Summer wanderlust grabs hold and sparks a strong desire to hit the holiday road in order to satisfy the wanderlust within, discover roads less traveled, and revel in new adventures while finding ourselves along the way.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
Natchez, Mississippi is a pack a bag, set the GPS, and let’s get out of town for a day or weekend destination that offers everything from festivals to shopping to art to dining to distinctive mixology to antiquing to gourmet cooking classes.
Jaunting over to this small Mississippi town for a quick getaway from it all is right up our alley.
With a few months still to go until vacation time, reaching back into the trip report archives is my tried and true cure for the are we there yet blues.
Impressive architecture, antiques shops, mint julep and tiny biscuit lunches at the Carriage House, refreshing cocktail hours, and laid back evenings seal the travel to Natchez deal.
Louisiana to Mississippi rural highways, byways, and parkways give credence to the travel credo always take the scenic route.
Cell phone images of interest along country roads less traveled capture the scene and the herd.
I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve gone to Natchez for a festival, a pilgrimage, to celebrate a milestone, or simply to getaway.
However, some trips do stand out more than others for one reason or another.
Photos from our past Natchez trips will not be appearing in this post due to the following:
It’s 98 degrees in the shade here in Central Louisiana.
Rooting around in a climate controlled storage unit to locate the box they may be in is not my idea of hot fun in the summertime, n’est-ce pas?
I’ll do my best to make this an easy follow with the help of borrowed, credited, courtesy of, and sourced photos rich in travel detail.
Natchez gifts the eye with stunning views of the swift and sprawling Mississippi River and contrasting elevation levels.
Crossing over the Natchez-Vidalia bridge is its own we’re not in Louisiana anymore moment.
Our self-guided driving, riding, and walking tours of Natchez have resulted in the discovery of impressive architecture, outstanding architectural details, off the beaten path and under-the-hill gems, and fascinating people.
Speaking of off the beaten path gems and fascinating people, let’s take a travel show and tell detour for a few paragraphs for the simple reason I like telling this story.
Friends of ours invited us to join them in Natchez for the 1984 Spring Pilgrimage. We booked the guest house at Ravennaside for our party of four, packed our bags, and headed east.
The guest house option works best for us.
You get the bed and breakfast experience with the extra added bonus of privacy.
The owners of Ravennaside at the time, Mr. and Mrs. John Van Hook, kept with the vision and intent of the original owners, Mr. and Mrs. James Fleming, for Ravennaside to be a home for entertaining.
Upon check- in, Mr. Van Hook gave our group a tour of the house and a rundown of the schedule of events planned for that evening and the next morning.
Guests were invited to mix and mingle on the veranda over cocktails and appetizers beginning promptly at 5: 00 pm.
Everyone was encouraged to introduce themselves and indulge in lively conversation and strong libations.
My friend and I took a seat on the large rattan couch, exchanging hellos with our fellow seat mates.
Karen immediately struck up a conversation with the group sitting next to us.
I, on the other hand, was taking a moment to study the interiors, the architectural details of the space, and the cast of characters in attendance at this rather unique gathering.
A quick elbow nudge from Karen brought me back to reality. She leaned in to tell me the scoop discovered while engaged in casual cocktail chitchat.
Turns out our fellow day drinkers happened to be a group of senior editors from Southern Living magazine.
Thirty-five years later and I can’t for the life of me remember a single name of the three ladies or the single gentleman in their group.
Time has a way of doing that.
That late Saturday afternoon spent Southern sippin’ is by far one of the best travel memories in our Natchez, Mississippi travel repertoire.
Coffee and chicory pairs well with a brisk fall afternoon, serving as the beverage of choice at the guest house coffee and cocktail hour.
Dave added a generous pour of Bailey’s to his coffee to spike up the flavor and warm the bones.
Celebrating the moments of our lives in fika fashion over several cups of strong coffee, we found ourselves slightly buzzing from the combination of caffeine, Bailey’s, and the pure excitement of being out of town.
The parking area for guests was at the opposite end of the courtyard. The roosting of what seemed to be thousands of birds in the bamboo trees lining the entire back of the courtyard produced a loud and eerie soundtrack.
One would think in our comings and goings that at least one of us would have noticed the large garden statue standing at the far end of the courtyard.
You would think, but we did not.
With a brisk breeze kicking up and the gift of dipping fall temps, Dave thought moving the car closer to the guest house a good idea. I told him I was almost finished getting ready, and I would meet him at the top of the stairs.
The front door of the guest house was made of solid wood, and was as wide as it was tall. A high pitch squeak at mid open (or close) let you know someone was coming in or going out.
Between the squeak and a strategically positioned full length mirror serving as my make-up mirror, I had both an audible and visual heads up of who was coming in and out of the guest house.
Call it a prehistoric version of the Ring doorbell.
All of a sudden the door swings open so fast it doesn’t even have time to squeak.
Dave is a whiter shade of pale in color and frantic in his locking the door behind him maneuvers.
