Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Beautiful Blue Parlor at Monmouth

This elegant room is decorated with many of Monmouth's original antiques and showcases portraits of the Quitman family. Come and see for yourself - book online @

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Today marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with many events planned to commemorate the trials and the triumphs of the past year.

We pause in remembrance of those who perished in the storm and in thanksgiving for the many heroes, survivors, volunteers and donors who have helped in the recovery.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Historic Natchez on the Mississippi

Monmouth Plantation is honored to be featured on the cover of the current Historic Natchez Visitors Guide. The official tourist guide to the greater Natchez area is endorsed by the Natchez Convention & Vistors Bureau, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours and The Natchez Chamber of Commerce. For your free Visitors Guide, call 1-800-647-6724 or contact Monmouth's online concierge @

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Small Luxury Hotels

Monmouth Plantation has the distinguished honor of belonging to Small Luxury Hotels, a collection of over 360 independently owned hotels, situated in some of the finest locations around the globe. Each exclusive property commits to a single standard of excellence and as a result, guests are guaranteed an unsurpassed level of quality, service and luxury. Each distinct SLH property takes pride in transforming an ordinary stay into an extraordinary experience. When you see the SLH gold logo you can expect only the best. Visit our website @

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race

Congratulations to our own Natchez Hot Air Balloon Race which was voted "Best Annual Event in Mississippi" by readers of Mississippi Magazine in the July/August issue!

This year's event will be held October 20, 21, & 22, 2006. Two balloon flights take place each day, weather permitting. You may see up to 100 hot air balloons take to the skies at the same time!

The entertainment line up headlines New Orleans greats, Irma Thomas and The Dirty Dozen Jazz Band.
Also performing will be the North Mississippi All-Stars, Will Kimbrough, Olu Dara, Brint Anderson Band Featuring Maggie Brown, Patrick Smith, Sextion8, Y. Z. Ealey, Less Than Zero, Lil Poochie & The Bluff City Blues Band

The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race has become a popular tradition here every October, so make your reservations early. You can book online @

Friday, August 25, 2006

Monmouth Plantation Timeline

1799 John Quitman is born September 1, in Rhinebeck, New York.

1820 Quitman arrives in Natchez on December 3. Four years later, he marries Eliza Turner.

1830 U.S. Census records John Quitman’s ownership of six enslaved people.

1833 Cholera claims Quitman’s infant sons, John and Edward. An enslaved woman at Monmouth named Aunt Dicey is put into service as nursemaid to Eliza and John Quitman’s children.

1834 Quitman purchases fifteen slaves. A house slave at Monmouth named Harry Nichols is put into service as personal valet to John Quitman.

1836 Harry Nichols travels with Quitman to Texas. Quitman, along with the Fencibles, (a Quitman organized militia group), participates in Texas independence from Mexico.

1840 U. S. Census records John Quitman’s ownership of 160 enslaved people. Tornado sweeps though Natchez, killing hundreds.

1842 John and Eliza’s family grows to seven children. Aunt Dicey is "banished" to Springfield Plantation by Eliza for “misbehaving”.

1846 John Quitman serves as a victorious general in the war with Mexico; he is assisted by "faithful" Harry Nichols. Quitman procures a daguerreotype of Harry.

1850 John Quitman becomes Governor of Mississippi. A Monmouth house slave named Belle Vessels assists at the "White House of Mississippi”.

1856 Aunt Dicey returns to Monmouth. Viola Vessels, a Monmouth house slave, is bridesmaid at the wedding of an enslaved couple at neighboring Melrose, a suburban estate owned by Quitman’s law partner, John McMurran. Viola is married the following year to Marcellus Brannick, a house slave at Melrose.

1858 John A. Quitman dies at Monmouth on July 17. His wife Eliza Turner Quitman, dies at Monmouth one year later. Daughters Annie Rosalie, J. Antonia, and Louisa marry and remain at Monmouth.

1861 The state of Mississippi secedes from the Union. The Quitman daughters see their husbands off to war. Monmouth slaves are asking, "how's master?".

1862 Natchez surrenders to the Union Army. Monmouth slaves begin to run off, including house slaves Charles Vessels, Richard Austin, and Isaac, all of whom join the Union Army.

1863 Monmouth is occupied by Union soldiers (both black and white) whereupon extensive looting occurs. Harry Nichols joins the Union Army, then returns to Monmouth “demanding wages”. Quitman daughters begin paying wages to eight former house slaves. Aunt Dicey and Old Sarah are compensated with food, clothing, and tobacco in their old age.

