When my husband and I got married at Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta, I told my sister-in-law our wedding would be in an antebellum home. “What’s that?” she said. As a native of California, she wasn’t familiar with the term that refers to neoclassical-style homes from before the Civil War, primarily found in the South.
Fans of the gracious architectural style and the history that goes along with the homes have to visit Natchez, Mississippi, which boasts more antebellum structures than any other place. As you may recall from your American history, many of them across the region went up in fiery blazes set by the Yankees. Our wedding venue is one of the few remaining in Atlanta. You’ve seen “Gone with the Wind” so you know what happened there.
While many homes are open year-round, Natchez hosts two pilgrimages a year, in the fall and the spring, when many of the owners open their homes to visitors while costumed descendants of the original owners and family friends greet guests and regale them with intriguing stories of the homes’ history.
The Spring Pilgrimage runs from March 5 to April 5, with 24 homes available for viewing. A ticket for a single home is $18 or you can purchase a package to tour three homes for $45. Other events during the Pilgrimage include an evening of jazz, other musical performances and the Historic Natchez Tableaux, which features the history of Natchez told through music and storytelling.
The truly adventurous can attend “The Haunting of the Towers: A Paranormal Candlelight Tour” with the owners of this home, James and Ginger Hyland, followed by complimentary champagne and refreshments. Lucky for us, when we toured The Towers, the lights were on, all the better to see the massive and magnificent collections Ginger has amassed, including a room devoted to items from “Phantom of the Opera.”