5 Things To Do in Natchez, Mississippi
Natchez conjures images of colossal, columned Antebellum mansions hidden behind Spanish moss-draped trees. While this river town may be known for its historic homes, a new generation of residents is breathing new life into into the city and giving visitors plenty to see from the present along with the vestiges of the past.
Here are five things not to miss in Natchez.
1. Sip locally made rum, wine, and beer
Natchez produces all three within the city limits. Chef Regina Charboneau’s son Jean-Luc and husband Doug produce rum with sugar cane and molasses sourced from just over the border in Louisiana in their distillery attached to the family’s restaurant King’s Tavern, which is housed in the city’s oldest building from 1789. Nearby the Gailbreath family makes wine from locally grown muscadine grapes, and this July Natchez Brewing Company will finally be legally allowed to sell their beer on site without the purchase of a tour ticket, but we’d still recommend it.
2. Tour Longwood, Linden, Melrose, Monmouth, Stanton Hall
If you don’t know where to start with touring Natchez’s historic homes, these are the big five to remember. Each of these mansions have a unique history from Longwood’s nearly unfathomable architecture to Linden, which served as the model for Tara in Gone With the Wind. Melrose, now owned by the National Park Service, and Stanton Hall are two of the most originally intact properties in the city. Monmouth Plantation allows visitors to spend the night and dine in what was once the men’s and ladies’ parlours at their Restaurant 1818.
3. Visit where Richard Wright grew up
Native son of Natchez and author of works like Native Son, African-American writer Richard Wright is most famous for his groundbreaking novels such as Black Boy that helped redefine the discussion around race relations in the South in the 1940s and beyond. His childhood home still stands on East Woodlawn Street.
4. See Smoot's and Steampunk
Local businessman William Rogers, who goes by Dub around town, opened Steampunk Coffee Roasters in 2012, and since then it’s become a gathering spot for locals and visitors. His most recent venture is a restored juke joint, Smoot’s Grocery, which is part music venue, part beer garden, and part pop-up restaurant. Catch their Kudzu Supper Club series or touring acts making their way from New Orleans to Memphis.
5. Paddle the Mississippi
The experienced outfitters and river guides at Quapaw Canoe Company have an outpost in Natchez that allows even first time paddlers to experience the prime bird watching and towering bluffs all from the river. The more adventurous can book multi-day trips with Natchez guide Adam Elliott.