The historic homes of New Orleans Plantation Country are some of the most beautiful and traditional representations of southern architecture and decor. I so enjoy traveling and experiencing these grand homes. Each plantation shares unique stories of the families who lived there, and even some thrilling tales of those who haven’t quite moved on. Fall is an especially magical time to visit this area, as the weather is moderate; the gardens are still in bloom, and some homes offer special, “ghostly” tours that are both entertaining and informative.
I recommend beginning your tour of the New Orleans Plantation Country by strolling through the 38 acres of indigenous and exotic plants at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens. The gardens are beautifully designed to highlight the unique wonders of each season. Many say that fall, the traditional harvest season, is the best time to visit, especially in the crisp air of morning. While touring the house, be on the lookout for a little girl in a blue dress, whose sightings are widely reported by visitors.
Next, visit Oak Alley Plantation with its legendary alley of 300-year-old oak trees. It is one of the world’s most photographed plantations. The alley trails a quarter mile down to the Mississippi River. Tour the plantation’s “Big House” and take in every beautiful antebellum detail. Before you head out, stop for lunch at the Oak Alley Restaurant for a delicious bowl of crawfish étouffée or any of their traditional Cajun and Creole dishes.
After lunch make your way to St. Joseph Plantation and learn about the traditions and rituals of 18th and 19th century Creole Mourning. The Creole Mourning tours are held during the month of October and demonstrate what a house of the time period might have looked like after a family death. Black drapes frame the front door and cover the mirrors. In the 18th century, it was customary for a widow to be in deep mourning for a full year following the death of her husband. During that time she was only allowed to wear black garments. Examples of those garments are displayed in the house.
As you continue east, make your final stop at the San Francisco Plantation. The San Francisco Plantation is known for its “Steamboat Gothic” style with vivid colors and intricate architecture. You will notice quite a difference between this home and other more modest Creole homes with its suite style layout, faux marble and hand painted ceilings. The San Francisco Plantation also holds one of the finest antique collections in the country. Amongst the antiques, you can see the ghost of the homes original owners’ son wander the rooms.
Today I’m giving away a New Orleans Plantation Country basket filled with goodies, including movies filmed in the area and tickets to a plantation. Enter below and good luck!