1865 The only staff left at Monmouth is “Fred and his family along with Harry and his wife”. To supplement their income, Quitman daughters sell off some of their household possessions to formerly enslaved African Americans.

1875 A Lease/Lien agreement is signed with John Williams, giving the Quitman daughters a claim to all cotton grown on Monmouth as security for rent due from Williams.

1887 John Quitman’s granddaughters, Eva C. Lovell and Alice Lovell, move back to Natchez and take up residence at Monmouth. Viola Vessels Brannick’s daughters, Corinne and Hester, childhood companions to Eva, return to Monmouth as paid staff.

1902 Belle Vessels, a former house slave to Governor Quitman at the “White House of Mississippi”, lives at the edge of Monmouth where she and her husband rent Monmouth land for crops. One year later Quitman’s daughter, Annie Rosalie Quitman Duncan, sells a half-acre portion of Monmouth to Viola Brannick (a widow) for the sum of $200.

1912 Corrine Scott, an African-American woman who grew up at Monmouth, purchases from Rose Duncan one-half acre of Monmouth property as "her residence for the sum of $100". Former house slave, Charles Vessels also purchases a portion of Monmouth property. 1914 Annie Rosalie Quitman Duncan, the last surviving child of John and Eliza Quitman, dies at Monmouth, leaving Monmouth to her nieces, Eva Lovell and Alice Lovell. Descendants of Monmouth enslaved, Corinne Scott, Tom Tolles, Viola Brannick, and Kitty Austin, are listed as beneficiaries in "Aunt Rose’s" will. 1924 Monmouth passes from the hands of Quitman descendents when it is sold to Annie Gwen. Corrina (Corinne) Scott sells her portion of Monmouth to Mamie Davis for $500.

1978 Ron and Lani Riches purchase, and restore Monmouth.

The owners of Monmouth Plantation would like to sincerely thank Cynthia Parker for her time and efforts in putting this detailed timeline together. For more hisorical information on Monmouth visit our website @

Thursday, August 24, 2006

General John Quitman & His Wife, Eliza

Monmouth was built in 1818. Its most prominent occupant was John A. Quitman, a Natchez lawyer, politician, planter, and slaveholder. He acquired the house in 1826 for his wife Eliza.

Quitman, a northerner born in New York, lived his life in Natchez until his death in 1858. He was the father of eleven children. Quitman served in the U.S. Congress and was the Governor of Mississippi for one term in the 1850s; he was a victorious and much decorated General commanding volunteer American forces during the war with Mexico. Quitman is remembered, moreover, as one of Mississippi’s most vehement secessionists, or “fire-eaters”.

For more hisorical information on Monmouth visit our website @

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Classic Southern Surroundings

Monmouth's second floor rear veranda is but one of many charming spots for reading, conversation or just plain relaxing. For more photos of Monmouth visit our website @

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

General Quitman's Study

Guests gather in the Quitman Study for drinks and complimentary hors d’oeuvres before moving to the lavishly decorated dining room for a five-course meal prepared under the supervision of Chef Lanny Brasher. Whether or not you stay at Monmouth Plantation during your visit to Natchez, you should not miss the unique experience of a dinner party at our antebellum mansion.

For more information on Monmouth visit our website @

Monday, August 21, 2006

Our Charming Gift Shop at Monmouth

Lovely Victorian collectibles, books on Historic Natchez, silver napkin rings - like the ones we use in our dining room here at Monmouth - are just a few of the wonderful items to be found in our Gift Shop.

There is something for everyone here, no matter what their age or fancy. One guest even told us she does her Chistmas shopping with us - an added benefit of visiting during the holidays.

Looking for a gift for that friend who has everything? Our gift certificates make the perfect gift for birthdays and anniversaries and are available by calling 1-800-828-4531. Also visit our website, , for a gift to be placed in your room upon arrival for that very special stay.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Few of Our Favorite Rooms

Here's a showcase of some of our rooms. Each one is unique and decorated in period antiques. For more photos of Monmouth visit our website @
At Monmouth no two rooms are alike.

This is the bedroom of our Suite 50 in Pond Cottage. It overlooks our tranquil lake.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What a Way to Start the Day

Guests of Monmouth Plantation start the day with a complimentary full Southern breakfast that also features lighter choices such as fruits, yogurts, and cereals. For more information on Monmouth visit our website @

Friday, August 18, 2006

Monmouth Plantation History Lesson

Following the birth of his first child in 1826, General John A. Quitman paid $12,000 for Monmouth, a two-story Federal-style brick mansion built in 1818.

Though the Mexican War hero was born in New York, he had made his fortune in Mississippi and his wife Eliza came from one of the state’s most prominent families. Quitman had embraced enthusiastically the Southern way of life and strongly advocated secession; though he died before the hostilities of the Civil War, Union soldiers remembered Quitman’s sympathies and treated Monmouth roughly. His daughters saved the house from destruction only by pledging loyalty to the United States. Monmouth remained in Quitman’s family until just after his daughter Rose died in 1914.

By the 1970s when we purchased Monmouth, the house was in serious decline. We undertook a complete restoration, and exhaustively returned Monmouth to the Antebellum Splendor General Quitman knew.

For more hisorical information on Monmouth visit our website @

Kindest regards,

Lani & Ron

Thursday, August 17, 2006

To Whet Your Appetite...

Sample Dinner Menu from our Dining Room


Home – Made Crawfish Chowder


Monmouth Caesar Salad


Special House Granita

Choice of:

Fresh Grilled Arctic Sea bass
With Artichoke, Roasted Red Pepper Ragout, Basil Oil and Kalamata Olive Dust

Grilled Pork Loin Chop
With Apples, Onion and Garlic Confit, Orange and Green Peppercorn Marmalade

Filet of Certified Black Angus Beef
With Sun-dried Tomato Demi-glace and Gorgonzola Cheese

All Entrées are served with
a Vegetable Medley
and Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Crème Brulee

A heart healthy menu is available upon request. An extensive wine list is also available. Please note that the above menu is a sample only of Dinner at Monmouth.
Our menu changes daily to avail of the freshest ingredients.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Lani & Ron
visit our website @

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Destination Weddings at Monmouth Plantation

At Monmouth, we specialize in destination weddings. After all, a bride dreams of this day her whole life so it should last more than a few hours. Just as Natchez transcends time with her tradition and elegance, Monmouth Plantation conjures the serenity of a bygone era of gracious living.

Our weddings range from the simple exchange of vows on the bridge spanning our ornamental lake to larger ceremonies beneath our wisteria covered pergola. We’ve had intimate weddings, followed by five-course dinners beneath gaslight chandeliers in the parlor of our antebellum mansion as well as lavish affairs with dining and dancing in our courtyard beneath columned galleries.

Our National Historic Landmark status lends an unmistakable tone of grandeur and prestige to our wedding celebrations, yet our guest cottages offer an intimate feel, providing our bridal couples closeness with family and friends for a whole weekend’s worth of memories to last a lifetime AND our mild climate makes the romance of the Old South possible year round.

If you're planning a wedding, give us a call @ 800-828-4531 or visit our website:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From the Mother of the Bride

As a mother, I always envisioned that my daughter would have a beautiful wedding in a romantic and magnificent setting. I do not think that any place in the entire world could have more appropriately fulfilled my hopes and expectations. My daughter was married on June 3, 2006, at Monmouth Plantation, In choosing to have a destination wedding, we not only had a great wedding night, but we had an entire weekend of events that allowed us to relax and enjoy with all of our guests that traveled from all over the country.

Each morning we had a buffet breakfast in the dining room that offered a breadth of wonderful foods. Everyone would gather in the morning and we enjoyed beginning our day with everybody at hand. During the afternoons we would find some of our guests relaxing under the many verandas that offered overhead fans, or playing a game of croquet, or just strolling through the gardens and the lakes on the property. For others Natchez offered wonderful adventures in history.

As for the actual wedding - well my daughter had the fairytale: she passed by angels, was surrounded by flowers, and had a group of guests that were so happy and relaxed - and by the time the wedding came everyone had a chance to actually get to know one another. The sit down dinner that followed the ceremony was delicious and presented wonderfully. I could not have hoped for a more gourmet dinner. I cannot say enough about the authenticity of this place; from the lush grounds, to the authentic-antique style rooms, to the gourmet food, and most of all the accommodating and lovely staff - each and every aspect provided my family and guests the perfect wedding.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Our Superior Suites

There are three spectacular Superior Suites located throughout the grounds of Monmouth. All are decorated in high antebellum style.

Here is a photo of the parlor of one of our suites. Each of the Superior Suites has a distinctive floor plan. You can view more photos of our individually appointed guest rooms and suites by visiting our website: or come and experience them for yourself – either way, you will find that our rooms are all so unique, there is no such thing as a typical room.

Wishing you a great week ahead,

Lani & Ron

Sunday, August 13, 2006

We Would Love to Host Your Next Meeting

We are within easy driving distance of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Jackson and provide an excellent setting for corporate retreats and executive meetings.

Our two conference rooms—one accommodating up to 100 guests and another designed for smaller groups—have ample space for formal presentations and break-out sessions.

