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Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi’

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 Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

A lot of people have been asking, especially the locals and our guests: “Why Mississippi?”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well, here’s how it happened. My husband and I have always wanted to expand our stock contracting business. We raised bucking bulls for the PBR and the rodeo circuit. In California we didn’t have enough land to raise even one bull and even if we could afford more land, which we couldn’t, we couldn’t afford the feed or the water. That meant that in order to broaden our business, we had to look elsewhere.

For several years, we’ve wanted to move to North Carolina, where one of our partners in the bull business lives. After we decided it was time to “try again,” we went to North Carolina and looked for ranches. But, nothing met our fancy and on the way there my husband told me that I needed to think about what I wanted to do for work so we could check out the job market at the same time.

You see, I’d already decided that 30 years in the legal profession, slaving as a paralegal, most of the time for a family law attorney, was enough. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, was ever happy, including the boss. And in family law, nobody ever wins. It’s a lose, lose, especially for the kids. I had had it.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So, as I sat there on the plane wracking my brain for possible new careers, I decided that I wanted to do something where people were happy and not expecting miracles from me. I did not want to be chained to a desk. I had worked one summer at a B & B in California and I rather enjoyed it. I’ve always loved entertaining and setting a pretty table with sparkling dishes; crystal, silver, china. I mentioned that to my husband and that’s when we decided that maybe we could do both in North Carolina; buy a ranch, raise cattle, and take in overnight guests.

Well, one thing led to another and we came to the conclusion that running a bed and breakfast was probably going to be the best solution for us since we both needed a place to live and we both needed a job. We’d kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

However, North Carolina didn’t have any inventory that was affordable, so we ditched the idea of North Carolina and explored other venues. Mississippi had the most inventory in our price range and because my husband is a history major and a huge fanatic about the Civil War, we decided that Vicksburg might be a good place for us.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Turns out, it was. We’ve not had any regrets about our decision and while we miss our horses and bulls and ranching lifestyle, we’ve adapted very well to being innkeepers. We’ve met some amazing people, made some incredible new friends and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

So folks, there you have it. That’s why Mississippi. We wanted to expand our ranch and be stock contractors so we bought a bed and breakfast in Vicksburg. Go figure.

Never limit yourself people. Think outside the box. Be open to possibilities and possibilities will fall into your lap. I promise.

The change is exactly what I needed. Watch this short funny video and you’ll know exactly why I had to get out of the legal profession. Enjoy.

Can you relate to this video? Have you ever turned your life completely upside down and loved it? Ever started out down one road, ended up on an unexpected road and found a pot of gold? Does change scare you? I’m dying to know so let me have it.

Word of the Day: Tramontane

Fun fact about me: I’ve never been a big fan of being politically correct.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2015. Video courtesy YouTube. Images courtesy Google Images.

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Most of you know about outhouses. Some of you have probably even used one at one point in your life. I’m not talking about the port-a-potty johns at the county fair either, I’m talking about the real life wooden structures with a bench seat inside.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m sure you’re familiar with how these contraptions work; you dig a hole and place your little house over the hole. When said hole is full, you dig another one someplace else, move the house and throw dirt over the almost full former sewage hole. That is why outhouses were portable.

Well folks, the lady who designed my house (Leona Baer), had a different idea for her privvies. You see, she did not want her elite socialite friends and distinguished guests to have to trapise out into the elements to use the outhouse. Oh no, that would be a disgrace. She insisted that her privvies be attached to the house and under a covered walkway (aka porch). And, of course, there had to be a mens and a ladies facility. No co-ed for Ms. Leona Baer. No sirree.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Women's side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Women’s side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Men's side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Men’s side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Notice that the ladies side is much bigger than the mens? That’s because ladies wore hoop skirts and needed more room to negotiate around and get everything settled into place. Imagine trying to use the facilities shown above wearing this:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Now, having your outhouse attached to your house is certainly convenient, but it created a huge problem: what to do when the holes got full. Well, obviously, you clean them out. Say what? Shovel s$%@? I know. Right? Who is God’s name wants that job? But, shovel s$%@ someone did. You see, Leona had workers dig a pit, a cistern if you will, and covered it with a permanent structure that sat very close to the house (not completely attached) but connected by an extension of the porch. She really created a very primative septic system, minus the leach lines.

