Old World Charm and Southern Hospitality at the Nottoway Plantation, Louisiana
Getting to Nottoway Plantation from New Orleans meant I had to do the one thing I generally avoid when traveling – I had to rent a car! I left my planning to the last minute which meant I actually had to take a taxi back to the airport to pick up the car before heading towards Baton Rouge and plantation country, but that in itself, is another story!
I knew I had to stay the night after first hearing about Nottoway from Mrs O Around The World’s trip to New Orleans. Just over an hour and a half from New Orleans, the drive out to the plantation was straight forward. I arrived just in time to check in and take some photos before night fall. The property is gorgeous. Stately century old oak trees dot the property, and the vibrant gardens popped with colour. I can see why so many people hold their weddings here – the largest antebellum mansion in the south and the options for a picture perfect wedding ceremony on the front lawn – I see Reese Witherspoon’s southern belle wedding from the movie Sweet Home Alabama dancing in my head!
The grandeur of the mansion made me hold my breath – I couldn’t wait for the tour I had scheduled for the morning. I already regretted only booking one night. Everything was so laid back and simple – I felt like I was stepping back in time as I head to my room (the Loft) in the Overseer’s Cottage. As I crossed onto the balcony, rocking chairs lined up and waiting, I could picture myself sitting there with a warm summer breeze, iced tea in hand, looking out over the Mississippi River. In fact, as I walked around the property, a number of the guests were doing just that.
Dinner in the mansion was a treat. Trying to stick to a traditional Louisiana style cuisine was tough when my waitress suggested the Tempura Battered Blue Crab Rolls. She wasn’t wrong – the sushi styled dish was a treat, so much lighter than all the food I had been eating in New Orleans so far. I followed the crab rolls up with Blackened Shrimp and Grits, leaving no room for dessert. That pecan pie was going to have to wait for another day. The dishes were sumptuous. I felt like I might not eat again for a week! Needless to say, come morning and one look at the breakfast buffet, I found the room for a little more food! Loved the giant fruit salad that they had on offer – something I had been craving after a few days in New Orleans.
The Nottoway Story
There are 150 years of history in this mansion, having survived the tests of war, economic adversity and change of ownership. An astute business man and successful sugar magnate with an eye for grandeur, Nottaway was completed in 1859 for John Randolph, his wife Emily and their 11 children. The prestigious 53,000 square foot mansion was a tribute to John Randolph’s success and position in society. No expense was spared in the creation of his dream home, he employed renowned architect Henry Howard to create his masterpiece. More details of the history of Nottoway and the Randolph family are available on line, however taking the tour really brings all the rooms and stories from a different era to life. The attention to detail in recreating the life of the Randolph family is amazing, largely due to the detailed journal entires of Emily Randolph.