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A Peaceful Museum on the Natchez Trace

Sitting on a hill

the old homestead stood

living in eras past

porch has some chopped wood

 

In days of old

it was the habit of the caretaker

to hand lemonade out to guests

with ice cream from a wood maker

 

In those early days

explorers crossed the land

seeking a nights lodging

listening to nature’s band

 

Confusion reigned 

in the next centuries years

a great war raged 

there were many tears

 

After the war was over

magnanimous reconciliation occurred

as the culture was rebuilt

different sounds were heard

 

Coming forward

the house is a museum now

testament to the changes around it

ghosts of the past taking a bow

 

Sitting along a peaceful road

lessons from the past

one with its surroundings

resting at last

 

copyright 2019 Debbie Pierce

 

https://fivedotoh.com/2019/09/27/fowc-with-fandango-magnanimous/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/habit/

https://nuthousecentral.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/rdp-friday-confusion/

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camping culture environment happiness hiking history inspiration intentional living life lifestyles Mississippi mississippi travel natchez trace nature preservation spring story telling travel

Spring Travel: Natchez Mississippi

Spring is a wonderful time to travel in the state of Mississippi. The flowers are in full bloom and the weather is pleasant. I recently took a day trip to Natchez, Mississippi during its spring pilgrimage. During this time the antebellum homes are open for touring and the history of Natchez is presented. In addition to the museums several privately owned homes are open during this period. Each house has been a part of American history and tells unique stories. This is a brief summary of the events of the day.

 

Natchez is on the Mississippi River and is the oldest settlement. Founded in 1716 it has served Mississippi from a frontier capital to the tourist destination that it is today. The first stop on my tour began at Fort Rosalie. It survived an Indian massacre in 1729. The Rosalie house was completed in 1823. Nestled along the Mississippi River the old house has beautiful gardens and a stately appearance. The huge trees surrounding the house create a quiet serene haven. There is a wonderful view of the river through the neatly cut grass field. Photography is not allowed in any of the antebellum homes. Each one has a rich history of a succession of families who lived in these homes for the past two to three hundred years.

 

After touring Rosalie the next stop on the tour is lunch at the Carriage House on the property of Stanton Hall. The restaurant serves southern style food and has a blue plate lunch special. I had the deviled egg potato salad, shrimp poboy, and gumbo. It was a wonderful mix of spices and flavors. The staff is attentive and the tables are quite elegant for fine dining. The Carriage House is used for events as well during the year.

 

After a relaxing lunch the next stop on the tour was Stanton Hall. Built in 1858 the stately house is open for tours and used for social occasions in Natchez. The house has been used as bed in breakfast which included guests such as General Macarthur and his family. It  has also been used for filming movies because of its elaborate furnishings and flair. The bedrooms in the house were used in the mini series North and South. This movie is one of the many stories about the American Civil War. The docents of the house have served there for many years and are happy to share all of the history of this house.

 

The afternoon concluded with a horse drawn carriage tour of downtown Natchez. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and told many stories of the buildings in town. Natchez has some eccentric characters in its history which make for an enjoyable afternoon filled with stories. Many of the buildings downtown have had multiple uses through the years and serve as a reminder of the rich history of this town.

 

It was late afternoon as we left Natchez to make our way home. Memories of this rich historical town will remain with me.  Our tour guides were helpful in suggesting restaurants and other places to visit. I look forward to visiting again to experience more of the historical significance of this town.

copyright 2019 Debbie Pierce

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art bicycles culture daily prompt environment happiness hiking inspiration intentional living life lifestyles Mississippi mississippi travel nature preservation story telling summer

A Tour of Old Town Clinton Mississippi

Mississippi has many small cities that surround the capital city of Jackson. One of these small towns is Clinton, Mississippi. Clinton has grown through the years to a thriving city that sports businesses and a local college. The old part of Clinton is near a local college and has been revitalized with small shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

William and I spent the day in the old Clinton downtown area. We parked our truck and began walking the streets taking photographs along the way. This part of Clinton has an art project that contains bicycles. These bicycles were transformed into art and placed on the corners of most of the streets. Different artists contributed to this project and each bicycle has a different message and inspiration.

tin bicycle man clinton march 28 2017

We first encounter a tin man riding his bicycle on a side street filled with trees. The man is bright and has a happy smile as he appears to ride the street. I take several photographs of him as we paused for a moment. Imagining the life that he would lead here makes me smile. It is a quiet street filled with old houses with vibrant plants and trees. There are several people walking and a few people sitting on their porches. It is reminiscent of an earlier era. William and I speak to a few people about this beautiful day.

flamingo bicycle clinton

As we continue to stroll down the next street there is a pink flamingo riding a bicycle in front of a coffee shop. The flamingo has bright colors and looks like he would fit in well in a beach town. He is surrounded by a flower garden that is blooming. I smile, savor the moment, and take a photograph before we move on to the next street.

snoopy bicycle clinton

The streets continue with a display of transformed bicycles that are fun and interesting. My favorite bicycle is a representation of Snoopy looking as if he is flying. Snoopy is one of those characters that radiates happiness. This is a wonderful transformation of a bicycle into art. He sits in front of an old house that looks empty but well-kept.

