Bed and Breakfast Style
Situated on the highest promontory overlooking the mighty Mississippi River south of St. Louis, The Briars is one of the finest examples of early southern plantation-style architecture. It is renowned historically as the residence where Jefferson Davis married Varina Howell in 1845.
When our guests drive through the gates of The Briars, they enter a world touched with the magic, peace and beauty of Camelot, but with the amenities of the Twenty-first Century.
Forever wedded to the river, which it overlooks, this ante-bellum mansion, situated on nineteen acres, was built between 1814 and 1818. The elegance and delicacy of its detail and the sophistication of its plan reveal the hand of a master architect, believed to have been Levi Weeks of the Philadelphia area.
Guests may enjoy their morning coffee and a view of the river from the bluff. The antique filled living areas of The Briars are available for tour by appointment for our guests. The forty-eight foot drawing room with its twin staircases, five Palladian arches, and comfortable seating, overlooks the rear gallery and garden. Equally inviting is the parlor, with its beautiful carved wood Adam style mantel and elegant furnishings.
On a brisk and sunny February morning in 1845, Jefferson Davis married Varina Howell, the eldest daughter of the house, in a simple home ceremony within the parlor in front of the mantel. The life of the beautiful Varina, often called the Rose of Mississippi, forever changed as her husband, who was a graduate of West Point, became first a Mexican War hero, then a member of the United States Senate, then served two terms as a United States Congressman, which were separated by a stint as Secretary of War under President Pierce. As a southerner in Washington he resigned his post and headed home because of secession and in 1861 he was elected the President of the Confederacy.
The main house sits on a flat area of the bluff that is surrounded by rolling wooded terrain with fantastic views of the river. One never tires of watching the barges plying their way up and down the river. The view from BriarVue extends many miles both up and down the river and over the flat lands of Louisiana. More than one thousand azaleas and many camellias grace the gardens which invite one to explore and wander through its varied terrain. Beyond the formal plantings, adjacent to the main house are walkways leading to the bed and breakfast suites of the old school house, the carriage house, the guest house, the dining pavilion and BriarVue.
The Briars is ideal for special events such as weddings, reunions, and receptions. The staff is experienced in planning, catering and accommodating any event size.
Many of our guests arriving for their first visit extend their stay because they find it difficult to leave this cordial and beautiful setting. Our staff brings to life the tradition of Southern hospitality. Our handsome pavilion dining room with its view of the river is a delightful setting for the delicious plantation breakfast served daily.
The Briars' spacious bedrooms, each with private bath, central air, cable television and wireless internet service, are furnished with uniqueness and charm. There is a choice of rooms with king size or queen size beds.
The Briars is only minutes from all the seasonal events, such as Mardi Gras (February), the Natchez Literary Celebration (February), the Annual Natchez Bluff Blues Festival (April), the Opera Festival (May) the Hot Air Balloon Races (October), the Antique Forum (October), "Christmas in Natchez" (December) and of course, the Spring Pilgrimage (March-April) and the Fall Pilgrimage of homes (October).
The Briars is owned by Kristy and Leon Atkins who purchased the property in 2011. Under their management, The Briars has become the inviting and gracious retreat that it is today.