Thursday, October 23, 2008

Natchez, Day 5

This was our last day in Natchez. It was our literary morning. We walked to the Historic Natchez Foundation and watched the documentary film, "Richard Wright: A Force for Right." We discussed Wright's short story "Almos' a Man." Then it was off to the courtroom of the Adams County Courthouse, where scenes from The Quiet Game by Greg Iles take place. Susanne Kirk Tomlinson, retired editor and vice president at Simon & Schuster/Scribner talked about "Greg Iles and Natchez: An Author's Use of Place."

Then it was off to The Towers. (It lost its Towers long ago -- one by fire in 1927 and the other to make the house symmetrical.) This is the fountain at the front of the house. An 80 foot Magnolia once stood here. It was hollow and a disaster waiting to happen. It was removed and replaced with this fountain surrounded by Knock Out Roses. We were greeted by beautiful music outside and in the house and by the owner on the front steps.

Out of the car and the group dashed to the fountain to check out the roses! The Italianate facade was added to The Towers just before the Civil War. The Towers was behind the fortification lines of the union army and was occupied by officers for several years while soldiers camped on the grounds around the house.

There is a story about then General Grant being unhappy with the soldiers who were occupying the home. He felt they were too nice to the family and ordered the family removed. The officers allowed the family to leave with most of their possessions. Grant is said to have ridden his horse up and down the main hall of the house and here, on the hearth, it is believed he put his pistol down, stepped hard on it and broke the hearth. This was the only picture we took inside the house ... Grant and the broken hearth.

We both thought this was the house highlight of the tour. The house has undergone a complete renovation with magnificent wall coverings and draperies, antique lace sheers, extensive plaster moldings and wainscotting, Aubusson carpets and high rococo antiques. Ginger Hyland, Owner and James Forde, Manager have done an exquisite job. It is obviously a labor of love. Ginger has wonderful and unusual collections all tastefully shown. Among them: 350 antique beaded purses (I'll never look at anything beaded the same way again!), antique tiaras and crowns, antique lace, gentlemen's mother of pearl and ivory watch fobs, chatelaines, Moser glass, vintage costume jewelry, furniture by Belter, Meeks, Roux and Mallard.

The almost five acres of gardens feature 24 bronze sculptures representing some of the finest artists of wildlife in the world.

This is the owner, Ginger, with one of her kitties - Snowflake.

Snowflake loves visitors and begs to have her belly rubbed!

Lunch at Biscuits and Blues. If you read Greg Iles, he will have introduced you to this hangout!

A puppy on the balcony near Biscuits and Blues.

We had some free time after the tour at The Towers and we used it to get some packing done. Dinner this evening was at The Castle Restaurant on the grounds of Dunleith. It was another excellent meal: Petit Dunleith salad: mixed greens, mandarin oranges, purple onion, almonds, Dunleith dressing. Entree: sauteed snapper with beurre blanc, over roasted potatoes and sauteed vegetable medley. Dessert: Key Lime Pie.

After dinner we went to the Natchez Little Theatre to see "Big River" a musical based on Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The kids in the show were really cute. But, it was a very long day and there was still packing to do. We both thought the tour would have ended on a higher note if the "end" had been dinner at The Castle after the wonderful tour of The Towers.

We enjoyed our tour of Natchez and the people we met. I still have a few more Natchez pictures to share. Another day!

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