Thursday, October 8, 2015

Glorious Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation like the Laura Plantation is located on the Mississippi River and is exactly what I picture in my mind when I think "southern plantation."

It's an amazing property with 28 - 300 year old live oaks lining the long walk from the road along the Mississippi River to the front door.

One of the oaks was struck by lightning many years ago and filled with mortar and bricks in an attempt to save the tree.  As you can see the tree has since grown around the bricks.

It seems to be working.

Already I can point out a few of the differences between this plantation and the Laura Plantation.
  • The trees at Oak Alley are 100 years older that at Laura
  • Laura does not have the large Grecian columns supporting its porch and roof
  • Oak Alley is painted with neutral colors unlike the bright Caribbean colors of Laura
  • Laura has a cellar  on the first floor and one floor of living space verses Oak Alley's 2 stories
  • Oak Alley-Greek Revival Architecture, Laura-Creole Style Raised House Architecture

We heard the best story of the day in the parlor during our tour.  Apparently during a period when the house was abandoned, cows broke in and took up residence.  They smashed the stairway and crushed the entire downstairs floor which was made of black marble.  When the home was restored, pieces of the marble were salvaged to make the mantel that now surrounds the fireplace here.

Check out the ceiling medallion in the mirror

Lace hangs in all the windows serving as elegant mosquito netting.

The dining room is very large as is the table.  Perfect for the many gatherings that were hosted by the owners over the years.

More contrasts to point out.
  • Laura served mainly as work house, but Oak Alley was a home
  • Oak Alley's dining room was designed and used for entertaining, but the Laura's was smaller and more for family gatherings when they were there
  • Laura's interior paint was bright and loud, but Oak Alley's was soft and neutral

The upstairs bedrooms are quit large.  See the rolling pin on the bed?  It was used by the house slaves to beat the mattresses every day so they would be lump free for sleeping each night.  The mattresses were stuffed with sterilized spanish moss.

Mirrors are covered when someone dies
  • The moldings at the Laura are simple with clean lines, but Oak Alley's were ornate and complex not just around the doors and windows, but at the ceiling as well
  • The draperies are heavy and formal at Oak Alley and simple lace at the Laura
  • The bedrooms at Oak Alley are very large whereas Laura's were quite small

The Stewarts were the last residents of the home.  Mrs. Stewart lived here until she died in 1972.

Master Bedroom
I could live here.  It's beautiful.

And the view from the upstairs balcony is stunning.

We could not have picked two more perfect plantations to tour.  Each so different from the other in style and history.

And lunch at Oak Alley was delicious!

Three flavors of Mint Julep, Blue Cheese Salad, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Pecan Pie, and Buttermilk Pie to share