Here’s a picture of the downstairs portion of this structure. This shot is taken from the farthest end of the porch where the men’s privy was (the door on the left) looking back toward the back door of the house on the first floor.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

But, wait, there’s more.

If you will remember, the title of this blog mentioned a 2-story, 4-hole outhouse. Two stories? Yes, my friends – two stories. One hole on the ground level and one hole above it on the second story. Here’s how my second story porch looks. The privvies are through that little doorway at the end of the porch.

Upstairs porch and walkway to privy. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Upstairs porch and walkway to privy. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Notice the white lattice work at the end of the porch? Well, that would be the enclosure. You can see the 2 doorways at the very end of the hallway.

2nd story outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

2nd story outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Here’s what it looks like from afar. The privvies are enclosed by that white lattice on both floors.

Baer House Inn 2-story outhouse. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Baer House Inn 2-story outhouse. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

How do these things work you ask? Well, on level one of the house, a person walks in about 2 feet and encounters the hole. On the second level, a person walks in about 4 feet before encountering the hole. Now, mind you, there is a wall directly behind the hole on the ground level so nothing falls down upon you from above, but you can hear everything directly behind your head that falls from above. I know . . . how pleasant.

Why two stories? Well, thank you for asking. You see, Ms. Baer felt that her family should not mix and mingle with her esteemed guests, so much so that the children and servants were relegated to the second floor. But not just during parties or social events. Oh no. No, no, no. Children had to remain upstairs ALL THE TIME. They were never allowed downstairs. They even have their own set of outside stairs in the event they needed to leave the house. They were not allowed to enter or exit the home through the first floor. There had to have been a lot of this going on:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Not being allowed downstairs created a problem when little Sarah, or little Samuel had to use the facilities. So, Leona fixed the problem by creating their very own privvies on the second floor. The added bonus? If Leona needed to use the bathroom during the middle of the night, she did not have to go all the way downstairs and outside, she simply walked along the upstairs porch to her own private penthouse privy.

Now this structure, that is original to the home, is still standing and part of our house. Of course we don’t use it, but it’s here for everyone to see and admire. The downstairs portion has been repurposed into a very nice, very modern bathroom as part of room number 8, but the original outside doors are still in place. The privy doors are on the left in this picture and the door into room number 8 is on the right.

Room 8, Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Room 8, Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

 

Room 8 bathroom (former 1st floor outhouse). Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Room 8 bathroom (former 1st floor outhouse). Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

So tell me dear readers, have you ever seen a 2-story outhouse? Would you have wanted to have the job of cleaning out the poop cistern? Somebody had to do it. Yuck.

Word of the Day: Odurate

Fun fact about me: My uncle had a cabin in upstate Minnesota with no indoor plumbing and we had to use the outhouse whenever we visited. Good times.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode. Stock photos courtesy Google Images.

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Time was short this week my friends so I’m posting this quick blog about my new home. This video accurately reflects the feeling of Vicksburg and I’ve been to many of the places shown in this video. I hope you all get a chance to come visit. You won’t regret it.

Old courthouse, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Photo courtesy Google Iimages.

Old courthouse, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Photo courtesy Google Iimages.

A couple of quick facts about the Vickbsurg National Military Park; 1) it is the most monumented military park in the nation with over a billion dollars in monuments including stuff from Tiffanys, real gold, bronze, granite and crystal. 2) It is the second largest national cemetary in the nation, second only behind Arlington. 3) Over one million people visit the park every year.

Bonus for me, it’s just over a mile from my house.

Please enjoy this walk through my home town and, as always, thanks for visiting.

What’s cool or unusual about your hometown? Do you enjoy taking a stroll down the street where you live? I’d love to see some fall foliage videos of your home town.

Word of the Day: Impecunious

Fun fact about me: I’ve only lived here 3 months, but it feels like home.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2015. Video courtesy YouTube. Photo courtesy Google Images.

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Exciting things are happening here at the Baer House Inn. Fun new stuff. Really cool, really old new stuff. Really expensive new stuff.

Here’s what’s new at the Baer House this past couple of weeks.

Some of you probably saw this post on Facebook, but here it is again.

Original photo by P. Rickrode

Original photo by P. Rickrode. September 2015.

