We begin our journey south this morning through Chattanooga and
into the state of Alabama stopping for lunch in the Birmingham area.
After lunch we continue south into Mississippi bypassing Jackson to
Brookhaven, Mississippi for our frst overnight.
A short drive today takes us into Natchez, a charming town on a bluff
overlooking the Mississippi River. Thirty antebellum mansions, most
of them private residences, open their doors to visitors during this fveweek
Pilgrimage every spring. Your guides are costumed family friends
and descendants of the original owners, whose stories are as real as the
bricks and mortar in their hearths. Each house is unique with 18th and
19th century furnishings, porcelain, silver, clothing, tools, documents
and diaries. Upon arrival in Natchez we will tour two of the antebellum
homes before lunch. Lunch is included at the Carriage House Restaurant.
We will enjoy a tour of three homes in the afternoon. Dinner is included
this evening. After dinner we will see one of the evening performances
featured by the Pilgrimage Tours. Overnight in Natchez.
We travel across the Mississippi state line into Louisiana to visit Frogmore
Cotton Plantation & Gins where we join a costumed guide to get
insight into the contrasts between a working cotton plantation of the early
1800’s and a modern cotton plantation and gin of today. Frogmore is a
one-of-a-kind tour since the owners are the costumed guides, along with
their staff. We continue south to Vacherie, (St. James Parish) Louisiana
to Oak Alley Plantation a historic plantation located on the west bank
of the Mississippi River. From the moment you gaze up the tree-lined
drive to the splendid Greek Revival style mansion, it is evident that Oak
Alley Plantation is an extraordinary place. It has been called the “Grande
Dame of the Great River Road”. Nowhere else in the south will you fnd
such a spectacular setting! The quarter-mile canopy of giant live oak
trees, believed to be nearly 300 years old, forms an impressive avenue
leading to the classic Greek-revival style antebellum home. We continue
to New Orleans for a two night stay. The property was designated a
National Historic Landmark for its architecture and landscaping, and
for the agricultural innovation of grafting pecan trees, performed there
in 1846–47 by an enslaved gardener. A delicious Cajun/Creole luncheon
is included in their Plantation Cafe
New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi
River. It is well known for its distinct French Creole architecture, as
well as its cross cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is also
famous for its cuisine and music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz). A
local guide will show us the sights in the grand city of the Bayou—New
Orleans. We experience the history and culture… from the French Quarter,
St. Louis Cemetery, City Park and the historic Garden District. We enjoy
an included lunch at the Court of Two Sisters. Remainder of the day is free
to explore the shops at Riverwalk, the French Market. Be sure to visit the
Cafe Du Monde for their delicious beignets.
Today we depart New Orleans and travel along the picturesque Missis- sippi Gulf Coast, overlooking the sparkling Gulf of Mexico and 62 miles
of scenic shoreline including the world’s longest (26 miles) man-made
beach. We’ll stop at one of the casino hotels where you will have time to
explore the area and have lunch. This afternoon we continue to Mobile to
visit beautiful Bellingrath Gardens and Home—known as the Garden Spot
of the South. This 800-acre estate consists of some 75 acres of painted
gardens by the river. It’s a short drive to Montgomery for our last night.
All too soon our tour must end. Oh, what lasting memories we will have of
this exciting visit to the Old South during the spring with Knoxville Tours.