Spring Pilgrimage starts strong

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

NATCHEZ — Early Saturday morning, a group from Texas waited with “great anticipation” on the porch of Magnolia Hall for Spring Pilgrimage to kick off.

And once inside, Susan Burke of Dallas said she liked what she saw.

“I like how they cleaned the carpets,” she said. “They had to cut the basting, and pull the carpet apart by strips and then baste it back when it is clean. That is a lot of work.”

Burke’s tour group was only one of many making the rounds on the first day of the 2010 Spring Pilgrimage.

Natchez Pilgrimage Tours Director Marsha Colson said she hopes Saturday was a good indicator for how the following five weeks will go.

“I am encouraged that it could be a good Pilgrimage,” she said. “My house (Lansdowne) had 129 visitors. We had pretty decent sales.”

Magnolia tour guide Julie Kendall said she was happy the tourist season had begun again.

“I think it is the fact that there is so much antebellum period history here that makes people want to come to Natchez,” she said. “If I were a tourist, I’d be interested in finding out more about the homes — they are such an interesting part of our history.”

John and Donna Richter of North Dakota said they read a lot about Natchez before coming.

“I like the old south, it is very charming and genteel,” Donna said. “It is amazing how cotton brought so much wealth here.”

“It is amazing how these homes were built with ancient tools,” John said. “These folks were real artisans.”

Kendall said the day at Magnolia Hall was going well, and it didn’t hurt that the weather was cooperating. There were no clouds in the sky and a cool breeze was steadily blowing.

Sara Needs of Atlanta had been waiting for 40 years to come to Natchez.

“The garden club has done a remarkable job,” she said. “I think the town is beautiful.”

Hearing much about Natchez from her friends, Jean Kendrick of San Diego, Calif., said she had mixed feelings about the bluff city.

“The houses, which I came to see, are very well renovated and beautiful,” she said. “But it seems like the modern times have passed Natchez by.”