Friday, September 4, 2015

Southern Adventures With Ceekay

It's been so long since I've worked on my blog I'm not sure I still know how to do it!  We've had so much going on since the last time I was here.  Shortly, after my last post, my precious friend Ceekay came for her yearly visit.  We spent two glorious weeks in late April/early May exploring Mississippi and Louisiana.  Unfortunately, her health has taken a definite turn for the worse and she will never be able to join me on another adventure.  This is for you my dear dear friend!
We began our adventure when I picked Ceekay up at the New Orleans airport.  We made our way to our home for the next couple of days, Ormond Plantation, located just outside the city.  The main house was built in 1790.
Ceekay took a few minutes to relax in our room while I took pictures of some of the other rooms. 

These are just a couple of the rooms we didn't stay in.
We soon left for New Orleans where we found a southern-style fish restaurant for dinner and did a little shopping.
The next morning we were up bright and early for a delicious breakfast served in the main dining room.

But first, we couldn't resist taking photos of ourselves in this fabulous chair.
New Orleans saw some rain that day but we didn't let that stop us!  We shopped, ate, explored, and took a wonderful carriage ride.
The next day I took Ceekay to see my very favorite plantation - Houmas House.  (I blogged all about it several years ago.)
Another visitor kindly took our picture for us.

We had another fabulous tour of this beautiful plantation.  You'll have to check out my previous post for more pics.
Before heading to Vicksburg, we toured the famous Oak Alley Plantation.  Alas, no photos inside the house were allowed.  It was a long day but it was worth it!
Back in Vicksburg, we toured the Courthouse Museum........
......and had some lunch at the store where the Teddy Bear was invented.  The story goes that Teddy Roosevelt was on a tour of the west when he stopped here.  They had a bear cub in a cage out back and invited the President to shoot it.  Being the sporting gentlemen he was, he refused and the teddy bear was born!
We also took a day and drove to West Monroe, Lousisiana where we did a little shopping at the Duck Dynasty store.
Finally, we headed down to Natchez, Mississippi where we felt like southern belles for the night at Brandon Hall Plantation.
When you are guests at a plantation you are encouraged to take all the pictures you like......
.......and touch anything you want to - even 200 year old Steinways.
We had gorgeous suite.......
.......with out own rooms and bathrooms.
Breakfast was served in the beautiful dining room.  There wasn't anyone sitting in the corner pulling the rope to keep the fly swatter going above the table but we enjoyed seeing anyway.

In Natchez we enjoyed touring three plantations..............
.........and taking another wonderful carriage ride.
All too soon it was time to return Ceekay to the New Orleans airport for her flight home.  I will sorely miss our adventures together and I know that for the rest of my life there will come countless times that I will think, "Carolyn would love this!"

Friday, April 17, 2015

Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg

We enjoy getting to know more about our temporary home here in Mississippi, so we spent one Saturday touring some of the museums.  When Teddy Roosevelt came to Vicksburg, he visited the Old Court House. So did Jefferson Davis, Booker T. Washington, William McKinley and U.S. Grant - so we figured we ought to visit it too!

It was on these grounds that Confederate President Jefferson Davis launched his political career.

It was also here, on July 4, 1863, that the Confederate Stars and Bars were replaced with the Union Stars and Stripes, signifying the end to the 47-day siege.  

Built in 1858, the Court House withstood the bombardment by Union Troops, hit by only one cannonball.

A museum since 1948, it houses thousands of items reflecting the Southern Heritage, including this Bible that was nearly destroyed as it lay open on a table inside a house hit by cannon fire.

There are many exhibits reflecting the southern way of life for the well-to-do citizens of Vicksburg before the war.

The museum doesn't neglect the fashions of the time either.

There are also exhibits on the early days of Vicksburg......................

....................and the many steamships that travelled the Mississippi River.

And, of course, what would a court house be without a court room?

We had an enjoyable day learning about the history of Vicksburg.  By the way - Vicksburg did not celebrate  the 4th of July with the rest of the nation until after World War II.  Feelings run deep in the south!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Just Some of the Mansions of Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez is the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River and will celebrate her 300th birthday in 2016.  At the outbreak of the Civil War there were twenty millionaires in the United States.  TEN of them lived in Natchez.  Mansions abounded, with everyone trying to outdo the other.  When Vicksburg fell to General Grant, Natchez quickly sent word to Grant surrendering the city so they wouldn't suffer the same fate as Vicksburg.  Therefore, the mansions of the city were not burned down and and remain today as tour homes or bed and breakfasts.  We only had time to visit just three of those mansions.

The Federal-style mansion, Rosalie, was built in 1820.  During the Civil War, the owner, Mrs. Wilson, was untiring in her services to the Confederacy and fell under suspicion during the federal occupation of Natchez.  She was arrested and banished to Atlanta.

I risked arrest myself when I snapped a few photos of this parlor as we were ushered inside for the tour.  I had to put away my camera when they finally told us "no photos allowed inside the house."

Once poor Mrs. Wilson was banished, her home became headquarters for the Union officers in Natchez.

The back door of the mansion is just as elegant as the front.  Rosalie still  contains many of the same furnishings Mrs. Wilson left behind.  Too bad I can't show them to you!

Our next stop was Stanton Hall built by a wealthy cotton planter and broker in 1857.

This mansion, too, contains many of its original furnishings.  Unfortunately, I can't show them to you either.  

On the outskirts of Natchez is the largest octagonal house in America called Longwood.  Planned in 1859 for cotton nabob Haller Nutt and his wife, Julia, it was begun in 1860.  Using the octagon form with four main floors, a fifth-story solarium and a sixth-story observatory, the structure was designed to have 32 rooms, each with its own entrance onto a balcony.

Work progressed rapidly and the gigantic shell was soon up.

In April 1861, all of Mr. Nutt's dreams were smashed by the declaration of war.

The Philadelphia craftsmen dropped their saws and hammers and fled North to pick up rifles and bayonets, never to return.

A dejected Mr. Nutt and a few local workers and slaves completed the basement level.  Originally planned to have a wine cellar, school room, recreation room, and office, the basement was converted to living quarters for the Nutts and their eight children.

They lived in relative comfort in the basement, but, on June 15, 1864 Haller Nutt died in the basement of his unfinished mansion.

Julia and the children lived on in the basement doing only a minimum to maintain the great hulk looming over them.  They had lost their great fortune during the war and were never able to finish their dream home.

We enjoyed our visit to some of the historic homes in Natchez but there are many more to visit.  So many mansions, so little time!