Rosedown Plantation is located at 12501 La. Hwy. 10 in the West Feliciana Parish; this is the quintessential Southern Louisiana plantation experience. Rosedown was established in the 1830’s by a wealthy couple. At the height of their prosperity this plantation contained over 3400 acres and several hundred slaves. The grounds are gorgeous – in the summer full blooming pink crepe myrtle trees are draped with long hanging Spanish moss. In the spring the gardens are alive with azalea and camellia blooms. Tours are guided and start in the gardens. The large house which dates from 1835 anchors a long oak tree lined walkway. Sculptures near the house represent each one of the earth’s continents.
The real treat of a visit to the plantation is the home tour. View antique furnishings and explore the historical functionality of the house. The dining room is interesting. A large wooden fan called a Punka hangs from the ceiling and during hot days slaves would stand at one end of the table with ropes pulling this fan back and forth, effectively creating a cooling breeze. Look for the “tea brick” – these were in fact used for tea. Shavings of the brick were removed – no ordinary family would be able to afford these as as they were extremely expensive. If you displayed two bricks for your guests (one full and one partially used) this meant you were very well off.
The guided tours visit a number of bedrooms. Find out how showers were taken in those days! One highlight is a gift the original owners received from Martha Washington, wife of George Washington. This beautiful needlepoint is on display and features a boating scene. www.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/ros.htm
Oakley Plantation House is located 4.5 miles southeast of St. Francisville on State Hwy. 965., off US Hwy. 61. The main plantation building began construction in 1799. This plantation is famous because well-known naturalist John James Audubon spent merely 4 months here but painted 32 of his famous bird pictures. He was originally invited to the plantation to tutor the owner’s daughter. During your tour you will see his room, bed and other belongings. In addition the guide will discuss how day to day life was conducted in a plantation house and will highlight several interesting construction methods to ensure some cooling during the hot and muggy summers. Several excellently preserved slave quarters are located outside of the main house. Visit: www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/louisiana/OKL.HTM
McGee’s Landing is located in the heart of Cajun country near the small town of Henderson at 1337 Henderson Levee Road and is a must visit for anyone traveling in the southern part of Louisiana. Floating “Cajun Cabins”, a full restaurant serving a variety of authentic “swamp meals” including crayfish and alligator, live music at times, and their infamous swamp tours makes any visit here a memorable experience.
The cabins are rustic like the surroundings – there are no phones or televisions in the rooms. Not a bad thing! You will travel deep into the heart of one of America’s greatest river swamps, the Atchafalaya basin, via private high powered fan air boats. Larger much slower river boats also take visitors into the swamps.
Acres and acres of Cypress trees all covered with Spanish moss, a variety of birdlife, alligator viewing and knowledgeable, very friendly & often humorous guides create this unique experience.
A highlight of this freeway encounter is racing through the road’s supporting pillars! Perhaps you will even see “George” the 14 foot gator who makes his home near the freeway. George likes to eat…a lot – the guide will have some chicken or other meat on hand and as soon as this gator gets a whiff of the boat he will be swimming out to see you.
The bayou can be a birders paradise and special birding trips can be arranged. If you are in the fan boat, you will finish your tour by racing across the water straight onto the land! More info? Visit: www.mcgeesswamptours.com
Old Castillo Bed & Breakfast is located in St. Martinville next to a bayou. As the name indicates, this is “old” – it dates from 1827. A stay here is a throw back to the 1800’s. Large rooms contain period furniture and 14 foot ceilings. A Cajun breakfast is offered daily. Visit: www.oldcastillo.com
Patricia Maritn says
What a wonderful guide. I have not been to New Orleans yet but with all this information on hand, I can start planning. I love the similarities that New Orland and Galveston have when it comes to history and culinary. Also, my favorite thing to do when traveling and looking for unique architecture, and New Orleans has plenty to entertain someone’s mind.
Patricia – thanks for your nice note. I’ve been to New Orleans several times – I can always go back to that wonderful city! I just returned from a 30 day road trip around CA and NV a few days ago, itching to head out again. Thinking I might do another road trip, this time to Texas and then up to Colorado and back to California. Would love to swing by Galveston as I have never been.