Downtime may be spent relaxing in the Quitman Study, enjoying refreshments next to the courtyard’s fountain or exploring the estate’s 26 manicured acres.

Guest accommodations—both in the main house and restored outbuildings—include 30 rooms and suites decorated with antebellum panache. And our gracious, attentive staff provides a high level of personalized service that ensures every aspect of your event runs smoothly.

To plan your retreat at Monmouth or to learn more, please contact us at 800.828.4531 or 601.442.5852, or Alternatively, please use our on-line inquiry form. Monmouth Plantation is available on a 'Complete Buy-out' basis, subject to availability.

Lani & Ron

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Happy Monmouth Memory

Thank you for letting me know about your blog. I loved our stay at Monmouth! It will be 2 years this September and I still think about it. I loved the food, the conversation mix at dinner, the grounds, the breakfast, the house was just gorgeous, the amenities, and the most gracious employees. We plan to return one day. Thank you again for a special anniversary.

Denise Baxter

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hooray, it’s Friday!

We hope you have a fantastic weekend in store! Whether fun-filled or relaxing, you’ve earned it so enjoy!

Summer is drawing to a close, thank goodness! It’s time to look ahead to cooler Autumn days. Why not consider Monmouth’s Historic Fall Getaway package?

Unwind in the tranquil setting of this great American landmark. A round of croquet, a relaxing read in a hammock or a stroll through the lush emerald beauty of our 26 wooded acres will take you worlds away. The package includes a two night stay in one of our elegantly appointed rooms, hors d’oeuvres in the study, a five-course candlelight dinner for two, tour of the main house & full Southern breakfast each morning.

Only $ 193 per person, double occupancy. Sun – Thurs. Based on availability. Book online now @ or call 1-800-828-4531

Have a great weekend!

Lani & Ron

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our Guests Say the Nicest Things

We just received a lovely e-mail from one of our guests and wanted to share it with you:

“This was the first time my mother and her sisters had ever been on a trip together, and they were all in their late sixties through early eighties. It was the trip of a lifetime for them. They loved the beauty of the property and rooms, and were able to spend a lot of time with each other sitting outside on their porch and on the grounds. Thank you for making such a wonderful memory for them (and for us, their escorts.)”

Albuquerque, NM

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Featured Recipe

Monmouth Plantation is famous for its wonderful food. From time to time we are able to persuade Chef Lanny to share some of his secrets with us. We hope you enjoy this Chowder, one of our most requested recipes.

Crawfish Chowder

1 bunch green onions – chopped
4-5 sliced hickory smoked bacon
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion ¼ inch diced
2 ribs celery ¼ inch chopped
1 bell pepper ¼ inch diced
1 pint diced tomatoes with juice
1 pint crawfish stock (made from boiled shells)
3 large bay leaves
3 lbs. peeled crawfish tails cooked
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup flour
3 medium size potatoes peeled and diced
Cajun seasoning to taste

Cook bacon until crisp, remove bacon and discard oil.
Add onions, celery and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add flour. Mixture will become soft and sticky.
Add tomatoes, juice, and crawfish stock. Mix well.
Add some of the seasoning mix and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
Add potatoes and cook until slightly firm.
Add cream and return to a boil. Then let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add crawfish tails, cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Add chopped green onions.
Season to taste.

Serve in Warmed Soup Plates with crusty Bread.


Lani & Ron

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Upcoming Natchez Happenings


Sep/29/2006 - Sep/30/2006
Location: Downtown Natchez, Main & Commerce

Artists from around the region fill booths lining the blocks of Main and Commerce Streets in the heart of downtown Natchez for this festive event. Regional foods and a variety of musical acts promise a little something for everyone whether you're an art connoisseur or just a festival lover.

On Friday night, the event kicks off with Groovline and Maggie Brown, and the festival opens Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Contact: Tammi Gardner
Phone: 601-442-2929


Sep/30/2006 - Oct/14/2006
Location: Natchez Area

Hosts and Hostesses in period costume greet you as you enter the majestic mansions of Natchez. Journey back in time with them to hear the stories of Natchez days gone by.

Over 18 houses are open for tour during Fall Pilgrimage, and entertainment abounds nightly from inspirational gospel to a play about good ole Huck Finn and his life on the Mississippi River.

Visit Their Web Site:

Contact: Natchez Pilgrimage Tours
Phone: 601-446-6631 or 800-647-6742

Monday, August 07, 2006

Southern Paradise

Monmouth Plantation is a secluded haven with luxurious accommodations nestled throughout 26 acres of estate grounds including wooded hiking trails, winding pathways through floral gardens and lakes, splashing fountains and moss covered oaks. Glamour magazine calls it "one of the most romantic places in the U.S."

