Charleston is The Place; all other places are simply other places. This summer vacation (and my tour guests) afforded my family of five the opportunity to visit a historic city we had never seen before.
I recommend that all try to visit Natchez, Mississippi and stay in the main house of Dunleith, the Antebellum home on 40 acres still, in Natchez. Natchez is a town that time forgot. You are removed from the modern world and wonder if it is a fluke that all of the guides in the museum houses on tour do not know anything about the world of computers. Twilight Zone. If you are weary of the syncopated unrest of a crazy world, come to Charleston; then, plan a trip to Natchez. Natchez feels even more lost in time than Charleston, and less discovered, to be honest. We stayed in two museum rooms filled with antebellum antiques in Dunleith all alone for the same price as Natchez’ Days Inn. We got off-season rates because they heard I was a famous Charleston guide. Just kidding. We were just another tourist family. But we made the most of it, swimming in their pool surrounded by banana fronds, and writing post cards on the veranda, while sipping a mint julep from their herb garden’s freshly picked mint. The massive canopied beds were not reproductions as we have predominately here in Charleston B&Bs.
Before summer is over, relax in a pool in the warm silky waters of the South. All your cares melt away, as well as all your aches and pains. And if like us you have to drive to Natchez rather than fly, listen as we did to the book on tape, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Being sold Down South meant down the Mississippi River in Natchez or New Orleans where the sugar cane plantations were, more to be dreaded by slaves than the plantations of cotton or rice.
As we observe the 150th anniversary of the start of the War Between the States, it is a good time to read and visit the history of that day and age, We learn anew the lessons. In one of the museum houses of Natchez, we learned that the widow of 1859 had to pay taxes on not only the property of the Antebellum mansion, but on every piece of furniture, mirror, and chandelier; consequently, she was forced to sell the house.
This one little unelaborated tidbit of history made me suddenly see why the Federal government up North was so hated in the Antebellum years. The South felt taken advantage of. The wealth of America was being produced in the South, but the South was being taxed every which way the Federal government could find. America’s taxes were getting to be like Great Britain whose yoke America had thrown off because of taxation. The South felt all their hard earned money was going up North to feed the Federal government machine of wasteful spending. The Southerners felt they would be better off on their own, that states rights had been replaced with Federal government rights. Statehood implies sovereignty. People were patriotic and loyal to their state, which was their country. The outcome of the War changed America’s perception of statehood and states rights. In looking back, we remember who we are and were designed to be by the Founding Fathers.