NATCHEZ IS A MUST VISIT IN JULY
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Dedicated Natchez master gardeners and citizens have long invested in the town's natural beauty and each July brings a full-on show with thousands of crepe myrtle trees reaching peak bloom season.
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I'm a longtime fan of the architecture and genuine hospitality Natchez offers. But in July of 2018, I was completely caught off-guard. I was stunned by the intense array of blooms! So, I asked around to understand how this happened, and a planned effort came clear. In addition to the ongoing commitment of its citizenry, Sallie Ballard, the architect of 2000 for 2000, funded planting of well over 2000 crepe myrtles for the millennium!
Instantly, I thought there needed to be a festival to draw attention to the extraordinary beauty of Natchez. And with plenty of help, I founded it! We met with Visit Natchez, the Chamber of Commerce, Master Gardeners and other Crepe Myrtle fans.
In 2019, we held the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival. We had speakers and social events, and visitors were drawn to Natchez to Celebrate the Blooms. We honored Sallie Ballard, who sadly passed away in 2017. Everyone had a fantastic experience!
I'm proud of what we accomplished in 2019 and to keep interest alive for 2020 & this year, Master Gardeners created self-guided map tours. We've particularly leaned upon our Crepe Myrtle Archivist, Elaine Gemmell. (Yes, she has archives!).
The results: a Sip & See Stroll, a downtown walking tour (worthy of 2-3 visits) along the open container route with reliable watering holes, fantastic restaurants, shops, and there're live music opportunities. The Bloom Drive takes you beyond downtown to include top area gardens, and I never tire of touring the Natchez City Cemetery's grounds, established in 1822 with over 500 Crepe Myrtles on-site. It's breathtaking!
I've already planned by trip with a few friends. We'll motor upriver in a couple weeks for 2 nights, and you bet, we'll take in all the beauty and deliciousness that Natchez represents. I encourage you to do the same.
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PRINTED MAPS AVAILABLE SOON AT AREA NATCHEZ BUSINESSES:
SIP & SEE STROLL, BLOOM DRIVE, NATCHEZ CITY CEMETERY
Thank you Sponsors!
Peter Patout/Talbot Historic Properties
Country Roads Magazine
Ellen C. English
United Mississippi Bank ● G. Douglas Adams Photography
Donna Ballard Masselli in honor of Sallie Ballard
Adams County Master Gardeners ● Monmouth Historic Inn,
Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors
Sip & See Stroll Map
Bloom Drive Map
Natchez City Cemetery Map
The city is awash in blooms! Here's how to experience Natchez now!
Photo Credit: G. Douglas Adams
Last year year, I founded the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival because the extraordinary Crepe Myrtle Blooms of Natchez are worth celebrating! While there’s not a festival with speakers this year, our Committee members have created a perfect experience to Celebrate the Blooms!
There's three self-guided free tours have been developed by Crepe Myrtle Historian and Committee member, Elaine Gemmell:
Trees & Counting!
self-guided bloom tours
So here's a summer sightseeing trip idea: take in some of the loveliness and deliciousness that Natchez offers and experience the city in a low contact manner!
Rita Tebbetts tells us the trees are still moving towards peak season and that the blooms should be pretty possibly even into August!
"Of course, mother nature didn't get the Co-Vid memo. Come to Natchez to take in the show. the beauties won't mind a bit if you want to snap a few photos to share with friends. You'll need evidence anyway to prove to doubters what you will witness.
The best photos are probably done from a distance, but these trees won't mind if you want to move in close. I don't think they will be taking social distancing too seriously," Tebbetts said.
Take in the magnificent architecture of Natchez!
In addition to digital downloads at
Self-guided bloom tour maps are available:
Fat Mama's Tamales
Rolling N' The Dough
Natchez Brewing Company
Biscuits & Blues
The Guest House
Natchez Coffee Company
Natchez Grand Hotel
Pearl Street Pasta
Silver Street Gifts
Natchez Convention Center
Photo Credit: Ben Hillyer
Natchez Celebrates the Blooms FB event page
See 2019 News Stories & Details
On Press Page:
Scroll down the page to read about last year's event.
I became aware of our rich culinary culture early on having grown up in Bayou Teche Country, Patoutville, just next door to New Iberia. Our family was filled with great cooks. Simple backyard gatherings, crab boils this time of the year, often become incredible feasts.
The pleasures of the table, and how it evokes friendly conversation and develops lifelong friendships is a tradition I carry forth in my life. Sometimes I post pics on social media capturing these traditions. Are you enjoying blueberries and peaches these days? Has peach cobbler always been this good?
Fittingly, New Iberia and Natchez get their due in this short list of tasteful small southern towns in Forbes Magazine (click for story).I'm glad for the Tabasco shout-out, which is like adding sunshine to a meal, and over in Natchez, Regina Charboneau gets her due. I encourage you to visit all the restaurants featured, and to bring a friend. Bon Appetit!
BLOOM ALERT! SAVE THE DATE!
Festival Sponsors are Invited
SELF-GUIDED TOURS OF THESE CREPE MYRTLE GROUNDS & BOOK SIGNINGS:maps available at Crepe Myrtle Central
Natchez City Cemetery, all day, 2 Cemetery Rd., walk or drive to enjoy 490 crepe myrtles.
Auburn Antebellum Home, noon-2pm, 400 Duncan Park Avenue. Tour historic home & enjoy Gumbo & Mint Juleps $20, served in restored original kitchen. Walk or drive to view 475 Crepe Myrtles within playground surrounding golf course lining road to pro shop. Take in a game of golf for extra fee. Tickets sold on-site.
Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens, 2-4pm, 1358 John A Quitman Blvd., sip a Bloody Mary while walking among 125 crepe myrtles. $8 per person. Tickets sold on-site.
Book Signings at Regina’s Kitchen, 2-4pm, 312 Main Street, exciting details to come!
My vision for the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival was met with a groundswell of enthusiasm from these garden and community leaders:
The Natchez-Adams Community Alliance is a sponsor providing fiduciary oversight and support.
Interestingly, Saturday events also coincide with the Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year, thus marking the first day of summer!
See Press for more News!
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