Friday, March 12, 2010

Elizabeth of London Graces Natchez

The Queen of England is not the only Elizabeth in London. Far more important to me is Elizabeth Scanlon Thomas. Why is she more important? First of all, she was reared in Natchez until the age of 12, so she is full of Southern charm and grace - she even still has her Natchez accent with a little touch of British. She is a blogger par excellance - both at her own blog and this one. She is entertaining, thoughtful, brilliant, and gracious. I know this sounds like a bit much, but she truly lives up to the hype.

I first "met" Elizabeth online. I have a Google Alert for Natchez that lets me know whenever the word Natchez appears online. Since Elizabeth sometimes writes about her life in Natchez, I received an alert one day for her blog and checked it out. I wondered what in the world a Natchez girl was doing in England, so I emailed her. Since then I religiously read her blog every day. She writes several times a day, so I feel like I know her fairly well. I asked her if she would share some of her Natchez stories on The Natchez Blog, and she agreed. Over the years, we had gotten to be good friends - even though we had never laid eyes on each over or heard each other's voice.

A few months ago, Elizabeth told me that she and her husband Mel were coming to Natchez for a couple of days. I was so excited and wanted to make sure their visit was wonderful. First, I wanted them to stay at the perfect Natchez place. So of course, I recommended that they stay at The Elms Bed and Breakfast. The over 200 year old home has been owned by the same family for 130 years, so it's filled with antiques and history. Owner Esther Carpenter is both a professional chef and a well known artist, so the interior design and the food are unbelievable. Yes, this will do for Elizabeth of London!

Next we arranged a luncheon with the other Natchez Bloggers. Elizabeth requested that it be held at The Carriage House on the grounds of Stanton Hall, of which she had the fondest memories. She brought us all gifts from England (see picture) which included a bag with the British flag, a tea towel with a picture of Sherlock Holmes, a tin of biscuits (British for cookies), a gin and tonic cocktail in a can (!), a tea selection (of course), and a replica of the famous London phone booth.

The rest of their brief visit was crammed with perfect Natchez experiences: a trip to the Natchez Visitors Center for souvenirs and an overall view, a driving tour of the downtown area including the magnificent Mississippi River, the historial Natchez photograph collection housed at the First Presbyterian Church (click to see the pictures), cocktails at the Admiral Merrill House, the hilarious production of Southern Exposure by the Natchez Little Theater, the Pilgrimage Tours of antebellum homes, and of course the Pageant, produced by the Natchez Garden Clubs and in which Elizabeth participated as a young girl. I think Elizabeth and Mel thoroughly enjoyed their visit and will come back whenever they can - and send all their friends.

Everyone who met Elizabeth and Mel were immediately charmed. (Did I mention that Mel is not only cute but has this to die for British accent?) I don't think the Queen and her Prince could have made a better impression. Natchez was truly graced by their visit.


Jane said...

Ha ha!! Casey, that is such a cute description! I had English shortbread cookies in my bag which I've already been into--very yummy!

I know Elizabeth and Mel enjoyed you being their tour guide on that first day. You forgot ArtsNatchez Gallery--wasn't that the first place you took them?

A fun time for us all! Great memories!

Casey Ann said...

You're right! How could I have forgotten ArtsNatchez? It was the first stop on the driving tour.

Elizabeth said...

Casey Ann, you were the best tour guide ever. I can't believe you gave up your day to make sure we saw all the important sights in Natchez. I loved the photo exhibit at the church -- and the Natchez film -- well, it was all wonderful. Thank you so much.

Shantybellum said...

I've already polished off my biscuits.

I can't wait for Elizabeth to come back to Natchez, and hopefully find a nice, little retirement home here.

Wonderful blog post, Casey.