10 Days/9 Nights – Gateway: New Orleans

1, 2 & 3: New Orleans, LA

Welcome to the “Big Easy”, home to jazz and Bourbon Street, where the party never stops! Explore this marvelous city, which retains the flavor of the French and Spanish cultures which founded it. Stroll the French Quarter, see elegant St. Charles Street, Jackson Square, Royal Street and then take an afternoon or evening cruise on a steamboat, before trying some Cajun or Creole cuisine.

3 nights New Orleans at the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast designed and built in 1893 by famed New Orleans architect Thomas Sully. Lovingly brought back to its former glory and decorated with period furnishing, the Grand Victorian welcomes you to a majestic past with the comfort and convenience of a modern bed and breakfast establishment.

4 & 5: Plantation Country, LA (54 mi/87 km)

Travel through Louisiana’s “Plantation Country” where you’ll see magnificent plantations that were truly “gone with the wind” when their owners lost their fortunes during the Civil War. Stop at Houmas House, setting for the film ”Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” with Bette Davis, and try lunch at the famous “Cabin” restaurant. Later relax as you watch the mighty Mississippi roll by from the levee.

2 nights at either the Oak Alley Plantation or the Nottoway Plantation.

 Oak Alley Plantation is located on the Mississippi River and is known as the “Grande Dame” of the Great River Road. The setting is spectacular with a ¼ mile canopy of giant oak trees, believed to be nearly 300 years old, forming an impressive avenue leading to a Greek-revival style antebellum home. The turn-of-the-century Creole cottages are located in the grounds of the plantation, not far from the antebellum mansion. They are simple and serene without the distractions of television or telephone to disturb the peace and quiet. In the morning a full country breakfast (included) is served at the Oak Alley Restaurant from 8:30 am to 10:00 am.

Nottoway Plantation stands on the edge of the sugar cane fields overlooking the Mississippi River. This enormous mansion, completed in 1859, reflects an unusual combination of Greek revival architecture blended with innovations that were the fanciful desires of the original owners. The house contains many elements that were innovative and rare in the mid-19th century, such as indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water. All rooms and reservations include a cruet of a welcome refreshment beverage, wake-up call with hot coffee, juice and sweet potato muffins, a full plantation breakfast and a guided tour of the mansion.

6 & 7: Natchez, MS (125 mi/200 km)

Drive through Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge, and north to Natchez, MS along lovely Route #61. Stop in quaint St. Francisville and perhaps have lunch at Myrtles, one of the states most haunted plantations. Natchez is world-famous for having the largest collection of antebellum homes in America and here you can take a trip on a Mississippi Paddlewheeler. Perhaps also visit Vicksburg, an hour north of Natchez, to tour its extensive Civil war battlefield.

2 nights in Natchez at the Monmouth Plantation which combines the elegance of the antebellum era with timeless hospitality. Built in 1818 the property was home to General John A. Quitman during Natchez’s heyday in the period leading up to the Civil war. A distinguished war hero and later governor of Mississippi and a United States Senator, Quitman envisioned a lace of permanence and peace in the midst of a changing world. Today, Quitman’s dream stands fulfilled. The gracious mansion sits amid pebbled paths, giant magnolia trees and moss-draped oaks transporting guests to a gentler and less hurried time.

8 & 9: Cajun Country, LA (147 mi/245 km)

Leave for “Cajun Country”, the area settled by the Acadians following their expulsion from Nova Scotia by the British following the Treaty of Paris. Stop at the Acadian Cultural Center and Vermilionville, a living history museum. You can also take advantage of the Coerte Voorhees Nature Tour, traveling into the Atchafalaya Basin to see first-hand the flora and wildlife that inhabit these wetlands. Visit the home of Tabasco on Avery Island, tour the jungle there, and stop at the National Trust House, Shadows-on-Teche. At night feast on renowned Cajun Cooking.

2 nights Lafayette, LA at Bois des Chenes Bed & Breakfast Inn. Conveniently located near the center of the City of Lafayette, this home (listed on the National register of Historic Places) survived the Civil War and is an important entity to the history and culture of this city. The home has been owned Dr. Francis Sterling Mudd, a Lt. Governor of Louisiana and two mayors of Lafayette. The present owners have restored this Acadian style plantation home to its original configuration, taking into consideration some of the changes that were too complicated to undo. Period antiques, primarily of Louisiana French origin, as well as comparable American pieces, complement this unique architectural gem.

10: To New Orleans/Home (108 mi/173 km)

Alas, after breakfast, its time to return eastwards to New Orleans for your flight home.

Photo Credit: Louisiana Office of Tourism
Photo Credit: Louisiana Office of Tourism
Photo Credit: Jeff Anding / New Orleans CVB
Photo Credit: Donn Young / New Orleans CVB
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