Red Chair makes stop in Vicksburg

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

red chair

A new but simple icon of American travel made its way to Vicksburg this weekend having its picture taken on the historic bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and spending the night at Ahern’s Belle of the Bends bed and breakfast.

The Red Chair — a red painted wooden chair that serves as a Flat Stanley of sorts for the bed and breakfast industry — arrived in Vicksburg on Sunday as part of its cross-country journey promoting travel and bed and breakfasts.

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The point of the project is to have bed and breakfast owners take photos of the chair in their establishments and in historic locations around their town.

Mary Ahern Lee, owner of Belle of the Bends, immediately took the chair to Louisiana Circle overlooking the Mississippi River after retrieving the chair from Clinton on Sunday. There, Lee took photos of the chair next to the famous cannon known as The Widow Blakely.

“I think it’s beautiful,” Lee said of choosing the location for the photo. “Vicksburg is all about history, and the Mississippi River and those two things exist right here.”

The travels of the Red Chair began in 2012 when Woods Hole Inn innkeeper Beth Colt of Woods Hole, Maine posted a picture on Facebook of her red chair perched on the ice behind her house and watched her page light up with likes.

California photographer Julie Ann Cromer was inspired by the image to visit the Woods Hole Inn and took a second photo of the chair on a local beach, which inspired Colt to  share the chair with other innkeepers on its journey across the country.

“Now it’s time for the chair to branch out,” Colt said in an email. “Innkeepers across the country are clamoring to host the chair, so it’s time to send it coast-to-coast in every corner of America the beautiful. There would be no red chair without the generosity of innkeepers and B&Bs. It’s a barn-raising of sorts; the sharing of a piece of Americana.”

Lee said she was contacted by Colts to be the Vicksburg stop for the chair’s American tour and she jumped at the chance to highlight the community.

“We live in such a beautiful country and this is a small way to highlight all the beauty,” Lee said. “Vicksburg certainly is a beautiful part of it and people need to know that.”

Today, Lee will be driving the chair to Jefferson, Texas.


On the web

For more about the Red Chair and its cross country tour, visit For more on its stop in Vicksburg, visit