Signature City Natchez: Jewel of History and Culture on the Mississippi
Get to know Natchez on the Mississippi through expert lectures, excursions to antebellum mansions, cultural performances and the down home taste of authentic Southern cuisine.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20379RJ
6 days
Starts at
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Natchez, MS
Natchez Grand Hotel

Afternoon: 4:30-6:00 p.m. registration in the hotel lobby. At 6:00 p.m. attend a Welcome-To-Natchez reception with complimentary wine or soft drink at the hotel.

Dinner: You'll dive right into Natchez history and culture with a dinner based on traditional regional foods, presented by a trained chef. The seated meal will be at Natchez Grand Hotel at 6:30 p.m..

Evening: At 7:45 p.m. will be introductions of individuals and overview of the week's program by Carolyn Vance Smith, author of "Natchez: An Illustrated History" and other non-fiction books about Natchez..

Lectures on Natchez and river; Rosalie visit; mansion meal
Natchez, MS
Natchez Grand Hotel

Activity note: Walking .4 mile in the afternoon. Seats available at field trip site. Climbing stairs to second floor of Rosalie mansion.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served every morning in the hotel dining room,

Morning: An overview lecture about Natchez history, followed by a lecture about the mighty Mississippi River and its eternal quest to change its course just south of Natchez.

Lunch: Lunch will be at the hotel.

Afternoon: Guided stroll along the Mississippi River, ending with an exploration of the mansion Rosalie. Wind up the day with complimentary wine or soft drink at the hotel.

Dinner: Pre-dinner libations and dinner will be served at The House on Ellicott Hill (circa 1800), a downtown National Historic Landmark that is part of a new Spring Pilgrimage activity called "Tour, Taste, and Tableaux."

Evening: After exploring The House on Ellicott Hill, you'll go to the City Auditorium and the Historic Natchez Tableaux, an 86-year-old tradition. The multiple performances depict Natchez history and culture from early Indian times to the present. All participants are local volunteers.

Lectures: Natchez and slavery; Magnolia Hall; piano concert
Natchez, MS
Natchez Grand Hotel

Activity note: Walking .8 mile at noon and during the afternoon. Seats at field trip sites. Climbing stairs to second floor of Magnolia Hall mansion.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture on slavery in Natchez. Optional attendance at a service in one of Natchez's historic downtown churches for Palm Sunday service.

Lunch: Historic Magnolia Hall opens its doors to a buffet luncheon featuring homemade regional specialties.

Afternoon: After luncheon, you'll explore Magnolia Hall, the last downtown mansion constructed prior to the Civil War. Beautiful decorative arts and a fascinating historic costume exhibit await you. Afterward, you'll walk one block to First Presbyterian Church (1828), a pure Federal-style building with faux graining, tiny doors to the pews, and original panes of glass in the windows. On the property is "Natchez in Historic Photographs," a gallery of photographs that span 100 years of early Natchez history and culture. You'll stand in awe of steamboats, Victorian brides, and long-ago rooftop views of the river. Wind up the day with complimentary wine or soft drink at the hotel.

Dinner: A ride takes you around Natchez en route to dinner at a restaurant overlooking the river. Dinner features a menu first served onboard the Steamer Princess in the 1850s.

Evening: "Chopin and Champagne" is an evening concert of classical piano music with commentary at the historic Joseph Stone House. Afterward is an exploration of the collections at the mansion as well as a glass of bubbly or juice.

Lecture: Natchez and Civil War, concert at Stanton Hall
Natchez, MS
Natchez Grand Hotel

Activity note: Walking 1.2 miles at noon and during the afternoon. Seats available at field trip sites. Climbing entry steps to Pleasant Hill mansion.

Breakfast: A full breakfast will be served in the hotel.

Morning: Lectures will be about the Civil War's influence on Natchez and the city's important architecture and decorative arts.

Lunch: Luncheon will be at Trinity Episcopal Church, prepared and served by church members as part of their fund raising efforts to help those in need. The menu follows part of the Road Scholar program's theme of exploring authentic, delicious Southern foods.

Afternoon: Guided exploration of Trinity Episcopal Church (1822) and its Tiffany and LaFarge windows, faux graining, and handmade pews is followed by a brief organ concert by the church's minister if music. Next is an exploration of Temple B'Nai Israel, one of the earliest Jewish temples in the South. Then you go to Pleasant Hill, one of the Spring Pilgrimage downtown mansions that is the private home of John and Valerie Bergeron. Complimentary wine or a soft drink at Grand Hotel precedes a late afternoon exploration of magnificent Stanton Hall, built by cotton baron Frederick Stanton in the 1850s. At 6 p.m. is a concert inside the mansion. Called "All Shook Up: Natchez's Music Through the Years," a soprano and her accompanist will have you tapping your toes.

Dinner: Dinner is on-your-own. Choose from a white-tablecloth fine dining experience at one of Natchez's mansions to the best burger on earth at a cozy riverside café.

Evening: Free time is after dinner.

Lectures on Reconstruction, writers, Free Blacks; spirituals
Natchez, MS
Natchez Grand Hotel

Activity note: Walking 1 mile during the day. Seats available at field trip sites. Climbing stairs to photo gallery at First Presbyterian Church. Elevator under repair. Climbing steps to get on and off bus.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served in the dining room at the Grand Hotel.

Morning: A lecture on Natchez during Reconstruction, the years after the Civil War, precedes a program about writers who have been influenced by Natchez, particularly the Pulitzer Prize-winner Eudora Welty. Be one of five volunteers needed to help read aloud her story, "A Worn Path." Then hear about Free Blacks before the Civil War, particularly William Johnson of Natchez, who kept a diary for 16 years before his death in 1851. His former home is now part of the Natchez National Historical Park.

Lunch: Lunch will be at a downtown restaurant near the hotel.

Afternoon: Two field trips will take you to the William Johnson House and to St. Mary (Catholic) Basilica. The William Johnson House is a two-story brick structure that was home to the Johnson family for many years. Because its builder kept a 16-year diary that detailed daily life in Natchez before 1851, and because he was one of about 200 Free Blacks in a time of slavery, his home and his story are fascinating parts of the American South's story. Inter-active displays in the museum and the furnished living quarters of the family help tell the tale. Next you'll explore St. Mary (1842), a breathtakingly beautiful historic building filled with paintings, faux graining, and marble sculptures. Wind up the day with complimentary wine or soft drink at the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner will feature foods enjoyed by and described by William Johnson in his diary of 1836. Yes, we still eat the same foods he ate!

Evening: The evening is a perfect finale for the program since it features "Down by the Riverside," a concert at Beulah Baptist Church by an African-American choir that will have you immersed in inspirational music. Be prepared to join the choir members!

Program concludes after breakfast; check out by 11:00 a.m.
Natchez, MS

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel from 6:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.

Morning: Program concludes after breakfast. Check-out of hotel is by 11:00 a.m.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback