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Posts Tagged ‘ballroom’

It’s a new year and here in Vicksburg, it still has the new year smell. I’ve been settling in here in Mississippi and loving every minute of it. Well, maybe not every single minute, we did have the hot snap in December (80 degrees at Christmas?), but for the most part, LOVING it! (The irony of that is that where I used to live in California, they had snow on Christmas day for the first time in like 12 years. Go figure.)

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Anyway, they definitely do things different here in the south. For instance, when I went to get my new driver’s license, they handed it to me right then and there. No waiting weeks for it to arrive in the mail, hoping it didn’t get lost or stolen. No written or driving test. Nothing. Just, “here you go.” I didn’t even have to wait in line at the DMV. (And – bonus – it’s right across the street so I could walk over.)

Same thing with the car registration; I walked in, handed them some basic paperwork and BAM, they handed me a bright shiny new license plate. On the spot. No waiting. No mailing. Again, I walked right up to the window. No taking a number, no standing in line, no internet appointment necessary.

I know – weird. All my California folks will know exactly what I’m talking about.

And here’s a strange thing – daily operations here cease on holidays and Sundays. No signs posted in the windows, no ads announcing holiday hours, just lights out and locked doors. That took some getting used to. If you want to go out to eat on Sunday, you have about one choice – Cracker Barrel. (Or the casinos – need I say more.) I think that’s kind of cool though. A lot of guests here at the inn don’t get it, but I’m getting used to it. Sundays are church and family days.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

I also find myself saying things here that I never imagined I’d ever say in California. Here’s a short list:

1 – There’s an alligator in the backyard. (No, this hasn’t happened but it’s entirely possible and even very probable with the river already above flood stage. Stay tuned.)

2 – We have to get ready for Mardi Gras. (That’s right, even though we’re 2 1/2 hours away from New Orleans, Mardi Gras’s a big deal here.)

3 – Are you taking the Trace? (Referring to the Natchez Trace highway. It’s basically “the back road.” Not sure why it’s called a Trace, but it is and I like saying it. For more information visit here: http://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm)

4 – It’s time to polish the silver again. (Really? Polish silver? Yup. About every 3 months that stuff has to be shined up.)

5- I’m in the parlor. (The parlor? How cool does that sound? Who even has a parlor these days?)

6 – This ballroom is hard to heat. (I have a freaking ballroom!!)

7 – You want to see my outhouse? (See this post https://jansenschmidt.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/a-peek-at-my-rare-2-story-4-hole-outhouse/ for more details in case you missed it earlier.)

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

How about you readers, ever find yourself saying things that sounded foreign at one time, but now seem natural? Ever been on the Natchez Trace? Ever polished silver? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day: Uraeus

Fun fact about me: I want to host a ball. Seriously, I want to have a ball in my ballroom.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2016. Photos courtesy Google Imgaes.

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Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Here it is – my new abode! Come on in, take a look around. While you explore, I’ll share some of the history of the home. Let’s start in the ballroom:

Baer House parlor

The Baer House was constructed in 1870 by Leona and Lazarus Baer from an existing site with a brick structure dating prior to 1850. Most of the original house was destroyed during the siege of Vicksburg in 1863. Leona Baer (formerly Bloom) began reconstruction with the goal of building a Victorian home guaranteed to impress with elaborate woodwork in the Eastlake architectural style, made popular by Charles L. Eastlake in the 1870’s and common among the elite in New York.

If you’ll turn around, you can see the other end of this large room, which is where guests enjoy a hearty breakfast, complete with a variety of hot dishes, juice, fresh fruit, homemade breads, hot black coffee, and made-to-order specialty dishes.

Baer House dining room

Back to the home’s construction. Leona Baer, was quite the revolutionary woman, insisting on overseeing every aspect of the home’s design and monitoring it’s construction. She was very forward-thinking for her generation, insisting that the kitchen be inside the home (an unheard of idea at that time) and that there be privies on the first and second floors. That’s right, this home sports a two-story outhouse. Don’t believe me? You’ll have to make a reservation and check this out yourself. The structure is still standing and still attached to the house. Makes for interesting conversation among tour guests.

Let’s step into the hallway for this next portion.

Baer House hallway

The head-turner here is, obviously, the grand staircase, complete with solid walnut balustrade. Notice the floors? They were painstakingly constructed of black walnut and American chestnut, highly sought after for it’s durability and rot resistance. Yes, the chandelier is quite impressive as well, as are the crown moldings and ceiling medallions. However, what is spectacular about this floor is that it is irreplaceable since the entire American chestnut population in Mississippi was wiped out by the blight around the turn of the 20th century.

Up those stairs are 6 guest rooms, 4 with private baths, 2 with a shared bath. Most have either a King or Queen bed, 2 are mini suites. The upstairs, while still quite grand, does not boast the fancy trimmings of the downstairs. You see, Leona believed that the family, children in particular, should not socialize with guests until they reached a proper age, thus the need for upstairs privies. Until such time, children were to remain upstairs and out of sight. There are still 14-foot doors with glass transomes up there, but they are plain, not decorated with the fancy Eastlake trimmings. After all, family does not need to dwell among such lavishness; luxury is visible only to esteemed guests.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Perhaps next week, I’ll treat you to some photos of the guest rooms and share some more of the fascinating history, including mysterious activity that happens in certain areas of the home. For now, this was a smattering of the fanciness of my new digs. I might also tell you about some of the goings-ons (that sounds weird) here in Vicksburg. Yes, stuff happens even in the heat. I know, I was shocked, too.

How have you been managing the summer heat? Have you traveled anywhere fun this month? What cool old houses have you visited? Curious people want to know.

 

Word of the Day: Xerostomia

Fun fact about me: I’ve yet to find a dishwasher that removes egg from anything.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy TripAdvisor.com and Google Images.

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