This is our new dining room set for the grand ballroom at the Baer House Inn. A 17th centrury, hand carved table with 8 leaves and 14 chairs.  This lovely work of art was hand crafted in Amsterdam in the late 1690’s and brought to America via merchant ship, where it made it’s way to Meridian, Missippippi at some point about 250 years ago. The family who owned this table and chairs was in the furniture business for many, many years; the estate finally passing to a single man who died of brain cancer with no heirs. The estate was liquidated by a distant relative who had no use (or room) for this emaculate gothic furniture and we ended up the high bidder on a on-line auction. (Yikes!)

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

That’s right, we bought this amazing work of art, sight unseen, at an on-line auction. (Say what?) Scary adventure – really scary adventure – but it seems like that’s what we’re all about these days. Turns out it was lovely and more than we expected from the expericnce, thank God.

Next we purchased this equally exciting sideboard to accent our showpiece dining set in our grand ballroom. This one, we saw first hand at a local antique dealer before writing the check.

Photo by P. Rickrode. September 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. September 2015.

This amazing sideboard, or more appropriately named huntboard, was originally commissioned for a ships’s captain in the 1750’s. That’s right, this piece of furniture came off of a ship! A ship, people! A sailing ship on the high seas in the 1700’s. How cool is that?!? I can’t say for sure, but I’m going to call it a pirate ship, because that sounds so much cooler than a merchant ship. (Think Captain Jack Sparrow.) This piece of furniture used to reside in the captain’s quarters of the Black Pearl. How incredibly cool is that?!? (Excuse me while I wipe drool off the keyboard.) Hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. A ship is a ship right?

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, the grand ballroom. Our grand ballroom is so amazing right now, with the acquisition of these two fabulous pieces, I wish you could all see it for yourself. It’s a  totally “wow” experience when you walk through our front doors and lay eyes on the dining room furniture. Did I mention our huntboard came from Jack Sparrow’s quarters onboard the Black Pearl? (It didn’t but . . . ) Seriously, it came off of a ship. I am not making this up. It. Came. Off. Of. A. Ship. (I just think that is so cool.)

Black Pearl. Pirates of the Caribbgean. Photo courtesy Google Images.

Black Pearl. Pirates of the Caribbean. Photo courtesy Google Images.

Anyway, we’re working to upgrade and improve each of our guest rooms as well, as time and money allow. It is our goal to make the Baer House one of Vicksburg’s finest museum homes, offering comfortable rooms at affordable prices with genuine hospitality that will keep you wanting to come back year after year. We want to make you comfortable in lavish surroundings, indicative of hospitality associated with the south.

This adventure here in Vicksburg has been a blessing beyond all measure. I think I was meant to entertain and to entertain in style. I am having so much fun finding truly unique pieces to fill our new home with character, history and pizazz. I had no idea antiques were so interesting.

And, in case you’re thinking it’s all about the house, it’s not. Here’s a little taste of something that cannot be purchased or sold at any cost. It’s a gift from God Almighty and another reason why I am truly humbled and thankful to be living in Vicksburg, Missippippi.

Sunset in Vicksburg, Mississippi. September 19, 2015. Photo by P. Rickrode.

Sunset in Vicksburg, Mississippi. September 19, 2015. Photo by P. Rickrode.

It’s not about the stuff people. That fabulous sunset, is a work of art from our heavenly creator and cannot be bought or sold. It is a gift to be savored. Nope, it’s not about the stuff.

Thanks for visiting today. Please enjoy the simple things dear readers, for they are many and come at no cost to you.

What makes you happy? What simple things take your breath away? What awesome antiques haveyou come across that make you go “wow?” Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(Please excuse any typographical errors for I was very tired when I composed this.)

Word of the day: Euchre

Fun fact about me: I don’t know a thing about antiques. But I’m learning.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode and Google Images.

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As time allows, I’ve been doing some exploring around my new home state. Not too long ago I took an afternoon road trip on what I thought was the Natchez Trace. Turns out it was just Old Highway 61, but I didn’t find that out until later.

Anyway, I came upon this cute little old church up amongst the trees and decided to check it out up close and personal.

Rocky Springs Church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Rocky Springs Church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Rocky Springs church, circa 1700 something. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015

Rocky Springs church, circa 1700 something. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015

Much to my excitement, the door was open. So, of course, I went in.

Inside the church @ Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Inside the church at Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

I imagined what life would be like as a preacher.

View from the pulpit - Rocky Springs Church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

View from the pulpit – Rocky Springs Church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

In the yard was this graveyard, just beckoning to be explored.