We are also proud to have been named to the 2006 Conde' Nast TRAVELER "Gold List," and this 1818 National Landmark is a member of Historic Hotels of America, Small Luxury Hotels of the World & Select Registry.

Lani & Ron

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Travel + Leisure rates Monmouth Plantation among World's Best

The results are in! Travel + Leisure magazine has announced the winners of its "2006 World's Best Awards" naming Monmouth Plantation among the "Top 100 Hotels in the World," with a ranking of 4th in the "$250 or Less" category and #17 in all of the U.S. and Canada. The annual survey reveals readers' favorite travel choices including cities, islands, hotels, cruise lines & spas. The results, including the "Top 100 Hotels Worldwide," are featured in the August issue of Travel + Leisure, the world's leading travel magazine, and online at

We are so honored to have been recognized once again by this distinguished group.
Travel + Leisure's readers are sophisticated travelers who expect and appreciate the level of service and attention to detail to which we, at Monmouth, remain committed.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Local Attractions

Visitors to Natchez often take carriage rides to view the Historic Downtown area and its impressive collection of 19th-century Commercial and Residential Architecture accented by fine structures built in the late 18th and early 20th centuries. (Tours start at the corner of State and Canal Streets.)

While Downtown, be sure to visit the Antiques Shops along Franklin Street, and the William Johnson House, which was owned by the famous African-American businessman and diarist during the Antebellum Era.

A stroll down Silver Street offers remarkable views of the Mississippi River as it leads beneath the bluffs to Natchez-under-the-Hill and the Isle of Capri riverboat casino.
Further afield, the historic towns of Port Gibson, Vicksburg and St. Francisville rest within easy driving distance of Natchez, as does the working cotton plantation Frogmore.

Lani & Ron

Friday, August 04, 2006

Chef Louis Bruno Headlines of the Mississippi Governor's Mansion

The 6th Annual Natchez Food & Wine Festival, August 4th and 5th, will feature famous chefs, restaurateurs, vintners, food producers, and other culinary artisans from all along the Great River Road. The Festival kicks off today with a "Taste of the River," featuring regional and local chefs, premium wine tasting, and live music. This year’s theme, "The Little Easy," focuses on every imaginable New Orleans style dish.

Tomorrow night’s highlight, “Great Chefs in Great Houses,” culminates a fun filled day of home tours & lunches, a cocktail mixology class, the Martha White/Great River Road Biscuit Cook Off and “Brews on the Bluff.”

It is Monmouth Plantation’s distinct honor to present Louis Bruno, Head Chef of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion. Voted "Jackson’s best Restaurant not Opened" 3 years running, the Mansion’s Chef Louis is our reigning Iron Chef and we are delighted to have him showcase some of his very best signature culinary masterpieces.

Lani & Ron

Antebellum Houses in Natchez

Natchez boasts one of the finest repositories of Antebellum Architecture that the United States has to offer, and is best known for an abundance of Spectacular Mansions built prior to the War Between the States.

Although a number of historic properties remain private residences, many have been opened to the public. For example, visitors to Natchez may experience year-round the grandeur of Stanton Hall, the pastoral elegance of Melrose, the melancholy of never-completed Longwood, and the drama of Rosalie’s location on the bluffs above the Mississippi River.

During the Spring and Fall Pilgrimages, a number of private houses such as Montaigne and Green Leaves open their doors for tours. Each of these historic properties provides an unparalleled glimpse into the gracious lifestyle of the Old South.

Lani & Ron

Thursday, August 03, 2006


After several decades of decline in the 20th century, we discovered this antebellum gem and bought it on Valentine’s Day in 1977. We quickly began restoring it and it has been a labor of love.

Today, our small luxury inn features 30 beautifully appointed rooms & suites, each having modern conveniences such as private bathrooms, televisions, and WIFI in each room.

Lani & Ron

A Blog is Born

We are Lani & Ron Riches, proprietors of Monmouth for the past 29 years and this is our Blog where we hope to share with you our truly wonderful Natchez experience. We hope to help attract visitors to our unique Southern city as well as assist them in customizing their visit.

We think that you will enjoy this daily diary of life at Monmouth Plantation. Whether it entices you to pay us a visit or not, please log on daily, as we have some exciting things in store. If we may answer any questions about our hotel or the Natchez area, please feel free to call or write. If you wish to visit our 'official' website, the address is:

Lani & Ron Riches