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The Dart: Pilgrimage hostess hangs up hoops

Sandy Taylor gave her last tour at The Burn Saturday afternoon. After eight years of receiving guests at several Natchez antebellum house during Spring Pilgrimage, Taylor has decided to retire from giving tours. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Sandy Taylor gave her last tour at The Burn Saturday afternoon. After eight years of receiving guests at several Natchez antebellum house during Spring Pilgrimage, Taylor has decided to retire from giving tours. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — When Sandy Taylor says she is retiring, she not only has to convince her friends and coworkers, she has to convince herself.

Since moving to Natchez with her husband Tom eight years ago, Taylor has been pulling on her hoop skirt each Spring Pilgrimage to help receive guests to some of Natchez finest antebellum houses.

Starting with six houses, Taylor has slowly whittled down her receiving duties over the years to just one house.

When the last guest left The Burn Saturday, suddenly there were none for Taylor.

It was also the last house tour for Tom, who has been dressing as Gen. Bernard Farrar, who built Fort McPherson north of what is now downtown Natchez.

“This is our swan song,” Taylor said resting her tired feet from a long afternoon of entertaining guests.

When The Dart landed on Oak Street, house and owners Glenn and Bridget Green were celebrating their last tour of Pilgrimage with a small social affair Saturday evening.

Greeting guests at the door, Bridget says she refuses to hear Sandy when the she speaks of her and her husband’s retirement.

“I will not listen,” Bridget said laughing. “I don’t think I can have a Pilgrimage without the two of them,” Bridget said.

Other friends laugh at Sandy’s mention of retirement. They know how difficult it is to quit.

Admittedly, Sandy said it will be difficult when Spring Pilgrimage starts next year.

“I have loved every minute of it and have many friends,” Sandy said. “I will miss it next year, but not enough to come back.”

In a brief moment of backpedaling, Sandy said she might be available in an emergency.

“I might consider it,” she said laughing.