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“Vicksburg is the key. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket,” proclaimed President Abraham Lincoln.
The prime location of Vicksburg on the banks of the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers made it a strategic position for both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Supplies and communication traveled up and down the river.
The campaign for control of this vital lifeline began in 1862 and, with the surrender of the Confederate armies, ended on July 4, 1863. The capture of this stronghold was a victory that provided a turning point for the Union’s cause.
The Vicksburg National Military Park was established in 1899 to honor both Confederate and Union soldiers who bravely fought on this critical battlefield. More than 1,400 monuments and markers scattered throughout the landscape remind us of the sacrifice made by both sides. Moreover, it’s a testimonial of how crippling division can be.
During this delicate time in our country, my husband and I decided to visit this significant Park. We delight in finding vacation rentals that have some connection to the location’s history. We found such a place in Vicksburg—an expansive and well-appointed loft over an artist’s studio.
An Artist with Strong Roots in Southern Culture
Our host and the property owner, H.C. (Chris) Porter, is native to Mississippi. Her purchase of the building in 2006 and, subsequently renovating it into an art studio, gave new life to the structure. She is active in her craft and well known in the region. Chris has also placed projects in museums across the country.
Her specialty is what she describes as the southern experience—highlighting the Blues culture and the surrounding environments. We were intrigued to discover that she’d also partnered with the Vicksburg Military Park. To date, she has completed two commissioned pieces for them.
As we traveled from Florida to Vicksburg, the late afternoon sky turned almost black as a major storm rolled through Mississippi. The sudden downpour threatened our plans to have Vicksburg be our destination for the evening. Just then, the cell phone rang. Chris was calling to check on us.
She was sensitive to our hesitancy and began watching the weather station in Vicksburg to provide updates as we neared the area. We continued through heavy rains with her help. Finally, the storm lifted, and we arrived safely. We were so glad that we decided to press on.
A Historic Building Renovated to an Artist Studio and Loft
We quickly located the artist’s studio. Chris had even stayed late to greet us. She invited us in as we thanked her for being our eyes on the skies in Vicksburg. She gave us a tour of her art studio and the loft housed in the reclaimed circa 1875 building.
A door at the top of a rather steep flight of stairs gives way to a welcoming hallway. At the end of the entryway is a table with a book for visitor comments. Each annotation indicated a profound appreciation for the studio, the loft, and the artist-owner.
The stairs could present a hindrance for some guests; however, Chris proudly pointed to the current construction of an elevator which will provide easier access straight into the loft for those who would need it.
One Inviting and Expansive Loft
A slight turn in the hallway opens to 2,400 square feet of open space. It is tastefully decorated with prints and photographs, comfortable sitting areas including two couches and a glider, and a table large enough for eight to enjoy a meal. The contemporary furnishings are complemented by a few antique pieces. Off to the side, the kitchen is a tad small but contains all utensils, dinnerware, and appliances guests would need.
Restful sleep came easily in the comfy king bed. As the building sits on one of the busier streets in downtown historic Vicksburg, we expected to hear traffic noise. However, the floor-to-ceiling drapes over the three large, ten-paned windows supply ample coverage, muting most of the noise from the street below.
With the second queen sized bed, the loft could easily accommodate four guests. One full bathroom includes a larger shower. A laundry room provides a nice added benefit and the loft is equipped with Wi-Fi and a security system.
Rooftop Terrace with A View of The Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers
After a day of touring the Military Park, we returned to relax for the evening. From inside our loft, we climbed another flight of stairs to the rooftop terrace. Chairs and benches are ideally placed providing picturesque views of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers.
While at the Park, we learned that the Yazoo River played a crucial role during the Civil War. The Confederates sank the Union army’s ironclad U.S.S. Cairo in this very location. As we enjoyed a beverage and, from our vantage point, watched the sunset over the rivers, we contemplated how truly consequential Vicksburg was to the Civil War.
Walking Distance to Restaurants, City Murals, and the Military Park
The location of the downtown loft is absolutely ideal. There are numerous restaurants and bars within walking distance. We enjoyed dinner at the 10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill just one block away. The Vicksburg Riverfront Murals are also within an easy stroll. And the Vicksburg Military Park is only a six-minute drive from the building.
Final Thoughts on Vicksburg and Our Vicksburg Vacation Rental
Our trip to Vicksburg, Mississippi was a rewarding one both in contemplating our country’s history through the tour of the Vicksburg Military Park and in meeting this not only talented, but most engaging local artist who helped make our stay so memorable.
Visiting Vicksburg? Book this wonderful Artist’s Studio Loft.historicsmall town