Immediately I ask, “What’s wrong?”
“There’s a headless something or someone standing in front of the car.”
I recall his exact words at this point in the conversation- “and I’m not sh#&!ing you.”
Normally being the calm, cool, and collected (and sober) one in our party of two, my initial reaction was to diffuse the situation without discounting Dave’s fear.
“Okay. Why don’t you share with me exactly what you think you saw.”
The story goes like this:
When Dave walked up the stairs to the driveway he saw what he thought was Dr. Whittington sitting in his study. He decided to walk by the study window and wave good evening to Dr. Whittington.
As it turned out there was no one in the study, so Dave continued on down the driveway to the parking area.
He proceeds to describe the details, telling me the birds roosting in the bamboo trees is deafening loud this evening, and the previously mentioned fall winds have really begun to pick up.
He continues on in order to further set the scene.
The closer he gets to the guest parking area, he’s 100% percent sure he sees the aforementioned headless something or someone standing in front of the car
I give him a look of sure you do- the look I’ve perfected over the years.
“Do you think perhaps the Bailey’s infused coffees are having their way with your eyes, Dave?”
“I know what I saw, Darleen.”
Facing your fear is the only way to conquer it.
Taking these words into account, I decide to see what we’re working with here.
Much to Dave’s don’t open that door objections, I opened the front door to better assess the situation.
About the time I opened the door the wind gusted and the sound of the birds roosting in the bamboo hit a crescendo.
Looking down the courtyard through over caffeinated eyes, I too see a headless something or someone standing in front of the car
I couldn’t shut and lock the front door fast enough.
Dave gave me his I told you so look- the look he’s perfected over the years.
Regardless of what or who is standing by the car, we were going to The Post House for our last night in Natchez dinner.
We both opened the door for a second look, and yep, he-she-it is still there.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson analyze the situation, devising a game plan of how to both get to the car and defend ourselves from the forces of headless evil lurking in the night.
Dave comes up with the plan.
“Grab that pair of candlesticks on the mantle. You take one, and I’ll take the other, and it’ll be two against one.”
Dave addressed my concerns over the post battle condition of the candlesticks.
They were not antiques, and I was familiar with the brand and the retail store where a replacement pair could be purchased from.
Dave concluded we would throw a Ben Franklin Dr. Whittington’s way if the candlesticks fell victim to battle.
With adrenaline at peak levels, a fierce craving for Post House Chicken Cordon Bleu driving the charge, and a battle defense consisting of liquid courage and decorative accents, we were ready.
Let’s do this.
There was no point in slow walking the inevitable, so we picked up the pace and our candlesticks prepared to beat our way into the car.
Cue the roosting birds, the swirling winds, and the building fear.
The closer we got to the figure, reality came into clear view.
Oh, there was definitely a headless figure at the end of the driveway.
At least we got that part right.
There, standing in front of us in all its courtyard art glory, was a life size concrete garden statue.
Failure on our part to notice the statue from the get-go resulted in two complete dumb asses spending the last hour plotting a defense that entailed beating the living daylights out of an inanimate objet d’art with a pair of decorative candlesticks.
It took a second to process what just happened.
Dave wasted no time looking around to see if anyone witnessed our pre-dinner show spectacle.
The man does have his priorities.
Fortunately for us, no one had and our reputations remained intact.
I waited until we pulled out of the main driveway to comment. I didn’t get an entire word out of my mouth before Dave shut it down with an overly emphasized three word reply.
You. Did. Too.
Goodness knows I would have loved for this to have been kept just between the two of us, but nooooo.
In record post-trip return time, Dave could not wait to turn our antics into an amateur stand-up comedy show and tell, complete with animated gestures and language, exposing our self-humiliation for all the world (well, our family and friends) to know.
We’re all about the show and tell.
One thing is for sure, there’s never been a dull moment in our Natchez, Mississippi travels.
Even when we opt to slow down the pace, enjoy the moment, and roll with the flow of the river, the days and nights are never dull, and that’s why we consider Natchez a favorite getaway destination.
Labor Day begins the winding down of summer. I’ve come to think of Memorial Day and Labor Day as a set of spiffy bookends supporting the May to September romance we have with summer, the summer vacation, and vacation photos.
A summer vacation was not to be for me and Dave the Builder due to obligations, project deadlines, and ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (a tip of the hat to David Bowie) in our everyday life.
So it goes.
All good things come to those who wait to hit the holiday road in the fall. Fall will be here soon as will cooler temps, seasonal colors on parade, festivals and gumbo good times.
Grab a to-go pumpkin latte and call me a happy traveler.
A simple solution to alleviate vacation withdrawals is to live the moment vicariously through vacation photos delivered to my inbox from the merry band of traveling Millennials aka our son and his wife, nephew #1 and his darling family, and nephew #2 and his beloved.
Our son and daughter-in-law traveled to the United States for a twelve day trip to discover the sights, sounds, and highlights of the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Park, Badlands National Park, Aspen, Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
They called one evening and while we were talking I heard the roar and rev of motorcycles.
