Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oak Alley Plantation

Beautiful Oak Alley
I've spent most of the week driving driving driving across the country and I am happy to say that I have made it to my destination and home for the next few weeks here in New Mexico. The way out was mostly just me trying to cover some ground as fast as I could, but I was able to make a few stops, one of which was at the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. 

This plantation has been in my travel to do list for several years now and I was very excited to finally have a chance to stop in and have a look around. Covering 25 acres on the banks of the Mississippi, Oak Alley Plantation was originally built for the farming of sugar cane for the production of sugar and rum. Sugar cane is still growing on the property and you can purchase samples to chew on at the gift shop. 
sweeping oaks
There are plenty of Plantations in the area, but what makes Oak Alley special are the trees. Stretching a quarter mile from the plantation to the levy by the Mississippi, the oaks are monstrous and were planted over 300 years ago. While the lining of the oaks looks ilk a deliberate lead up to the home, I was surprised to find out that it was only after the original home owner saw the alley of oaks then decided to build there. 
Enjoying the minty oaks
Driving in to the plantation I watched the miles tick down on my GPS anxiously. Glancing to the left upon arrival the view from the road of the alley took my breath away. It's always amazing when you see so many pictures of something remarkable and then BOOM your eyes realize they are seeing it for themselves. 
water lilies behind the planation house
After parking and paying for entry, I went straight for the alley view. It was my goal to get there as early in the day as possible so as to possibly get a few pictures of the plantation with out many other tourists in them. I was in luck. There were only a few people wandering around when I got there and I had a great time taking photos. 

When the bell on the side of the plantation rang, it was time for my tour of the interior. At first I debated on whether I had enough time to stick around for a guided tour, but I am really glad I did. The interior was beautiful and much cooler than outside of course, which was a nice break from the southern heat. 
Wonderful tour guide Wendy
Having worked as a tour guide and having taken about a million tours in various trips, I think what I found most impressive was the guide. Sometimes getting your guests attention, being knowledgable, and getting group from place to place can be a real challenge, but our tour guide Wendy did a wonderful job. Thanks Wendy! 
The dinning room
 After the tour you can enjoy a lemonade or mint juplip on the back porch before exploring the grounds. They are currently working on rebuilding the slave quarters so visitors can better understand the history of the plantation. There is also a like camp area where you can learn  more about the Civil War history of the area.
Beautiful Stairs
If you go, go early. Beat the heat by arriving around 8:45 am. This way you can both stay cool and have the grounds to your self for a bit to get good photos. At the entrance you can pick up a free map of the grounds for your walking tour, but be sure to check in at the plantation house for a tour of the home.    If you are into the spooky side of things, Oak Alley is rumored to be haunted and has even played host the the show Ghost Hunters. A full list of productions that have taken place on the grounds is available on the Oak Alley Website. Here you can also learn about the cottages where you can stay the night, and the restaurant which offers a great option for lunch. 
The up stairs view of the alley
If you are in the area or are planning a New Orleans vacation, be sure to come out and visit Oak Alley and the other plantations on River Road. This quiet and beautiful piece of southern history is not to be missed! 


thegatorgal said...

It looks just as beautiful as I remember it, your pictures capture it well! So glad you got to stop there on your way west.

The Boston Lady said...

I just love these southern plantations and the tours that so many of them offer. I've only been to the ones in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. I hope I have the chance to see this beauty one day, I love that Oak Alley! Ann

Haddock said...

Wonderful place and photographs.
Impressed by that banister.