You don't see the river while traveling in this area. For flood control, the river is always behind high levees. One of the spots where you can see the river is right in front of Oak Alley: you can park your car and climb on top of the levee. I didn't realize the river was there myself, until I saw the mast of a cargo ship passing behind a hill!To...more
I arrived at the Laura Plantation and was asked: "Do you want the tour in English in 45 minutes, or the tour in French right now?" I didn't expect to get a private tour with an intern from Toulouse, but I did. The visit was very interesting, with rich details about the dysfunctional family who owned the estate during its prime. Much attention is...more
I didn't have a plan for where to spend the night after visiting the two plantations. I just kept driving on Route 18. It was - for the most part - a wonderful drive: gorgeous green fields, the odd plantation, forlorn villages, and, now and then, an apocalyptic petrochemical plant. I slowed down to criss-cross Donaldsonville, a town with charm to...more
We have not stayed here and in fact did not know that such a thing was possible until I read the Oak...more
3785 Highway 18, Historic River Road, Vacherie, Louisiana, 70090, United States
3645 La Highway 18 Vacherie, Louisiana, Vacherie,
We had just time to get lunch here. Another couple on our tour mis-heard the time, and the guide had to go and get them out of the restaurant before they'd eaten.
Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for breakfast and from 11:00 am to 3:00 p.m. for lunch.
Favorite Dish: I think I had a roast beef po'boy and Bob had fried shrimp. Our lunch including tip was $20.00
I don't think they are normally open for dinner, but they advertised a New Years Eve dinner for $85/person.
Their website says:
A choice of such Southern favorites as beignets (similar to a fried doughnut, only square with no hole and covered with powdered sugar) and fresh fruit or eggs, grits, bacon/ham, toast and Community Coffee's gourmet "Gold Cup" coffee.
Breakfast ranges from $6.50 to $7.95.
Includes delicious, traditional Louisiana-style dishes, such as red beans & rice, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, chicken fricassee, fried alligator nuggets, crawfish etouffee and gumbo, as well as po-boys (Louisiana's version of a submarine sandwich), fresh salads and a wonderful selection of homemade desserts like bread pudding with whiskey sauce, pecan pie and buttermilk pie. In addition, Chef Tracie Chiquet features one or more specials daily, which showcase her culinary credentials and bring our menu offerings to a new level.
Lunch ranges from $7.00 to $17.00
The gift shop says that they offer: ".. a wide selection of Louisiana and Oak Alley souvenirs, such as postcards, t-shirts, novelty items, and handmade collectibles, as well as cookbooks, beautiful regional photography, unique gift items and fascinating books on the architecture, history and culture of the River Region"
What to buy: We got some sterling salt cellars for our daughter's 25th wedding anniversary.
You can shop on-line on their website
What to pay: The salt cellars were $20.95
Usually kitchens in the south were in separate buildings from the main house for two reasons. One was to mitigate the danger of fire from the cooking stoves, and the other was so that the main house would not be heated up by the cooking. Apparently fire is still a danger.On August 9th, 2004 a fire damaged 60-70 percent of the house at Laura. The...more
The sign that I saw on the ticket booth as we went through said that they didn't accept credit cards. I was worried about this as I didn't have a lot of cash with me. I also do not understand why they would want to have a lot of cash on hand if they are so worried about robbery that they don't let people take pictures.The man in the turquoise...more
Oak Alley is primarily of interest (in my opinion) for the great live oaks on the grounds. The house itself was gutted, and none of the interior furniture is original. The brochure says that you can take pictures inside as long as you don't use a flash. However the guide told us that the brochure was wrong, and that I could not take pictures...more
Each of the plantations markets itself to the tourists. There are three of the plantations in Vacherie. Laura (a Creole plantation that was burned August 9th 2004), and Oak Alley (which is distinguished mostly for the huge live oak trees which were planted 100 years before the house was built), and Evergreen. All of them had slaves, and the slavery aspect is pretty well played down.
Some of the history related by the guides is pretty much suspect. Like our guide's story that a guest was given a pineapple when they came to visit as a symbol of hospitality. That might possibly be true, but I seriously doubt if they gave the guest another one if they stayed too long. That would have been not only rude, but mega-expensive.
Be aware that even though the brochure may say that you can take pictures (like the one from Oak Alley did), the guide may stop you and tell you it isn't allowed.
Unique Suggestions: Consider what you will be seeing before you spend your money. Do you just want hear the story of a Creole plantation and see the grounds and outbuildings - then go to Laura. If the big oak trees attract you, then go to Oak Alley. There's also Destrehan from the late 1700s which is the oldest plantation in the Mississippi valley, San Francisco which advertises itself as the only authentically restored plantation house in Louisiana (Oak Alley has been furnished with non-original antiques), Belle Alliance, Madewood and Nottoway, the South's largest plantation home.
So check to see what you are getting for your money.
Fun Alternatives: Go to Shadows on the Teche, which is an original plantation with all original furniture.