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Holiday tour gives residents chance to visit area bed and breakfasts

Aunt Clara’s Cottage is one of the five bed & breakfasts on tour.
Aunt Clara’s Cottage is one of the five bed & breakfasts on tour.

Many of Natchez’s bed-and-breakfast homes decorate for the holiday season, and Miss-Lou residents and visitors have long made a tradition of looking at the exterior lights and garland on the houses.

But this year, the Natchez Bed & Breakfast Association is offering a Christmas tour that will let visitors see the homes from the inside out.

The tour will include six houses across two Saturdays — Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 — from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

“The B&B association was formed in 2012 with the idea of trying to bring more folks to Natchez and to help the overall tourism picture in town, and we felt like we wanted to contribute something to Christmas in Natchez, and the time felt right,” association spokesman and Devereux Shields House owner Ron Fry said.

BRITTNEY LOHMILLER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT —  Aunt Clara's Cottage along with five other bed and breakfasts in the Natchez Bed & Breakfast Association are offering Christmas tours that will let visitors see the homes from the inside out. Each B&B is decorated for the holiday season. The tour takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.
BRITTNEY LOHMILLER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT —
Aunt Clara’s Cottage along with five other bed and breakfasts in the Natchez Bed & Breakfast Association are offering Christmas tours that will let visitors see the homes from the inside out. Each B&B is decorated for the holiday season. The tour takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

“We are really excited about bringing the B&Bs to light. Guests like to find out more about B&Bs in Natchez, and even residents are sometimes asked, ‘Where should we stay?’ This way the residents can get a handle and an idea on which ones they should recommend to their friends.”

The tour will give those who are interested a chance to see more than one architectural style at once.

“We have a wonderful array of architectural phenomena around town,” Fry said. “We have B&Bs that are Victorian, some that are antebellum, others that fall into other periods, and this kind of brings them together under one roof — everybody gets all of that in one tour instead of having a separate tour for Victorian homes, or antebellum homes.”

Houses on tour Dec. 14 include:

• Monmouth Historic Inn, the Greek Revival mansion built in 1818 and owned by Nancy and Warren Reuther.

• Linden Bed and Breakfast, the 1792-constructed home of Jeanette Feltus that has a doorway famously used in “Gone With the Wind.”

• Devereux Shields House, the Victorian-era house originally owned by a Spanish-American War veteran.

Houses on tour Dec. 21 include:

• Dunleith Historic Inn, the 26-room house built in 1856 on a property that has buildings dating to the 1790s.

• Magnolia Cottage B&B, built in 1831 and surrounded by century-old magnolia trees.

• Bisland House B&B, the colonial revival home built in 1904 in the Natchez Downtown Historic District.

Each house on the tour will have an accompanying musical performance, with keyboard and vocalist performer Donna Schaffer and percussionist George Piazza performing at Monmouth Dec. 14 and at Dunleith Dec. 21.

Guitar and vocalist Joe Wild will perform at Linden Dec. 14 and Magnolia Cottage Dec. 21.

Keyboardist Joshua Nichols will perform at Devereux Shields House Dec. 14 and Bisland House Dec. 21.

One of the goals of the tour was to make it a family affair, Fry said.

“A lot of the tours in town exclude children,” he said. “Kids in their natural energy can’t understand why they can’t jump on things, but Christmas is a family thing and we like to help celebrate that.”

Two of the houses on the tour will have trains running inside so children will feel more at home, Fry said, and children under the age of 6 are free for the tour.

Those who purchase tickets will also be able to receive special promotions from participating downtown restaurants and a number of local shops and will be entered to win a $300 credit toward a stay in one of the participating B&Bs.

“I think everybody has some sort of responsibility to contribute to the city’s value, to ourselves, and I think this is a really nice way of tying the community together for the benefit of everybody,” Fry said.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for accompanied children age 6 to 12.

Tickets can be purchased from Natchez Pilgrimage Tours at natchezpilgrimage.com/Christmas-bed-and-breakfast-tour.php or by phone at 601-446-6631 or 1-800-647-6742.

Tickets can also be purchased by walk-in after 5 p.m. the day of the tours at Monmouth and Dunleith for $35 per adult and $20 for children 6-12.