This tour provides glimpses of old south grandeur and the heartache of a nation torn apart. Your trek through history begins in Natchez, the oldest permanent city on the Mississippi River, and takes you to Vicksburg, “the Gibraltar of the Confederacy” and Corinth, where some of the most ferocious battles were fought. In between you’ll visit Port Gibson, spared because it was “too beautiful to burn”, Edwards, Jackson and Tupelo, all strategic points in the great American conflict.
Day 1 - NatchezYour journey through history begins in Natchez, where you’ll discover more than 500 antebellum homes, churches and public buildings. Prior to the Civil War, Natchez was home to more millionaires per capita than New York City. More than a dozen of the palatial mansions built by wealthy cotton planters are open for tours all year; many more welcome visitors during Natchez’s annual Spring and Fall Pilgrimages.
Arrive in time for lunch, followed by a tour of the spectacular homes. Allow time for a visit to the Natchez City Cemetery, where the marker inscriptions recount poignant tales from the distant past. Spend a fun-filled evening exploring Natchez Under-the-Hill. Once the notorious lair of riverboat gamblers, thieves and ladies-of-the-evening, Under-the-Hill is now a colorful area of shops, restaurants and 24-hour casino gaming.
NATCHEZ TO PORT GIBSON - 40 Miles
PORT GIBSON TO VICKSBURG - 29 Miles
Total – 69 Miles
Spend the morning touring more of Natchez’s magnificent mansions, each featuring its own unique architecture and romantic history. Enjoy lunch in one of the tour homes, then browse the city’s antique shops or take a carriage ride through historic downtown.
Washington, a small community just north of Natchez, was once known as the Versailles of the Mississippi Territory. Jefferson College, the first educational institution chartered in Mississippi, conducted its first classes here in 1802. Today the oak-shaded antebellum campus is a museum.
From Washington, take the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway north. Along this route you may stop to visit Springfield Plantation where president-to-be Andrew Jackson wed Rachel Donelson. A stop at Lorman will bring you to Alcorn State University, the first land grant African American college in the United States, and historic Rosswood Plantation, built in 1852.
Next stop is Port Gibson, the town Union General U.S. Grant proclaimed “too beautiful to burn.” Most of the antebellum homes and churches that so enchanted the Union general are located along Highway 61, also known by locals as Church Street, making for an easy walking tour. Take an interesting trip through the wooded countryside to the Ruins of Windsor, the crumbling remains of the largest antebellum mansion ever built in Mississippi. Windsor survived the Civil War only to burn to the ground in 1890, it is said, at the hands of a careless smoker.
Located just north of Port Gibson, the 400-acre Grand Gulf Military Monument Park encompasses a Civil War fort, cemetery and earthworks, a small but excellent museum of Civil War artifacts and several restored antebellum buildings. Continue north to Vicksburg, where you’ll enjoy a sunset dinner overlooking the Mississippi River.