° empty

Pilgrimage profits: Businesses report increased crowds

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Terry Powell and Brad Herr, both from Pfafftown, N.C., place their orders with waitress Aly Kimball. The duo stopped for lunch at Biscuits & Blues on Main Street in Natchez. The pair said they would be spending two days in Natchez, visiting a few of the antebellum houses, before heading up the Natchez Trace as they make their way home over the next several days.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Terry Powell and Brad Herr, both from Pfafftown, N.C., place their orders with waitress Aly Kimball. The duo stopped for lunch at Biscuits & Blues on Main Street in Natchez. The pair said they would be spending two days in Natchez, visiting a few of the antebellum houses, before heading up the Natchez Trace as they make their way home over the next several days.

NATCHEZ — Although Spring Pilgrimage was one week shorter this year, local business owners report business has been better than last year.

Biscuits & Blues owner Peter Trosclair said his restaurant has seen an increase in business over last year during Spring Pilgrimage.

“We have been packed almost every day,” he said. “I just wish it was longer because we’re just getting used to being busy.”

Old South Trading Post owner Jonathan Wood said his store has also been busy.

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Jesse B. Whittley, right, and Cynthia Shorts are busy filling orders for customers during the lunchtime rush at The Malt Shop on Saturday afternoon.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Jesse B. Whittley, right, and Cynthia Shorts are busy filling orders for customers during the lunchtime rush at The Malt Shop on Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t have figures yet to compare, but I can tell you that it seems better than last year,” he said. “The primary place that has been a surprise has been the number of people coming from Tennessee.”

“We have had a substantial amount (of tourists) from Tennessee this year.”

The Malt Shop owner Gloria Neames said she has seen tourists from a variety of states stopping by for treats at her restaurant.

“It seems like it was up from last year,” she said. “We’ve been extremely busy.”

Wood said he is optimistic that many of the tourists that stopped by the Trading Post will return to Natchez. That is, he said, because he had an extra promotional tool.

The Fall Pilgrimage brochure was printed in time this year, Wood said, for him to use it to encourage tourists to return.

“We’ve actually been able to promote the fall at the same time we’re enjoying them for spring,” he said. “I think that is going to pay us significant benefits.”

Trosclair said tourists he has talked to at Biscuits & Blues said they would certainly be returning to Natchez.

“It was just a nice group of people,” he said. “Most of them I talked to said they would come back not just to the restaurant but also to stay in Natchez.”

Pilgrimage tours continue from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. today for houses on the pink tour and from 1:30 to 5 p.m. for houses on the blue tour and wrap up Tuesday with yellow and red tours.

Post-Pilgrimage events from Wednesday-Saturday will include the six museum houses and eight private homes. Two of the private homes will be open for tours for two hours each day during post-Pilgrimage.

Tickets for home tours and other Pilgrimage events may be purchased online at www.natchezpilgrimage.com or toll-free at 1-800-647-6742.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours desk at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.