Graveyard @ Rocky Springs church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Graveyard at Rocky Springs church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

So many babies died.

Headstone at Rocky Springs church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015

Headstone at Rocky Springs church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015

Tombstone at Rocky Springs church. Photo y P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Tombstone at Rocky Springs church. Photo y P. Rickrode, August 2015.

After exploring the church and adjoining graveyard, I found this curious path admidst the Spanish Moss:

Path in the woods. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Path in the woods. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Spanish moss at Rocky Springs church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015

Spanish moss at Rocky Springs church. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015

It seems I had stumbled upon what had once been the rip roaring community of Rocky Springs.

Rocky Springs, Mississippi. Photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015

Rocky Springs, Mississippi. Photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015

I continued along the path until I got to this little bridge, which did not look safe to cross.

Bridge at Rocky Creek. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Bridge at Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Yes, I crossed it anyway and found what remains of Rocky Springs.

Old well at Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Old well at Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Burned out safe at Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Burned out safe at Rocky Springs. Photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

So there you have it, my afternoon walk in the woods, found by mistake while innocently thinking I was traveling the famous Natchez Trace.

How about you dear readers, what unexpected adventures have you encountered in your leisure time? Any surprises uncovered on an afternoon road trip? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day: Casuistry

Fun fact about me: I love exploring in the woods.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

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So here’s part two of the virtual tour of the house that Leona built.

If you’ll recall, we left off in the awesome entry hallway downstairs that separates the front door from the back door. Let’s all go upstairs and take a peek into a few of the guest rooms.

Our first stop will be the Tara Room. I should let you know that currently all of the rooms are named after Gone With the Wind characters or houses, which are characters in their own right. However, we will probably be changing the names at some point in the future. We’re shooting for a more Mississippi themed house and Gone With the Wind was not set in Vicksburg or anywhere in Mississippi, although it is an epic Southern based media phenomenon.

So, back to the Tara Room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

 

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room has a lovely queen-sized 4-poster bed, a sparkling Austrian crystal chandelier, and a non-working fireplace. It has it’s own private bath and sits toward the back of the home.

Next we’ll visit the Rhett Room:

Rhett 2

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Rhett 3

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room has a queen-sized canopy bed as well as a day bed, however, in just a couple of weeks, a 4-poster twin bed will replace the daybed. It also has a non-working fireplace. It shares a bathroom with the Pineapple Room. The bathroom is across the hall because both the Rhett and the Pineapple rooms are in the oldest part of the home, the side that has no plumbing on either the first or the second floors. These are the largest guest rooms in the house.

Next, we’ll visit the Pineapple Room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Pineapple 2

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Pineapple 3

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Pineapple 4

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room is also on the older side of the home and has floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls. It has a king-size bed and, for now, the 4-poster twin bed that will be moved into the Rhett room, when we pick up the full-sized 4-poster bed we just purchased for this room. Like the other three rooms we’ve visited, it has a non-working fireplace. This room is usually allocated to brides for their use before wedding ceremonies conducted at the home, since it is so spacious and has lots of light from the four windows.

Take a peek back down the upstairs hallway as we go back across to the newer side of the home to the Bonnie Blue Room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Those cabinets on the left are built in and original to the home.

Let’s step into the Bonnie Blue Room, my favorite guest room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room, situated in the front of the house, has an impressive king-size bed and a small sitting area in the sunny bay window. This room was Lazarus and Leona’s bedroom when they occupied the home in the late 1870’s. It has a private bathroom, obviously added at some point after the home was originally constructed, and a lovely Austrian crystal chandelier. This is the only guest room upstairs that does not have an original fireplace. We believe it is covered up by built-in cabinets and shelving, added in the 1970’s when the entire home housed law offices and a law library in the current ballroom.

There are two more guest rooms, but it was difficult to photograph them since the lighting is not very good in those rooms at this point. We are upgrading our website and have a local photographer coming to take some professional shots so I’ll post those at some point in the future.

There is an upstairs porch on the back side, shown below, and a balcony in the front of the house, but you’ll have to experience that for yourself when you visit.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

So that’s the end of our tour today. I hope you enjoyed this second glimpse of my new home. But, I hope even more that you’ll book a reservation to come experience the ambiance and grandeur for yourself. The front porch swing is a lovely place to sit and sip a glass of wine in the evenings.

