Today was an easy ride as it was a short trip from Hattiesburg to Natchez and it was cooler than the last few days. After a lovely breakfast we were once again on US98 and with a few twists and turns on other roadways we finally reached Natchez around 11am.
Our ride on US98 was much more pleasant. There were times when Randy and I both felt as though we were traveling through the Virginia countryside on our way to the Blue Ridge Mountains passing through small communities, large and small farms and other sights to keep our interest. During the ride we passed through the Caston Creek Wildlife Management Area and the Homochitto National Forest.
We decided to stay in Natchez for the day and leave for the Trace early the next morning. We made a reservation at the Natchez Grand Hotel located down on the Mississippi river and within walking distance of historic homes and many, many restaurants. We arrived before our room was ready so decided to spend some time Bluff Park across from the hotel. The park is wonderful offering a spectacular view of the river and many signs offering historical information about the history of Natchez.
We decided that since it was going to be a while before our room was ready we asked the desk clerk if she had any recommendations and pointed us towards a restaurant called the Cotton Alley Café which was only a few blocks from the hotel. The restaurant was small but beautifully decorated and everyone seemed to know each other. It was obvious that many locals frequent the restaurant. The menu was varied offering everything from Boom, Boom Shrimp, four cheese macaroni and cheese, gumbo, jambalaya, burgers, interesting sandwiches on Texas toast and Randy’s favorite dessert, pecan pie.
We did not want to order a large meal so decided on sandwiches. Randy ordered a traditional BLT with sweet potato fries and I ordered the Cotton Club which read on the menu as a, “Triple decker piled high with ham, turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce and cheese on Texas toast”. I ordered this because I had never had a BLT with cheese and was curious. Both Randy and I were pleased with our choices.
What I really enjoyed most about this small restaurant was its eclectic ambience. I loved the many styles of art on the walls, free standing, on the tables and on the bar. I spent the entire time there looking from one corner of the room to another enjoying everything I saw. The room was just plain eye candy for me and I loved it.
By the time we finished lunch our room was finally ready. The first thing I did upon entering the room was run to the window and look out to see a wonderful view of Bluff Park and the river. We changed clothes and went on a walking tour of the city. We spent several hours taking a walking tour of the city’s lovely historic homes, churches and memorial parks. Unfortunately most of the landmarks were closed.
During our tour we saw many wonderful home listed on the homes that are on the National Registry of Historic homes. All the homes were beautiful many built in the early 1800’s. Several of my favorites were the Kelly Lambert house built in 1837, the Zurhellen House built in 1850, the Peter Isler House built in 1817 and the Glen Auburn House built in 1875. We visited St. Mary’s Cathedral stepping inside for just a quiet moment and stopped for a moment at the Temple B’nai Israel built in 1843. We visited the city’s Memorial Park honoring the city’s veterans from all wars.
We eventually made our way back to Bluff Park and watched as a barge made its way up the river and then headed back to the hotel to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner.
Dinner time rolled around and Randy was not sure what he was hungry for so we stopped in at three restaurants. The first was Bowie’s Tavern, second was Pig Out Inn and lastly was the Biscuit and Blues. We were disappointed when we learned that Biscuit and Blues only has live bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Randy decided he wanted barbeque so off we went to the Pig Out Inn. There were pigs everywhere on the outside of this little restaurant. There was a pig on the roof, a pig in the front of the store wearing three very large bras with little piglets underneath (little pink piggy banks), a fun pig sign hanging off a street pole and more.
It was getting late so we walked one last time at Bluff Park watching the sunset settle on the river and retired for a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we are on the Natchez Trace.