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 toBrookhaven, Mississippi for our first 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 five-week 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 Frog- more 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 “GrandeDame of the Great River Road”. Nowhere else in the south will you findsuch 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. 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. We continue to New Orleans for a two night stay.
New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Missis- sippi 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 Mississippi 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.