Happy Thursday to you…you’ve almost survived the week. Just one more day, we can all do it! Last week I shared with you our favorite NOLA eats and today I want to share with you the plantation homes we visited. Every time we visit New Orleans we always schedule a day outside the city to tour plantation homes.
During this trip we did not tour all of these homes, some of these we toured on our last New Orleans trip. Each time we visit we schedule 2-3 home tours, that’s really all you can easily fit in one day without really rushing through the plantations. Still though, visiting 2-3 makes for a full day! We always like to visit some new plantations when possible, but we usually go back to a favorite each time as well. I tried to squeeze in another this time but we had to hurry back to the French Quarter for our walking ghost tour. We now know the story of how Nicoloas Cage’s career tanked – ah… my life is now complete. It’s funny how often Nic Cage’s name comes up in NOLA!
All of these plantation homes you’ll find about an hour – some a little more, some a little less – from New Orleans. It’s amazing how so many antebellum and plantation homes remain intact today. There are so many beautiful historic homes to tour all over Louisiana, but there is a large number to visit along Great River Road, an area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge right along the Mississippi River. I’m going to start with one of my favorites….
We’ve visited Houmas House so many times and it’s always a pleasure. The house is beautiful inside, and the tour guides dress up in period clothing and tell so many interesting stories about the property. We especially love the beautiful gardens that are filled with mossy oak trees, fountains, vines, and flowers. There is also a casual daytime restaurant that makes a perfect lunch stop along with a charming bar and gift shop. This plantation home is a family favorite with us! Tours go every hour, you can find out more information at www.houmashouse.com.
OAK ALLEY PLANTATION
Oak Alley is another favorite of ours that we’ve been to many times. Not only is the home beautiful, but the grounds are truly stunning! You can wander the beautiful grounds under iconic oak trees hundreds of years old while sipping on a mint julep. Tours go every hour and the view from upstairs is absolutely stunning! There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore on this property as well as several exhibits to learn more about the rich history here. There is also a restaurant on site if you need a quick bite and a gift shop. You can find more information at www.oakalleyplantation.org.
Laura plantation is a creole plantation and surrounded by sugarcane that is still grown in the area. The outside is incredibly charming, painted with bright colors that were popular at the time. This is one of the most fascinating and educational tours out there. The story of the home, Laura, and her family is very interesting, and the stories of slavery and abuse will bring tears to your eyes. The tour guides are extremely knowledgable and the grounds are so peaceful filled with large trees. You can find more information at www.lauraplantation.com.
SAN FRANCISCO PLANTATION
This home has a really unique history and I love the vivid bright colors of this house. Inside you can tour the beautifully restored home, and also tour the grounds and slave quarters. This one sits right off the road, so if you’re short on time you can drive by or just take a quick stop to look. The architecture is gorgeous! You can find more information at www.sanfranciscoplantation.org .
The Destrehan Plantation is the oldest plantation in the lower Mississippi area and also the closest to New Orleans. So if you’re staying in the city and short on time it makes a good stop. Interview With The Vampire was partially filmed on the grounds, so fans will want to plan a stop. You can visit www.destrehan.org for more information.
There are several other plantation homes to tour through out the state, but the ones along River Road I think are the best. A few we’ve yet to tour but are on our list for next time are the Whitney Plantation, the Evergreen, and the St. Joseph. If you’ve toured those let me know what you think!
If you want to see as many plantations as possible be sure and check opening and closing times and plan accordingly. I will say touring several homes does make for a long day. It’s hard to pick which ones to tour if you’re short on time. If you’re only able to see a few or perhaps just one then I recommend either Houmas House, Oak Alley, or Laura Plantation. Honestly they’re all great in their own way, some just have a few more extras to offer. A few plantations you can see right off the road if you don’t have time to tour them but still want a quick look.
We drove to New Orleans so we had our car, but if you’re without a car no worries you can schedule a tour through several companies, some have hotel pick up. I recommend Viator they also have a swamp tour that we did a few years back and it was so fun! Thanks for reading and happy travels!