True Small Town Living
Founded in 1716 high above the mighty Mississippi River, Natchez is the oldest city on the river - and it has the sights to prove it. Natchez has lived under five different flags, and once you see the view of the river it offers, you'll see why so many nations fought for control of the area.
The Natchez Indians first occupied the area, and their mark is evident to this day. Emerald Mound was constructed around 1300 A.D. Covering eight acres, it is the second-largest ceremonial mound in the United States. Many other mounds and the restored Grand Village of the Natchez Indians are great reasons to get out and explore the scenic surroundings of Natchez.
The most obvious examples of Natchez's history are the over 500 antebellum buildings still standing in the city. Many structures remain from the French, Spanish and English eras, and large areas of the downtown residential districts are completely Victorian or antebellum.
Every year, the city opens its doors for its Fall and Spring Pilgrimages. The Fall Pilgrimage lasts three weeks and the Spring Pilgrimage is five weeks long, during which time visitors come to town for special tours of the antebellum homes.
Throughout the months of November and December, Natchez hosts a Victorian Christmas with tours and productions celebrating the town's rich history, a wonderful yearly addition to this retirement community.Natchez was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2003.
An assortment of festivals brings arts and special events to town. The month long May Opera festival pleases both opera critics and those who have never seen a live mezzo-soprano in their life. Each February the Literary and Cinema Celebration focuses on a different topic and sponsors lectures and seminars by well-known filmmakers and authors.
The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race is three days of hot air balloon races, music and partying on the bluff. These activities support a great many Bed and Breakfast operations and many great restaurants for residents to enjoy all year.
Natchez Under-the-Hill, a riverside district of the town, was once infamous for the aristocrats and rogues who frequented its gambling houses. Now dockside gaming has returned to Natchez with a modern casino. In addition to gaming excitement, the casino also offers dining and entertainment.
Sportsmen will be delighted with the variety of game to be found in the surrounding wilderness. Whitetail deer, turkey, dove, squirrel, quail and rabbit abound in the Natchez area. Natchez State Park is considered to be home to some of the best bass fishing in the state, and the current state-record bass was hauled out of its 300-acre lake.
Two area golf courses give golfers a variety of doglegs and sand traps to perfect their swing.
Read what people like yourself have to say about Natchez as a retirement community:
Coming from Lansing, Michigan, Carl and Sue Ann Wilt have lived in Natchez for just over a year, but their trek here began over 20 years ago when they were looking for a place to visit and saw an article about the Natchez Pilgrimage.
Mississippi Living: What made you decide to move to Mississippi?
The Wilts: We came down for Pilgrimage and fell in love with what we saw. Carl says it did feel like coming home for them. We were greeted warmly by strangers on the streets and by shopkeepers. We visited periodically until 1992 when we started visiting once or twice a year. In 1995 we contacted the Natchez Retiree Partnership and a realtor and in 1996 bought our Natchez home, with plans to rent it until our retirement. We bought a Michigan personalized license plate "NATCHEZ" which we proudly displayed. A wonderful bonus was that because of the lower cost of living in Natchez we were able to retire 5 years sooner than if we had stayed in Michigan.
Mississippi Living: So, you didn't have any trouble making adjustments?
The Wilts: We were here so often it was easy. By the way the house was rented the whole time until we retired.
Mississippi Living: How do you fit yourselves into the community?
The Wilts: Sue Ann is active in their church, the Natchez Garden Club and took a part-time temporary job at Copiah-Lincoln Community College while Carl has been working on the grounds, garden and helping their new neighbors. They both are active in the Natchez Retiree Partnership and love telling their story to others.
Facts and Figures
Hospital Beds: 250
Average cost of Home: $90,000
Average Cost of a New 2,000 sq. ft. Brick Home on a
half-acre lot: $188.000
Tax on $100,000 Home with Homestead Exemption:
(under age 65): $1,085
(65 and older): $347
Places of Worship: 100+
Denominations Represented: 30
Commercial passenger air service is available in Jackson (105 miles northeast), Alexandria, LA (69 miles west), Baton Rouge (86 miles south).