Thursday, July 08, 2010


My family and I are still feeling the glow of wonderful Monmouth! We visited in June and it was extraordinary!
Lani and Ron Riches have created not only a five star hotel (which is no easy feat on its own), but they have worked tirelessly to ensure that this house that belonged to General John A. Quitman, former governor of Mississippi, is also included on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. If you are a history buff, you’re going to love this hotel with its attention to detail – portraits, letters, and antique artifacts. Had Quitman survived past 1858, there is evidence that his popularity and political acumen could have edged out Jefferson Davis as the first president of the Confederacy. You just breathe in the fragrance of the history here. And you can do so while sipping a freezing mint julep in a silver cup either in the secluded Quitman Study or in the company of the other friendly guests, eating from an inspired Southern menu that has caught the notice of the James Beard House in New York, strolling around the gardens and lake, and then sinking back into a plush pompom canopied bed at night with the softest of linens. (For those who need to stay plugged in, the WiFi worked flawlessly from the rocker on our porch.)
The staff, some of whom have been working at Monmouth for over 20 years, are so very welcoming and accommodating. During the day, our boys, 11 year old twins, went fishing with the poles provided by the guide and caught a number of fine fish. In the evening, they dined on their own in the main-house parlor while we took our time with the full five course tasting meal in the dining room. Dinner was delicious with a choice of wines with each course: crisp hot rolls (as though they had been fried ever so delicately), a crayfish bisque, a baby spinach saladwith blue cheese, a little mango sorbet interlude, exquisitely cooked filet for my husband and cinnamon glazed duck breast for me, and to top it off - a chocolate mousse parfait.
Breakfast kept us fueled with hearty eggs, perfect buttery biscuits, sausage, bacon, and grits that could make even a Yankee ask for seconds.
Monmouth is a very special place and the Riches’s hospitality sees to it that every guest feels pampered, right down to the lovely talcum powder in a vintage pewter bottle in the bathroom. June is warm, but with Spanish moss dripping from the large trees and frogs croaking and crickets chirping, it was mesmerizing. Ladies, you could become “soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum,” but it is sixty years later and your hosts at Monmouth have the air-conditioning and iced tea just right.
-Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys
Brooklyn, New York

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