The Historic Natchez, Mississippi! Along The Natchez Trace Part 1

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hi everybody we are about ready to start

off on a multi-day

exploration of one of the scenic routes

in america

the natchez trace and our first stop

will be natchez

located right on the mississippi river

there is so much to see

and do and experience in natchez

and there's some pretty good eating too

i can't wait to go

have our adventure so you come along

with us

natchez is a busy town on the

mississippi river

and it has an amazing history that we


to explore it was once the wealthiest


in america and it is the namesake of the


trace a fascinating two-lane road that

we plan to travel in our rv

that follows a frontier trading route

444 miles

from natchez to nashville but before we

set out on the trace

we had some serious exploring to do in

natchez as we're traveling the natchez


i can't begin to tell you how handy it

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our first stop was a visitor's center

natchez is a city of about 15 000 people

and has been voted

one of the best places to retire and

contributing to all this

is the natchez trace trail and the

mississippi river

it got rough on the natchez trace just


jim bowie boy was one of the colorful

frontier characters in natchez

a statue depicting a fight he had there

is on display at the visitors center

that showed that famous bowie knife used

to kill his assailant


i was more interested in the beauty side

of natchez

and particularly the historic mansions

that draw visitors from around the world

there are hundreds of them here many

restored and well maintained

and offering tours like all of these

antebellum mansions

this one has quite a story a story that

came to a sudden

end with the civil war this is a

longwood mansion

it's an octagon house i think the

largest in the country

was going to be 30 000 square feet and

what a vision

the person who was building this had he

had eight plantation homes

and then the war came and he lost

everything he lost all his plantations

all his houses

he died at the age of 48 his wife says

from a broken heart he couldn't finish

his dream

it's worth going inside the ladies

garden club runs it now

owns it has kept it here rather than

letting it just

fall apart he and his wife julia had 11


eight lived to adulthood so he needed a

lot of room he loved the octagonal shed

because there was no wasted space with


so his dream was started but whoops

not soon enough the war came along and

turned his world upside down

so longwood is unfinished it will never

be finished

that makes that this 30 000 square foot

home the most unusual home you could

ever see

the outside's finished but the inside is


to find out how and why so many are here

we went to one of the most famous of the

local mansions

a home called the towers that was first


in the late 1700s its current owner

ginger hyland welcomed us with true

southern hospitality

good morning jennifer yes so nice to

have you here at the towers

welcome well thank you i'm so excited to

be here this is going to be so much fun

i know

i asked ginger to explain the history of

these mansions

natchez was one of the wealthiest cities

in the country and as a matter of fact

by the time we get to 1860

there are more millionaires here than

almost anywhere else in the country

i think they came not only because it

was beautiful it was the first

settlement on the mississippi river

and a lot of people from other parts of

the country wanted a place to retire to

so a lot of wealthy people started

coming started building beautiful homes

and then that drew more in

of course we had cotton then

merchandising and other things happen

and pretty soon

we're just a beautiful beautiful spot to

come retire to

now how many of these beautiful homes

are there well there's over 650 homes on

the national register that are right

here in natchez and that's a lot for a

small town

of less than 15 000 people wow yeah

ginger is a collector of old and rare


she invited us to see how she has

decorated the towers

much of it like it was in the early


it's the music parlor ginger is a wealth

of information

she loves to share her beautifulness

from 18.

