrimages (March to April and October to November) highlight these homes, and offer daily tours conducted by persons in period garb. Fascinating architecture and history galore are discovered in the downtown district. Nearly every street downtown boasts homes listed as National Historic Landmarks or ones listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors are advised to park their car and expect to walk around a while. Specialty shops, cafes, outstanding restaurants, and antique stores dot the area and make for a fulfilling afternoon.
Natchez's extensive history cannot be overstated. Many of it s homes remain well preserved, and offer visitors a glimpse into the past. One exceptional home is Dunleith.
This antebellum, Greek Revival mansion is a National Historic Landmark, and sits on 40 acres. Twenty-six stunning Tuscan columns surround the house's 14 « inch think walls. Longwood, an Octagon shaped house, makes for another interesting find. Construction on this Italianate structure was begun just before the start of the Civil War, as thus never fully completed above the first floor. Tours of both homes are available.
A unique and fascinating stop await those who visit Emerald Mound, a National Historic Landmark. The site contains a flat-topped mound, roughly 35 feet in height, and dates from about 1250-1600. This site is quite significant, as it is one of the largest known to exist in the United States. The mounds is said to have been used to support temples and ceremonial buildings.
The Natchez Trace Parkway memorializes an ancient trail that linked southern portions of the Mississippi River to central Tennessee. Native Americans, as well as boatmen used the trail. Today, this National Scenic Byway can be explored via car, bike, foot, and even on horseback.
And if this weren't enough, Natchez is home to The Great Mississippi Balloon Race. Balloon pilots compete in a variety of special events, food and drink are plentiful, and excellent live entertainment abounds.
Visitors who feel lucky, or simple want a night packed full of entertainment, should consider a Riverboat casino tour.
Natchez is located is southwestern Mississippi, near the Mississippi River. It is approximately 40 miles west of Interstate 55, on Highway 84.