Visit to Natchez was highlight of our tour

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last fall when planning our Mississippi River cruise aboard the American Queen steamboat, my wife and I gave little thought about a stop in Natchez. Aside from the quaint name and maybe seeing a portion of the Natchez Trace, there was nothing luring us to your city. What a difference a visit can make! Our March 13 stop was, to put it simply, a highlight, if not the highlights, of our cruise.

Unquestionably, your history, the antebellum architecture, the Spring Pilgrimage Pageant, and the visit to the photo collection in the First Presbyterian Church, along with Joan Gandy’s background talk about it, stand out as lasting memories, but the cornerstone of those memories has to be the indelible impression left by the citizens of your fair city. Without exception, passenger comments after our departure centered on the friendly and helpful manner in which we were received. My wife mentioned two instances in which total strangers offered free transportation to passengers — just out of the blue. I personally spent much of the afternoon walking city streets and looking for a specific souvenir. No matter where I went, people were courteous and offered suggestions. Eventually, those directions led me to what I was looking for.

Someday I hope to return to Natchez for a longer visit. I have long wanted to explore the Trace (believe it or not, I was too busy to give it any attention in March); perhaps one day I will follow it in the opposite direction of travelers of old, south back to its city of origin. But whether or not I make my way back, I will long remember Natchez as the home of gracious and welcoming people, carrying on the time-honored tradition of Southern hospitality.

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Peter Vogt

Dansville, N.Y. resident