and typically when i ask people what

they think it is they'll guess

oh perhaps a candle snuffer or tongs to

pick up ice or sugar cubes but what it


is a skirt lifter so ladies wore

voluminous skirts and if they wish to go

outside and not soil their skirts they

would wear a skirt lifter

so you would press the handles in

the tongs open then the skirt would go


you pull up the butterfly and it latches

i tie it up and i have raised my skirt

and if i'm going horseback riding or

bicycling i'll wear one

on either side so this is our first

hands-free device

how about that a skirt lifter

this is the blue parlor and probably my

favorite room

in the entire house look at the drapery

treatment in here

the walls are covered in a wonderful

scallop andre silk

the furniture in this room is by john

henry belter

all the seating pieces and he was


the finest of all the victorian american

furniture makers

and he was so important because he took

layers of rosewood

averaging six hundredths of an inch

thick gluing those layers together

making eight to ten thin layers of

laminated rosewood here

better and finer than anyone else and

all of the furnishings in here

are in the 1840s and when we come to the

center of the room

this is his cornucopia pattern this is

regarded as belter's finest pattern

look at the depth of the carving here

and this pair of chairs

was de-accessioned from the metropolitan

museum of art in new york city

so they're highly important chairs

that is silk that is silk on the walls

in here

we don't use these today so people

forget about them

buy the uh the cutting blade it's


it's the plate why it faces it you go

back to the 1600s

and everyone brings their own knife to

eat with

so you're coming i go to dinner and i

have to bring my own knife that's


you bring your own knife and that was

the only thing that you used back then

in the 1600s

so you go into the king's palace you're

bringing a knife

in therefore are you friend or

foe if you are a friend you face the

blade towards the plate

if you are a foe you turn it the other


and the reason we have the blunt edge


on the knife is because with the sharp

point which allowed you to go

and pick into the food and pull out a


however then the king noticed that his

guests were picking their teeth with

that point and he didn't like that so he

ordered all knife blades to be round

and in this house if you see lace on a

window or lace on a table

it is all antique lace and these are

swiss net applique shears

from 1890 definitely

do one of her tours you will learn so



there is no doubt that those historic

homes are

beautiful and opulent but

we have to have a discussion on where

all that wealth came from and it's an

ugly story because that wealth

almost all came from the labor of


people here in natchez the many

cotton plantations in this area cause

natchez to be

the center for the domestic slave trade

in america

in fact i had a saying here in natchez

that you still hear today

when somebody does a bad deed dear they

didn't expect

it's uh you've heard it said that you've

been sold down the river

well that saying originated here

and this was the river where slaves were


down the river to go do all the work on

those plantations

something that we were told when we came

down here was on these live

beautiful live oaks or something called

resurrection fern

when it rains they turn green and when

the sun comes out they dry up

and turn brown they're so delicate and

so pretty these little ferns

natchez always has been a place of good


we were invited by the chef of a new

restaurant in town to sample its


menu that combines elements of southern

cajun and caribbean cooking

okay you think you could all out of that

the diversity of natchez food was

astounding take the natchez brewery

a popular gathering spot while a cajun

band performed

outside the wait staff dressed in german


served italian food


all right wait i got a question though

sure okay so we got

cajun music yes germany

decor we're in the deep south

pretty much and i just ate italian food

i know

i think i really like matcha

we like you

mike had one more restaurant he wanted

us to try

this one was about a 40-minute drive way

out into the country

okay where are we going now i can't wait

are you uh

are you hungry i think it's lunch time i

am hungry

okay we got a a little bit of a ride

and i'm gonna take you to the country


it doesn't sound very glamorous does it

it sounds fun

yeah well the country store just so you


supposedly has according to the

discovery channel

the worlds not the south the world's

best fried chicken oh boy i can't wait

to go

yeah you care i can't

are you sure this is where we're gonna

get some good fried chicken oh yeah

okay the parking lot's filled with

people from out of state

we're in the middle of nowhere they

didn't come here

just uh by chance they came here

with our world's best fried chicken

the cook is known far and wide as mr

d and he does more than cooked chicken

he first sings to you grand mama was a

gold red cooking queen

thank you

they tell me that you have the best

fried chicken not in the south i'm

talking in the world

the world's best fried chicken is at mr

d's in lawrence mississippi

grand mama was a cornbread cooking queen

all right so the big secret i won't tell

anybody what's the secret

to the best fried chicken in the world

love love

a lot of love with my chicken

just for you

now that looks like

all right you got to take the first bite

tell me if it's

well truly the world's best fried

chicken let me turn this about a little


and it's nice and crispy you can cut it

like a knife but

why don't you take me because that's not

how you use fried chicken

eat cut fried chicken covered days

okay i made it that way

okay now obviously i like to eat but i'm

a bit of a skeptic

the world's best here's the test

did very well might be

i think it is

a batter oh

i see you rolling your eyes back there

look how nice and moist that is it is

very moist moist it's got a great


yeah great batter the batter is light

it's good fried chicken that is really

good right

good enough for me to say it's the

world's best

somebody really loving

just can't help himself

i know he love you and no one else


crazy about you baby

just can't help himself

darling just to love that's what's wrong

with them okay

thank you it's cheaper

wow that was uh that was pretty good

i think that was was the best fried

chicken i've ever had the batter on it

and it was moist

it really really was um so i i

spent some time with him i asked him i

said what is uh

the secret to your fried chicken and the

closest i could get he said

um that it's fresh he never uses

frozen and that uh he changes the

vegetable oil in the

vats but he wouldn't tell me anything he

said secret seasoning

but uh that's what they all say right so

that's as close as i could get

a secret i heard him say his chicken is

a lot of love

he did this isn't my job this is my love

while in the natchez area we stayed at

the riverview rv

park across the mississippi river in


it had great views of the river and lots

of places to walk bow

i drove my chevy to the levee but the

levee was dry

you're not gonna sing it for him are you

well that's as close as i'll get

this is uh this is the park we're

staying at

it's called river view and you have a

great view

of the mighty mississipp can you see it

back there

that is awesome i think i have a new

favorite park

one of my favorites i like this here i

love watching

the barges up and down the mighty


oh i'd like to have a rally here last

next fall i think that would be a great

idea no we're walking actually

on the levee it's uh

this is a nice little walking trail here

see behind us

and um oh it's running around a little

bit by the river

yeah there's another path by the river

there's a paved path over there by the


and uh right across the river is natchez

so we are technically

in a little town called vidalia

louisiana that's natchez right across

yeah two states and there's so much to

do here the natchez trace

all the history in natchez

and uh we're still recovering from that

fried chicken dinner

but all good things come to an end and

new good things begin it was time to

leave natchez and set out

north to nashville on the natchez trace

we'll start that adventure in the next

video in this series

till then happy trails