Town makes tourists welcome

Published 11:21 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too often we spend our time complaining about what is wrong in our little city. I usually write a column every year before Pilgrimage and remind everyone to “play nice with others” and remember that we are glad to have tourists in town, visiting us, eating in our restaurants, sleeping in our hotels and shopping in our shops. Whether or not you like tourism as an industry, you cannot argue with the money being spent in town.

Swamped with my daughter’s wedding preparations, I didn’t get a chance to write that pre-Pilgrimage column.

But as I found out on a personal note this weekend, our town didn’t need a reminder. We were polished up and ready to shine.

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This past weekend my daughter’s soon to be in-law’s, Mark and Laurie Aldredge came to visit. They brought their other son, Russell. Holly and Parker came from Atlanta. They were all here for a party and to make final wedding arrangements.

Keep in mind, these visitors live in Dallas and have many restaurants from which to choose. I worried a little about where to go and what to do in our small town. They had been to visit once before, and so I wanted to try some new places.

Natchez, you and your residents couldn’t have done a finer job. All of our visitors declared the visit a total success. They wrapped up the final details of the rehearsal dinner and were very happy with the professionalism and help they were given. We ate at several restaurants and the food and service were excellent.

On Friday, Laurie and I went around town to look for welcome bag items for her out-of-town guests. Several local merchants were very helpful in coming up with ideas and products. Before we knew it, Laurie had a long list and a good start. That night, we ate at a newer restaurant. Not only was the food and service very good, our waiter was very knowledgeable about the dishes and wine list.

During our impromptu Saturday night meal, Russell declared his entrée to be one of the best he had ever had. This young man recently finished a stint as an officer in the Navy. Knowing that he has eaten all over the world, it means a lot when you watch him polish off a steak and say it “was excellent.”

Mark and Laurie also commented on the hotel in which they were staying.They raved about the clean, spacious rooms and helpful staff. They were given a tour of the hotel — something that was especially nice since they have blocked off rooms for the wedding. When Mark commented that his boss was coming from Dallas the staff quickly suggested a river view room and made a note to hold the room for them.

Many of their guests from Dallas and Memphis have told them that they can’t wait to visit Natchez, they have all heard about our city and glad to be coming.

We aren’t perfect here in our little bubble. We have many things that need improvement and hopefully our city officials are continuing to work on them. We could use some more jobs and we need a better consensus on the issue of tourism, but we have a lot going for us and we often forget that. Thank you Natchez, thank you for showing my guests what we do best here in our little corner of Mississippi.

Christina Hall can be reached at