Is that motorcycles I hear?
Yes it is.
Have you ever heard of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?
Needless to say, it was quite a noisy conversation.
There would be more pictures, but the newest addition to their family, Dallas, chewed through both of their laptop charger cords.
Puppies gnaw and chew on cords, belts, purses, shoes, furniture.
A mother who bites her tongue and does not remind her son if the cords were not left on the floor for the puppy to get to in the first place you wouldn’t have this issue deserves a medal, or at the very least a vacation.
This weekend marks their first wedding anniversary. To mark the celebration, they are traveling to Minneapolis to dine in style, see Taylor Swift in concert, and shop for new and replacement electronics, chargers, and devices.
Speaking of weddings, the next round of vacation photos are from nephew #2 and his beloved’s trip to Bethesda, Maryland and Washington D.C. to attend a friend’s wedding and reception held at the Congressional Country Club.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier atArlington National Cemetery
The Korean War Veterans Memorial
Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Nephew #1 and his darling family make a Florida vacation a yearly event. Joined by our niece-in-law’s parents, sister, brother, their spouses, children, and a pair of aunts and uncles, the group travel by air and land to Perdido Key for a week of family fun in the sun.
Twelve adults and six kids (including two babies under one) require a lot of stuff. With a two day start, our nephew drove his loaded to the gills SUV from Missouri to Florida to meet the crew.
Sun, beach, water, sand, rinse and repeat floated everyone’s boat. The Places In The Home side of the family leans more towards the mountains and the west coast, but know well the appeal of the Florida Gulf Coast.
Nephew #2 and his beloved ended up having a two for the price of one vacation. The second part of their vacation found them on beach time in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Toes in the sand without a vacation care in the world until company arrives.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall- vacation photos place you in the moment and serve as a wish you were here postcard. As the sun sets on summer 2018, we hope you have a wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend.
We advertised as an antiques shop, and the inventory reflected that.
Assuming (you know what they say about assuming) all antique shops adhere to the same truth in advertising rule, when the sign says antiques I brake for antiques.
On the other hand, if a shop’s name has the word or words curiosity, vintage, thrift, trading, collectibles, junque or consignment in it I know what’s in store.
Out of the six antiques shops visited, only three fit the bill.
Two featured vintage finds and curiosities, and one is nothing more but a shadow of its former antique mall glory.
Treasures Show and Tell Observation #2
It dawned on me after viewing booth after booth of painted pieces that I have an issue with the trend that in my opinion has stayed too long at the party.
It’s a disgrace when an item is touted as an authentic painted piece picked and plucked from an old farmhouse, feed, hardware or general store when in truth it is fresh off the chalk paint, font and Pinterest bandwagon.
Many an unsuspecting and trusting customer gets duped by this practice, and I think it is absolutely shameful.
Good advice and odd artwork caught my attention.
Dave the Builder, always clever in his delivery, exclaimed for sale as in fore sale! upon the sighting of this Louis Vuitton golf bag.
Summer vacation let’s hit the holiday road getaway, treasure hunting, taste testing delicious cuisine, unplugging if only for a few days, reconnecting with Dave the Builder. It’s that summer vacation time of year again.
Today’s A Most Fetching Friday is all about the summer vacation.
Tourism thrives on it, houses are built to entertain around it, school teachers wait all school year long for it to get here, kids of all ages celebrate it, and memories made on the summer holiday road stay with us for a lifetime.
Dave the Builder and I have been on a mini vacation for a little over a week. Reality will soon call us back to our normal routine, but for now the pace has slowed and the summer vacation life is good.
St. John’s Episcopal Church – Washington, Louisiana
Our long and winding road travels placed us center stage among the small Southern towns of Washington, Scott and Lafayette, Louisiana.
I learned a long time ago not to categorize our close to home jaunts as a non-vacation.
Trust me, these just roll with the flow discovery excursions can pass a good time and pass for a real vacation.
Washington, Louisiana is as sleepy as it is Southern- a small town full of history from steamboat days gone by.
Narrow streets shaded by mature oaks, magnolia trees, historical architecture, quintessential Southern homes ranging from the wow to the weathered, and an old high school full to the gills with antiques and vintage goodies seasons the local flavor.
Beauty does not always strike a pristine pose. This abandoned abode on a shaded street in a small Southern town piqued my interest, struck an architectural chord and became the subject of a subjective experience.
You know you love antiquing when the indoor temperature almost matches the oppressive outdoor temperature ( 95+ degrees).
Note to self: antiquing in old buildings, warehouses, outdoors and in old high schools is an activity best enjoyed in the fall.
On this particular Louisiana summer Saturday, the Old Antique School Mall was full of hot air and hot finds priced fairly and in shop or home ready condition.
I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for, but something told me I would know it when, and if, I saw it.
Our visit to the school was timed just right for a super sale.
I have been working on a kitchen gallery wall, and no respectable kitchen gallery wall is complete without the all important touch of copper.