Clinton is also home to a local college located in the midst of the old part of town. We gained permission to take photographs on the campus. It is the afternoon and the college students are enjoying the outdoors. The students are friendly and give us water on this warm afternoon.

ms college bell tower march

The college has been here for over one hundred years and many old trees and buildings. I take photographs of the bell tower, trees, study areas, and clock tower. There are many old trees that have seen this college grow and change. They stand regal with their beautiful wood. Many of the trees have moss hanging from them.

ms college study area march

The study area is quiet and serene with a bench surrounded by trees. There is a student enjoying the sun and studying this afternoon. There is a group of young men tossing a football nearby. This college is a wonderful place.

We make our way around the quad and leave the college continuing on our tour of old town Clinton. There are more bicycle transformations that we observe on our way back to the truck. One of the bicycles has been transformed into a terra-cotta planter. There are several plants living on this work of art.

Our final stop is a small shop that has a bicycle hanging with a bottle tree beneath it. It is pretty and I stop to take a photograph. This has been a fun adventure into the art scene in this small part of Clinton.

blue bicycle clinton

We find the truck and leave to our next destination. The Clinton Visitor Center is on our way home. We stop and admire the landscape around the center. There are spring flowers in bloom. Next is a field with some trees and a small bridge covering a creek bed. We glance over to see some squirrels enjoying the afternoon. On the path are some brightly painted bird houses. There are no residents in these houses but they are pretty.

The Clinton Visitor Center has a wooden box with books that is marked free library. This is a wonderful concept to encourage literacy. A person can pick out a book and read it. The book then is returned to the library.

free library clinton visitor

William and I return to the truck and make our way home. This has been a wonderful day filled with adventure. We take the Natchez Trace and reflect on the beauty of our  state. Truly Mississippi is a wonderful place to live.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/savor/”>Savor</a&gt;

via Daily Prompt: Savor

 

 

 

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culture daily prompt environment happiness hiking history inspiration intentional living life lifestyles Mississippi mississippi travel natchez trace nature preservation story telling travel

An Adventure at Mount Locust on the Natchez Trace

The Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, Mississippi and ends in Nashville, Tennessee. The Natchez Trace has long served as a highway for explorers and travelers.  One of the oldest places to explore is Mount Locust which according to our paper map is located close to Natchez, Mississippi.

Jess and I took a road trip to Natchez, Mississippi via the Natchez Trace. On the way home we decided to stop at Mount Locust. This particular afternoon was hot and it seemed like a great place to rest and have a snack. We parked the truck and began to explore the grounds.

There is a large field that is lined with trees and a wooden fence. Glazing across the field I imagine what a comfort this must have been to weary travelers seeking lodging on the old Natchez Trace. In those days there were no paved roads just a path through the woods. This path was well-traveled until more modern modes of transportation powered by steam would arrive in this part of the country.

mount locust property april 27

We walk up to the information area and view the informative signs explaining the history of Mount Locust. The signs weave a story of the humble beginnings of this place to its current state. Mississippi is home to many interesting historical places that change as time moves forward.

Mount Locust was built in the late 1700’s and has served as an inn for weary travelers to changing into a working plantation. Today Mount Locust is owned by the National Park Service and has been restored to how it looked in the early 1800’s. The admission is free and open most days of the year.

Jess and I move along the path to the old house. The old house is small with a large porch in the front. We climb the steep stairs to the entrance and stand on the porch to reflect on the history of this place. It is easy to imagine the guests in this house sitting on the porch in the evenings exchanging stories of their adventures. The porch must have had a grand view of the property at that time.

Entering the house the dining area is the first room that we explore. There is a large table with plates and mugs carefully set. This room is small but the table fits nicely and one can almost smell the food cooking and being eaten by the guests of this house. History is wonderful and alive if one’s imagination will take you on the journey into the past.

mount locust dining hall april 27

Jess and I move on to the next room and observe a bed and a desk. The room is quite comfortable as we glance into the past. There is a fireplace in this room that would have served as a source of warmth in the cooler weather.

mount locust room 1 april 27

The next room is for guests with children. It is a larger room with two beds and a table. There are toys on the table for the children to play with. I can hear the laughter of young ones playing and enjoying the travel adventure.

mount locust toys april 27

Our next stop in this small house is a storage area. The sun filled room is home to dishes, shoes, and work tools. This small room has shelves and was more likely used for whatever was needed for the everyday life of the inn.

mount locust storage room april 27

We leave the interior of the house and move into the backyard area. There is a wooden soap making machine in the corner. The early pioneers in this area made their soap from lye. The site has a sign that explains how the soap is made.

