Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens
Coordinates: 31.553296 N, 91.386844 W
Distance from Baton Rouge: 91 miles
Flying Time: 39 minutes
Driving Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Along the Mississippi River is this charming city renowned for its southern scenery, rich culture, and antebellum mansions. The history of Natchez dates back to its establishment as a French fort site in 1716 and is known as the birthplace of Mississippi. Since then, it has been shaped by African, French, and Spanish culture, from stunning architecture to classic Southern cuisine. It became the first capital of Mississippi in 1817 and remains a hot spot for tourists today.
Where to Stay
As a National Historic Landmark, the Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens is a 19th-century antebellum mansion brimming with history and nestled in 26 acres of gardens. The southern charm will greet you before you cross the threshold of the Main House. There are 30 suites between the mansion and its seven outbuildings, all with period furnishing and a long list of amenities that add a modern touch. Before resting your head in a four-poster bed, make sure to stop and smell the roses, azaleas, and magnolias while strolling along the beautiful gardens and angel statuary.
Where to Eat
Located in the mansion, guests can order from an expansive wine menu and an array of gourmet appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and desserts a la carte. You can start with fried green tomatoes topped with crab meat and work your way to the Moulard duck breast or pasta primavera. Make sure you leave room for that bourbon pecan pie with chocolate ganache for dessert.
Bellemont Shake Shop
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, this local favorite has it all. There is an endless list of sandwiches, po-boys, baskets, sides, shakes, and malts, all made fresh to order. Check out their list of favorites, from the Bellemont Club to the Frito Pie. When you’ve finished, you can’t leave without trying one of their top-rated, homemade shakes.
Biscuits and Blues
This is the perfect place for any live music enthusiast. Whether you’re hungry for Sunday brunch, some fried seafood, smoked meats, or a loaded po-boy, this spot is sure to satisfy those cravings while providing you with live entertainment every night. Don’t pass up those Natchez beignets on the dessert menu.
What to Do
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile-long drive through 10,000 years of history and three states: Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. It is a scenic drive and a recreational road that follows the “Old Natchez Trace” used by Native Americans, European settlers, soldiers, and future presidents. More than just a drive, the Natchez Trace Parkway is also used for camping, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trace from Natchez to Jackson to Tupelo includes a prehistoric mound site, short hiking trails, the “Old Trace,” scenic overlooks, and historic archaeological sites.
The Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture narrates the lives of Africans in the old American south and exhibits an important aspect of Natchez history such as historic African American sites, citizens, artifacts, and events. This 10,000 square-foot museum recounts events from the establishment of the city of Natchez in 1716 to the present day, with the era of slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, 20th-century wars, and the Civil Rights Movement in between.
Natchez is full of beautiful and historic mansions, but if you have to choose one, Stanton Hall is a perfect glimpse into the antebellum period. This Greek revival-style home occupies an entire city block and was originally named Belfast when Frederick Stanton built it in 1857. Today, it is known as a National Historic Landmark and one of the most extravagant mansions to remain standing in the southeastern United States.
At Natchez National Historical Park, you can explore the richest history on the Mississippi River. The historical sites of the Natchez natives include the pre-Civil War Melrose Estate, William Johnson’s townhouse, and Fort Rosalie. Here, the history of the antebellum and Reconstruction eras has been preserved for tourists and locals alike. The Park is recognized as one of 13 national historic landmarks, so be sure to take a step into history before you conclude your visit.