For those of us that have seen the epic movie Gone with the Wind, and marveled at the vast majestic plantations, surrounded by acres and acres of green, manicured lawns, trees older than time, and fields of crops, there is a chance to see one that exists today. The Oak Valley Plantation has survived all the years thank dedicated owners and care, and stands as beautiful as ever. A tree-lined entrance to the front door makes the lovely building look as it has jumped out of a movie. The grounds are manicured, and visitors are welcomed. Named for the stunning oak trees that line the entrance to the plantation, Oak Alley is an impressive sight. The trees are over 300 years old, which was before the plantation ever existed, and who planted them and why they are planted in the lined formations remains a mystery to this day. See Oak Alley Plantation and experience what it was like to live in the past.
How did Oak Alley Plantation Survive All this Time?
Oak Alley was owned and loved by all of her owners, but especially Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Stewart who owned the plantation in the 1920s. They completed one of the most fruitful and impressive adaptive restorations in existence, and that is still agreed upon today. The incorporation of modern plumbing and kitchen facilities while still holding true to the original architecture, which indeed was successful. Mrs. Stewart outlived her husband, and before she passed in the 1960s, she created the Oak Alley Foundation, so that the plantation, including the house and surrounding 25 acres would endure and for all to see its glory. Zeb Mayhew Jr. now owns and runs the plantation, allowing turs, visitors, and overnight stays. As Mrs. Stewart’s great-nephew, he has upheld his aunts’ wishes to keep the plantation alive, for the enjoyment of others. As a boy, he spent time on the plantation visiting his great aunt, so Oak Alley is well cared for, by one of her own.
Where is Oak Alley?
Located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River lies the Oak Alley plantation. Oak Alley calls Vacherie, Louisiana its home, as it has for 178 years. The impressive Virginia Oaks that are planted creating a path, leading towards the river. Oak Alley is close to New Orleans, and many stay in the Big Easy and take a tour bus or their vehicle to see the grand plantation.
Guided tours are available for the Oak Alley Plantation. Tours are 20 dollars for adults, 7.50 for youth and 4.50 for children. Tours give you a chance to see the magnificent rooms, in era-appropriate décor, with one room even having a cradle from the original owners. The guided tours provide you the history of the planation and of the families that ran the estate, including the slaves. Although slavery is a dark subject to learn about and discuss, the Oak Alley Plantation has one of the best historical exhibitions of plantation slavery. There are specific and visiting hours, so the guided tour is the way to go. School tours and group tours can also be scheduled and are encouraged. The staff at Oak Alley Plantation is warm and welcoming. They would love to answer any questions you may have and are eager to show off one of the most amazing plantations in the south.
The whole you cannot stay on the plantation, there have been a few small cottages added to the exterior to allow overnight guests and stays. The best part about being an overnight guest is that you are allowed to ram the property before and after visiting hours, allowing for the best photographs. During the day, visitation is heavy, so your pictures may have other people in them. A full country breakfast is included in your stay, and all the cottages have Tempur-Pedic mattresses, allowing for a very relaxing and restful evening. The cabins are available in one-bedroom or two-bedrooms and contain all the basic amenities such as a hairdryer, kitchen utensil, wireless internet and a coffee maker.
Beware of the Ghosts
Ancient and historic buildings seem to draw ghost inhabitants. Several of the staff have reported ghost sightings, and some were so alarmed that they bolted from the property. Several of the lady officers had exited the main house, and upon reaching the parking lot had noticed that a lamp was on. They had remembered turning off all of the lights when exiting and locking up for the evening. A shadowy figure appeared that resembled a picture of one of the plantation owners of Mrs. Stewart. Gazing at each other the mysterious figure disappeared, and the lamp in the room went off, sending all the ladies into their cars, fleeing the property at once. Many other sightings have been reported of a woman figure resembling Mrs. Stewart, and many others as well. It seems as if she is still watching over her plantation after all of these years.
A Timeless Piece of History
Mrs. Stewart wanted to preserve this incredible plantation and home, as has been successful. After all these years, the plantation and buildings are thriving, allowing others to see their glory. The 300-year oaks had stood guard for hundreds of years before the plantation even existed. It is almost as if they knew it would live one day. The beautiful farm is a treat to the eyes for all who visit and also has been used in movies such as Interview with the Vampire, Django Unchained, and one of Beyoncé’s music videos. See the Oak Alley Plantation in all its splendor, and maybe even catch a sighting of Mrs. Stewart, wandering through what was once her home, after all of these years.