Private Homes Open for 90th Season of Natchez Spring Pilgrimage – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

NATCHEZ – Spring is in the air and the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage is on its heels.

Next weekend, Spring Pilgrimage begins its 90th season with an offering of 21 tours of private homes and large house museums to choose from for tours.

Since 1932, private owners have opened their doors to the public for tours.

This year, Marsha Colson, president of the Pilgrimage Garden Club and director of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, says the owners are upholding the tradition by showcasing their homes that seem frozen in time, complete with antique and authentic pre-war furnishings.

However, times have changed even with Natchez Pilgrimage.

Many of those entertaining have opted to wear this century clothing instead of dressing in period hoops.

A few still are, including Colson who said, “I’ll wear my hoop skirt until I die.”

Natchez Garden Club president Donna Sessions said the club no longer hosts the Natchez Historical Pictures, a decades-old tradition where child actors portray scenes from the city’s history. Instead, tours include historically accurate accounts of the people who once lived there, including those who were enslaved.

The Pilgrimage Garden Club will not name a new king, queen and royal court this year, but will instead honor the children of garden club members who may have ruled in past seasons when they failed to serve due to the COVID pandemic. -19, Colson said. .

“At the Save the Hall Ball (April 16), this king and queen will be introduced and honored for the Pilgrimage Garden Club,” Colson said. Tickets for the official event are $100 each, and proceeds are used for the preservation of Stanton Hall and Longwood.

Sessions said the NGC will hold its annual Magnolia Ball, where the King and Queen will be announced for the first time and crowned, and their first-ever Magnolia Festival.

Cheryl Rinehart said it includes a series of many NGC royalty-focused events that began with the court announcement in December and lasts through the spring pilgrimage. As well as the royal court, which includes children from the garden club from primary school through middle school, NGC will also honor a group of fifth and sixth year boys and girls taking part in a junior cotillion.

“We won’t just celebrate, but we’ll teach them etiquette, dancing and cooking skills,” she said.

Public events include an Easter egg hunt, which begins at 2 p.m. on April 9 in Monmouth. Tickets are $10 per child or $25 per family.

The Magnolia Ball begins at 6 p.m. on April 23 at the Natchez City Auditorium. General admission is $50, with a cash bar and options to sponsor the event at varying levels of sponsorship. Proceeds will go to The House on Ellicott Hill restoration project, the restoration of the Magnolia Hall upstairs, and the use and preservation of other NGC homes.

The Magnolia Festival Tea begins at 2 p.m. on April 30 at Magnolia Hall. Admission is $20 for an elegant afternoon tea in honor of NGC royalty.

So far, pre-sales for Pilgrimage seem to be going well, Colson said.

“We had more bands this year than in the past,” she said.

Three-home packages for $60 include tours of Rosalie, Stanton Hall, and Longwood; or for $40, patrons can tour two homes, Stanton Hall and Longwood. Individual home tours cost between $20 and $25 each.

Colson said this season also includes special evening entertainment packages.

At the Burn, Colson said visitors can enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers accompanied by a piano performance before venturing out to the terraced gardens and revelers.

The gardens were first laid out in the mid-19th century for the original owners of the house, John P and Sarah Walworth. There are camellias, azaleas, magnolias as well as rare trees and shrubs, including Asian yews or cunningham firs commonly known as “monkey puzzle trees”.

At Concord Quarters, “A Very Natchez Revue” allows guests to enjoy a wine and cheese tasting before experiencing the story told through a series of skits, songs and dances.

These tours cost $40 each for adults and $30 for children.

Concord, built for Spanish Governor Manuel Gayoso de Lemos in the 1820s, houses the remains of a two-story brick building that originally served as one of two corresponding quarters for slaves. It was remodeled in the 20th century for use as a single-family residence and fell into serious disrepair when purchased by Gregory and Deborah Cosey.

“They restored it beautifully,” Colson said.

To book with Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, call 601-653-0919 or visit natchezpilgrimage.com, or to book with Little Easy Tours, call 601-890-2388 or visit littleeasytours.com.

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