Back in May, when I was exploring Deep South USA, we had the briefest of stop-offs in Natchez, Mississippi.
When I say a brief stop-off, it really was – we arrived mid-afternoon, and were back on the road the next day. I’d have loved to have spent some more time there, as we found some lovely locals and a friendly atmosphere.
In photo diary form, these were some of my favourite things to do in Natchez…
Our first stop in Natchez was the Monmouth Historic Inn. Bartender Roosevelt whipped us up some Mint Juleps, using his famous special recipe, and they were the perfect cooling drink – minty and refreshing. With a hearty kick of booze, for good measure…
With ice-cold julep cups in hand, we were taken on a tour of the house – which is absolutely stunning. Built in 1818, Monmouth fell into disrepair after the Civil War, and it was only in 1978 that the house was restored to its former glory, using original features wherever possible.
One thing I noticed when visiting, was how little the area’s history within the slave trade is discussed. Instead on our tour of Monmouth Inn, the majority of the focus was on the restoration of the house, and its place as a Historic Inn and Gardens. I’d definitely recommend some background research into this aspect of Natchez’ history, as it’s an important thing to put in context when visiting. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, this page gives a good overview.
After exploring the house itself, we took a walk around the gardens – a stunning, sprawling expanse of greenery filled with statues, flowers and even a small lake.
Once we’d checked into our hotel, we headed straight to Natchez Brewing Company where they’d laid on a bit of a party. We tucked into local favourites including a big ol’ grits bar as a musician played along in the corner.
And, of course, we tried out the brewery’s offerings…the Southern Grace was my favourite – a German style sour beer with hints of lemon and passionfruit. The perfect summer beer for those who like tart, lambic styles.
We also got to experience the perfect sunset, taking a short walk along to the river to watch the sky turn red over the Mississippi. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever had the chance to witness, and photos really don’t do it justice…
Say hello to my kinda bar.
A couple of our newfound local friends invited us along for some more drinks down at one of their favourite hangouts – the Under The Bridge Saloon. Perched on the edge of the Mississippi river, it’s definitely a dive bar through and through. Which is totally awesome with me.
Drinking beers and having a taste of some local rum, we played the darts machine, chatted about life, art and even cockney rhyming slang. It’s one of the bars I’ve felt most at home in as a visitor, and the folks there made us feel so welcomed. Seriously, such lovely people.
Once we’d had our fill of darts and drinks, we headed back to the hotel.
Waking up early, I had the chance for a quick walk around Natchez, breathing in the fresh spring air on the riverfront and taking in some of the quaint and character-filled buildings.
Before getting back on the road, we stopped to refuel at Steampunk, recommended to us as one of the best coffee stops in Natchez. As the weather was pretty warm, I grabbed a cold smoothie instead. It was SO GOOD, and the decor inside Steampunk was awesome.
My short but sweet experience of Natchez truly felt like I’d expect Southern hospitality to be. The food and drink, but above all – the people. I’ve had a taste, and would love to go back to this underrated Deep South destination for more…