So, what did you think? Which room do you want to stay in when you visit? Have a favorite? Any suggestions for re-naming the rooms? We’re trying to go with names and themes associated with Mississippi and it’s history. I’d love to hear your suggestions. I’ll even award a $10 Amazon gift card for any suggestions we decide to use.

As, always, thanks for visiting and your continued support.

Word of the Day:  Azimuth

Fun Fact About Me: I’ve never been fond of cats. (Sorry CJ.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

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So I’m adapting to southern life relatively well. I now have my Mississippi driver’s license and license plate for the car, so I guess it’s official, I am a resident of Mississippi, Warren County to be exact.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But, what I’m still not used to, are certain words associated with things here in Vicksburg. Stuff ain’t called the right stuff here. For instance, in California I used to go to the grocery store; here, everyone goes to the market. Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to still call it the grocery store.

And then when I get to the grocery store market, I pick up one of those things to put my stuff in, you know, a grocery/shopping cart? Not here in Mississippi. Here you pick up a buggy. I know. What? Buggy? While I was checking out and unloading my – cart – the young man bagging stuff at the other end of the conveyor belt asked me for my buggy. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. After I figured out what he wanted, I corrected him – politely – advising that from now on he should call it a cart, otherwise I’d have no idea what he was referring to. I’m sure he’ll listen to my prudent advice.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

And here, no matter what kind of soda, or pop as they say in the mid-west, you order, it’s called coke. So if you want a Sprite, or a 7-Up, you order a 7-Up flavored Coke. You order a Coke and then let the wait person ask you what kind of Coke you want. How strange is that? I ordered a Coke with my lunch one day and she asked me what kind of Coke I wanted. Really? What kind of Coke? “I’ll have the coke flavored Coke please.” Weird.

Maybe calling all soda Coke is required here since Vicksburg is the very first place to bottle the fizzy beverage. Who knows. Just be careful what you order when you come visit.

All in all, Mississippi is treating me well. I’m loving it here and meeting some awesome people. Everyone wants to be my friend, everyone wants to take me to lunch, everyone wants to offer assistance. It’s so not like California in that regard. No egos here. No heads in cell phones. Just friendly smiles, waves, and people who truly want to be nice to me. What a refreshing change.

I say, come on out for a visit. I’m ready and waiting to feed you well and tell you some pretty cool stories about this old house and the crazy lady who owned it. Leona Baer – what a woman!

What strange words or phrases have you come across in your travels outside your hometown? Anything I need to know about the south before I fall into another faux paus? (Buggy. Whatever.) Please help a girl out here.

Word of the Day: Zoic

Fun fact about me: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say “ya’ll.” It just ain’t right ya’ll.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I hadn’t even realized how much of a rut I was in until I got out of it. I am so glad that my husband and I decided to relocate to Mississippi. The move across country was relatively incident free and the transition into the Baer House Inn here as innkeepers has been a breeze. Except for some chaotic moments with shuffling boxes around to find clean clothes and particular kitchen utensils, everything has fallen into place. I’m not sure it’s the right place yet, but fallen into a temporary place at least.

For 30 years I sat at a desk and worked for someone else. Most of those 30 years were not torture, but it was definitely time to spread my wings and fly out of my “known zone.” I am now in my “unknown zone” and loving every minute. Sure, I’m tired and I’ve had a few brief crying spells (mostly because a certain someone has been mean to me), but all in all, I’m having fun.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m not overly impulsive; I like to plan most things out. But our decision to move to Mississippi sort of came out of left field. It was a strange set of circumstances that led us here, but I’m ever so glad we’re here. Vicksburg is a charming town with super friendly shopkeepers, wait staff, grocery clerks, etc. Everywhere we go, people are nice to us and wish us success in our new venture. It’s only been about two weeks, and already I’m starting to feel like this is home.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

If you’re on the fence about making a change, I suggest you do it. Holding on to the mundane for the sake of security in knowing the outcome, is not a good reason to keep doing it. Just make the change and think positive and work hard. I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised at the results.

How about you readers, have you ever taken a plunge of sorts? What big scary thing have you jumped into? Was it worth it?

Word of the Day: Yeuk

Fun fact about me: I didn’t think I’d enjoy getting up early, but it’s not so bad after all.

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

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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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