Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Other Side of the Looking Glass

Last week my traveling partner
{AKA my mom} 
and I took a wonderful trip to
Mississippi.  We'd always wanted
to visit the Natchez area in the 
spring to tour the antebellum
homes and gardens that are open
to the public.

Like all intrepid explorers, we
had to find a rhythm to our days.
Our sea legs, so to speak.

Because we were in the South
and staying in bed and breakfast establishments,
we started each day with a lovely
BIG breakfast.

Yes, including grits!

Those breakfasts would give us energy
for a day of visiting many of these 
antebellum {built before the Civil War}
and Victorian {built between 1840 and 1900} beauties.

On three of the days, the afternoons
included me driving our rental car for
a fair distance, which meant stopping
at the local gas mart for a caffeine jolt
like this

We had some interesting dinners.
One night was at a local joint in Natchez
where we both had hush puppies, a sort
of fried corn fritter and we swapped tastes
of grilled shrimp and fried oysters, which
I have to say are really, really wonderful!

The evenings included movies in our room, feet up
under the canopied bed, swathed in the white terry cloth robes
 provided by the plantation....

and plenty of these.

Now, I don't want you to think
that Natchez was all Gone With The Wind
and perfect and shining.

As one of our tour guides explained,
these big homes have been in families
for three to four generations.....

Which many of the families feel
is a privilege
but also can be a burden.

Many of the homes we saw were down
at the heels, so to speak,
with peeling paint and yards that
were crying out to gardeners that had
tended and loved them in years gone by.

We saw a lot of signs like this:

And shops in downtown Natchez that
were vacant and boarded up.

So much potential, but in this economy,
no one to bring it alive.

Did I mention the plantation where we
spent three nights?

Even that had a faded charm.

{Which I can sort of relate to!}

In the end, the good far outweighed 
the bad.  After the storms and tornadoes
had passed the weather was outstanding
and I was with my darling friend, my mama.

I'll toast to that!


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Outstanding photos dear! What a wonderful storytelling format you have provided and your mom is just as gorgeous as you are! I so look forward to EXCELSOIR.....and your blog is simply beautiful. So excited to know you are close by!


Cathy said...

Oh yeah! More beautiful pics! Your trip looks amazing...what a wonderful thing to share with your mom!


Anonymous said...

You're both so beautiful and I envy your fabulous mother-daughter relationship. Looks like a wonderful getaway for the two of you. I've never been to Natchez of the deep south as a tourist, just driven through back in the 1970's. How nice it would be for that area to come alive again so that the history of it all is not lost.

Thanks for sharing your very special trip with us.
Sending a bloggy hug your way.

Grammy said...

Perfect description of our journey down the road to the past. I loved every minute with you. Always lots of laughs. Already planning for next year!

La Dolfina said...

What a nice way to take a break from life and spend quality time together. Your memories are priceless and you two obviously know what's most important in life. You and your Mom are two beautiful women :)

lisaroy said...

The two of you look so beautiful in that photo- I just want to hug you both! I've really enjoyed hearing about your trip and let's hope the area does perk up so those treasures don't succumb to neglect - they're so gorgeous. xx

Farmgirl Paints said...

What a cherished trip with your mama. That would be very special to me too. Too bad about the houses being run down. I can see how that could happen. They have to be expensive to maintain. Wish I could swoop in and take one off someone's hands:)

fairmaiden said...

I'll toast to that! Doesn't matter where you are but who you're with right!? Looks like a lovely lovely time.

erica@ moth design+luxe life said...

Looks like such a fantastic trip... and what a blessing to have such a great Mom.
And thanks for the words of encouragement over at Moth Design. This snow has me quite disheartened. However, you're right, lilacs and lilly of the valley are the belles of the spring ball and I'm lucky enough to have plenty of both. There's looking at things on the bright side and it won't be long. Thanks! xoxo Erica

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Beautiful mansions, road trip, big jolts of caffeine, good food, and movies in bed, sounds perfect to me. Forgot.....the perfection is spending time with your mom.

sarah, flourish design + style said...

That looks so amazing - I would love a trip like that! The time with your mom must have been just wonderful. xx

Fearless Nester said...

I can only imagine how delightful it was to enjoy those wonderful breakfasts each morning. I love the picture of your and your Mom. And I cracked up when I saw the tootsie roll wrappers. We in this house are addicted to them too! ~Lili

Mary said...

Sounds like a wonderful time and an inspiration to start the tradition with my daughters!

Jemsmom said...

I came across your post and started reading and found this one. It just touched me as one of the last big trips my mama and I took together with my grandmother was on the Spring Pilgrimage in Natchez. I will always treasure that time with my favorite ladies as they have both now passed. The homes are beautiful, the weather was perfect, but it was the time we were together that made it truly special. Your blog is just lovely! You have a new follower!

xinex said...

Is the last picture at the Castle? I recognize the chairs. Aren't they heavy? You had a wonderful trip, especially being with your mom.....Christine