How to Make the Most of Your Natchez Pilgrimage

More than a dozen historic Natchez homes will welcome guests for tours of spring grounds and gardens, lavish furnishings and period architecture during this year’s annual Natchez Spring Pilgrimage.

Visitors attracted by National Historic Landmark homes in Greek Revival and Federal styles, dating into the late 1700s and early 1800s, will find a city bursting with life ready to greet them. Here are just a few of the many places to eat, drink and explore in the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the lower Mississippi River valley.

Catch the Spirits

Natchez Brewing Company, the city’s first legal brewery, joins Old South Winery and the Charboneau Distillery as a top destination for spirited tours in the bluff city.

Visit Natchez Brewing Company at 207 High Street Wednesday through Friday from 4-9p.m., or Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. with tours at 2 or 4 p.m.

Early arrivals can check out Old South Winery’s muscadine creations weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Tucked away off the banks of the Mississippi River, Charboneau Distillery makes rum using locally sourced raw sugar and molasses, with tours Friday evening from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Tours begin upstairs at King’s Tavern (pictured right), a flatbread and craft cocktail hotspot next door, in the oldest remaining building in the former Mississippi Territory. If you’re still feeling the spirit, join a Candlelight Ghost Tour at Glenfield Plantation at 7 p.m. or 8:30 p.m., guided by descendants of those who lived at Glenfield.

Franklin Street Finds & Downtown Delights

A walking tour of downtown uncovers new gems like Nest at 505 Franklin Street, where visitors can shop an array of décor, seasonal plants and specially curated furniture. Around the corner at 114 N. Commerce Street, Crafted Gallery is a source for locally made pottery, jewelry, soaps, scrubs, textiles, hand-painted mobiles and hand-dyed yarn.

Perk up with barista-brewed coffee from Steampunk Coffee Roasters or Natchez Coffee Company before exploring the Natchez Visitor’s Center, where the city’s history comes to life in an expansive gallery on top of the river bluffs. Walk to the site of Fort Rosalie, one of three national historical park sites in Natchez, at 528 S. Canal Street. Built in 1716 by French settlers, the fort opened the lower Mississippi River valley for trading and passed through British, Spanish and eventually American control during the 18th century.

Party Like a Pirate

Head “under the hill” down Silver Street and discover the once-notorious and rowdy Natchez riverfront, where highwaymen caroused during the city’s early days as a flatboat and steamboat landing.

Built around the turn of the 19th century, Under-the-Hill Saloon is the place to make friends with local characters, peruse the memorabilia on the walls and listen to live music. Enjoy the sunset over the river from rocking chairs on the front porch before dining at Magnolia Grill (pictured left) or The Camp, both within walking distance along the river.