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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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