Brittney Lohmiller  / The Natchez Democrat — Mary Katherine McDonald, from left, Julie Kendall, and Donna Martello joke around while waiting to give tours of Magnolia Hall to visitors during Fall Pilgrimage.  This is McDonald’s first time receiving at Magnolia Hall since recently joining the Natchez Garden Club.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Mary Katherine McDonald, from left, Julie Kendall, and Donna Martello joke around while waiting to give tours of Magnolia Hall to visitors during Fall Pilgrimage. This is McDonald’s first time receiving at Magnolia Hall since recently joining the Natchez Garden Club.

House owners see increased visitors, crowds during Fall Pilgrimage

Published 12:10am Sunday, October 6, 2013

NATCHEZ — With the first week of Fall Pilgrimage over, tourism professionals say this year is shaping up to be better than the past two years.

Natchez Pilgrimage Tours General Manager Emily Edwards said, based on ticket projections, this year’s numbers should be higher than sales for 2011 and 2012.

“Projection wise, group sales for September and October were sitting well above the past two years,” Edwards said.

Sweet Auburn had 140 visitors Sept. 28, the single best day owner Charlotte Copeland said she has had.

“It’s the biggest crowd I’ve have ever had,” she said. “It’s a definite increase. It’s been far better than the first Pilgrimage I was in (in 2011).”

Copeland said most of her visitors were from out of state, and one group was a busload of 43 tourists from Spain.

Marcia Adams at The Coyle House said she has seen visitors from Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Colorado and other states.

“It’s just been so much fun,” Adams said. “Everybody has been really nice and has been enjoying their time in Natchez.”

Fall Pilgrimage ends Oct. 14.

Most tours feature three houses each — with a tour in the morning, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and in the afternoon, 1:30 to 5 p.m. Two tours include two houses.

Six other historic mansions and properties will be on tour throughout Pilgrimage for an additional charge.

The tours are as follows:

• Red tour: Auburn, House on Ellicott Hill and Ravenna from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today, Monday, Oct. 3, Oct. 6, Oct. 9 and Oct. 12.

• Pink tour: Glenfield, Green Leaves and J.N. Stone House from 1:30 to 5 p.m. today, Monday, Oct. 3, Oct. 6, Oct. 9 and Oct. 12.

• Orange tour: Brandon Hall and Sweet Auburn from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday, Oct. 1, Oct. 4, Oct. 7, Oct. 10 and Oct. 13.

• Yellow tour: The Gardens and The Towers from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday Oct. 1, Oct. 4, Oct. 7, Oct. 10 and Oct. 13.

• Blue tour: The Briars, The Coyle House and Magnolia Hall from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, Oct. 5, Oct. 8, Oct. 11 and Oct. 14.

• Green tour: Oak Hill, Pleasant Hill and Rip Rap from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, Oct. 5, Oct. 8, Oct. 11 and Oct. 14.

Tickets are $30 per person for the three-house tour. A two-house tour is available for $20. Tickets for children ages 6 to 13 traveling with their families are $18 and $12, respectively. Tour tickets are available only at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center, located at 640 S. Canal St. Individual full-price tickets for Longwood, Rosalie and Stanton Hall can also be purchased at the visitors’ center or at the houses.

Natchez Little Theatre will present for Fall Pilgrimage Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic “Little Women.”

Two casts will perform the show at 7:30 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday through Oct. 14, as well as one Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 13, with $15 tickets.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call NLT at 601-442-2233.

Amos Polk’s Voices of Hope choir performances will be Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday throughout Fall Pilgrimage at the Carriage House, with dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the concert from 7:30 until 8:30 p.m.

Tour tickets are available at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

To purchase Pilgrimage event tickets, visit natchezpilgrimage.com or call 601-446-6631 or 1-800-647-6742.