In the middle of the yard is a closed cistern. These days it stands as a relic to the past when houses did not have indoor plumbing. The rain water collected in this cistern sustained people in an earlier time. I admire how resourceful the people of that time were and how they contributed to the ecosystem of the land.

mount locus cistern april 27

The back of  the yard is lined with beautiful trees and a trail. In later times Mount Locust became a working plantation when the power of steam made travel on the Natchez Trace less frequent. The trail leads to an old slave cemetery. This was a darker time in Mississippi history.

mount locust slave cemetery trail april 27

The day is hot so Jess and I decline to walk the trail. We take a last look at the house and begin moving up the path toward the truck. I am inspired by the beauty of the land and how it sustained so many people throughout history. Truly this is a wonderful place to visit.

Jess and I leave Mount Locust and head toward home on the Natchez Trace. We love these road trips and admire the beauty of the land surrounding the road. As the sun begins to set we know it will not be long before time to have another adventure.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Natchez Trace: An Adventure at Cypress Swamp

The Natchez Trace has a long history of explorers. From the beginning of the Natchez Trace in Natchez, Mississippi to the end in Nashville, Tennessee are 440 miles of pure wonder. This is a wonderful road trip filled with many adventures. Each part of the Natchez Trace tells a story of times when Mississippi was a frontier.

Jess and I decided to explore a site on the Natchez Trace that is an hour from our home. We visited the Cypress Swamp off the Natchez Trace and experienced the beauty of dark waters, cypress trees, and reflections from the sun.

The exploration of the Cypress Swamp began as soon as we parked the truck. There is a large sign explaining some of the swamp’s history. We read the sign and then continue walking to the stairs leading to the bridge that crosses the swamp. The stairs are made of wood and steep. There is a sharp drop between some of the steps so we proceed slowly down watching our every move. Finally we reach the last step and move onto the bridge.

cypress swamp stairs march 2017

The stairs and bridge across the swamp show all types of life. The still black waters are the home to bugs, snakes, and the occasional alligator. A few young cypress trees are on dry land. There are trees and undergrowth surrounding the swamp. The quiet is interrupted by the sounds of birds from the surrounding paths. I take several photographs and Jess is filming a video to be posted on YouTube about our experiences on the swamp.  Serenity is abundant in this tranquil environment as we walked the trail.

alligator on the golf course may 5

The still black water is haunting and stagnant on this sun filled afternoon. The cypress trees reflect in the sunlight causing a mirror of trees to reflect in the swamp. It is truly a beautiful site to behold. I ponder the meaning of the stillness.

I am struck by the large cypress trees that inhabit this ecosystem. They are still but yet teaming with life. This swamp has been here for many years and I wonder at the stories the trees would tell of the visitors who come here if they could speak.

cypress tree seedlings april 20

These cypress trees will take root when the swamp does not have much water. As the swamp fills with water, the trees will live in this environment for an extended period of time. Cypress trees in this swamp have adapted to the environment.

The cypress trees tell a story of survival and life in the forest. Long ago a river channel fed this area and a swamp developed. As the cycle of life in nature has continued the river channel has slowly dried up and is now no longer supplying life-giving water to the swamp. The change is gradual and will take a long time but eventually the cypress trees will be gone. It will be replaced by new types of trees and undergrowth. It is a sad thought to me that this swamp will disappear and future generations will not have this serene and tranquil experience. Still the cycle of life must continue with death and renewal.

cypress swamp trees 1 march 31

Jess and I reflect upon life and ponder some questions about it. Are all living things meant to continue or disappear completely? Will the cypress trees be remembered or just a distant memory? Nature continues to grow and renew itself. Like us there are parts of our lives that continue and other parts that disappear. The memories of our lives will be gone within a few generations. There will be new stories and adventures to be told and experienced.

cypress swamp from left side march 31

The sun continues to reflect the trees as we continue our journey across the cypress swamp bridge. We look for an alligator, snake, or some other form of swamp life but are disappointed to only find insects grazing across the water. The stillness is deafening as we approach the end of the bridge. Carefully we watch our steps while climbing up the steep stairways.

I turn to take a few more photographs while Jess is finishing filming for the afternoon. We discuss the introduction and ending to the video of Cypress Swamp. It is difficult to decide what is the most interesting experience in this swamp. Jess and I decide to edit the video and see what story the cypress trees would like to tell.

The time has come for us to leave this beautiful swamp. It is a relaxing ride home on the Natchez Trace and we return to our home refreshed. Nature has renewed our spirits and we are ready for the next adventure.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce