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State Spotlight: Mississippi

Courtesy Natchez CVB

Natchez: History at home
Natchez is among the oldest cities in the South. Established in 1716, the city now boasts 13 national historic landmarks and more than 1,000 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thirteen antebellum homes around town make a great way to learn about Natchez history. The gem of the area is Longwood Plantation, a home that was begun before the Civil War but never completed. It is one of the few octagonal mansions in the United States and features a blend of Italianate and East Indian architecture.

In addition to these tour homes that are always open to visitors, groups can see many more Natchez homes during two annual pilgrimage events. The tradition of the Spring Pilgrimage dates back to 1932 and features private homeowners in period dress welcoming guests into their 19th-century homes. The Fall Pilgrimage also features tours of autumn gardens and evening entertainment.

Good eats in Greenwood
In north-central Mississippi, Greenwood is making a name for itself as an epicurean destination. Foodies will find a variety of great culinary experiences in town, from fine Delta dining at high-end restaurants to the surprising and soulful history of the area’s hot tamale joints.

One of the big players in the area’s culinary scene is the Viking Range Corp. This kitchen appliance manufacturer has a demonstration kitchen and cooking school in Greenwood, where small groups can enjoy a hands-on cooking class and browse a retail kitchen store. Larger groups can have a live cooking demonstration from one of the Viking chefs.

For an uncommon food experience, the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau can arrange for groups to meet with a local food stylist who prepared on-screen treats for the popular film “The Help,” which was shot in and around Greenwood.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.