How are you doing y’all? I just realized that we have been travelling the Southern States of the US together and I left you behind on Beale Street in Memphis. Now granted that is not a bad place to stay for a while. But after listening to so much blues, I thought you might be ready for a little cheering up.
If you have missed the previous episodes: we visited Savannah and the beach in the first part of the trip. Next we went from Charleston up into the mountains. We made a side trip to the Haven bloggers conference in Atlanta and then left for music cities Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee.
I know I have been back home in the low lands for months. But I so did not want you to miss out on this last part of our trip. It was a house and home lovers nirvana. I am sure you will agree that it was worth the wait (a word of warning though, this is a photo heavy post…).
We made a home viewing tour in Memphis….. but that is enough for a separate post I’ll give a rain check for that one.
For today let’s go on the road again….
First stop Natchez.
The view from our hotel room. The Natchez bridge over the Mississippi. That river became our guide for the next week. We followed it from Natchez to Baton Rouge and beyond…..
And we made some house calling trips in between:
You’ve probably seen this image a thousand times. Since we have been back we have recognized the spot in at least half a dozen movies and tv shows. The ‘driveway’ leading up to Oak Alley Plantation. I think it is the background not only for numerous movies and tv shows but for heaps of fashion shoots too.
It was beautiful. As was the grand mansion that it belonged too.
Dining hall with a back view of our charming host.
Children’s bedroom. Rather dark and stern for my taste but comfy looking all the same.
Isn’t that crib with all the scroll work beautiful.
Another bedroom in pink.
Oak Valley plantation was a beautiful estate to visit. The house and the grounds were breathtaking. It was our first close up glimpse into this part of American history. We really appreciated the fact that they didn’t sugarcoat the harsh reality behind these plantations during this visit.
Our guide made it very clear that they were aware of the fact that all this luxury and abundance was built literally over the back of other people.
On the grounds they showed a reconstruction of slave living too. They were still working on the exhibition but it was already very impressive and emotional and sad and humbling and infuriating….
The old living quarters had not survived time, but using the same materials and techniques there were being rebuilt. Inside they gave an impression of everyday living or they set up exhibitions that showed more details. The one room where they had listed all of the names of the enslaved persons living on this plantation was enough to make you cry.
This is log cabin is actually two homes for two whole families or groups.
These two beds show the scale of the cabins. With many people living in them they must have been stacking people into the rafters.
Oak Alley plantation really can be recommended for their attempt to give an honest, real and unapologetic account of history. We didn’t see that everywhere….
In this part of the south the money was made by growing cane sugar. When we walked up to the Mississippi river bank we could see the sugar plantations still there, but thank God they are being farmed differently now.
The next day we took a road trip down south to the coast, to a different kind of plantation:
We visited the Tabasco factory and the island where they grow and harvest the peppers. We burned our lips and mouths there in more than one way….
Extra spice anyone?
The following day we had another road trip planned but first right and bright in the morning we decided to visit one more plantation house.
Nottoway plantation this time.
Nottoway is the kind of plantation you think about when you think of Scarlett or North and South (remember that one, oh Patrick Swayze you are missed).
It was and is a beautiful home. Nowadays used as a hotel and resort. But they still give historical tours too.
The tour centered around the family that build the home and lived there.
They were ginormously rich when they built it, even to those days standards. And it shows.
And the lady of the house, really loved yellow.
Ball room. Yes they had a true ball room. Luxurious and glamorous in white.
Apparently papa had a lot of daughters to marry off. When he had the ball room designed he ordered it to be white and nothing but white. He figured that nothing should compete with his daughters beauty and they should have the perfect backdrop to show of their natural charm……
I hope it worked for them…..
Our tour guide here was a lovely lady dressed for the part. I think papa was right, the white really enhances a women’s beauty.
Just a little shot of the hallway. For our inspiration, the next time we put up crown molding…..
Most of the rooms where in use as hotel rooms or conference rooms. They had been updated but still gave a good impression of living in luxury.
Nottoway Plantation is beautiful and romantic and the backdrop for a lot of weddings (as you can imagine). I loved visiting it. But in all honesty a history lesson it was not……
After all that country side we were ready to go dive into city life again.
And what a city indeed.
They were dancing in the street……
They were dancing…..
Of course this is beautiful, charming, bubbling and mysterious New Orleans.
We spent days wandering the streets here. Like this one:
Most famous street of them all: Bourbon street. Totally messed up by commerce and tourism. We took one look and avoided it for the remainder.
So many more beautiful streets and sights to see.
New Orleans just burst with color. On the houses, in the plants, in the people.
We LOVED it!
Those wrought iron balconies everywhere….
Sigh to have a balcony like that….
To walk around and stumble unto a lonesome trumpet player….
To swoon over the shutters and the ferns…
And the sounds and the smells…..
To be sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the ships roll in…..
Evidence of wild times….
New Orleans is/was a city of contrasts and definitely had the vibe of people who know how to live well.
They even grow their bananas in the town square…
Right in front of that church…
New Orleans is vibrant, alive and definitely a little mysterious too.
So a visit to one of the old cemeteries was on the list too.
Halloween has passed but this most famous Voodoo priestess grave sure brings back that mood.
But most of all New Orleans is beautiful, friendly and full of zest for life.
We spent they days walking the streets and the nights listening and dancing to the live music. We had a ball!
New Orleans was the perfect end of our trip. From there we drove a lot of miles back to Atlanta to take our flight home.
We utterly and thoroughly enjoyed our trip through the Southern US. I have loved reminiscing and remembering it with you here. I hope you loved travelling with me too.
We sure will be back in on the road one day again. Maybe you’ll travel along with me then too……