After a 10-hour bus ride that was as much fun as 10 hours on a bus can be, we`re finally in Natchez and I can already say it was worth it. Here`s my view from the hotel room looking out at the Mississippi River with Christmas decorations in the foreground right out of Steel Magnolias.

We went directly from the bus to the loveliest dinner at Magnolia Hall, a beautful antebellum home curated by the Natchez Garden Club. They served cocktails, too. I like this place.

The garden clubs of Natchez wield considerable power in this town. They basically saved many 0f the historic homes here after the city fell on hard times. There are two of them and they are somewhat at war with each other I am told, but collectively speaking, women rule this town.

Tomorrow we are touring Frogmore Plantation, lunching at the wildly inapporpriate Mammy`s Cupboard, touring Stanton Hall and having cocktails at another antebellum home. Scott Smith, our tour guide and beloved friend, told us many of these grand homes are still in the hands of descendents of the original owners.

It`s a place a little lost in time, which I find utterly charming. And Scott also told us that when Natchez natives have a little too much fun partying, they go to New Orleans to recuperate. As I said, I like this place.

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