Spring Pilgrimage Time

JRGordon’s note about the pilgrimage in yesterday’s News Roundup reminded me that it is indeed about that time of year. In fact, with the crazily warm weather we’ve been having, it looks like the pilgrimages better get going soon before we hit summer!

As I’ve noted before, I was a late convert to Pilgrimages, laden as they sometimes are with the moonlight and magnolias and often with more architectural myths than truths. However, about four years ago, I headed down to the Natchez Pilgrimage and found that I really loved it. For one thing, it’s really the best time to see inside houses that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. And for another thing, well, it’s the best time to see inside houses you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Really, what other reason do you need if you love architecture and historic places?

Besides that, the myths are entertaining and worthy of scholarly study on their own.

So pick a pilgrimage from the list below and head out for yourself this year (if you know of another one, please let me know so I can add it). It’s great to see the Gulf Coast back on the Pilgrimage circuit after a 6-year, Katrina-induced hiatus.

For your scheduling ease, make sure to check out the MissPres calendar, which is ever-present on the top bar of the blog. Pilgrimages are presented in the order in which they are scheduled.

Natchez (March 12 – April 16, 2011)

Thirty antebellum mansions, most of them private residences, open their doors to visitors during this five-week Pilgrimage every spring. Your guides are costumed family friends and descendants of the original owners, whose stories are as real as the bricks and mortar in their hearths. Each house is unique with 18th and 19th century furnishings, porcelain, silver, clothing, tools, documents and diaries.

Homes on tour (in addition to the always open Longwood, Stanton Hall and Rosalie, and the National Park Service’s Melrose and William Johnson House):

  • Red Tour
  • Blue Tour
    • Greenlea
    • Texada
    • Governor Holmes House
  • Pink Tour
    • House on Ellicott’s Hill
    • Banker’s House
  • Yellow Tour
  • Purple Tour
    • Magnolia Hall
    • Shields Town House
    • Airlie
  • Peach Tour
    • Green Leaves
    • The Elms
    • Elgin
  • Orange Tour
    • Hawthorne
    • Elms Court
  • Green Tour
    • Lansdowne
    • Montaigne
    • Oakland
    • Selma

Gulf Coast (March 26 – April 3, 2011)

The Spring Pilgrimage is “Coming Home.” When March 26 – April 3 arrives, it will be six years since the Gulf Coast Council of Garden Clubs held its last Spring Pilgrimage. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed homes and gardens, many of which have only recently been completely restored. “Coming Home” will be the very appropriate theme of the return of this 58-year tradition of hospitality.From Pascagoula to Pass Christian, the eight-day event will feature approximately 50 elegant homes, gardens and historic landmarks, all free of charge to visit, thanks to the individual garden clubs and Gulf Coast business sponsors.

For list of tours, see http://springpilgrimage.webs.com/tourschedule.htm

Columbus (March 28 – April 9, 2011)

Unfortunately, there’s not much information posted about the Columbus Pilgrimage yet. You can view the webpage where I guess it will eventually posted. You can read my posts about the 2009 pilgrimage in two parts: Columbus Pilgrimage Report and the imaginatively titled Columbus Pilgrimage Report, Part 2.

Vicksburg (April 1 – 30, 2011)

Experience the rich Tapestry of early Vicksburg life. Explore the fabric of Vicksburg society with tours of our historic homes and hallways. Enjoy interpretive presentations of Vicksburg’s history that brings to life the heritage and culture of this remarkable river city. Some of Vicksburg’s most historic properties will tell their stories from antebellum grandeur to the Siege of Vicksburg to the turn of the 20th Century. Together these stories weave the Tapestry of who we are today.

On Tour:

  • Jacqueline House African-American Museum
  • Baer House Inn
  • Shlenker House
  • Martha Vick House
  • The Mary Harwood
  • Old Court House Museum
  • Duff Green Mansion
  • George Washington Ball House
  • Anchuca Mansion
  • Blum-Levy House
  • Great Hope Manor
  • Cobb House
  • Corners Mansion
  • Annabelle
  • Cedar Grove Mansion
  • Christ Episcopal Church

Holly Springs (April 8 – 10, 2011)

Feast on antebellum splendor, local storytellers brimming with the colorful stories of Holly Springs’ past, costumed guides, Pilcher organ recitals in antebellum churches, gracious southern luncheons, tours of historic Hillcrest Cemetery guided by characters from Holly Springs’ past, free rides in antique carriages pulled by Percheron draft horses, one-of-a-kind arts & crafts as well as a traditional southern supper in one of our glorious mansions—Montrose!

Homes on tour:

  • Walter Place
  • Featherston Place
  • Polk Place
  • Finley Place
  • Montrose

Aberdeen (April 30 – May 1, and May 6 – 8, 2011)

A river port steeped in history, Aberdeen is one of the richest repositories of nineteenth century architecture in Mississippi. Ten magnificent antebellum planter’s townhouses and beautifully appointed Victorian homes will be available for touring, and we’ve scheduled many exciting related events for our visitors’ pleasure.

Homes on Tour:

  • The Magnolias
  • Gregg-Hamilton House
  • Holliday Have
  • Steamboat
  • Adams-French House
  • Miss-Quilla
  • Lenoir
  • The Old Homestead
  • Sanders Place
  • Victorian Dream
  • Painted Lady

Categories: Natchez, Preservation People/Events

6 replies

  1. Is the pilgrimage only for homes….just curious?


    • No, in fact, some of my favorite and most unexpected pilgrimage sites have been the churches that are often open specially for pilgrimage. For instance, see my report on Carrollton’s churches that were open for their fall pilgrimage. Carrollton also had its courthouse open on the weekend for its pilgrimage. So, if your question relates to Poplar Hill, I think that would be a great place to open up for Pilgrimage, but just speaking logistically, you would want to have at least one or two other places in the general vicinity open as well to encourage people to come out to see all of the places. I can’t recall how close you are to the Church Hill community, but if you are, maybe Springfield or the Church Hill church could also be open as part of the tour.


  2. I recognize those Melrose front hall floorcloth slices!

    Don’t forget that the nationally significant NPS sites of Melrose and the William Johnson House in Natchez are also open for tour every day (and the Johnson House is free!). They make great add-ons to any pilgrimage tour.


  3. Is Carrollton going to have a pilgrimage or was that just a one-off event?


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