Spring is officially here, and with it always comes the urge to travel. I’ve written several times over the past few weeks about some of my favorite places to visit across the South, and today I’ve got another fabulous destination to share with you. If you’re a lover of history, gardening, fine food, architecture, or all of the above, you will certainly be impressed by Houmas House Plantation and Gardens in Darrow, Louisiana.
When current owner Kevin Kelly acquired the property in 2003, he set about creating the experience of Houmas House circa 1840, a time when the home was first considered the Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road. Today, Kevin and his team of dedicated chefs and reenactors carry on the property’s time-honored tradition of gracious hospitality.
Known as the Sugar Palace because of the enormous amount of sugarcane once harvested there, the house is in the Greek revival style, topped by a belvedere that surveys the iconic oak alley that leads to the Mississippi River. Guided tours of the mansion operate daily, offering a fascinating look into the lives of the home’s original inhabitants. Groups are kept small in order to keep the presentation tailored to the artwork, artifacts, and antiques that most interest guests.
The gardens at Houmas House feature indigenous Louisiana plant life and gorgeous exotics. With year-round care, the gardens reflect the unique beauty of each season. Sitting areas are scattered throughout, inviting guests to relax and experience the sights and sounds.
You’ll definitely work up an appetite touring the home and gardens, and there is something for everyone on the menu at Houmas House. The Sugar Palace is home to Latil’s Landing Restaurant, The Carriage House Restaurant, Café Burnside, and The Wine Cellars of Houmas House. Each has a varied menu with everything from soups and salads to seafood and filet mignon.
Relatively new to the property is the Inn at Houmas House, a collection of cottages nestled among ancient oak trees. Each room is complete with a single king or queen bed or double queen beds, marble bathrooms, and a porch to enjoy the view. Old-World furnishings adorn each room and a delicious breakfast and a tour of the mansion are included with your stay. While planning your trip, try to schedule a few additional stops in New Orleans Plantation Country. There is plenty of fascinating history waiting for you.